Trouble in Paradise

Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth has tumbled by an estimated US$20 billion as he struggles to create his virtual paradise of the Metaverse.

The value of shares at Meta Platforms, Zukerberg’s holding company, plunged 17.5 per cent, or US$56.50, to US$266.50-per-share after a poor Q4 showing.

Facebook, owners of Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, changed its corporate name to Meta in October signalling its potentially game-changing shift to the so-called Metaverse, a move that is expected to knock annual profits by at least US$10 billion through the near future.

Changing Times

Now, even the “Gray Lady” has decided to step out in a brand new pair of Manolos.

Thanks to its recent $550 million purchase of sports news website The Athletic—and the more humble million-dollar buy of brain teaser Wordle, that was created by a British software engineer, Josh Wardle—America’s 170-year-old paper-of-record has surpassed 10 million subscriptions.

It’s well on its way to a projected target of 15 million paying readers by year’s end 2027.

Contrary to received wisdom; proof positive that it’s never too late to teach an old newshound new tricks.

Alpha Decidedly Beta

Some reassuring news for Luddites everywhere.

AlphaCode–a computer code developed by Google’s UK-based AI DeepMind unit–is decidedly average, it seems.

Although the system, designed to tackle critical thinking, logic and language, had “exceeded” expectations, it performed with the expertise of an “average” human programmer in a recent codeathon.

Codes generated by machines, such as AlphaCode, moreover, are particularly vulnerable to cyber attack.

Console Wars

Fresh from playing catch-up with Microsoft, whose recent US$75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard has sent shockwaves through the world of gaming, Sony says it plans to offer 10 new multiplayer online titles by 2026.

As a move it also explains, and in great part ameliorates, Sony’s fresh, over-the-top, purchase of the Bungie US games studio for US$3.6 billion.

In further so-so Sony news, the Japanese giant has lowered its sales forecast of PlayStation 5 consoles for its financial year ending March 31 to 11.5 million units — some 3.3 million less than forecast, a consequence of pandemic and semiconductor supply chains disruption.

Bad News Telegram

Fascinating in-depth exposé by our future-focussed cousins Wired.com in their just-out March issue on dodgy Telegram, the social network that’s fast becoming a haven for extremist and alt-Right nutters banned from the mainstream.

Some sharp lessons to be learned on how you can run half-a-billion monthly users with a core staff of only 30 black-clad true believers.

But the prospect of becoming a haven for hate and fake “newsinverse” doesn’t seem to bother Telegram operatives at all.

Chilling.

Brand New Bag

After intense lobbying, Esports is finally being embraced as a genuine sport.

They are to be included as a pilot event–albeit with separate branding and medals–at the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

It is hoped that Esports will become a full part of the Commonwealth Games by 2026.

Esports, meanwhile, will make its debut at this year’s Asian Games, with medals being awarded in eight games.

And Finally, Show us the Bitcoin

Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, a Russia-US dual citizen, and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, have been arrested in Manhattan on money laundering and conspiracy to defraud charges.

US investigators seized US$3.6 billion in stolen Bitcoin after arresting the couple.

Officials said they recovered 94,000 Bitcoin, some four-fifths of a haul now worth US$4.5 billion that was stolen in a hack in 2016, when it was then valued at US$71 million.

Lichtenstein and Morgan face 25-years in jail if found guilty.

How much, one wonders, will the haul be worth by then?

Answers on a postcard, please, to iGamingFuture.com.