All posts by David Kravets

Grand Theft Auto modding project folds following Take-Two’s demands

A Russian developer behind the popular Grand Theft Auto V modding tool Open IV said the project is being killed off in the wake of a cease-and-desist demand from game maker Take-Two. The tool has paved the way for all types of GTA modifications.

"Almost 10 years of my life were dedicated to @OpenIV and now the time is over," developer GooD-NTS tweeted.

On the OpenIV website, GooD-NTS explained that he got a cease-and-desist letter on June 5 accusing him of "Russian laws violations." The letter, he said, said Open IV must shutter because it allows "third parties to defeat security features of its software and modify that software in violations of Take-Two's rights."

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Supreme Court says game over for Xbox 360 console-defect class action

Enlarge (credit: Shaun Greiner)

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the tens of thousands of gamers who complained that the Microsoft Xbox 360 console scratched game discs cannot sue Microsoft together in a class-action lawsuit.

A class-action lawsuit, brought in 2012, claims that small movements or vibrations of the console could result in the optical drive scratching discs. The suit accused Microsoft of knowing about the alleged issue before the Xbox 360 launched in 2005. The suit claimed there were 55,000 complaints about the issue by 2008.

The court's highly nuanced decision rested on federal appellate procedure. But the outcome means that if aggrieved gamers want to sue Microsoft over the issue, they must do so individually—at least for now. That's a big deal for a variety of reasons.

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Supreme Court says game over for Xbox 360 console-defect class action

Enlarge (credit: Shaun Greiner)

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the tens of thousands of gamers who complained that the Microsoft Xbox 360 console scratched game discs cannot sue Microsoft together in a class-action lawsuit.

A class-action lawsuit, brought in 2012, claims that small movements or vibrations of the console could result in the optical drive scratching discs. The suit accused Microsoft of knowing about the alleged issue before the Xbox 360 launched in 2005. The suit claimed there were 55,000 complaints about the issue by 2008.

The court's highly nuanced decision rested on federal appellate procedure. But the outcome means that if aggrieved gamers want to sue Microsoft over the issue, they must do so individually—at least for now. That's a big deal for a variety of reasons.

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Augmented reality lawsuit provides augmented view of 1st Amendment

A First Amendment issue is brewing in federal court over a local Wisconsin ordinance—the nation's first—that requires publishers of augmented reality mobile games like Pokemon Go and Texas Rope 'Em to get a special use permit if their apps require gamers to play in Milwaukee County parks.

A Southern California company called Candy Lab, the maker of Texas Rope 'Em, is suing the county over the requirement that was adopted in February in the wake of the Pokemon Go craze that resulted in a Milwaukee county park being overrun by a deluge of players. The permit, which costs as much as $1,000, requires estimates for crowd size and the event dates and times. It also calls for plans about garbage collection, bathroom use, on-site security, and medical services.

Candy Lab says it's impossible to comply with the permit for it fledgling app. Candy Lab can neither realistically answer the permit's questions (PDF) nor afford to pay for the other requirements like on-site security when users of its platform hunt for a winning hand in its augmented reality version of Texas Hold 'Em. Like Niantic's Pokemon Go, Candy Lab's app is built to be played in designated parks and other areas. These types of mobile apps provide users with an augmented and interactive view of the park.

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Another Android flagship, the Nexus 6P, ends up in a class-action lawsuit

Enlarge / Huawei's premium phablet, when operational. (credit: Ron Amadeo/Ars Technica)

Seems like makers of flagship Android devices can't get it right these days. We recently reported on an ever-expanding class-action lawsuit targeting LG's flagships: the G4, G5, V10, V20, and Nexus 5X. Those phones, according to the suit and thousands of online complaints by users, have a legendary bootloop issue caused by shoddy construction that bricks the phones or slows them to a crawl.

Now the Nexus 6P phablet, unveiled in September 2015 for pre-order, is also being accused in a class-action lawsuit of having a "Bootloop Defect."  According to the suit, the Nexus 6P devices "are defective because they are prone to enter an endless bootloop cycle which renders them unresponsive and unusable." What's more, the suit also alleges a "Battery Drain Defect," which has also been the subject of repeated online criticism by unhappy Nexus 6P consumers.

"As the numerous complaints posted on product reviews, blogs and other consumer resources reveal, countless consumers have experienced this Defect," according to the suit. The lawsuit mocks one of the advertisements about the device that claimed: "Battery life keeps you going all day and into the night."

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Twitch unleashes scorched-earth attack to unveil malicious spambot creator

Enlarge (credit: Twitch)

Amazon-owned video streaming site Twitch is taking a scorched-earth approach in a bid to ferret out who is behind a "malicious spambot." The bots have been flooding streamers' public chats with offensive, repetitive messages that have sometimes rendered their channels "unusable."

Twitch says the bots, beginning February 24, were posting an average of 34 messages per minute, with some channels being bombarded with up to nearly 700 a minute. Twitch says the attacks are "undermining its brand"—so far hitting about 1,000 channels with more than 150,000 spam messages that are racist and homophobic. Other messages, which were no match for Twitch's AutoMod tool to prevent such attacks, involved sexual harassment and the solicitation of child sex.

Twitch, which bills itself as the "leading video platform and community for gamers," says it has traced the attacks to Chatsurge.net, which offers spambot attacks for sale. From there, Twitch investigators believe the perpetrator is associated with the e-mail address of obnoxious@dongcorp.org and a Shaw Communications IP address of 70.68.65.141 located in Coquitlam, British Columbia. In addition, Twitch thinks a PayPal account associated with the e-mail feelmorebirds@gmail.com is connected, according to court documents.

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Class-action lawsuit targets LG over legendary G4, V10 bootloop issues

Enlarge / A functioning LG G4. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Here's some good news for Android fans who bought one of two bootloop-ridden LG flagships: a handful of upset owners of the LG G4 and LG V10 have lodged a proposed class-action lawsuit in a California federal court. The owners claim that a repeating bootloop issue "renders the phones inoperable and unfit for any use." That's legalese for the phone being bricked.

Thousands of complaints about the G4 have been highlighted on Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube. There was even an online petition to "launch a replacement program for defective LG G4s." Not to be outdone, the V10 has been the subject of many online complaints as well.

One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit (PDF) filed Wednesday said that LG replaced his G4 two times and that his third G4 constantly freezes. The new phone, says the suit, is "manifesting signs of the bootloop defect and is unmerchantable."

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