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Game

Valve ditches Steam’s Lunar New Year sale in favor of a spring edition

Over the last year, Valve has been more forthcoming about plans for its biggest Steam sales, including by . The company says the cadence will change starting in 2023. It will replace the Lunar New Year sale (which debuted in 2016) with the spring sale, which will run from March 16th to 23rd.

Valve said a spring sale was a popular request from developers and publishers, many of whom believed that the Lunar New Year edition (which typically took place in late January or early February) ran too close to the December holiday sale. “It will allow us to create more space between our four major seasonal sales and provide more opportunities throughout the year for developers to expand and execute their discounting calendar,” . “We think many publishers will still opt to discount games around the Lunar New Year holiday, using the custom discount tools. But we suspect customers will be better served by a little bit more time between the big Steam-wide seasonal sales.”

This makes sense, as the winter sale is arguably one of Steam’s two biggest events of the year, alongside the summer one. Spacing things out more could be helpful for developers and publishers (that said, there’s not much time between the autumn and winter editions). Moreover, this move will shorten what was a lengthy gap between the Lunar New Year and summer sales, which could be handy for those who receive a and don’t want to wait too long to pick up a ton of discounted games for it.

Meanwhile, Valve reiterated the dates for the next two major sales. The autumn edition will run from November 22nd to 29th, while the blockbuster winter sale will take place between December 22nd and January 5th.

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Game

Samsung’s first QD-OLED gaming monitor arrives later this year

Earlier this year, the first gaming monitor with a Samsung QD-OLED panel arrived. We called the an ultrawide marvel, praising it for its bright and beautiful screen. When Samsung showed off QD-OLED at , it promised the new panels would be available in more than one monitor, and now the company is making good on that pledge with the announcement of the .

If you’re familiar with the AW3423DW, you won’t find many surprises on the G8’s spec sheet. It features a 34-inch QD-OLED panel with a 21:9 aspect ratio and 1800R curvature. The 3,440 by 1,440 screen covers 99.3 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut and has a blazing fast 0.1ms response time and 175Hz refresh rate. It’s also DisplayHDR 400 True Black– and FreeSync Premium-certified – though there’s no mention of G-Sync compatibility. 

Samsung Odyssey OLED G8

Samsung

The frame and stand are metal. That’s something you don’t see on many gaming monitors. However, the stand only offers height and tilt adjustment, and as you can see from one of the photos Samsung shared, there’s no option to VESA mount the G85SB due to the built-in RGB lighting at the back of the monitor. That’s not great from a usability standpoint. I’m also not sure what Samsung thought when they decided to include HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 connectivity but went with the Micro and Mini versions of those ports. Here’s hoping the company includes adapters in the box. Naturally, it also comes with Samsung’s Gaming Hub and Smart Platform features built in.

The G85SB will go on sale before the end of the year. Samsung didn’t share pricing information, but if the cost of Alienware’s QD-OLED monitor is any indication, expect the Odyssey OLED G8 to fall somewhere in the $1,300 range.

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Computing

Neuralink “show and tell” event planned for later this year

Elon Musk, the owner of Neuralink, said the company will be providing an update about its research on October 31. This comes shortly after reports surfaced of Musk’s frustration with the slow progress.

Neuralink aims to develop an interface that allows direct connection of a human brain and computer technology. If successful, you might someday expand your processing capabilities and sensory perception through hardware upgrades. That’s the futuristic angle that Elon Musk pitched when first introducing this new endeavor.

What is more likely to arrive first is medical assistance for people that have some form of paralysis. Bypassing the body’s nervous system, a robotic arm or leg might allow a person with limited mobility to move around and manipulate objects as if using their own limbs.

On October 31, the current state of the Neuralink technology will be demonstrated in a “show and tell,” according to Musk’s Tweet. There might be extra pressure on the Neuralink team to make an impression with this update, since Musk is said to have approached competitors rather than relying solely on his in-house team of experts.

Neuralink progress update show & tell on October 31 st (Halloween)

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 22, 2022

According to a recent Reuters report, unnamed sources say Musk spoke with Paradromics, Inc. in 2020, and more recently, Synchron. Synchron’s Stentrode was the first brain-computer interface to be implanted in a human in the United States, with the operation taking place on July 6.

Musk is not averse to making big changes if new technology or circumstances call for a different approach. Tesla’s switch away from radar-aided, driver-assist systems to completely vision-based, self-driving is a perfect example. Despite radar hardware existing on every Tesla produced before May 2021, it has been switched off to focus solely on the vehicles’ cameras and machine learning systems trained on vision.

If Synchron or other competitors have a better solution, it would not be surprising to learn that Neuralink is changing directions in the future. In the near term, we have to wait until October to find out if Neuralink is sharing any treats.

