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Roblox launches In the Heights experience with Warner Bros. Pictures

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Roblox launches In the Heights experience with Warner Bros. Pictures

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Roblox and Warner Bros. Pictures are bringing a big party to Roblox to celebrate In the Heights, the new musical film from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

San Mateo, California-based Roblox has created an immersive experience that simulated the Washington Heights neighborhood from the film so that players can attend a big virtual launch party for the film. Players can party inside the space and then on June 10 and June 11, they can participate in special launch party activities. It’s the pandemic’s equivalent of a Hollywood premiere.

Roblox went public in March at a $41.9 billion valuation on the promise of building a the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. And as you can see from the images, Roblox is simulating the world of In the Heights in an area that can fit 30 to 50 players in a party setting. Those parties will be replicated across Roblox’s servers so that millions of people can participate.

“This is the first time where people are going to be coming together and they’re actually going to feel like they’re part of the movie,” said Christina Wootton, vice president of brand partnerships at Roblox, in an interview with GamesBeat. “Rather than just a passive experience, you’re going to be immersed in the experience.”

Simulating the neighborhood

Above: In the Heights has been reproduced in Roblox.

Image Credit: Roblox

I got a sneak peak at the space. The neighborhood consists of a few square blocks of a city and it has photorealistic images of buildings signs and places that are in the movie, such as the Usnavi corner bodega. I liked how the virtual space combines realistic imagery with the blocky, Lego-like style of Roblox.

“You’ll just notice the fidelity improvements in the look and the feel of the space,” said Roblox’s Morgan Tucker in an interview.

The first-of-its-kind Launch Party on Roblox brings the music, dance, and Latin American culture of the film to live, said Wootten. On June 10, starting at 10 a.m. Pacific time, the space will transform into a Lights Out Viewing Party and the cast (as well as Miranda and director John Chu) will host a Q&A and share an exclusive clip ahead of the film’s premiere.

On June 11 at 6 p.m. Pacific time, visitors will have the opportunity to participate in what is expected to be the largest virtual flash mob ever, Wootton said.

Usnavi is a character from the film who saves every penny from his daily grind as he and his tight-knit community hope, imagine, and sing about a better life. Visitors to the virtual neighborhood can hang out outside Usnavi’s corner store, contribute to murals, and watch behind-the-scenes videos and interviews, including a dance tutorial from the movie’s choreographer. In addition, visitors can collect in-experience virtual items directly inspired by the film through fun, interactive minigames, and scavenger hunt. Folks can collect three exclusive metaverse emotes as well.

“Roblox is pushing toward simulation, which is our goal in the long run. But the we pair that with creative control and expression,” Wootten said. “We want the engine to be capable of photorealism, which I think you see some of this here. But if you think stylistically, it’d be cooler to do something that looks like a Pixar movie. There’s nothing that prohibits you from doing that.”

Moving to the metaverse

In The Heights on Roblox 6

Above: You can watch a screen of special In the Heights videos in Roblox.

Image Credit: Roblox

Roblox built the space with its internal development team, dubbed its social reference team, whose purpose is to show other Roblox developers what’s possible with the platform’s tools. They created new emotes so that players can dance with each other using the same moves as the dancers in the movie.

Roblox has partnered with Warner Bros. multiple times with both music and film events. And it’s a good example of how Roblox gives entertainment brands huge exposure to fans, as Roblox has more than 42 million daily active users. On average, Roblox users spend 2.6 hours a day in the virtual world.

“We’ve partnered with Warner Brothers for many years and they are a key partner of ours,” Wootton said. “As we were thinking about doing these launch parties, In the Heights came up in conversation. And we really loved the idea of brand, since Roblox is all about connecting people through shared experiences, and bringing people together from around the world, and having that sense of community and belonging and diversity. And we love the idea behind the message of this movie, about a community that dreams and brings people together and celebrates.”

This brings folks one step closer to the metaverse.

“We’re connecting people all over the world. And we see this having billions of people one day on our platform connecting and having shared experiences and working together playing together,” Wootton said. “I think this just really opens people’s eyes to the capabilities of what’s possible on Roblox.”

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Immutable will launch Ethereum token for Gods Unchained

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Immutable will launch Ethereum token for Gods Unchained

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The gods are evidently fond of tokens. Immutable said today that the Gods Unchained blockchain card game will launch a new Ethereum token dubbed $GODS in partnership with Nine Realms.

Sydney, Australia-based Immutable will launch the $GODS token to scale its trading market and play-to-earn systems in the game. That means that players will be able to buy and sell the tokens in the game and gain a voice on how the blockchain game is run.

Immutable said this helps give players a stake in the game and its economy, shifting power from the developers to the players by providing in-game assets that players can actually own.

The $GODS token will sit at the heart of the game’s ecosystem, providing both in-game and external utility. At launch, $GODS will operate as a utility and governance token, giving holders a voice in the digital space, as well as active staking opportunities that allow players to earn rewards through gameplay campaigns. Over time, functionality will expand to embed the token within Gods Unchained’s play-to-earn game loops, allowing players to earn $GODS tokens by simply playing the game. I call this the Leisure Economy, where we get paid to play games.

$GODS will then directly interact with Gods Unchained’s nonfungible token (NFT) assets, which are new NFTs that players can wield in-game and trade or sell on the marketplace. That means that those games will have uniquely identifiable digital items that players can earn or buy or sell, allowing the players to own the items permanently.

Immutable X

Above: The $GODS Unchained token.

