Star Wars Battlefront: what the biggest beta test in EA’s history told us

Attracting over nine million players, the Battlefront beta was a huge success for Electronic Arts. But did it pose more questions than it answered?

It was, according to Electronic Arts, the biggest beta test in the publisher’s history. Over nine million people turned out this week to try an early version of Star Wars: Battlefront, the online multiplayer shooter set for release on 17 November. Most came away with some fun stories and a few huge questions.

One thing pretty much everyone agreed on was that this game nails Star Wars. The recreation of Hoth is visually astounding, with its glittering snowscapes and bustling rebel base – and the design of the storm troopers, the guns and the spacecraft is near perfect. The audio too, is wonderful, capturing all the well-known sound effects, from the whine of a swooping Tie-Fighter to the almost mournful laser blast of the AT-ST walkers. There is also thrilling use of the John Williams score, bringing in the main theme at certain points and never failing to produce a rush of adrenaline and nostalgia.

Continue reading… …read more

Bill Gates calls fossil fuel divestment a ‘false solution’

Founder of Microsoft and the Gates foundation also accuses environmentalists of making misleading claims about the comparative price of solar

Bill Gates has branded fossil fuel divestment “a false solution” and accused environmentalists of making misleading claims about the price of solar power.

In an interview with US magazine the Atlantic, the founder of Microsoft and the Gates foundation criticised the global movement that has seen pension funds, universities, churches and local governments commit to pulling $2.6tn out of coal, oil and gas companies.

Continue reading… …read more

Flash hit by another zero-day vulnerability

The vulnerability can install software on users’ computers against their will and the only protection for now is to uninstall Flash

Yet again, Adobe’s Flash plugin has been hit by a “zero-day” exploit, meaning that even users with a fully up-to-date installation of the software are vulnerable to attacks.

Hackers exploiting the vulnerability can install software on users’ computers against their will, and at least one group is doing just that, according to security researchers at Trend Micro.

Continue reading… …read more

Music on your TV – Britain gets its rival to Spotify and Tidal

Electric Jukebox isn’t an app and charges no monthly fees – but will customers want to pay £179 for a new device to play music?

It has become a music industry mantra that streaming is the future of music, yet the public have been notably unexcited about the prospect of paying monthly subscriptions to use an app. Launches this year from Tidal, run by Jay Z, and Apple have been met with more shrugs of indifference than shrieks of excitement, but a new British company hopes to buck the trend.

Electric Jukebox comes with the usual stream of musical endorsements – even if Robbie Williams, Alesha Dixon, Sheryl Crow and Stephen Fry constitute a less starry line-up than Tidal’s Beyoncé, Madonna, Rihanna, Kanye West et al – but the company claims this first UK entry into a field dominated by the Swedish firm Spotify is offering something new: the chance to turn your TV into a jukebox.

Continue reading… …read more

Video-on-demand services to face same rules as broadcast TV

Ofcom to regulate serices such as Channel 4’s All4 and Sky’s Now TV, which were previously overseen by ATVOD

Video-on-demand services including Channel 4’s All4 and Sky’s Now TV will subject to the same rules and regulatory regime as broadcast TV under plans by Ofcom.

Currently TV-like services delivered over the internet are regulated by a separate body authorised by Ofcom, the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD), which follows similar rules.

Continue reading… …read more