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Game

PlayStation Plus will offer eight Yakuza games this year

Sony is bringing eight Yakuza games to PlayStation Plus this year as it looks to build out the revamped service’s library with notable third-party titles. Starting on August 2nd, subscribers on all three tiers will be able to snag Yakuza: Like a Dragon on PS4 and PS5. The other two games hitting the base Essential tier as part of August’s solid lineup are Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 (PS4 and PS5) and Little Nightmares (PS4).

At least for now, Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be the only Yakuza game that will hit the Essential tier. Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2 will join the Extra and Premium versions of the service in mid-August. Later this year, Yakuza 3 Remastered, Yakuza 4 Remastered and Yakuza 5 Remastered will land on the Premium tier. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life will hit Extra and Premium in the coming months as well.

Unlike Microsoft does with Game Pass, Sony isn’t putting its own blockbuster games out on PlayStation Plus on the day they’re released. It has to find other ways to make the service attractive to lure in new users and keep existing members on board. Yakuza is a popular series and those who want to revisit the earlier games (or check them out for the first time) might be tempted to sign up to PS Plus or keep their subscription going to play through them all.

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Computing

Report: Cyberattacks have nearly doubled since last year

A recent analysis by fraud-buster and cybersecurity company Seon found that cyberattacks have nearly doubled since last year. Given that the number of people using the internet worldwide is creeping upward quite slowly by comparison, that means the odds that you’ll be affected are increasing rapidly. It’s time to double-check your security settings.

The most common cyberattacks reported were ransomware, phishing, and malware. Ransomware refers to software that threatens you with data loss or the sharing of personal information if a payment isn’t made. Malware is similar but takes direct action to gain unauthorized access to your data, storage, and computer-processing power.

Phishing sounds like funny word, but it’s a far more devious scam. It is exactly what it sounds like, fishing for details, but the “ph” soelling was likely inspired by the earlier term phreaking, which was a portmanteau of “phone” and “freak,” which involved hacking of the telephone system. Phishing often takes the form of an email or social media message from someone pretending to be someone else to gather personal information.

The fourth most frequent type of cyberattacks include unsecured cloud environments, which thankfully has become less common, dropping by more than 50% and representing less than 1% of the cases noted by Seon. Stolen logins, known as credential stuffing, also accounted for less than 1%.

Software flaws and zero-day attacks barely made a blip. It’s worth noting that 34% of the cyberattacks mentioned were uncategorized so there’s a big margin of error in this report, with some scams likely happening much more frequently. Seon’s full report is available on its website.

Password-free sign-ins are coming soon, which will help greatly, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to ease up on security. As cyberattacks become more frequent, you should shore up your computer defenses.

Some of the best ways to do so are also fairly easy. Keep your operating system updated to the latest version, and also update apps, particularly your browser. Login safety can be improved by choosing stronger passwords, and enabling two-factor authentication.

Editors’ Choice




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Security

Web3 projects have lost more than $2 billion to hacks this year

In the first six months of 2022, Web3 projects have lost more than $2 billion to hacks and exploits — more than all of 2021 combined.

That’s according to research from blockchain auditing and security company CertiK, which on Thursday released its quarterly Web3 security report covering Q2 of this year. The report paints a sobering picture of a cryptocurrency space still plagued by hacks, scams, and phishing schemes while also facing relatively new threats like flash loan attacks.

CertiK puts particular focus on this last category of threat, which has been created by the invention of flash loans: a decentralized finance mechanism that lets borrowers access extremely large amounts of cryptocurrency for very short periods of time. If used maliciously, flash loans can be used to manipulate the value of a certain token on exchanges or buy up all of the governance tokens in a project and vote to withdraw all of the funds, as happened to Beanstalk in April.

In total, CertiK’s report claims that a total of $308 million was lost across 27 flash loan attacks in Q2 2022 — an enormous increase compared to just $14 million lost to flash loans in Q1.

Phishing attacks also increased in frequency between Q1 and Q2 of this year, with CertiK recording 290 in the most recent quarter compared with 106 in the first three months of the year. Discord was the vector for the vast majority of phishing attempts, a signal of its continuing popularity as the social network of choice for the cryptocurrency and NFT scene, despite ongoing security concerns.

In slightly more positive news, so-called “rug pulls” — where the founders of a project halt development and abscond with the funds — are becoming less common, though tens of millions of dollars were still lost in this way. CertiK found that a total of $37.46 million was lost to rug pulls in Q2 of this year, down 16.5 percent from the previous quarter, though the report attributes much of this decrease to the current crypto winter, which may be driving away the less experienced investors who are likely to be fooled by scam projects.

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Security

The NRA confirms it was hacked last year

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has confirmed it was the subject of a ransomware attack that took place last October, according to a report from Gizmodo.

