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GTA Online and Red Dead Redemption 2 Bug Bounty Program Launched by Rockstar Games

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Rockstar Games teamed up with HackerOne a cybersecurity program in 2017. The aim was to target and fix security flaws in the immensely popular game GTA Online. This agreement is now updated so that security researchers and other people can report bugs as well as security flaws for both GTA Online and Red Dead Redemption 2 titles by Rockstar Games.

Rockstar Games Bug Bounty Program

The Bug Bounty program includes bugs that are major security flaws and can potentially leak user data rather than minor bugs and cheaters in GTA Online. For each valid security flaw that people find, they will be paid $150 by Rockstar Games to compensate for their time and effort.

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The program has been quite effective as according to HackerOne. The bug bounty program has received over 55 reports in the past three months and all of them were valid reports.

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Rockstar Games HackerOne Bug Bounty Program Rules

There are some restrictions/rules that the security researcher or individual reporting the security flaw must follow:-

  1. The user testing the bugs and security flaws may under no circumstances affect the experience of other users in any manner.
  2. You should be the first person to report a particular vulnerability to collect the bounty.
  3. You may not disclose the details of the vulnerability to anyone else except Rockstar Games before or after you submit the issue.
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  5. You should not test any DoS (Denial of Service), Social Engineering attacks or any attack that includes you getting effective access to Rockstar Games’ property or servers.
  6. Any security flaw you may submit must be related to Rockstar Games owned property. Any fault associated with a third-party tool or gateway is out of scope.

Rockstar Games Ban Bounty

Also, Rockstar Games has claimed that they haven’t banned even one player incorrectly since the inception of GTA Online six years ago. They further explained that any user that was banned has cheated in some form or the other and any appeal against the bans couldn’t be claimed due to lack of evidence.

To further flaunt their anti-cheat system, they have offered $10,000 to any researcher who can prove that Rockstar Games has banned any account erroneously. They say that it is an effort to further improve their anti-cheat software. To claim the ban bounty, the researcher has to post a reproducible incorrect ban in GTA Online. If such a ban is found by the researcher, the banned test account will be restored and the bounty will be paid to whoever reports the incorrect ban.

You can find more details about the Bug Bounty and the Targeted Incorrect Ban Bounty programs here.

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Bogdana Zujic is the editor in chief and Managing editor of Technobezz and Firm Luxury Media. She holds a law degree and certifications in mass media communications. Contact me at [email protected]

Gaming

The Sims 5: Release Date Could be Delayed by a Couple of Months but it Might be Out by the End of 2020

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  • The Coronavirus lockdown in most parts of the world could considerably push back the release date of The Sims 5.
  • There are still a couple of expansion packs of the Sims 4 waiting to be released by Maxis.
  • The mobile version of the game has been released only in 2017.
  • Despite all these, the Sims 5 release date could only be delayed only by a couple of months.

The ongoing social and economic crisis due to the pandemic COVID-19 has not spared any section of the society or business. If you are confined to your home and have been spending a lot of time playing video games, you may be looking for something new or fresh. However, the studios could also be under lockdown and the technical team may not have access to the high-powered systems to work on the development of the games. These factors can result in all plans being put off by a few months.

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Game Development Cannot Be Handled Working from Home

California is one of the worst affected regions due to Coronavirus and the administration has clamped a lockdown except for some essential services. Now, if the creative team at Maxis which is based out of the state is working from home, you can hardly expect them to be doing complicated development work. They need high-end computers which cannot be carried home.

Many companies around the US have shifted PCs from the office to people’s residences for them to continue working. However, as mentioned these are not ordinary personal computers. Any work that is being currently done on the Sims 5 at Maxis would have stopped by now.

People may be sharing new ideas and gameplay scenarios and other details with their colleagues through mails or other forms of communication. Real graphics work on the new game cannot be done till the lockdown is lifted and regular work restored at the studio.

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What About the Sims 4 Expansion Packs?

This is a debatable point. Experts point out that on previous occasions, Maxis/EA has released the successor game though a couple of additions to the older versions were still being made available. In the case of Sims 4, there is this rumor that there are two or more expansion packs that Maxis has developed for the Sims 4 game and they are yet to be released for gameplay.

A snapshot of the upcoming Sims 5

Even assuming that this is true, there are two distinct possibilities.

One is that the expansion packs for the Sims 4 may still get released in the coming months and the Sims 5 released only towards the end of the year. The other scenario is that Maxis/EA go ahead and release the Sims 5 and the expansion packs for the Sims 4 are also parallelly released. All kinds of possibilities exist.

It cannot be overlooked that this is the longest gap between one Sims game and another. The four-year gaps went up to 5 and now since 2014, it is already six years. Purely from the commercial perspective, the game’s publisher, EA, has much to gain from releasing the Sims 5.

A new game can be priced slightly higher and the sheer novelty of the game will make it sell in large numbers. These will bring in higher revenue and better profitability. There can be tie-ups or bundling with gaming console companies that will also result in higher sales and additional royalties. It is, therefore, a win-win game situation for Maxis/EA.

There may be more delays by a few more months, but the broad expectation is that the game will be up for release before we say goodbye to 2020.

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The ‘Sims 4’: Non-Arrival of March Update Not a Big Deal and Here’s the Reason

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  • Maxis has been bringing down the number of Expansion Packs released in a year in the past two years.
  • The charts show that there has been not a single pack released in the month of April, ever.
  • With 5 packs a year and 1 pack already released in the first quarter, nothing is missed.
  • Missing the update in March is not to be made into a serious issue.

