Twitter’s big Blue fiasco
Twitter is in hot water. Again. Elon Musk’s $45 billion purchase hasn’t seen the dividends the eccentric billionaire would have liked – specifically in the case of Twitter Blue. Don’t believe us? Open Twitter for more than ten seconds and you’ll start noticing a few more blue ticks plaguing the accounts of unpaying “subscribers.”
If you weren’t aware, Twitter recently purged the platform of legacy blue tick holders, claiming that the only way to see the coveted checkmark next to your name was through the $8/m fee. Or being a politician. On Friday and Saturday however, Twitter reversed course (sort of), with several celebrities noting the return of their blue ticks and having no clue as to how they got there. Elon Musk claimed that he was personally paying the $8 fee for a handful of subscribers; Stephen King and LeBron James amongst them.
To further prove Twitter’s fall from grace, accounts with over one million followers began receiving the blue checkmark over the weekend, with seemingly no action on their part. This includes accounts of dead celebrities such as Chadwick Boseman and Anthony Bourdain, whose checkmarks claim, “This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number.”
It’s still unclear how many accounts have been re-verified, and whether they’re getting the subscription free of charge or not. Either way, it might spell trouble for the platform, which is in apparent violation of the ‘Lanham Act’, a federal law that deals with topics such as false advertising and endorsement in the US.
Channel surfing on WhatsApp
WhatsApp has begun work on “channels” – a feature that’ll be familiar to users of Instagram’s own channels. According to WABetaInfo which noticed the pending feature in the latest WhatsApp beta for Android 220.127.116.11, channels are a “new one-to-many tool for broadcasting information…”
In essentials, channels are an easy way for users to subscribe to one another and receive constant updates, regardless of whether they’re in your contact list or not. For example, Mark Zuckerberg uses his own ‘channel’ on Instagram to discuss upcoming updates to WhatsApp and Instagram. WhatsApp’s channels will follow the same logic, with the potential to subscribe to Mark Zuckerberg’s channel upon launch.
Channels will be found in the newly altered ‘Updates’ tab, which was previously known as the ‘Status’ tab. According to WABeta’s images, the channels you’re subscribed to will appear beneath your contacts’ statuses. Fret not, you won’t be subscribed to any channels you don’t want to.
As it stands, the feature is still under development, with no word on an official release date.
— Alexandre Spindler (@esankiy) April 19, 2023
It’s hard to stand out as an indie game developer in 2023. If your game isn’t pushing the boundaries of technology or a shoo-in for a Game of the Year award, making a name for yourself isn’t so easy. Unless you’re French developer Drama, the team behind Unrecord – an indie title that’s earned infamy for its use of photorealistic graphics.
Unrecord, also known as ‘the bodycam FPS’, has sparked discord on social media with certain users believing the footage wasn’t genuine. Or perhaps, too genuine. The game’s co-director, Alexandre Spindler, proved the naysayers wrong last week, with a showcase showing off the game’s in-engine footage on Twitter. After it was proved without a shadow of a doubt that the video was indeed from a videogame, the conversation soon turned to the ethicality of developing such a game.
Twitter being Twitter, an angry mob formed swiftly to try and negate Drama’s efforts, claiming that the making of a game that draws so closely from real-life traumatic events is in bad taste, while the majority opinion appeared to be “Hey, that looks cool.”
Whatever your thoughts on the game’s content, it’s hard to deny the technical marvel that is Unrecord.
Square Enix’s AI troubles
Have you ever wondered what a beloved game from your childhood would look like if it was brought back from the dead and stuffed to the brim with AI features? No? Too bad, Square Enix has done just that with The Porpotia Serial Murder Case. Square Enix’s AI Division has released an updated version of the 1983 game on Steam, as “an educational demonstration of Natural Language Processing (NLP), an AI technology,” according to the announcement.
Why, we hear you ask? Because AI is the simplest way to get into the headlines in 2023. It appears to have backfired on Square Enix, with the game receiving a 92% negative rating on the Steam store page. Square Enix said that the game’s original input controls “did come with one common source of frustration: players knowing what action they wanted to perform but being unable to do so because they could not find the right wording. This problem was caused by the limitations of PC performance and NLP technology of the time.”
The entire point of the NLP AI tech is to help turn those user-generated inputs into text readable for the game to understand and progress. Except… it doesn’t work. The player’s in-game assistant often spouts out phrases such as “I’m not sure what to say about that” and “Maybe we should focus on the task at hand?” This forces players to make their prompts far more specific than needed, negating the need for an updated AI-addled game in the first place.
Whether or not Square Enix can turn this sinking ship around is another question entirely, and one we don’t currently have an answer to. If you’re a fan of struggling against a game’s AI, it’s free on Steam right now.
Source: PC Gamer