Living in the X echo chamber
In another turn of events for X under Elon Musk’s reign, the platform is adding a new control that’ll let users block replies from unverified accounts – also known as non-paying members. Surprisingly, the ‘feature’ isn’t limited to X Premium subscribers and will allow unverified users to block other unverified replies.
The idea is simple – allow paying members to feel superior and avoid any humiliation for the simple fact that they paid R1,700/year for a blue tick. It might even convince a couple of those sitting on the fence, potentially helping to pull X from the wreckage left in the wake of the platform’s rebrand.
Musk’s official stance on the topic is that the feature could help counter the torrent of spam bots – the supposed point of the platform’s massive insistence on Twitter Blue/X Premium. And sure, Musk is right. Limiting replies will reduce the number of spam bots, but as others have said it’ll also limit users’ ability to refute misinformation – an issue that’s run rife in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.
For now, it’s a change that unverified users are just going to have to deal with until Musk concocts another way to combat spam bots.
Meta Quest 4?
While neither the Apple Vision Pro nor Meta Quest 3 have hit shelves yet (the Quest is set to release later this week), both companies are already planning their futures in the oncoming war for VR relevancy in the mainstream. That’s what Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman had to say, at least, an oft-reliable source when it comes to business in the tech world, and anything with the Apple logo slapped on it.
Gurman reckons that Meta’s entire VR model took a right turn upon hearing of the Vision Pro – with Meta setting its VR team to work on a new headset – possibly the Quest 4 – without any controllers in a bid to bring costs down. And, you know, match the pace Apple has set.
One of Gurman’s sources within Meta claims that the company is in the “afraid of Apple stage,” likening the sentiment to “how the mobile phone industry felt just before the iPhone’s release in 2007.”
Meta is also reportedly more focused on the hardware side and allowing the product of its namesake to take a backseat for the time being. That doesn’t mean the metaverse is dead, per se, but it does mean that it (the metaverse) probably won’t be the sole focus when it comes to marketing the next flagship headset.
No more Unity CEO
John Riccitiello is officially stepping down as CEO at Unity. The decision is probably a sensible one, with Riccitiello stepping out of the line of fire heading Unity’s way, after the company recently introduced what it calls a ‘Unity Runtime Fee’ that would charge developers every time a game built on its engine was downloaded.
This isn’t the first time Riccitiello has fallen victim to the deadly sin known as greed, though hopefully, it’ll be his last. Before securing a job at Unity back in 2013, Riccitiello sat behind the big desk at EA for six years, before eventually stepping down due to a failure to meet “the financial guidance” the company had set. Remember, this is the man who that proposed EA introduce a model that would cost gamers real money to reload guns in the middle of a match.
In the meantime, Unity has appointed James Whitehurst as CEO – the former president of IBM – as an interim measure. Riccitiello will, for now, “advise Unity to ensure a smooth transition,” while Unity begins its “comprehensive search” for the right man to fill Whitehurst’s place. Whether Whitehurst or any new CEO will have a hope of reinstating Unity’s reputation remains to be seen. Our guess? We’ll be seeing fewer Unity splash screen from now on.
Shadow of the Erdtree seemingly pulled out of limbo
If you, like many, have been eagerly awaiting the release of Elden Ring’s mainline DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree, a release date might’ve just leaked. According to a post from YouTuber Ziostorm – a reputable source when it comes to FromSoftware and Elden Ring specifically, reckons we’ll be getting our first look at the DLC come Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards.
As for the DLC’s actual release date, Ziostorm believes FromSoftware is targeting a 5 February release, nearly two years after the game’s initial release. “Unverified sources are telling me that Elden Ring DLC is planned to be shown at The Game Awards with a release date of February 5th, 2024. These sources have shown signs of insight, but nothing concrete. Consider this just a rumour for now.”
What with the growing popularity of the Game Awards as both a celebration of the past year’s games and as a place to do a bit of marketing, it would make sense for FromSoftware to debut what could be the company’s biggest DLC yet. Still, it’s worth taking all this with a grain of salt until you see Hidetaka Miyazaki and his trusty sidekick take to the stage.