Payday 2 Moderators go on Strike After Microtransactions Fiasco

Payday 2 is a hugely successful co-op crime shooter which initially attracted a loyal and passionate community. Sadly, Overkill outraged Payday 2’s fan-base after implementing microtransactions despite reassurances that this would never happen. As a result, many people have posted irate comments or simply left the community. Not only that, a moderator decided to go on strike and said:

“We’ve recently being under a great deal of stress after the Crimefest update,” 

“A number of death threats thrown at us as well as much more heavy moderation needed due to a huge increase in users breaking the rules. We are not paid and have been in a very stressful situation.”

“A lot of people will be wondering why we didn’t do this earlier, due to the recent safe release. A lot of things happened and Overkill admitted it wasn’t managed very well. We we’re hoping Overkill would learn from its mistakes regarding the last update and we were hoping they took these into consideration with the COP. We have a lot of issues regarding the release of the COP that shows they have NOT listened to user feedback at all.”

“I like to believe that I am not unreasonable but unfortunately the situation constantly degraded. We will no longer refuse to work if we are given a public interview with a member of Overkill. We want to be heard and see what Overkill are willing to do to fix the situation.”

“If Overkill decides to let us go as moderators it’s something we are prepared for, I personally cannot sit by when they continue to promote immoral business practices. I felt the skins system needed work but could function. The recent safe update showed against that.”

Clearly, the moderating team are exasperated, and struggling to cope with people’s frustrations. Despite this, Overkill doesn’t seem overly concerned as the microtransactions keep bringing in a decent amount of money. However, the dwindling community and terrible handling of this affair will undoubtedly affect the game’s longevity. Overkill’s reputation has also suffered, and I feel a large proportion of the community will be very skeptical of any promises in the future.

Video Game Actors Contemplate Strike Action

The voice talent behind many leading titles including Call of Duty could go on strike over working conditions and the pay structure. Many of the actors who provide voices for the gaming industry are demanding enhanced protection for roles which involve “voice stress”. This mainly revolves around heavy emotions such as shouting. The Screen Actors Guild agreed to strike if more than 75% members agree. The demands include stunt pay for demanding vocal recordings and these sessions will be limited to two hours to protect each actor’s voice.

Additionally, the draft calls for pay bonuses when a game exceeds two million copies sold. In a blogpost, Wil Wheaton described the situation and explained the reasoning for these demands:

“If you’ve done this as I asked, it’s now six or seven hours after you started. Don’t talk at all for the rest of the day and don’t make any plans to go audition for any other voice work for the rest of the week, because your voice is wrecked.”

“Asking us to go into something with absolutely zero knowledge about the project, or what we’ll be expected to do if we are cast, is completely unreasonable,” 

“Maybe someone has a moral objection to the content of a game, and they’d like to know what it is before they commit to it.”

This is an interesting situation and reminds me of the stand-off between many actors and studios in the TV and film industry. Gaming is now such a huge art form, that we now expect the best voice actors to help the writing and create an enriching narrative. I can imagine how repeating the same lines for hours in a studio can get quite tedious and apply pressure on the individual’s voice. Arguably, this should be protected, as an actor’s voice is their career. Although, it could be argued they are already on a very good salary.

Do you think these demands are reasonable?

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information. 

Ozone Strike Battle Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Introduction


Ozone are one of the coolest names in the peripheral business. Time and time again, they’ve shown us that they can create some great gaming products, packed full of features, that have proven very popular with both gamers at home and with this eSports/pro gaming communities. So when I found out that they’ve created one of the sleekest, lightest and coolest looking mechanical keyboards I’ve ever seen, I simply couldn’t wait to get it in for review.

The new Ozone Strike Battle is a packed with all the features you would expect from a good quality mechanical gaming keyboard. It has an aluminum top panel, a TKL (ten keys less) design, fully mechanical keys with a choice of Cherry MX switches, full LED backlighting and much more!

