Irdeto sets its sights on multiplayer hacking with 'Denuvo Anti-Cheat'

Irdeto — the company who now owns the controversial (but effective) anti-piracy software known as Denuvo — has turned its sights toward the world of cheating; specifically, cheating in competitive multiplayer titles.

The company announced “Denuvo Anti-Cheat” at GDC 2019, claiming that their solution will utilize “agnostic” machine learning algorithms, as well as the latest “hardware security” features from AMD and Intel to detect hackers.

This announcement hasn’t come entirely out of the blue. Back when Denuvo was first purchased by Irdeto, the company said it wanted to pivot the software to tackle cheating in online games – although, at the time, it seemed they were more referring to players who obtain microtransactions through hacking, rather than those who actively aimbot or wallhack in-game.

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At any rate, in terms of how Denuvo Anti-Cheat works, we don’t have many details to go on. However, Irdeto promises that the tech will have “no impact” on gameplay or performance and that it will be relatively easy for developers to implement into their games.

Denuvo Anti-Cheat will, of course, be designed to help protect “regular” legitimate gamers, but it sounds like another major focus for Irdeto is the eSports scene. With real money on the line in the form of tournaments, Irdeto likely hopes their service will be all the more appealing given their track record in the anti-piracy scene.

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Crunchyroll raises monthly subscription cost for the first time since it launched in 2006

Crunchyroll, a leading anime subscription service, is raising its monthly subscription cost to $7.99, up from $6.95. The price hike is the first time Crunchyroll has raised the price of its basic, most widely purchased plan since the service first launched in 2006. The changes go into effect for new users on May 1st, 2019, while existing users get a three-month grace period. The news, first reported by TechCrunch, has since been confirmed by an email Crunchyroll has sent to subscribers.

“Crunchyroll has the world’s largest collection of anime and we are grateful to have focused on building out such a robust library over the last decade, without a price change in our company history,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. “However, due to rising costs of content and infrastructure, now is the time to introduce new subscription pricing.” According to the company, it now offers more than 90 percent of all officially licensed anime content in the world, thanks to years of work partnering with studios in Japan and elsewhere to secure proper rights.

Prior to Crunchyroll, and the rise of American distributors like Viz Media and Sony-owned Funimation, Western anime fans had to rely either on pricey imports, piracy, or dubbed versions of popular shows licensed by companies like Williams Street Productions, the WarnerMedia division responsible for Cartoon Network content blocks like Toonami and Adult Swim. In fact, WarnerMedia, now owned by AT&T after its Time Warner merger, also now owns Crunchyroll. (The site was acquired by the company that would become Crunchyroll parent company Otter Media, which AT&T picked up last August following the merger announcement.)

All that M&A business means AT&T now has a pretty formidable young adult and anime-focused content arm under Warner Bros. And the division will certainly need AT&T’s resources now that Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu are building out robust anime libraries to attract younger viewers. Netflix has been spending a fortune on licensing popular animated shows and directly producing new hits like Aggretsuko, Castlevania, and the Devilman Crybaby remake.

Amazon, meanwhile, tried launching its own subscription service called Anime Strike, but it closed down after a year and Amazon migrated its content library over to Prime Video. Hulu has been building out its library with a lot of classic and fan favorites, and most recently it secured the stateside exclusive on One Punch Man’s second season, beating out Crunchyroll, Funimation, and others.

Given the competition, it makes sense that Crunchyroll may want to cover additional licensing fees, exclusivity deals, and other costs as the anime streaming battle heats up. For current subscribers, the $6.95 rate will stay in effect for three months after the price change, so until August 1st, 2019, the company says. After that, the price will jump to $7.99 for everyone. For annual members, Crunchyroll is saying you’ll be able to keep your current rate for another whole year after your renewal date.

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Intel abandons development of modular Compute Cards

Intel has ended further development of the company’s Compute Cards, as confirmed by Tom’s Hardware. The credit-card-sized device contained the fundamental guts of a PC — processor, storage, RAM, wireless modem, etc. — and was meant to make it simple for companies to create docking station-like products that could be upgraded as Intel released new versions. You’d just pop out the old Compute Card and insert the latest hardware. Intel first showcased the device at CES 2017.

But now the Compute Card story will end after just a single generation of Intel’s 7th Gen processors; this modular dream never even made it to its first upgrade hop. “We continue to believe modular computing is a market where there are many opportunities for innovation,” an Intel spokesperson told Tom’s Hardware. “However, as we look at the best way to address this opportunity, we’ve made the decision that we will not develop new Compute Card products moving forward.” Intel says it will continue to sell remaining inventory through the end of this year.

The NexDock was one of the first products to embrace Intel’s Compute Card. But according to Tom’s Hardware, the company behind it might’ve already seen the end coming. “We just found out that the future of Compute Card is uncertain,” Nex Computer wrote in a blog post earlier this week.

Others have also made attempts at this idea: a company called The Hive demonstrated a device it dubbed Amplicity at CES 2015. It featured a similar module, and The Hive came up with a subscription model that would charge customers $99 every six months for the latest hardware upgrade.

But despite its continued public optimism about the core idea, Intel seems to have realized that the Compute Card is not the future of PCs. It’s already easy to regularly upgrade a desktop, but not so much smaller-screened devices or all-in-ones. Oh well.

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Apple is reportedly launching truly wireless Powerbeats earbuds in April

Apple’s Beats is getting ready to launch truly wireless Powerbeats earbuds in April, CNET reports. CNET’s source, who it says is close to the retail channel, says the new earbuds will reportedly use Apple’s new H1 chip which are used in the new wireless charging AirPods, and have the same always-on Siri voice assistant. It’s also expected to have a longer battery life than the AirPods, which have around five hours of listening time.

