SXSW Gaming Events Cancelled After ‘Threats Of Violence’

Well this is a mess but here goes, two gaming events have been cancelled at the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) festival that is due to take place next year (March 2016), after organisers confirmed they have become victim to continuous threats of violence which includes a direct message of the potential for violent behaviour “on site”.

At first, the content of the discussion panels seem compelling and rather innocuous considering the alleged reaction, the first was coined “SavePoint: A discussion on the Gaming community” while the other was named “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games”  The former was there to primarily analyse the social and political landscape within the ever-changing and diverse gaming community as well as a closer look at the journalistic integrity of gaming journalists themselves; the latter was focussed on data around abuse in larger gaming communities as well as other related topics.

Sounds interesting right? Indeed, the reason this has somewhat blown up in the organisers faces is down to the panels referring to the madness known as “GamerGate” neither panel was officially linked to this subject but did intend to discuss issues associated with both sides of the row. SavePoint was due to feature prominent GamerGate supporters while Level up was likely to feature an argument, sorry discussion against Harassment in games and I would have thought GamerGate would have come up at some point.

So that’s it, no, supporters of the GamerGate campaign suggest that they themselves have been the victim of “abuse after they tried to highlight conflicts of interest in the video games industry. The organisers of SavePoint have announced that they will go ahead with plans to host a panel discussion themselves and will do so by other means.

To add to the complications, media organisation BuzzFeed has threatened to boycott SXSW unless the festival reinstated both parties, which looks unlikely at this time considering both panels are fearful of their safety. Buzzfeed released a statement that reads as follows,

“We will feel compelled to withdraw [our staff] if the conference can’t find a way to do what those other targets of harassment do every day – to carry on important conversations in the face of harassment. We hope you can support the principle of free speech and engage a vital issue facing us and other constituents on the event.”

I have always felt rather non plus with the ideology of threats of violence, granted, if you received one then you are well within your rights to take it with the utmost of seriousness, but, if someone intended to hit you, they probably would not warn you that they intended to do so in the first place, it rather defeats the point. It’s a tough one, free speech should be the number one focus, but, free speech itself does not mean you can say what you want if there is a chance that it could cause major offence.

It does seem silly though that two gaming events have been cancelled because it has caused this reaction, can’t people debate like adults and others listen with respect like adults without the need for threats?

Facebook Could Be Hosting News Articles as Soon as Tomorrow

Facebook’s plan of self-hosted editorial content or “Instant Articles” could be going live as soon as tomorrow. The Instant Articles will have articles from The New York Times, Buzzfeed, National Geographic, and NBC News.

New York Magazine is reporting that the new feature will be going live tomorrow morning. What has apparently held up the start of the new feature is the New York Times CEO pushing for “the most favorable terms”. This is due to them having more than a million paid digital subscribers and the fact that the Facebook articles will be free to read. The worked out terms allows those publishing articles to keep 100% of the ad money (next to their article) if they sell the ad. If Facebook sells the ad they will be able to keep 70% of the money. This should help the publishers that are concerned about the bottom line when their articles will be accessible for free to the population of Facebook. We will see if the news articles, in fact go live tomorrow morning. If they do not at least we know that it will be very soon now that the compensation details have been worked out with the companies that will be providing the news articles.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Facebook Content Hosting Wants to Save You a Click

As we recently reported on Facebook’s attempt to integrate further with smartphones, it looks like we now know more of what they are trying to accomplish. By natively hosting the news. The New York Times’ sources are saying that Facebook has been talking to six different media companies in regards to directly publishing their content on Facebook’s site, not just a link to the article. The names of the companies we know now are The New York Times, Buzzfeed, National Geographic, and The Huffington PostAs to what Facebook is wanting to accomplish, they think that an eight second load time average per page, on mobile, is too long, beyond just having the investment in mobile technology.

What is a good part of that load time experienced is advertisements, which actually generate a fair amount for the companies. As the NYT has said, the ideas reception isn’t going swimmingly, which isn’t that surprising. As the companies see it, Facebook has more to earn financially in the end, as they haven’t established much of a traffic-data sharing plan, due to the fact that users would stay on Facebook, rather than going to the media companies site, even if more people have access to it. With the sheer number of people on Facebook a day, and courtesy of Facebook’s curated news feed, the stories would be much more exposed than just being on the originating media companies site. However making this a fair deal is currently unknown.

Source: Engadget

Next Gen Apple TV Much Improved

According to sources close with BuzzFeed, the next-gen Apple TV will be a much-improved version. Apple plans on announcing the new Apple TV at the World Wide Developers Conference they hold in June. During the conference, they also plan on introducing the SDK dedicated to the Apple TV, and its own App Store, much like was done with the Apple Watch recently.

The recent price cut of the current Apple TV, from $99 to $69 during Apple’s live event, and announcing the partnership to make HBO GO an exclusive digital partner, Apple has been busy recently. In addition to the Apple Watch announcement recently, we also are getting a new MacBook, claiming to be the lightest computer ever. With the April 24th release of the Apple Watch coming, Apple updated iOS with support for the Watch.

With so much time since Apple last did much for the Apple TV, if they plan to continue support, this pending update will be much-needed. Especially since there are so many more competing devices, such as Roku, Fire TV, and the Chrome Stick, and their very competitive costs, Apple’s hand is almost forced if they want to stay relevant.

Source: news.com.au

Milk Video, Samsung’s New Ad-Free YouTube Rival Revealed


After the launch of its audio streaming app Milk Music, Samsung’s media service strategy took another step forward on Wednesday with the reveal of Milk Video, an add-free video aggregation app designed to challenge YouTube. Milk Video pulls clips from sources including Vevo, Buzzfeed, Vice, CollegeHumor, and, of course, YouTube itself, and collates them into a customisable stream, à la Vine. Funny or Die and Red Bull Studios are slated to produce exclusive content for Milk.

Samsung has its own editorial committee who curate and rank viral video content within specific genres. Kevin Swint, Samsung’s Vice President of Content and Services, maintains that this will help users to discover content more easily, saying, “Discovery happens in very haphazard and random way. This experience leaves a lot of people feeling like they’re always the last one to see the video that everybody is talking about. We thought we could solve that.”

Milk Video is a free app, exclusive to Samsung Galaxy devices.

Source: Mashable