In a filing to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the organization’s political action committee (PAC), explains the NRA experienced a ransomware attack on October 20th, 2021 that brought its “network offline for two weeks.” Since the NRA wasn’t “able to access email or network files until the second week of November,” the NRA failed to report nearly $2,500 worth of donations, which was the reason for the filing.

Last year, a Russian cybercriminals group that goes by the name of Grief took credit for allegedly hacking the NRA and posting what appeared to be stolen documents on the dark web. Grief, which is said to be associated with well-known Russia-based hacking group Evil Corp, threatened to release more documents if its payment threshold wasn’t met.

There’s no word on whether the NRA ever paid up. The organization never publicly confirmed the attack at the time, and instead issued a statement on Twitter, saying it “does not discuss matters relating to its physical or electronic security,” and that it “takes extraordinary measures to protect information.”

The NRA didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment. It notes in the filing that it “has implemented additional cybersecurity measures to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence.”



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AI

Report: Sustainability is a top 10 priority for CEOs this year

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A recent survey of CEOs and senior executives by Gartner, Inc. revealed significant shifts in their thinking regarding people, purpose, prices and productivity in 2022, specifically on matters of sustainability, workforce issues and inflation.

Among the key findings, artificial intelligence (AI) is now reported as the most impactful new technology among CEOs for the third year in a row. Conversely, 63% of CEOs see the metaverse as either not applicable or very unlikely to be a key technology for their business.

Additionally, for the first time in the history of the survey, CEOs placed environmental sustainability in their top 10 strategic business priorities, coming in at 8th place. Nearly three-quarters of CEOs agreed that increasing environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts attracts investors toward their companies. Sustainability also appears as a competitive differentiator for CEOs in 2022 and 2023, on the same level as brand trust among respondents.

CEOS' Top 10 Strategic Business Priority Areas for 2022-2023. In order: growth; tech-related; workforce; corporate; financial; products and services; customer; environmental sustainability; cost; sales.

Workforce issues, such as talent retention, moved up in priority for CEOs for the second year in a row, only slightly behind technology-related issues such as digitalization and cybersecurity, and significantly ahead of financial issues such as profitability and cash flow.

Regarding inflation, 62% of CEOs see general price inflation as a persistent or long-term issue. Their top response to inflation is to raise prices (51% of respondents), rather than responding with productivity and efficiency (22% of respondents).

Overall, CEO perspectives shifted significantly in 2022, impacted by the ongoing effects of the pandemic and more recently the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, CEOs’ digital business ambition continues to rise, unabated by the pandemic and related crises.

The annual Gartner 2022 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey was conducted between July 2021 through December 2021 among over 400 CEOs and other senior business executives in North America, EMEA and APAC across different industries, revenue and company sizes.

Read the full report by Gartner.

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Categories
Game

Staff Picks: Why Metroid Dread is Our Game of the Year

Picking the “game of the year” is never easy. While every Digital Trends writer who helped deliberate is a gamer, their tastes differ wildly. I came out strong as an advocate for medium-defining indie darlings. Others are RPG enthusiasts who felt Tales of Arise deserved the top spot. Depending on who was in the conversation, we could have shuffled the deck a dozen different ways and come out with any number of winners. There’s an alternate universe somewhere where Forza Horizon 5 is our game of the year, I’m sure.

So when we do find common ground on a game, it’s truly special. It means that something has transcended its genre enough to win over a panel of gamers with disparate tastes. It’s always hard to predict what game in a given year will pull off that task. And even then, I was still shocked when Metroid Dread topped our voting sheet.

Long live the queen

Metroid Dread is a long-awaited sequel to Game Boy Advance classic Metroid Fusion. It brings the Metroid series back to its 2D roots while trading the sprite art for modern visuals. For longtime fans of the series (myself included), it was a cathartic release. Announced as a genuine E3 2021 surprise, it was a sequel no one really expected. The Metroid series seemed like it was dead in the water with Metroid Prime 4 currently languishing in development hell. The last thing any fan expected was a return to 2D.

While it was always going to be a significant game for fans, it was harder to predict how the general public would embrace it. In truth, Metroid is more of a cult hit for Nintendo, and one that hasn’t been truly great for over a decade. It doesn’t make the same kind of money as Mario or even Animal Crossing — it’s more of a “gamer’s game.” Fans of the industry revere it and the impact it’s had on the industry, but Samus Aran likely wouldn’t be a household name if it weren’t for Super Smash Bros.

Metroid Dread would become a pivotal game. It felt like the fate of the entire series was resting on it. If it failed, like Metroid Other M and Federation Force before it, that could be a nail in the coffin. Developers would continue to draw inspiration from it in the form of indie Metroidvania titles, but Samus’ reign as queen would reach an unsatisfying end.

