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The music for the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremonies? It comes from video games.

Washington Post - Technology News

Music in gaming is written to motivate players all the while not distracting them from the tasks at hand. It's why Popular Science wrote in 2018, "You should be listening to video game soundtracks at work." As the article states, there's little research on the effects of video game music while working, but it checks a lot of boxes when it comes to low roars of noise boosting productivity, including having no lyrics and maintaining a steady rhythm. If video games really are esports, the medium's music has provided our brains with workout playlists for years.

Activision Blizzard execs respond to harassment and discrimination lawsuit


The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard this week over alleged sexual harassment and discrimination against women. In a memo to staff obtained by Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier, Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack wrote that "the allegations and the hurt of current and former employees are extremely troubling." Brack wrote that everyone should feel safe at Blizzard and that "it is completely unacceptable for anyone in the company to face discrimination or harassment." He noted it requires courage for people to come forward with their stories, and that all claims brought to the company are taken seriously and investigated. "People with different backgrounds, views, and experiences are essential for Blizzard, our teams, and our player community," Brack wrote.

The Tokyo Olympics' opening ceremony featured an orchestrated video game soundtrack


The Tokyo Olympics opening kicked off early this morning, and the parade of nations, where athletes walk through Japan's Olympic stadium, had a Japanese twist. A medley of videogame music, orchestrated, formed the soundtrack for the parade. It all kicked off with the main theme from Dragon Quest -- which sounds pretty Olympian outright -- followed by hits from Final Fantasy, Monster Hunter, Nier, Sonic, Chrono Trigger and, er, eFootball. There are some notable omissions -- no Nintendo songs (Pokemon? Zelda?) being the biggest one -- but some Street Fighter II songs might have fitted well into the competitive theme.

Blizzard president Brack allowed toxicity to fester, according to lawsuit

Washington Post - Technology News

Brack has presided over Blizzard Entertainment, one of Activision Blizzard's largest subsidiaries and the maker of the massively popular Warcraft game series, since 2018. The suit, which alleges multiple instances of discrimination, inequality and harassment against women throughout Activision Blizzard's network of companies, focuses heavily on toxicity within Blizzard and its Warcraft development team. In particular, allegations in the suit state that former "World of Warcraft" senior creative director Alex Afrasiabi would routinely harass female employees at the company's annual convention, BlizzCon. The incidents were an open secret at the company, the DFEH alleges, and the suit claims Brack had "multiple conversations" with Afrasiabi and cautioned him over his drinking and being "too friendly" toward women employees.

New Portal tool promises Battlefield community epic customization options for 'Battlefield 2042'

Washington Post - Technology News

From the first time it was mysteriously referenced in public, DICE developers have repeatedly described Battlefield Portal, the newly-revealed creative mode for the upcoming "Battlefield 2042" as a "love letter" to their community. During the hour-long EA Play livestream Thursday, that letter was unsealed. Its contents showcased a new mode in which players can use a free tool to customize multiplayer matches in a plethora of detailed ways to craft and share unique, playable experiences using assets from "Battlefield 2042" and several past installments of the franchise. Now, DICE's developers are hoping the community will embrace its overtures and go on to make lots and lots of beautiful Battlefield babies, so to speak.

Video game 'FIFA 22' gets more realism thanks to 22-player motion capture matches

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

To bring more realism to "FIFA 22," EA Sports went to extremes on the pitch – and brought inclusivity to its announcing team. The video game publisher had 22 players put on Xsens motion capture suits and then play competitive matches in Spain. All that data – more than 8.7 million frames of advanced match capture, EA Sports says – will be used to create real-time soccer gameplay animations as players mash controller buttons. And the game maker also is bringing its first female announcer to the game: Alex Scott, who played for the English national team and Arsenal of the Women's Super League. "This is a big moment for FIFA, for football and women and girls across the world," she said on Twitter and Instagram.

Playdate, the Pocketable Game Console, Prepares for Preorders


More than two years after it was first introduced, Panic's Playdate finally has a preorder date: Thursday, July 29. This charming and bright yellow handheld video game console has a unique crank on its side, and its $179 price includes 24 games developed exclusively for the device. You won't be able to play all 24 games right away, though. Panic will deliver two games every week to the device over Wi-Fi for three months until all 24 are in the system. This encapsulates Season 1's games, and unfortunately, Panic doesn't have much to share on Season 2. "We're waiting to see how many people are interested in the Playdate before determining how games are distributed in the future," a Panic spokesperson wrote in an email.

California Sues Gaming Giant Activision Blizzard Over Unequal Pay, Sexual Harassment

NPR Technology

A lawsuit filed by the state of California on Wednesday alleges sexual harassment, gender discrimination and violations of the state's equal pay law at the video game giant Activision Blizzard. A lawsuit filed by the state of California on Wednesday alleges sexual harassment, gender discrimination and violations of the state's equal pay law at the video game giant Activision Blizzard. The video game studio behind the hit franchises Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush is facing a civil lawsuit in California over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and potential violations of the state's equal pay law. A complaint, filed by the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing on Wednesday, alleges that Activision Blizzard Inc. "fostered a sexist culture" where women were paid less than men and subjected to ongoing sexual harassment including groping. Officials at the gaming company knew about the harassment and not only failed to stop it but retaliated against women who spoke up, the complaint also alleges.

Seinfeld's iconic apartment is now a Lego set, which you can buy


If you can't eat pretzels without saying, "These pretzels are making me thirsty," you might be a Seinfeld fanatic. And if you also like Lego sets, get ready for an awesome crossover. To commemorate the show's 30th anniversary in July 2019, video game designer, Brent Waller created a Lego collection depicting Jerry's apartment. Now, two years later, it's an official Lego set and will be available to purchase for $79.99 on Aug. 1. The 1,326-piece set creates all the iconic parts of Jerry's apartment, including his bike that I'm pretty sure he never actually rode.

California sues Activision Blizzard over equal pay violations, sexual harassment

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The state of California is suing Activision Blizzard, alleging the video game publisher violated equal pay laws and "fostered a sexist culture" within the workplace. In a statement released by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court claims Activision Blizzard paid women less than men despite doing more work, and fired or forced women to quit at higher frequencies than men. The agency also says women of color were "particularly impacted" by the company's practices. The suit also alleges women working at Activision Blizzard were subject to constant sexual harassment including groping, comments and advances. 'All of a sudden ... a villain':How online harassment turned to public health officials "All employers should ensure that their employees are being paid equally and take all steps to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation," said Kevin Kish, director of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, in a statement.