Habbo’s ‘Hotel Hideaway’ Now Available After Lengthy, Unorthodox Soft Launch

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The long-running Habbo franchise gets its latest game, out now on mobile, called Hotel Hideaway [Free], and it’s a social MMO where you get to interact with other hotel denizens on a giant, permanent vacation resort. You can do all sorts of stuff. You can spin the wheel for prizes, you can buy new outfits, get a new hair color, mine for new materials from interdimensional rifts…you know, typical vacation stuff. There’s also a whole gesture system where you can combine different body parts and movements to do different things, like shaking a giant foam fist at other people. The whole game’s a lot about interaction and talking with people, so please don’t be a jerk. This hotel is supposed to be classy, don’t go telling people to die! But, as a social MMO, I guess that’s what people are gonna do.

Now, there’s just one catch: Hotel Hideaway has technically been out on the App Store since 2016. It’s ready for prime time now, and I guess this does mean that the game has an established player base now that it’s ready for the general public. But it does show that the idea of what a “release” is, and what constitutes a “soft launch” are dramatically changing.

This is in line with larger attitudes of a “release” in the grand schemes of things. After all, Fortnite [Free] just ran an invite-only event, and the game is still technically “Early Access” though it’s, uh, making money hand over fist. Friday the 13th is technically in soft launch in the United States. PUBG came out of early access on PC, but it’s still got issues, and is nowhere near content-complete.

Of course, you could also say that “Early Access” is kind of a joke now anyway with games-as-service’s dominance as a model for games. Games are always changing and seeing updates, and what’s really the difference between Hearthstone [Free] and Fortnite or Habbo in their release states other than the label?

Even Hideaway Hotel is going to see some improvements in the near future with the addition of augmented reality modes that we saw at GDC. Truly, in the age of games-as-a-service, when does a game truly ever “release,” and when is it “complete?” In this era, are these terms just merely arbitrary words? Perhaps!

It would help if Apple just had an Early Access section the way that Google Play does. Make the apps lightly visible in some form, and available to anyone who’s curious without complicated restrictions. Then, when the developer is ready to make a big deal about it, and think it’s ready for public consumption, they can pull it out of early access and start making a big stink about it. Happens with restaurants, where they might have soft openings where they open but don’t tell a lot of people about it. Still, being “open” for a couple of years like Habbo Hotel Hideaway is perhaps taking things to a ridiculous degree!

Regardless, Hotel Hideaway is now released because Habbo says it is. It’s tough to keep a secret about a game release, but it’s something that people do: maybe they’re involved in something that they don’t necessarily tell the world about, but it might be a big deal to the part of the world they choose to reveal that part of themselves to. Games can do that too, I guess! Habbo Hotel Hideaway is out now, whatever that really, truly means.

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Proof-of-Work tech under fire after 51% attacks on Electroneum and Verge

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Two cryptocurrencies have recently become victims of the dreaded ‘51 percent attacks’ on their blockchains.  Electroneum suffered a 51 percent attack which was discovered when it was noticed that a massive amount of empty blocks were being constantly mined on the currency’s blockchain one after another, preceded by a sudden drop in hashrate. Following the Electroneum attack it was reported that Verge’s blockchain had also been compromised by a 51 percent attack. Around 250,000 XVG were stolen by the attacker, as the attacker was able to mine multiple blocks one second apart using the same (scrypt) algorithm. This feat would…

This story continues at The Next Web
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The Morning After: Facebook’s long day

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Hopefully your day isn't as busy as yesterday was for Facebook. We'll explain what the social network is up to now, plus take a look at the first of many powerful-and-light gaming laptops on the way.
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Facebook will release more data about election interference, but only after the election

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Amid growing pressure to remove bad actors from Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that the company would likely release more information about problematic content posted to the service during elections. But to ensure the accuracy of the data, Zuckerberg said, the reports will likely come after the elections are over. The move could help government officials, academic researchers, and concerned citizens understand whether Facebook’s increased attention to abuse is working — but the timing could make it harder for grasp what’s happening when it arguably matters most.

During a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Zuckerberg took questions on a range of subjects surrounding the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal and…

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YouTube vowed to increase security after the attack — but that’s a tough task on tech campuses

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The problem is that these campuses are generally designed to be fun, welcoming places.

YouTube says that it will improve its security at its worksites after a gunman shot three others and herself — but that’s going to be a tough task on Silicon Valley’s giant, open campuses.

The video company said that Nasim Aghdam, who authorities have identified as the killer, was able to enter the San Bruno campus through its parking garage and then access YouTube’s outside courtyard. She did not enter the actual corporate building.

The company is committing itself to better protect its employees.

“We are revisiting this incident in detail and will be increasing the security we have at all of our offices worldwide to make them more secure not only in the near term, but long-term” YouTube said in a statement late Wednesday.

The company and its parent Google did not respond to requests for details on what security precautions were taken Wednesday to secure their campuses.

The problem, though, is that these campuses are generally designed to be fun, welcoming places more reminiscent of an open college campus than a secured facility. Buildings are spread out and interlopers can wander between them with little notice. Visitors aren’t uncommon, and some are even implicitly welcomed with tourist-friendly photo spots like Facebook’s welcome sign featuring a ‘Like’ button or Google’s Android statuettes.

There’s likely to be a new debate in Silicon Valley about how these campuses are protected — much like we saw a debate over public spaces such as movie theaters after the shooting in Aurora in 2012 and a debate over schools after deadly incidents at Sandy Hook and more recently in Parkland.

Police say that they believe Aghdam parked her car near a neighboring business and then walked over, Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun in tow.

Authorities believe that Aghdam was frustrated by YouTube’s policies, including a recent push toward what she felt were algorithm changes that made it difficult for her to monetize her content on the platform. In one post, she called YouTube a “dictatorship.”

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Tim Cook pays tribute to MLK 50 years after his death

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Tim Cook visited his home state of Alabama this week, and paid homage to American Baptist minister and activist Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Cook also met with a group of Birmingham, AL high school and college students, and talked about the importance of the civil rights struggle, the […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

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The Morning After: The real world doesn’t matter in ‘Ready Player One’

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Today, we have a new look Reddit, for the first time in forever, test the newest (and cheaper) iPad and take a closer look at Ready Player One.
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Snapchat lets Giphy back onto its platform after racist GIF incident

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Snapchat has allowed Giphy back onto its platform after it was removed when users found a racist GIF on the database earlier this month, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. confirmed to The Verge. Instagram and Snapchat had both pulled Giphy from their platforms, but Instagram reinstated Giphy last week, with stricter moderation. Snapchat confirmed today that it would bring Giphy back since it has upgraded its moderation.

The GIF initially appeared when users searched “crime” on the Giphy database, and it showed a white announcer celebrating the death of people of color while using a racial slur. Giphy has since apologized for the slip-up, and the company says it has combed through its database several times to detect any other problematic…

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Apple’s morning show drama switches showrunners after creator leaves project

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Apple’s upcoming morning show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon is expected to get a new showrunner after creator Jay Carson left the project due to "creative differences."
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Adobe updates Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, more ahead of NAB

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Ahead of the NAB show this weekend, Adobe on Tuesday issued annual updates to its video-centric Creative Cloud software suite, bringing an assortment of enhancements to videographers, sound designers and other creative professionals who rely on the company’s tools.
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