“Strike Battle offers the best selection of cherry MX keyswitches, a short-body and an ergonomic design to ensure a comfortable use. Its high-quality aluminum layout gives you the best materials and performance to improve your gaming skills. It also features a minimalist design and a compact style that makes it perfect for competitive use, travelling gamers or anyone who needs more work space on their desk. Take it to the battlefield.” – Ozone

The Strike comes hard-wired with a braided cable and gold-plated USB connector. What’s interesting is that this is an incredibly thin and lightweight cable. The whole keyboard is as minimalist in terms of materials as possible, making it the lightest mech keyboard I’ve ever handled and the addition of the light cable means it’s really easy to carry around, or maneuver on your desktop.

As you can very obviously see, the aluminum coating behind the keys is finished in bright red, with a keyboard chassis that is literally no bigger than the layout of the keys, giving it a bezel free appearance.

The key caps are really nicely designed and have a jet black appearance with a fine laser etched typeface. Despite the keyboards compact size, the key spacing is pretty standard, so it’s unlikely you’ll have any ergonomic issues. On the F1-F4 keys, you’ll find controls for on-the-fly adjustments of the polling rate.

They keyboard is a TKL design, which means no number pad. This may be a deal breaker for some who rely on the number pad, but it does mean the keyboard is smaller, lighter, more portable and frees up a lot of desk space that you can use for your mouse. The F5-F12 keys are equipped with multimedia shortcuts, which can be accessed via the Fn-Shift key, while the top right keys will help you toggle through lighting effects and brightness levels; off / breathing / 10% / 30% / 70% / 100%. You’ll also notice these keys are labeled M1-M6, which can be used as macro keys over five profiles, giving you access to 30 macros that can be stored on the keyboards 64KB of internal memory; perfect for LAN gaming tournaments.

The arrow keys are tucked right down into the corner, which on most keyboards would be a little bit of a concern, but the low profile chassis negates any ergonomic issues and they’re actually perfectly comfortable to use. They’re actually even closer to my desk than the arrow keys on my normal keyboard; a Mionix Zibal 60.

Here you can see that lovely low profile design; I’m already falling in love with this keyboards ergonomics.

The keys have a slow sweep from front to back to give you better ergonomics and you can see that the key caps have been specially crafted to further enhance this; such as the slightly raised space bar.

There’s very little to see around the back, just the cable connection and a small Ozone logo on one side.

One the base, you’ll find five rubber grips, three at the front and two on the kick stands; more than enough to prevent it from sliding around your desktop.

The kick stands are only plastic, but they feel surprisingly durable, at least compared to most keyboards which have rather flimsy kick stands.

There’s no key-cap removal tool included, but you can easily pull them off to maintain your keyboard or to install custom keycaps if you so desire. As you can see, we have Cherry MX Red keys, which are equipped with red LED lighting.

The lighting is nice and vivid at the maximum setting and also provides a gorgeous under-glow that illuminates the red backplate, giving a really nice glow to the whole keyboard.

Ozone Gaming Strike Battle Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Revealed

Ozone has just revealed their new Strike Battle Compact, a brand new mechanical gaming keyboard with a super compact design.

The Strike Battle Compact comes fitted with Cherry MX switches, red LED backlighting, a super slim bezel, aluminium core construction and all the features you would likely ever need.

Gamers will love the TKL design, as the compact design makes the keyboard easy to transport to LAN gaming events. You’ve got 30 macros, 5 default profiles, FN-shift multimedia controls and 64KB on-board memory.

Technical details:

  • Product name: Ozone Strike Battle – Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
  • Top case: aluminium
  • Feet: ABS, TPR
  • Keycaps: ABS 94HB
  • Maximum number of macros: 30
  • Number of keys: 87
  • Polling rate: 125 – 1000 Hz
  • Keys effective time: adjustable – 1ms, 2ms, 4ms, 8ms, 12ms, 14ms, 16ms
  • Maximum number of profiles: 5
  • On-board memory: 64 KB
  • LED Backlit: Red
  • LED Backlit options: Off, 100% breathing, 30%, 70%, 100% still, Gaming Light (ESC, QWEASD, direction keys)
  • Cable length: 1.5m Braided
  • Connection: USB
  • Dimensions: 34.59(H) x 351(L) x 123(W) mm
  • Weight: 685 g
  • Additional features:
  • G-Mode (Windows buttons off)
  • All keys with Nkey Rollover (antighosting)

“Strike Battle offers the best selection of cherry mx keyswitches, a short-body and an ergonomic design to ensure a comfortable use. Its high quality aluminum layout gives you the best materials and performance to improve your gaming skills. It also features a minimalist design and a compact style that makes it perfect for competitive use, travelling gamers or anyone who needs more work space on their desk. Take it to the battlefield.”

