Welcome to Sheppard Mullin’s Weekly Web Wrap-Up, a quick list of the past week’s top news in the social media, gaming, and virtual goods and currencies industries curated by Social Media & Games Team. Here are some of the stories that we’ve been reading:
In the world of video-game-related crime, publishers are pushing pause on piracy concerns as the game-hacking business becomes more lucrative. TechCruch reports on the recent developments and trends in online gaming platforms that have made the $100B gaming industry an enticing target for cybercriminals. And it’s not just publishers; the players themselves are at risk. Industry awareness of the issue is growing; a Panopticon Labs, a startup that quietly helps publishers root out and stop in-game theft and fraud, won a coveted spot at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference.
No, we aren’t talking about Buffalo Bill’s weekly poker night. Skin betting is a type of online wagering using virtual cosmetic items (i.e., skins), a transaction that blurs the line between gambling and social gaming. But the lucrative industry’s future is uncertain. Skin betting sites have been accused of tacitly endorse gambling via secondary skin markets based on the theory that skins are a type of digital currency like bitcoin. Valve has also clamped down on skin betting sites, sending major industry players a cease-and-desist letter that has garnered varied reactions. CSOLounge, the world’s largest skin betting website, announced it would seek an online gambling license in response to Valve’s decision. But whether such licensing will appease Valve—which cited Steam’s prohibition against commercial account use rather than gambling concerns—is questionable. We’ll continue to bring you updates as this story unfolds.
VR has fallen from the headlines as Pokémon Go AR continues to sweep the nation. But lest anyone forget the breath-taking possibilities of a well-executed VR game, here’s Techradar’s round up of ten upcoming VR games that have us on the edge of our virtual seats.
Pushing back against the handwringing and “neo-Luddite contrarianism” of many editorials, Wired brings us a refreshing perspective on the technological revolution that is upon us, and calls for an industry-wide set of ethical standards for augmented reality. Wired’s chief concerns? Pokéstalking and pursuit of Pokéquality. Pokéthics is a concern of Ninantic as well. After temporarily pausing some game features due to server outages caused by GPS spoofing, Niantic has permanently banned hackers from the game. Niantic is also trialing a new update, and it looks Charizard hot. The update will include a new tracking system and an XP fix, brings back power-saving mode, and adjusts curveball accuracy. Having trouble catching those elusive Pokémon? For a better Chansey, here are some tips for throwing Pokéballs.
If the success of Pokémon Go is any indication, common smartphones—rather than computer headsets—may be the just technology platform needed to move AR into the mainstream. Chinese search-engine operator Baidu has made that wager. At its Beijing conference, Baidu debuted DuSee, its new AR platform for smartphones. DuSee allow users to interact with computer-generated visual via their smart phones.