A lot was being made out when it was informed that Maxis did not plan to release an update for March 2020. Many began saying with a sense of certainty that the Sims 5 is around the corner and it was the end of the road for the Sims 4. However, this may not be the real scenario. When you dig into the records of the Sims 4 game, ever since it was released in 2014, some interesting patterns emerge.

Look at these two graphs about The Sims 4

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the-sims-4-expansion-packs

Number of Sims 4 Expansion Packs since 2015. The first one shows the number of Expansion Packs or game updates the Sims 4 received year on year since 2015. You will find that the figure has come down from 8 in 2015 to just 5 each in 2018 and 2019. This is roughly one in each quarter. The game has received one update in 2020, and we are yet to be done with the first quarter. Therefore, why would anyone have an issue if an update did not appear in the month of March?

sims-4-expansion-packs

Number of updates Sims 4 has received, month-wise since 2015

The second one is even more interesting. This plots the months of all the six years of the game’s existence and indicates how many updates including the DLC packs the Sims 4 received

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. You will find the month of April has had no release at all through these years. That by itself should be an eye-opener. If the month of April could be without a release for years, the month of March in one year could miss out on the update and it should be considered normal.

Aren’t These Abnormal Times?

There could be a straight forward explanation for the studio’s inability to release an update for the Sims 4 in March 2020 – Coronavirus. The virus that started in one region in China has virtually brought almost the entire world to a halt. Business establishments have been told to shut down, the staff asked to operate from their homes and no business activity worth its name is operational. Under these extraordinary conditions, if Maxis is unable to send out an update for a game, it should not be treated as a big deal. On the contrary, eyebrows would have been raised if the update had been released as if things were normal.

What are the Major Takeaways from the Current Scenario?

The developer Maxis and the publisher EA don’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to release the successor to the Sims 4 yet. It is true that the Sims 4 has been around for 6 years and since it has been receiving a lot of updates and Expansion Packs, it is still popular. Due to disruptions in the operations, the update pack for March could not have come out. It may come out in April 2020, breaking the past pattern of giving the month of April a miss.

The Sims 5 might still be very much a priority for the studio and work could be going on. The actual release of Sims 5 may happen by the end of 2020. Until then, fans need to have patience and understanding.

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Will GTA 6 be a PS5 Exclusive? Mixed Signals Emerge

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  • Sony expected to launch PS5 during the 2020 holiday season.
  • No specific announcement on the exclusive game on PS5 so far.
  • Rumors have suggested Sony has already entered into an agreement with Rockstar.
  • Fans desperately believe GTA 6 will definitely be a PS5 exclusive.

In a situation where the console maker Sony has not even made an official announcement on the launch of its next version PlayStation 5, rumors abound of GTA 6 being an exclusive on the platform.

See also -GTA 6 : Majority of the Fans Would Want the Game to Be Set in London

The developer of the Grand Theft Auto game, Rockstar Studios, and its owner Take-Two Interactive have not yielded to the repeated provocation from the gaming community and fans to share their exact plans. There is no certainty that GTA 6 will be out soon and you can start playing the game. There has been heightened expectation that Rockstar is expected to make an announcement soon. The most optimistic fan feels it will be about GTA 6 and the game is going to be launched soon.

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Is it Fair to Expect an Early Release of GTA 6?

A more rational analyst, however, would be ready to wager that the earliest the game could be released is towards the end of the year, 2020. This is where the other folks latch on and claim that it coincides with the release of the PlayStation 5 by Sony and hence it might be released as a platform exclusive game.

From the perspective of the studio and its owners Take-Two Interactive, there is really no desperate need for them to release the successor to GTA 5. The reason for this is the game is still popular and ever since the GTA Online has been thrown open, the gaming community has been lapping up the gameplay. Rockstar further expanded the interest with the opening of the Diamond Casino & Resort and the in-game rewards have also been enhanced.

A clipping from GTA Online

All these developments have meant that Take-Two Interactive does not have to be worried about revenue or ranking. They would want to let the game be played in its present form and style. The old American adage, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ will be the policy adopted by the game’s backers. This is the commercial reality as it stands and it will take some effort to hasten the release of GTA 6

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What is the Sony-GTA 6 Equation?

Now, when you are talking about a video game, you cannot stay away from discussing the gaming console. There are games that are played across platforms like PCs and mobiles, but the real gaming experience is obtained when you play on these dedicated gaming consoles. Sony’s PlayStation is a very popular gaming console around the world and it competes with a few other top brands.

Having a very popular game like Grand Theft Auto exclusively on their gaming console would give a huge boost to the console maker in selling more units of the device. It’s a promotional tool. Companies spend millions of dollars on promoting their products. If there are rumors that Sony has entered into an exclusive arrangement with Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar and has even paid a large amount for this, it cannot be ignored.

There are critics to this argument saying why would a transnational corporation like Sony to commit itself to just one game when there may be other options available. That point may be valid, but each company views these things with different prisms and you cannot fault them for it.

The way this is looked at by the GTA franchise owners can also be different. Why would they want to put all eggs into one basket and go with PlayStation 5 when they may be able to sell more units of their much-anticipated game to a wider customer base? The jury is still out on this and only an official clarification can settle the issue.

 

 

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