iGF Shorts 5.0

The Horror, The Horror.

It’s all-in for Microsoft, Sony, Amazon, Meta, Apple–and now Netflix–as the digital lords of media, data and entertainment seek to integrate the secrets and lure of video gaming into their fast-approaching virtual reality metaverse.

Following Microsoft’s ground-breaking US$75 billion (£56.91bn/€67.96bn) acquisition of Activision Blizzard; Netflix, the California-based streaming service, which now-defunct Blockbuster Video once turned down for US$50 million (£37.94/€45.31bn), has agreed to buy Next Games, the Finnish developer of hit mobile games based on Netflix’s “Stranger Things” show, for €65 million (£54.43m/€71.72m).

As an avid netflixer, here’s hoping the online marriage à la mode doesn’t turn into the zombie horror of “The Walking Dead”, another Next Games video creation based on the eponymous AMC hit show.

Winning the Online War

Ukrainian cyber warriors are winning the online war against their Russian counterparts, hands-down.

The secret seems to be that Ukraine has a “democratic” horizontal media structure, while Russia runs an “autocratic” vertical network.

Ukraine, moreover, has a hacker army at its command, marshalled by a cyber security company called Hacken.

Founded in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Hacken is running a global competition for hackers to try to identify weaknesses in Ukraine’s Internet systems so they can be strengthened, while exposing flaws in Russia’s to exploit.

Reports say that over 10,000 hackers in 150 countries have joined the online army to fight Putin’s invasion.

Lost and Found

An underwater robot called Sabertooth has dived nearly 10,000 feet to the Antarctic sea floor and found the wreck of the long-lost “Endurance”, the ship of legendary British polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, which sank in 1914.

In an epic rescue of resolve and monumental courage, that took over a year to complete and involved sailing over 800 miles across icy waters in a little boat rescued from the Endurance, Shackleton and his 27 crew survived the disaster and entered the annals of history.

Over 100-years-later, using sonar and cameras, Sabertooth revealed Shackleton’s stunningly well-preserved wooden vessel at the bottom of the Weddell Sea.

“It was probably one of the most complicated shipwrecks to discover,” said Nico Vincent, Subsea Project Manager of the expedition, which was organized by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust. “It’s a huge achievement.”

Reeling in the Big Fish

The UK’s Conservative government has unveiled a proposed Online Safety Bill that will force big tech, notably Facebook and Google, to tackle a wide range of online harms such as bullying, racism, fraud and child abuse.

Ofcom, the media and telecoms regulator, will have the power to impose swingeing fines—and even jail sentences—if operators fail to police their networks.

“We don’t give it a second’s thought when we buckle our seat belts to protect ourselves when driving,” argued Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries. “Given all the risks online, it’s only sensible we ensure similar basic protections for the digital age.”

Pending approval by parliament, the Online Safety Bill could become law later this year.

Bring it on.

More on War

And finally back to Ukraine.

As it seeks to raise war funds, Ukraine has become the first country in the world to issue its own collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Supporters and buyers can pay in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana and Polkadot.

According to data company Elliptica, more than US$50 million (£37.94m/€71.72m) has thus far been donated to the embattled nation.

The move comes as lawmakers in the UK, the USA and EU consider how to block Russia using crypto-currencies to beat economic sanctions.


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