CNET points out that the timing of the new wireless Powerbeats lines up with when the BeatsX were announced, which was shortly after Apple first introduced AirPods in 2016. Rumors of higher-end AirPods have been circulating since last year, suggesting that they would be noise-canceling, over-ear headphones. The wireless charging AirPods announced this week don’t quite line up with what the rumors have been suggesting, but the Powerbeats could certainly target a market that’s looking for more features than what the AirPods offer. The current Powerbeats are sweat-resistant and offer a more secure fit than AirPods, to start.

There’s no pricing information yet, although the Powerbeats3 Wireless (which are still joined by a cord) currently retail for $199.95 on the Beats website, but are available for as low as $99 on Amazon, signaling that an update may be coming. If the rumors are true, the new cordless Powerbeats3 would be the first in the entire Beats lineup to be truly wireless earbuds.

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Virtual reality meditation is a thing — and it's actually good

Yes, you can be mindful while wearing this headset.
Yes, you can be mindful while wearing this headset.
Image: flowvr / vicky leta / mashable

March Mindfulness is our new series that examines the explosive growth in mindfulness and meditation technology — culminating in Mashable’s groundbreaking competitive meditation bracket contest. Because March shouldn’t be all madness.


$3.99 for the Oculus Go app

Easy to make into a habit • especially with short sessions • Can meditate anywhere you have the headset • Calming and approachable

Limited choices that don’t update — after a while you want more than the six options • Doesn’t take full advantage of VR

The Bottom Line

FlowVR is a great place to get comfortable with the idea of meditation — and feels like a mini-vacation.

⚡ Mashable Score
4.0
😎 Cool Factor
4.0
📘Learning Curve
4.5
💪Performance
4.5
💵 Bang for the Buck
3.5

I’m on an Icelandic cove, watching the sunset and the small waves lap at the rocky shore while a soothing Sigur Ros instrumental track plays around me. A voice  instructs me to take a deep breath, fill my lungs, and then release, letting go of any tension. I look behind me and there’s a grassy hillside, on which I am alone. I look down and I have no feet.

Welcome to meditation in virtual reality. 

Using an Oculus Go headset ($199) I downloaded a meditation app called FlowVR ($3.99). The app contains just six guided meditation sessions, each about 5 minutes long. The sessions: Breathe; Focus, Move, Let Go, Calm, and Restore. 

Each one is set in a different Icelandic scene, deep in nature, and thoroughly isolated. (You never see anyone else at your meditation spot.) The sun is usually shining; you don’t experience any of Iceland’s harsher weather. But it also felt more muted and realistic than, say, a fake Caribbean beach scene. 

The app was first released in 2017 by Tristan Elizabeth Gribbin. She’s a Bay Area native who moved to Reykjavik in 1995 — hence what she calls the “Icelandic flavor” throughout the app. 

Gribbin told me, via Skype from her home in Iceland that she’s been “hardcore into meditation since 2000.” With the zeal of the convert, she started dragging everyone she knew to try out the practice. “Getting people to meditate can be hard,” she says. Therefore, the more novel the experience — and the more you can do it at home — the better. 

When mobile virtual reality headsets arrived on the scene, Gribbin seized the opportunity. She began working on the app in 2015, and soon found that the same friends who wouldn’t go to meditation classes were more willing to try the practice in VR.  

FlowVR's co-founder Tristan Gribbin meditates without the app.

FlowVR’s co-founder Tristan Gribbin meditates without the app.

Image: flowvr

Gribbin said 60 percent of the app buyers are from the US, where mindfulness and meditation has caught on with a vengeance. It certainly caught my attention — and as a casual meditator with no regular practice, I’m probably the target audience. 

Instead of an app simply telling you to close your eyes and breathe, you can go somewhere exotic and mesmerizing for a one-on-one relaxation vacation without really going anywhere. “You feel immersed in nature and are transported to another place and you can just be,” Gribbin said.

The app is pretty rudimentary, VR-wise. You can’t climb the mountains or wade into the enticing lake. You just stare at the waterfall or grassland or mossy lava bed. Occasionally a bird flies by. Of course, being still is kind of the idea. Each time I logged in and settled in for a quick, calming, restorative, or focusing session I found myself able to clear my head. 

It was easier to meditate — not to mention uncurl my toes and loosen my spine — while looking at a sunny mountain ridge than it was when I just closed my eyes. 

There is one technological pitfall common to VR apps that’s especially annoying here. During my “restore” session, a notice abruptly popped up on the screen: “Headset power low!” Talk about distracting. Suddenly I couldn’t help but see that this flowing waterfall was a substitute for the real thing. A low battery notice can make you mindful … of the fact that you’re just wearing a VR headset in your bedroom. 

Over time, Flow VR’s breathing mantras would get tiresome, or at least predictable. It’s like a workout video that makes the same corny stretching joke every time you play it. 

The music and scenery have more staying power; Gribbin calls them “wild and pure.” They are detailed enough to give you something different to focus on within the 360-degree experience if you were to do this everyday. Still, the app needs updates, more levels and experiences. 

At one point, as the sun winked behind a moss-covered tree inside my headset, I became so relaxed that I started nodding off. “You may find yourself getting sleepy,” the app said, encouraging me to close my eyes even with the headset on. It wasn’t a problem. I felt utterly in sync, at one with everything, like I’d won meditation VR. 

If only it were a game.

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