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Amazon set to stream Premier League matches on Twitch
by Paul Hill
Ball in goal image by Shutterstock Amazon is going to begin streaming English Premier League football matches on Twitch, for free, in the UK as it tries to give fans a chance to interact with one another while games are being played. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, matches are being held behind closed doors.
According to Deadline, Amazon is hoping that users on the streaming service will act a bit like pundits as they share their views using the chat feature. Given how long it has been since football stopped, Twitch users won’t have to wait that long before the first fixture; Crystal Palace vs Burnley on June 29.
With the crowds absent, the atmosphere of the stadium is completely different according to those lucky enough to get into the match. To address this, EA Sports has worked with Amazon, Sky Sports, and BT Sport, to develop synthetic crowd noises called Stadium Atmosphere. This will provide viewers with the sounds they’re typically used to hearing.
Commenting on the new technology and the matches in general, Alex Green, managing director of Amazon Prime Video Sport Europe, said:
The matches will be presented by Gabby Logan and the pundits Roberto Martinez and Lee Dixon. Commentary for the games will be provided by Clive Tyldesley, Jon Champion, Peter Drury, and Ally McCoist.
In terms of free-to-air matches, Sky Sports has also announced that it will be showing 25 of its 64 games on Pick, available to all on Freeview and other TV services.
By Hamza Jawad
Football Manager 2020 to be released next month
by Hamza Jawad
In August, Sports Interactive released an announcement trailer for its upcoming Football Manager 2020 title. That trailer didn't showcase any actual gameplay, and instead seemingly just focused on enticing players to gear up for a display of their management skills. Then, earlier this month, the video game developer unveiled new gameplay features for FM20.
Now, it has been revealed that the title will be arriving on Steam, iOS, and Android on November 19. However, release dates for its launch on Google Stadia and Nintendo Switch will be made known later.
Just to clarify, the version that will be released solely for Android and iOS will be known as Football Manager 2020 Mobile. As one would expect, although the base gameplay experience would be about the same, the amount of content and playstyle flexibility available for players on the mobile version will be quite limited in comparison to the much more expansive PC-only version.
There's also a Touch variant that is offered on all three platforms, PC, iOS, and Android. Sports Interactive notes that the latter and the former will not differ much in terms of their content, and instead, only in terms of their availability on different platforms. However, going by previous iterations in these series, Football Manager 2020 Touch should offer an experience closer to the PC-only version. For example, viewing matches with 3D player models hasn't been possible in the past on Football Manager Mobile games.
Some Football Manager fans have expressed doubts over the significance of the additions being made in the latest edition. One of the only graphical features highlighted in the gameplay video mentioned above is 'Pitch environment updates', something which may seem quite minor given that this is a separate entry to the series, demanding prices close to what one would expect from AAA titles in the current gaming era.
However, in games belonging to the tactical management/simulation genre, graphical improvements are often not the foremost of considerations, and players instead focus much more on how the gameplay has shaped up over the course of the past year. Either way, we should know more once the beta version becomes available around two weeks before the title's launch on November 19.
By Hamza Jawad
Four children emptied their parents' bank account playing FIFA 19
by Hamza Jawad
Image via FOX Sports Asia There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the system of loot boxes in gaming in recent years. Essentially, loot boxes are a form of in-game transaction that do not have their contents revealed before purchase. As such, getting an item of choice is left up to chance, leading to some people spending quite a lot of money before they finally attain what they are after. Following the backlash against this system, some companies have even made specific note of mentioning that no loot boxes will be present in their games, such as Square Enix with its upcoming Marvel's Avengers.
However, other developers, like EA, have continued to include this mechanism in massively popular titles such as FIFA 19. The Ultimate Team mode in the game consists of a card-purchasing option, which provides buyers with random players whose ratings are based on the rank (such as bronze, silver, gold) of the card that they purchase.
Now, as per BBC, four children seems to have taken this a step - or a couple hundred steps - too far. Observing their father make a purchase in-game, they went on to use his bank account details to spend £550 (~$690), emptying their parents' bank account in the process.