Thank God that didn’t happen.

Using the Omega Cannon in Metroid Dread.

An instant classic

Rising to meet expectations, Metroid Dread gave the Nintendo Switch another instant classic. An increased emphasis on fast movement proved to be exactly what the series needed, buffing up both its exploration and combat encounters. Mechanical additions like the melee counter widened Samus’ moveset, making her feel more like her Super Smash Bros. counterpart. Battles are legitimately challenging, but always fair. Modernized visuals brought more detail to the 2D world, adding depth to each corridor. Oh, and the E.M.M.I. scared the ever-loving crud out of players, too. It’s the kind of genuine crowd-pleaser that Nintendo excels at.

What makes Dread stand out most, though, is its story. The secret truth about Metroid is that it’s always told one of gaming’s best stories. It’s a space epic where Samus’ history and decisions matter. When she saves the baby Metroid at the end of Metroid 2, it’s not just a stand-alone moment. It plays a major role in the events of Super Metroid, which makes it one of gaming’s most impactful moments.

Metroid Dread carries that narrative strength over by bringing decades worth of plot threads together in a dark crescendo. It’s a game where Samus’ recklessness as a bounty hunter finally catches up to her. We finally get to see the long-term consequences of her decision to eradicate an entire species for money. That plays out in a series of shocking plot twists that reward anyone who’s kept up with Metroid lore over the years. The David Cronenberg-esque conclusion still lingers in my head months later.

Samus melee attacks an enemy in Metroid Dread.

History matters

If you had to boil Metroid Dread down to one thematic takeaway, it’s “history matters.” The snap decisions we make can carry consequences that snowball in unexpected ways. In video games, we’re not usually punished for our actions. Kill 1,000 people in Uncharted and it won’t matter much by the start of Uncharted 2. Metroid Dread rejects the “video game reset” by turning decades’ worth of reckless mercenary work into a nightmare for the usually cool, collected Samus.

Metroid Dread isn’t devoid of hope. It doesn’t leave Samus to die haunted by her ghosts. Redemption is still possible, and the ending leaves the door open for that. By the final moments of Dread, Samus has transformed (in more ways than one). She’s snapped out of an apathetic trance and seems to understand that her power is corruptible. Perhaps she’ll stop accepting missions from a shady Galactic Federation that hires her to do their dirty work and become an actual force for good.

What’s exciting is that we won’t have to wonder for long, hopefully. With Metroid Dread garnering praise from critics and Switch owners alike, it feels like Saums is about to start a new chapter. She’ll continue to evolve, just as Nintendo has with the uneven series itself. History matters, but its repercussions aren’t always negative. Sometimes we learn from the unflattering parts of our past and use it to build a better future. Metroid Dread is a moment of growth and reinvention for the series, coming out of a dark decade of failure with an earned moment of redemption.

Mission accomplished.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Get a Year of Norton Antivirus Protection for Only $30 Today

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

As we spend more time online, there’s a growing need for antivirus software that will protect us and our loved ones from cybercriminals, especially since they’ll be taking advantage of the increased internet activity with the holidays coming up. Not all antivirus programs are reliable though, so you should stick to trusted names like Norton. There’s no price for your peace of mind, but Best Buy is currently offering a one-year subscription to Norton 360 Deluxe with LifeLock at a very affordable price of $30, which is a third of its original price of $90 after a $60 discount.

Norton is a mainstay in Digital Trends’ best antivirus software, and it’s one of the most popular names in the industry as it’s been around for more than 30 years. It’s here to stay with products like Norton 360 Deluxe with LifeLock, which can protect up to five devices at a time from both existing and emerging threats. The software will be able to detect and deal with different types of malware, including spyware, ransomware, and viruses, in real time, with a firewall that monitors all online activity and blocks unauthorized traffic. The software also comes with a secure VPN so you can browse the internet anonymously, and bank-grade encryption that keeps your passwords and credit card details away from cybercriminals.

The antivirus software’s LifeLock feature makes it one of our best identity theft protection options, as Norton will monitor the Dark Web — heavily encrypted websites and networks that the average internet user can’t access — and send you a notification if your personal information is there so that you can initiate the necessary procedures to protect your identity.

Protect your family from computer viruses, malware, and identity theft, among the many other dangers of going online, by availing yourself of Best Buy’s offer for Norton 360 Deluxe with LifeLock. The antivirus software is available from the retailer for just $30 for a one-year subscription, after a $60 discount to its original price of $90. With all the online activity that the Christmas season brings, you’ll need to install proper safeguards as soon as possible, and since there’s no telling how long this deal for Norton 360 Deluxe with LifeLock will last, you should click that Buy Now button immediately.

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