Tech Digest daily roundup: Netflix to set up video games studio


Netflix is setting up its own video game studio, as it intensifies its efforts to establish itself in the gaming industry. Based in Helsinki, Finland, it will be led by former Zynga and Electronic Arts executive Marko Lastikka. Netflix has previously purchased small gaming companies, such as Oxenfree developer Night School Studio. But the streaming giant is now going further and creating a studio from scratch. Lastikka is an established figure in gaming, having co-founded Zynga studio – also in Helsinki – which worked on FarmVille 3 under his leadership. Amir Rahimi, Netflix VP of Game Studios, announced the “vision to build a world-class games studio” in a blog post. “[It] will bring a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games, with no ads and no in-app purchases.” BBC 

The head of the UK’s largest and most advanced robotics centre has said that society needs to prepare for the increased integration of robots but shouldn’t fear the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). Stewart Miller, the chief executive of the National Robotarium, which opens today in Edinburgh, told Sky News that “Inevitably there will be more robots in everybody’s life. They’ll be helping you at home, when you go out shopping, when you go to a hotel, they’ll be involved in hospitality, when you go to a theatre, everything. And in your working life.” Sky News 

A UK clothing company called Vollebak thinks it has taken the first step toward creating an “invisibility cloak.” Working with a professor from the University of Manchester (UoM) and the National Graphene Center, Vollebak has created a jacket that can trick a thermal camera by changing the amount of thermal radiation the garment emits. Vollebak embedded the coat with 42 panels of graphene, a highly conductive material that some companies, like Samsung, believe can provide longer-lasting and faster-charging batteries. In fact, Professor Coskun Kocabas of UoM says the material works much like a lithium-ion battery. TechSpot 

The end of the satellite television dish is in sight after Sky said it would start offering most of its services via a set-top streaming box. Although Sky has denied claims it will stop installing new satellite dishes next year, one source at the company suggested it is ultimately a matter of “when, not if” the company ultimately decides to move to internet streaming as standard. Millions of British homes have installed dishes since the 1980s to enable them to receive more television channels, with the market dominated by Sky after it took over the “squariels” of its short-lived rival British Satellite Broadcasting. But the days of rows of dishes on the sides of homes are numbered due to changes in technology and consumer behaviour. The Guardian 

Almost a hundred apps across the Android and iOS ecosystems have been discovered engaging in advertising fraud, researchers have claimed. The apps, 80 of which were built for Android, and nine for iOS, have more than 13 million downloads between them, and include games, screensavers, camera apps, and more – some with more than a million downloads.  Research from cybersecurity firm HUMAN Security found that by targeting advertising software development kits (SDK), the unknown threat actors were able to compromise these apps for their own personal benefit, in multiple ways. Tech Radar 

Chris Price
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