Image Credit: Immutable

Immutable X has created a marketplace for players in games such as Gods Unchained to buy and sell the items they have collected. Immutable X is the brainchild of Immutable, an Australian game team that runs the NFT trading card game Gods Unchained. Gods Unchained is an important NFT game, as it is built by a development team headed by Chris Clay, the former director of Magic the Gathering: Arena. Gods Unchained is a “play to earn” game, where players can earn collectibles over time, Immutable founder Robbie Ferguson said in a recent interview with GamesBeat. And they can make money by trading those collectibles, including the unique NFTs that can be proven by the blockchain, the secure digital ledger technology, to not be copies.

In the past few months, NFTs have exploded in other applications such as art, sports collectibles, and music. NBA Top Shot (a digital take on collectible basketball cards) is one example. Published by Animoca Brands and built by Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shot has surpassed $540 million in sales, five months after going public to a worldwide audience. And an NFT digital collage by the artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. Investors are pouring money into NFTs, and some of those investors are game fans. The prices for NFTs have fallen, but many of those fans are undeterred.

As one of the highest-grossing blockchain games of 2020, Gods Unchained has logged millions of matches during its ongoing beta and boasts over 4 million assets. The token launch comes off the back of Gods Unchained’s latest expansion set, Trial of the Gods. That set completely sold out, and a new expansion is on the horizon.

$GODS is being created, issued and distributed by Nine Realms for use within the Gods Unchained ecosystem.

gods unchained

Above: Gods Unchained

Image Credit: Immutable

$GODS is an ERC-20 token that will interact natively with Immutable X, the layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum trading. The Immutable X platform allows for peer-to-peer trading without the hindrance of gas fees, and will be expanding to include ERC-20 tokens once the $GODS token drops.

In 2020, Immutable partnered with StarkWare, a company that taps the benefit of using the Ethereum cryptocurrency and its security without incurring huge fees. Immutable X is built on top of StarkWare’s layer 2 scaling technology. Essentially, users don’t have to trust in Immutable lasting permanently in order to keep owning their NFTs — they can just trust in Ethereum. Immutable X’s mainnet is now available as the first layer 2 solution for NFTs on Ethereum, the company said.

Other solutions to Ethereum are creating alternative, faster cryptocurrencies with different methods of reaching a consensus. But these alternatives aren’t as popular as Ethereum. Another solution is to create a side chain, with a different kind of processing for transactions. But Immutable believes those solutions can fail because their security isn’t still as strong as Ethereum’s. If the security fails, then so does the authenticity of the NFT, and that would be disastrous, Immutable said.

For more information on $GODS, keep an eye on this link for updates around eligibility, distribution methods, and ways to claim and earn tokens. Immutable has about 100 employees, with 40 of them working on Gods Unchained.

GamesBeat

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it.

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  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and “open office” events with GamesBeat staff
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Survey-style measurement of IT isn’t effective, a ‘rigged lottery’

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Survey-style measurement of IT isn’t effective, a ‘rigged lottery’

Survey-style measurement of IT is a rigged lottery as it falls far short of providing a true measure of Digital Employee Experience (DEX).Read MoreK3d9ZEjzwis

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Deep Instinct: AI, deep learning tools can help prevent cyberattacks

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Automation can help deal with security issues

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Security operations teams have a data management problem: The volume of security alerts they have to process is so high they can miss signs of an attack. In the first Voice of SecOps report from security vendor Deep Instinct, 86% of respondents said tools driven by data science — which includes artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning — would make a significant impact in preventing unknown threats and reducing false positives.

Above: 90% of in the 2021 Voice of SecOps  report said automation frees up teams to focus on high-value and more strategic tasks.

Image Credit: Deep Instinct

Deep Instinct’s Voice of SecOps report explored strategic threats, overarching priorities, and day-to-day challenges experienced through the lens of security operations teams. According to 64% of respondents, humans are unable to keep up with the exponential cadence of cybersecurity threats. Respondents said they spend about 10 hours a week assessing false positive alerts, and 62% said threats could be missed due to the “overwhelming volume of false positives,” the report found.

IT and security teams are worried about the growing number of attacks. More than 70% of IT and security professionals said it was likely that their company will be hit by a successful ransomware attack. In the United Kingdom, 78% said they were concerned about a possible “global incident” caused by AI developed by sophisticated adversaries.

Almost two-thirds of respondents — 66% — said Solarwinds had led to the hiring of more internal IT and security professionals, with over half saying it also prompted more questions at the board and executive level about cybersecurity measures. More than 60% of companies began considering automated, AI-based solutions following the attacks on Microsoft Exchange.

Many respondents believed — 71% — that automation was the only way to address cyberattacks, and 83% said automation freed up teams to focus on high-value or more strategic attacks. If security professionals had a tool to completely eliminate false positives they would save a quarter of their time –- freeing it up to focus on the identification and prevention of upstream threats, rather than dealing with false alerts for threats that never actually existed in the first place, Deep Instinct noted in its report.

Most of the professionals believed a blend of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning was vital in the fight against cyberattacks. The key question was not whether to incorporate AI, but rather which AI technology to deploy. In Germany, 32% said a self-learning cybersecurity product would be “extremely useful.”

The Deep Instinct’s Voice of SecOps Report provides insight from 600 IT professionals, including 300 CISOs spread across multiple verticals and geographies. The research was commissioned by an independent marketing & market research company, Hayhurst Consultancy.

Read the full 2021 Voice of SecOps report from Deep Instinct.

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