Utah passes laws requiring parental permission for teens to use social media

Utah’s governor has signed two bills that could upend how teens in the state are able to use social media apps. Under the newlaws, companies like Meta, Snap and TikTok would be required to get parents permission before teens could create accounts on their platforms. The laws also require curfew, parental controls and age verification features.

The laws could dramatically change how social platforms handle the accounts of their youngest users. In addition to the parental consent and age verification features, the laws also bar companies “from using a design or feature that causes a minor to have an addiction to the company’s social media platform.”

For now, it’s not clear how Utah officials intend to enforce the laws or how they will apply to teenagers’ existing social media accounts. Both laws are scheduled to take effect next March.

The effect that social media can have on teens, particularly younger ones, has been in the spotlight for some time. Earlier this year, the Surgeon General said that “13 is too early,” referring to the minimum age when most platforms allow teens to join. Lawmakers in Congress and in other states have also proposed laws that would limit teens’ ability to use social media apps.

Not everyone agrees that laws restricting teenagers from using social media is the right approach, though. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that promotes digital rights, has opposed the law, saying it would violate the First Amendment rights of young people. Other groups have voiced similar concerns

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/utah-passes-laws-requiring-parental-permission-for-teens-to-use-social-media-223302739.html?src=rss

You can now embed a legitimate audio workstation right on your website

Digital audio workstations (DAWs) tend to be power-hungry, so it was already a pretty big deal when Soundation managed to fit most of the required features in a handy web app. But now the company has refined the code to allow anyone to embed a fully-fu…

‘Star Trek: Picard’ thinks the kids aren’t alright

The following article discusses Star Trek: Picard, Season Three, Episode Six, “The Bounty.”When the Original Series cast made their swansong, they left Star Trek in the rudest health it had ever been in. The Next Generation had reached its creative pea…

Meta’s VR game publisher is now called ‘Oculus Publishing’

Meta’s publishing arm for virtual reality games is now officially called Oculus Publishing. It’s a completely different division from Oculus Studios, which is the company’s label for first-party games. Oculus Publishing will instead support partner developers with conceptualization, funding, technological help, as well as promotion and merchandising. While the name is new, the division itself isn’t. It had previously funded and supported over 300 titles, including Among Us VR, Bonelab and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners.

The company has also revealed that Oculus Publishing has over 150 titles currently in development, which bodes well for the Quest 3 that’s expected to arrive this year. Previous reports suggested that the next-gen Quest will be thinner and more powerful than its predecessor and will have mixed reality capabilities. That could mean that some of these new titles — Meta unfortunately didn’t name any of them in its announcement — may have features that weren’t possible for older games. 

At the moment, users still have more than 500 titles to choose from in the Meta Quest Store, and they seem to be doing well. Last year, the company said the games and apps on the store had surpassed $1.5 billion in revenue, with 40 titles grossing over $10 million. In addition, the number of titles that had reached $20 million in revenue had doubled year-over-year.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/metas-vr-game-publisher-is-now-called-oculus-publishing-080138830.html?src=rss

Ubisoft’s new ‘Ghostwriter’ AI tool can automatically generate video game dialogue

A good open world game is filled with little details that add to a player’s sense of immersion. One of the key elements is the presence of background chatter. Each piece of dialog you hear is known as a “bark” and must be individually written by the game’s creators — a time consuming, detailed task. Ubisoft, maker of popular open world gaming series like Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs, hopes to shorten this process with Ghostwriter, a machine learning tool that generates first drafts of barks. 

To use Ghostwriter, narrative writers input the character and type of interaction they are looking to create. The tool then produces variations, each with two slightly different options, for writers to review. As the writers make edits to the drafts, Ghostwriter updates, ideally producing more tailored options moving forward.

The idea here is to save game writers time to focus on the big stuff. “Ghostwriter was created hand-in-hand with narrative teams to help them complete a repetitive task more quickly and effectively, giving them more time and freedom to work on games’ narrative, characters, and cutscenes,” Ubisoft states in a video release.  

Ubisoft touts Ghostwriter as an “AI” tool — the big thing at the moment with seemingly every company, from Google to Microsoft, hopping onboard the AI train. 

Like similar tools, though, the question is how to get people — namely staff — to actually use it. According to Ben Swanson, the R&D scientist at Ubisoft who created Ghostwriter, the biggest challenge now is integrating the tool into production. To better facilitate this, the production team created Ernestine, a back-end tool that facilitates anyone to create new machine learning models in Ghostwriter.

If Ghostwriter proves effective, writers should be able to spend their time and energy building more detailed and engaging gaming worlds to explore. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ubisofts-ghostwriter-ai-tool–automatically-generate-video-game-dialogue-103510366.html?src=rss

Netflix plans to add roughly 40 more titles to its mobile game library this year

Netflix has no plans to slow down its gaming ambitions any time soon, as it wants to make sure it has at least one game that each of its more than 230 million subscribers can enjoy. The company’s library of mobile games now has 55 titles following the …

Disco Elysium’s Collage Mode allows you to write new dialogue

Disco Elysium, one of the best releases of 2019 and 2021, finally has a dedicated photo mode, but it’s not like the one you find in most games. Announced this week, the game’s new Collage Mode grants players full access to all the characters, environme…

Trombone Champ’s ‘autotoot’ makes the ridiculous music game more accessible

Trombone Champ is a blast to watch, but a beast to play even compared to some other rhythm games — you try nailing a slide during the “William Tell Overture.” Thankfully, developer Holy Wow Studios is putting the game within reach of more players. It’s…

A free-to-play ‘Persona 5’ mobile game is on its way

A new group of Phantom Thieves will be stealing hearts in Tokyo. Black Wings Game Studio, the developer owned by Chinese company Perfect World Games, has unveiled a new mobile game set in the Persona 5 universe. The previous spinoffs of the title, Persona 5 Strikers and Dancing in Starlight, feature the original gang, but this one comes with a brand new cast of characters. While it wasn’t created by Atlus itself, Persona: Phantom of the Night (or Persona 5: The Phantom X, shortened as P5X) had SEGA’s blessing. It was also developed under the supervision of P-Studio, the team behind the mainline Persona games. 

So far, its trailers show us a red-haired protagonist who’s juggling high school life and Metaverse thievery, a brown-haired girl reminiscent of P4‘s Chie and a talking owl who, like Morgana, can transform into a getaway vehicle. The developer has also released character artwork for another female character with long black hair and another for Igor’s new assistant in the Velvet Room. 

According to the game’s announcement, franchise character designer Shigenori Soejima created the game’s protagonist and exclusive Persona. And if you watch the trailer below, you’ll see that Black Wings was able to capture the look and feel of the original Persona 5 game quite well. It uses the same gameplay and battle effects, and it features the same victory close-ups, as well as the popular P5 battle soundtrack Wake Up, Get up, Get Out There.

Unlike the original Persona 5 game, P5X will be free to play, which means it will have in-app purchases. It will be available to beta testers on Android, iOS and Windows (as a port) starting on March 29th, but only in China. The developer has yet to announce if it will be released outside the region. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/free-to-play-persona-5-mobile-game-114009191.html?src=rss