Thomas Carter, the children's father, bought them a single £8 (~$10) pack for Fifa 19 on their Nintendo Switch. However, he did not realize that they'd observed how the process of purchase had taken place. Coupled with the lack of precautions taken, such as no unique PIN number being used and emailed receipts being sent to an older inbox, the children were able to gain access to their parents' bank account, unbeknownst to Mr. Carter or his wife.
Mr. Carter's bank statement, via BBC The children, all four of whom were aged under 10, were after Lionel Messi, the joint highest-rated player in the game, and were not willing to give up until they'd achieved him from a player pack. Therefore, they went on to make a number of purchases over the next three weeks to fulfill their wish. As it turned out, even after spending a grand total of £550, they were still unable to experience unpacking a Messi card.
Mr. Carter and his wife did not realize what had happened until their card was declined due to their bank account being empty. The children's Switch was immediately confiscated and Nintendo were contacted; the gaming company agreed to refund all the purchases, removing all the purchased players from the account in question. Mr. Carter still voiced concerns regarding loot box systems, noting, "You pay £40 (~$50) for the game, which is a lot of money in itself, but then the only way to get a great team is essentially by gambling".
EA does have very clear guidelines for parents to control in-game purchases made through their children's accounts, and there is no doubt that in this case, the father was at fault for not implementing precautionary measures. However, the wider debate regarding the implications of loot boxes as a form of gambling, and its effects on young children, remains to be as controversial as ever.
Danish football club, Brøndby IF, deploy Panasonic facial recognition cameras at venue
by Paul Hill
Panasonic has announced that it has deployed its security cameras running FacePRO facial recognition software at the stadium of the Danish Superliga runners-up, Brøndby IF. According to the tech firm, the new installations will bring numerous benefits all while attempting to maintain individuals’ privacy. FacePRO is also recognised by the National Institute of Standards of Technology (NIST) for having the highest performance in independent testing.
According to Panasonic, the new cameras will have several benefits for fans; first of all, those who are blacklisted from games will be more likely to be stopped before entering games, according to the firm, the system will even recognise the faces in photographs that are up to 10 years old. The second benefit will be the decrease in congestion at the gates as the AI should flag up anyone suspicious, making entrance faster for everybody else.
As for the privacy aspect, the system doesn’t store the images or data of those that are not registered on the blacklist. For those unfortunate enough to be on the blacklist, the data is only stored on the football club’s internal server which is not connected to the internet; therefore, data should be more secure.
Discussing the news, Gerard Figols, manager of the European security business at Panasonic, said:
It’s not clear how many football clubs use facial recognition around the world but if it does prove useful in detecting hooligans, then there’s a good chance it’ll spread to other stadiums. Brøndby IF is not the first club in the world to deploy the technology as there are reports that several stadiums in Uruguay now monitor fans this way.
Google adds match predictions to Premier League games following use in World Cup
by Paul Hill
If you’ve been watching the World Cup this summer you might have seen Google’s attempt to predict the outcome of matches by the 90-minute mark. Now that the World Cup is coming to an end Google has decided to continue testing the feature for Premier League matches which are played around the U.K.
Google has not announced the win-draw-lose probability feature for the Premier League, which starts on August 10th, just yet but the feature is already live. It’s the only league in the U.K. that has the feature switched on, and seemingly the only league in Europe to have the feature too. Neither the French Ligue 1 or German Bundesliga have the feature switched on and the Italian and Spanish leagues have not yet announced their fixtures so it’s not possible to know if the feature will be enabled in those leagues.
The probabilities that Google has produced have been a bit hit and miss over the duration of the World Cup, for example, yesterday it said England should win (43%) or there ought to be a draw (33%) - after 90 minutes, the match was a draw rather than a win for England. Going forward, it has Belgium with a 43% chance to win in the third-place playoff against England's (30%), and it says France should win the cup with 49% against Croatia’s 22% - it’ll be interesting to see how that one turns out.