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US FTC commits to investigating loot boxes in video games

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The United States Federal Trade Commission committed to opening an investigation to analysis the loot boxes in video games and their effect on child gambling.

During an oversight committee hearing in Congress, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) asked FTC chairman Joe Simons whether he was willing to undertake the task of running the investigation and report back to the committee. Simons responded, “Yes,” alongside other Chairmans present nodding in approval to do so.

“Loot boxes are now endemic in the video game industry and are present in everything from casual smart phone games to the newest, high budget releases,” said Hassan, “Loot boxes will represent a $50 billion industry by the year 2022.”

“It’s time for the FTC to investigate these mechanisms to ensure that children are being adequately protected,” said Hassan, “And to educate parents about potential addiction and other negative impacts of these games.”

The issue of loot boxes and gambling in the video game industry became a scandal of its own when EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II in 2017 caused a widespread outrage over the pay to win aspect of the game. EA had to tone back many of their microtransaction plans because of the outrage, and lost a lot of revenue on the game throughout the calendar year.

Belgium Commission has already conducted their investigation and found that loot boxes are gambling and have required many games to remove their loot boxes from the titles; one of the titles effected is Blizzard’s Overwatch. The commission in Belgium has not yet investigated an Activision titles.

Call of Duty has had a supply drop system in the games since Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

In addition, in the U.S, the state of Hawaii opened their own investigation into loot boxes and their effect on children. State Senators from Hawaii last year called out EA in a press conference, referring to Star Wars Battlefront II as a ‘Star Wars-themed online casino.’ 

Senator Hassan has been at the forefront of the initiative to investigate loot boxes. The Senator asked the ESRB to investigate loot boxes and their effects, but the ESRB followed up by stating that they do not believe loot boxes are gambling but did add a new ‘In-Game Purchases’ Label to all games that contain in-game paid content.

Polygon reached out to the Entertainment Software Association, known as ESA.

ESA responded to Polygon: “Loot boxes are one way that players can enhance the experience that video games offer. Contrary to assertions, loot boxes are not gambling. They have no real-world value, players always receive something that enhances their experience, and they are entirely optional to purchase. They can enhance the experience for those who choose to use them, but have no impact on those who do not.”

The first two minutes of this video showcases the exchange in the committee hearing, which took place Nov. 27:

SOURCE: Polygon

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Possible PS5 version of Modern Warfare found

Call of Duty fans love Modern Warfare more than most other titles in the franchise. It seems we might be getting a next-gen remaster soon.

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Call of Duty fans love Modern Warfare more than most other titles in the franchise. Thus the idea of a PS5 remaster of the title is exciting, and it seems we might be getting that sooner than we think. 

Modern Warfare is arguably the most popular title in the entire Call Of Duty franchise. For many fans, it’s what got them into the series so whenever there’s a new development announced about it, the hype is enormous.

Infinity Ward Lead Multiplayer VFX Artist Reed Shingledecker recently confirmed new Modern Warfare content soon. The recent release of Black Ops: Cold War made it seem like that would be the main thing Activision would be focusing on for a while, so this is definitely came as a big surprise.

There is mass speculation about what he was referring to and one reddit user has created hype for a potential PS5 version of Modern Warfare. Here’s everything we know about this possible leak.

Next-Gen Modern Warfare on PS5 Leak

Reddit user asjonesy99 made a post in r/GamingLeaksAndRumours which strongly hints at a next-gen version of the title coming soon. The drop-down menu displayed the PS4 version when purchasing the game, but what caught fans’ eyes was the option for a PS5 version.

When the player tried to pick this option, it became locked. This could be some sort of glitch or something that’s currently in development.

It’s hard to tell whether or not this is a legitimate hint at an upcoming PS5 version of Modern Warfare. It’s entirely likely that this could just be a simple error with the disc and this whole leak amounts to practically nothing.

Modern Warfare has become a huge staple for FPS fans so the excitement that this leak caused is completely understandable. The possibility of a next-gen Modern Warfare for a whole new group of young players is nice to think about.

Keep in mind that this is still a rumor and we’ll keep checking for updates on this. That said, we hope to see a PS5 remaster of this title soon. Even if we don’t, we now know that there definitely is more Modern Warfare content on its way and that’s exciting on its own.