No release date or price are known yet, but we’ll update you as soon as we have more information.

Amazon Centers in Germany Disrupted by Union’s Call For 3-Day Strike

The ver.di union has called for a three-day strike at Amazon Germany distribution centers, which could have a major impact on business operations.

It’s unknown how many employees will participate at five distribution centers – located in Bad Hersfeld, Graben, Rheinberg, Werne and Leipzig – while Amazon has 9,000 employees working in Germany.

The union wants Amazon employees to receive a higher salary, arguing they receive less than retail and mail-order positions in the country. Amazon countered by saying the German facilities are logistics centers and employees are paid accordingly.

This is absolutely terrible timing for Amazon, as its orders in Germany topped out on Dec. 15 in 2014, with customers making a purchase every 53 seconds.

However, Amazon officials reportedly assured German customers they can still expect swift shipments of their orders. The company prides itself in fulfilling orders quickly, even during an extremely busy holiday shopping season, and will continue to work through the strike.

Thank you to Tech Week Europe for providing us with this image

YO App Used for Notifying People About Missile Strikes in Israel

Increasingly popular social media application, Yo, the application which lets you say ‘YO’ to another friend may seem ridiculous to some smartphone users, but in fact it is apparently used for more complicated things than just ‘yo-ing’ around.

The Times of Israel apparently has stated that some developers are now using Yo as a means of notifying people when terrorist attacks are happening in the country. It is said that the notification will be triggered on all devices using the Yo app and are subscribed to the Red Alert: Israel group.

For those who use Red Alert to stay notifying of such activities probably know that the group even has their own standalone application which sends more detailed push notification about the same type of terrorism activities happening in the country.

Though this may seem useless given that a standalone app for Red Alert exists, it might not be for some users if other countries. The Red Alert standalone application is said to work only when you are in Israel, having a limited audience. With its partnership with the Yo application, users can now receive push notifications outside the Israeli borders, having friends and family abroad notified immediately as on the Red Alert app.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

3DMark Update Coming With a New Test Scenario For Mid-Range Systems

Futuremark’s 3DMark benchmarking suite is one of the biggest benchmarking suites that is out on the market for the testing and comparative positioning of gaming systems and as the outer reaches of performance grow on a near day-to-day basis, the benchmark tests that we run have to mature as well. To keep up with the growing demand of the consumer markets, Futuremark are introducing a new test environment in to their ever popular 3DMark suite. Set to be positioned between the Cloud Gate and Fire Strike scenarios for typical home setups and high performance gaming systems, Sky Diver focuses on the mid-range market, where gaming notebooks and average gaming systems cross paths, both in terms of cost and specification.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/GV5jjUQDNdw[/youtube]

Scheduled for release after Computex, where the new test environment will be on display on a number of manufacturer’s stands including Asus, Gigabyte and G.Skill, Sky Diver will be introduced into the 3DMark test suite by means of a software update, meaning there is no need to purchase and download new bits of software.

Jukka Makinen, Futuremark CEO said, “Some people think that 3DMark is only for high-end hardware and extreme overclocking. Yet millions of PC gamers rely on 3DMark to choose systems that best balance performance, efficiency and affordability. 3DMark Sky Diver complements our other tests by providing the ideal benchmark for gaming laptops and mainstream PCs.”

As and when the 3DMark update is made available, we will be introducing the additional test scenario into our review methodology, giving the most update benchmark results that we can. If you don’t already have the 3DMark test suite, head over to http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark , where you can find more information along with links to Futuremark’s other benchmarking suites.

