Weekly News Roundup (6 March 2016)

Long time no see, hope you’ve been well. Sorry for the major gap between this and the last WNR, but a mini vacation and the vacation I needed afterwards to recover from the original vacation meant that there wasn’t much time to write anything. On the other than, it meant that we skip to my joint-favourite month of the year, March – my birth month!

I’m still digging myself out of the mountain of work sitting on my virtual desk, so I’ll try to keep this WNR brief and to the point, and cover all the stories since the last WNR (even if some of them are a bit too old – like I will be in a couple of days, *cries*).



Has Denuvo been cracked?

Starting with copyright news as usual, the saviour of the PC gaming industry may not be the panacea first thought, as the Denuvo anti-tampering technology may have been cracked. Chinese cracking group 3DM has claimed responsibility, only weeks after the group announced a hiatus from cracking activities, to allow the PC gaming market to recover. Most didn’t believe the group’s reason for the hiatus, and instead, many thought the group had given up only because Denuvo had proven too hard to crack. To quiet the raucous crowd, and to disprove this theory, 3DM instead announced a temporary return to cracking, to crack the Denuvo protection on popular games including ‘Tomb Raider: The Rise’.

But since that announcement, no concrete crack has actually emerged, so take that announcement with a pinch of salt if you must (I guess this is one of advantages of addressing a news story with an added delay).

Another story from a couple of weeks ago, Kodi announced a crackdown on piracy related add-ons in a bid to distance the open source software home theater from all things illegal. It’s kind of what BitTorrent Inc has been trying to do, with limited success, but it’s always hard to separate the technology from how people choose to use it (remember that once upon a time Usenet had nothing to with piracy, while FTP was synonymous with it at one point). But what Kodi hates the most are those piracy media box sellers that somehow tries to present their products as something officially to do with Kodi, usually the same sellers that offer no support when these boxes eventually fail to work.


Slysoft is dead, but RedFox lives on …

Cut to more recent times, the future of Blu-ray ripping may be in doubt, as new legal pressures, and new technology advances means two of the top ripping tool makers have called it quits. Well to be precise, one has called it quits, while the other has given up on ripping Ultra HD Blu-ray before they’ve even started trying. Slysoft suddenly closed shop, shut down their site with only a short statement citing recent “regulatory requirements” as the reason for the closure. Those that purchased AnyDVD can still use it to rip older Blu-rays and DVDs, but new discs that require access to the updated online database to be ripped will no longer be supported. Since the original story was published, a new company called RedFox based in Belize has taken over the development of AnyDVD, and the official Slysoft forum, suggesting that AnyDVD may be resurrected (assuming the new company doesn’t get sued into submission before then).

In a separate piece of news, DVDFab, who have suffered their own legal troubles recently, announced they will not be working on ways to rip Ultra HD Blu-ray. DVDFab’s announcement seems to indicate legal pressure, rather than technical issues, as the cause for the lack of support for the new disc format. That’s not to say there aren’t technical difficulties related to ripping the new ultra HD discs, which use the updated 2.0 version of AACS. As part of the new protection, some discs will need to download the decryption key from the Internet, making it a bit harder (but probably not impossible) for software like DVDFab to find a way in.

High Definition

Panasonic 3DTV and 3D Blu-ray Player

3DTVs may be a dying breed, as Samsung announces their new 2016 TVs won’t support it

Speaking of futures in doubt, the future of 3D is also under a cloud, and not one of those 3D clouds that you can fly through in one of those over the top out of place “made for 3D” scenes you find in all movies these days. While 3D movies will still be a big thing at movie theaters, in the home, it may be a different matter as Samsung (and Philips) will be removing 3D support from their 2016 TVs, while LG is rumoured to be cutting back on the number of models that support 3D.

Samsung and Philips cite the lack of consumer interest in the technology, and the ever dwindling number of must-have 3D titles, while Samsung says they want to concentrate on new technologies such as Ultra HD.

Those following our weekly Blu-ray sales analysis shouldn’t be too surprised by this, as there can be weeks at a time that goes by without single noteworthy Blu-ray 3D release (by noteworthy, I mean one that gets in the top 20 in terms of sales). With the Ultra HD Blu-ray specs not even including 3D support for UHD content, it definitely doesn’t look good for 3D in the home.


With the Xbox One failing to beat the PS4, Microsoft thinks their next winning strategy would be to fuse their Windows and Xbox gaming platforms, thus increasing market share without having to unseat Sony. Part of this plan involves Universal Windows Platform, which allows developers to make games using a single platform that can be easily ported to Windows and the Xbox One. There was some initial backlash from developers fearing Microsoft was trying to monopolise the PC gaming market, and forcing PC game developers to work within Microsoft’s framework, even if they don’t want to publish games on Xbox. Some also fear that Microsoft will force developers to use their games store to publish games,. Microsoft has since allayed their fears by saying the platform will be fully open, and won’t be tied to a particular store.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer also hinted that a souped up Xbox One may be available at some time, echoing Sony’s earlier calls for a “Super PS4”. Spencer says consoles are at a disadvantage compared to PCs, whose hardware are constantly being upgraded, while the console upgrade cycle can mean seven years between any meaningful upgrades. So a Xbox One.5 might give players better graphics, while the same game would still work on older Xbox One’s (but with downgraded graphics, I assume). This would also give Microsoft an extra chance to bring out a console that’s better than the PS4 (or the Super PS4), instead of having to wait another four and a half years for the chance.


You definitely won’t have to wait four and a half years for the next edition of the WNR though, since things are finally back to normal around here (well, it will be once I climb to the top of the pile of work I’m buried under). See you next week.


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