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Activision granted patent that allows players to share Call of Duty loadouts

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Activision has been granted a patent that the team filed in 2019 in references to sharing loadouts in a multiplayer video game via online social networks. The patent was granted to Activision officially on November 17, 2020.

The inventor of the patent is: David Vonderhaar. The studio design director at Treyarch.

The patent was originally filed on September 16, 2019. It’s called “Systems and methods for customizing weapons and sharing customized weapons via social networks,” according to the US Patent Office.

The main premise of this patent is to build an engine that will allow “one or more other players of the multiplayer video game” to share their custom loadouts “via at least one social network such that the one or more other players can utilize the customized weapon configuration during a gameplay session.”

This patent details every single portion of the weapon that Call of Duty considers and tracks in implementing them into the game. It looks at “weapon performance attributes, weapon appearance attributes, weapon performance statistics, and player performance statistics.” 

The massive part of this patent is the sharing aspect, which is something that could change Call of Duty and add a new layer to the social experience of the franchise. 

As reported by PCGamer, this new patent details how players could control who can see and use their loadouts. The patent explains that loadouts can be shared. It talks about customized weapon configuration and details how they can dictate the share controls. 

“A player may further specify that he or she wishes to make a customized weapon configuration available for gameplay by one or more other players. In some implementations, a user may specify that a customized weapon configuration and/or some or all of the foregoing information be made available to all players, or a subset of players including, but not limited to, friends (or followers), or team members, or other groups of players.”

Another massive part of the patent is about how players can share the loadouts. In detail, the patent describes a new engine that goes in depth to allow players to share loadouts on social media platforms, within the game itself, and more. 

This new engine will “enable a player to share weapon configurations, information about weapon configurations, and/or gameplay statistics internally (or in-game) via, for example, an in-game social network or a game publisher-centric social network accessible in-game by game players. Additionally or alternatively [it will enable players to share] via one or more external social networks (e.g., Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, etc.). In one implementation of the invention, the sharing engine may enable a player to transmit communications (e.g., email messages, text messages, or other electronic communications) that include hyperlinks or other selectable graphical user interface objects that enable recipients to access the shared information.”

This detailed patent also allows players to include messages and/or details when sharing said loadouts. Players can include “personalized text, graphics, pictures, audio, video, or other multimedia” as part of their share experience. 

Lastly, the new patent describes how players could potentially issue challenges when sharing their loadouts, and then allow others to complete or best those challenges. 

“The sharing engine may further enable a player to issue challenges to one or more other video game players to obtain or exceed certain player performance statistics, weapon usage statistics, or ratings, and/or achieve other objectives using a given weapon configuration.”

It says there’s a “Challenge Interface” that could be built allowing players to track and advance their challenges within the game’s engine. 

This would be a significant new portion to the social experience for Call of Duty, if implemented. Do note that is a patent, and patent’s don’t always end up in products immediately or in the near future. It could take some time for players to see a real in-game experience of this feature. But it’s quite interesting to see the level to which Activision can take the social experience of Call of Duty especially with Warzone and free to play experiences. 

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How to enable two factor authentication on your Call of Duty Account

Protect your account now!

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Activision has finally added an additional, much needed layer of security for your Call of Duty account.

For over a year, cross play has been the standard in Call of Duty. All of your Call of Duty purchases, rank & progression all are linked to your Activision account, or Call of Duty account. This is the account you use for crossplay and the account you’ll also be using in Black Ops Cold War to unify your rank with Warzone and Modern Warfare.

If you tend to use the same password across many accounts, or if you don’t want to risk the possibility of losing your Call of Duty account, take the following steps to protect your account.

  • 1. Go to this website to start.
  • 2. Select “Set Up Two-Factor Authentication”
  • 3. Log in to your Call of Duty account through your Activision login, or a linked PlayStation, Xbox, Steam or BattleNET account.
  • 4. Download the Google Authenticator for your phone, available on the App Store or Google Play Store. (Or use another Authentication app of your choice).
  • 5. Press the “+” icon on the top left of the Google Authenticator, and scan the QR code displayed on the page.
  • 6. Enter in the code in the Google Authenticator app to finalize the link.

After you’ve completed the process, be sure to login to your account one more time just to verify the process was correct.

Once this is done and activated, when you login to Activision or Call of Duty account, you will be asked to use the Google Authenticator passcode in addition to your regular password to login.

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