Aug 21, 2020

Amazon bolsters game division with Smilegate partnership

Amazon
games
Smilegate
William Smith
2 min
Technology giant Amazon has announced a partnership with South Korean developer Smilegate to publish its next game in North America and Europe
Technology giant Amazon has announced a partnership with South Korean developer Smilegate to publish its next game in North America and Europe...

Technology giant Amazon has announced a partnership with South Korean developer Smilegate to publish its next game in North America and Europe.

Amazon’s attempts at entering the lucrative video game industry, projected to be worth almost $200bn by 2022, have thus far been fairly abortive. It bought video game live-streaming site Twitch in 2014 for close to one billion dollars, and has more recently embarked on developing video games itself. It’s first release, however, a free-to-play hero shooter, was received so poorly it took the almost unprecedented step of withdrawing the game back into a testing phase.

In a press release, Christoph Hartmann, VP, Amazon Games, said: “Amazon Games is committed to bringing our customers the most engaging game experiences, both through our own internal development teams and from the very best external development studios around the world. Smilegate has a strong track record of creating big games that players love, built to offer years of enjoyment — exactly the type of best-in-class, living, growing online games we want to bring our customers.”

Smilegate is well known as the creator of CROSSFIRE, a first-person shooter video game particularly popular in Asia, with a total 670 million users signed up.

“Smilegate RPG and Amazon Games will combine our respective expertise to introduce one of our AAA games to Western players,” said Chi Won Gil, CEO, Smilegate RPG. “Amazon Games is uniquely positioned as a publisher to reach entirely new audiences through its deep commitment to customers and substantial games publishing resources and channels, including Twitch, Prime Gaming, AWS, and more.”

Specific details of the game or a time for its release were thin on the ground. Other projects for Amazon Games include retooling the aforementioned withdrawn game Crucible, a massively multiplayer game known as New World, and perhaps most intriguingly a game based on The Lord of The Rings, with Amazon also developing a TV show based on the property.

(Image: Amazon)

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May 12, 2021

The Online Safety Bill: What is it and what does it mean?

UK
Social Media
onlinesafetybill
Internet
2 min
The government's Online Safety Bill was announced yesterday in the Queen's Speech, but what exactly is it?

New internet laws will be published today in the UK in the draft Online Safety Bill to protect children online and tackle some of the worst abuse on social media, including racist hate crimes.

The draft legislation, which was previously known as the Online Harms Bill, has been two years in the making. Some new additions to the bill include provisions to tackle online scams, such as romance fraud and fake investment opportunities.

 

What does it include?

The draft Bill includes changes to put an end to harmful practices and brings in a new era of accountability and protections for democratic debate, including:

  • New additions to strengthen people’s rights to express themselves freely online, while protecting journalism and democratic political debate in the UK.

  • Further provisions to tackle prolific online scams such as romance fraud, which have seen people manipulated into sending money to fake identities on dating apps.

  • Social media sites, websites, apps and other services hosting user-generated content or allowing people to talk to others online must remove and limit the spread of illegal and harmful content such as child sexual abuse, terrorist material and suicide content.

  • Ofcom will be given the power to fine companies failing in a new duty of care up to £18 million or ten per cent of annual global turnover, whichever is higher, and have the power to block access to sites.

  • A new criminal offence for senior managers has been included as a deferred power. This could be introduced at a later date if tech firms don’t step up their efforts to improve safety.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Today the UK shows global leadership with our groundbreaking laws to usher in a new age of accountability for tech and bring fairness and accountability to the online world.

“We will protect children on the internet, crack down on racist abuse on social media, and through new measures to safeguard our liberties, create a truly democratic digital age.

The draft Bill will be scrutinised by a joint committee of MPs before a final version is formally introduced to Parliament.

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