Source: Press Release

Speedlink Strike FX-6 Bluetooth PS3 Gamepad Review

Introduction


Speedlink are well-known for making 3rd party peripherals for games consoles and have done so quite successfully for many years now, offering (in most cases) a lower cost solution for consumers than you would find with first party solutions. This is a great thing consumers, especially when you see that official controllers for consoles often cost upwards of £50-60 and PlayStation 3 controllers still cost around £35 at most major retailers even after the introduction of the PlayStation 4. The Speedlink Strike FX-6 that I’ll be taking a look at today costs just £25 and while that doesn’t sound like a huge difference, I know there are a lot of people who would rather have the extra £10 left in their wallet after a trip to the shops.

There are many reasons for wanting a lower cost controller, the first one is obviously a financial reason, sometimes you just need a spare controller for the kids or a backup one should yours break. Of course cheaper is often associated with lower quality too, and as many of you will know, there is a reason that the official controllers cost more, they’re high quality and guaranteed to be compatible with your system. Today I’ll be looking for nothing less than on par or better performance than the official controller and expecting all features (or more) than you would find on the official controller, despite the lower cost.

Most 3rd party controllers are wired, most often in a bid to keep the cost down and make them a financially attractive option compared to their more expensive official counterparts, but the Speedlink Strike FX-6 is fully wireless using the same Bluetooth technology that you’ll find in the official controller, it also features 6-axis, rumble, a USB rechargeable built-in battery pack. Basically, it has everything that you’ll find on the official controller, the only two minor differences are that this doesn’t come with the USB cable and it also comes fitted with a rapid fire mode.

The controller comes packed in one of those awful blister packs that takes a chainsaw to break into, but at least the clear plastic gives you a good view of the product should be looking at it in a retail outlet. On the front you’ll see a few badges detailing the major features such as 6-axis support, Bluetooth and vibration.

Mad Catz, EA & Respawn Join Forces To Create Range Of “Titanfall” Peripherals

Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. have announced that it has joined forces with Electronic Arts to create a new range of Titanfall branded gaming products in time for the the games release later this year.

Expected to be in stores for the launch of Titanfall, the Titanfall branded product range includes TRITTON gaming headsets, R.A.T. mice, S.T.R.I.K.E. keyboards, F.R.E.Q. gaming headsets and G.L.I.D.E. gaming surfaces. All of which has walked away with a multitude of awards from us here at eTeknix, as well many other awards around the world.

“Titanfall has earned critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including Best of Show, Best Original Game, and Best Online Multiplayer at this year’s E3 conference. Mad Catz is excited to bring a range of cutting-edge, innovative, Titanfall-branded products to gamers in connection with one of the most anticipated game launches in recent history,” said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. “The Titanfall license builds on Mad Catz’ strategy to align our product portfolio with AAA content that appeals to passionate gamers.”

Unfortunately, MadCatz are being super sneaky, not releasing any images of the new designs or perhaps maybe even new features on these products. I’m sure details will come soon enough, but for now we can at least have a refresh of what the current product range looks like.

Stay tuned for more information as we approach the release of Titanfall.

Thank you MadCatz for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of MadCatz.

Amazon’s German Workers Go On Strike Again

Pay and benefits are the hot topic today at Amazon.com’s German workers go on strike. Trade union Verdi is already calling on all workers at the Amazon logistics center in Leipzig to stop working from 04:30 (GTM). This is after 600 of the workers at their facilities in Bad Hersfeld, and 300 more in Leipzig went on strike over may 14th.

With over 9000 people employed by Amazon in Germany this could have big knock on effects for the company, both inside and outside of Germany. Verdi is said to be furious that they’re refusing to implement an agreement on employment conditions, given that better deals are already in place at other mail order and retail firms.

Verdi wants Amazon to pay it’s workers a higher basic pay, with bigger supplements for working night shifts. They are seeking a starting pay of $14 per hour in Leipzig compared with the $9.30 currently paid there. Yet Amazon has responded that its workers earn more than what most logistics companies currently pay in Germany.

Amazon has also said that it was willing to continue talk with Verdi but that it didn’t see a common basis for negotiations for not, in other words, this could drag on for some time as Amazon may not back down any time soon.

Source