ShinyShiny snippets: Gaming loot boxes branded ‘exploitative’

Consumer groups in 18 European countries have backed a report calling gaming loot boxes “exploitative.” The contents of the virtual boxes are only revealed through either gameplay or by making a payment. While some contain useful tools or desirable extras which improve the experience, others are worthless. The report authors, the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC), say gamers are being “manipulated” into spending large sums of money on the chests. Games publisher EA has previously compared loot boxes to children’s toys Hatchimals or Kinder Surprise. BBC

Car ownership has fallen for two years in a row for the first time in more than a century as consumers are hammered by surging fuel costs and a shortage of new vehicles for sale. The number of cars owned in Britain dropped by 0.2pc to 35m last year, according to research by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), following factory chaos that has made it harder for manufacturers to deliver their orders. Meanwhile, data shows that the average car in Britain is now 8.7 years old, up by a year over the past decade, and more than a quarter are older than 12. Telegraph 

The UK risks falling behind in the race to establish an electric car industry if it cannot build more battery factories – and quickly. Ambitious plans from automakers to ramp up production of electric vehicles and a looming change in post-Brexit trading rules that will limit options to import cheap Asian batteries mean there is no time to waste. But a shortage of suitable sites for “gigafactories,” and the decision by some local manufacturers to import EV batteries from mainland Europe, are creating challenges that executives and politicians say the government must do more to address. Automotive News Europe

English jargon has invaded every corner of France, causing consternation among language purists — a trade fair popular with politicians during election season is called “Made in France,” for example. Despite widespread usage in business and elsewhere, the government has decided to pick on gaming, officially banning terms like “streamer” and “cloud gaming,” according to AFP. Going forward, the far more convoluted terms joueur-animateur en direct and jeu video en nuage must be used for any government communications. Engadget

Amazon is ending support for its Cloud Cam security camera and offering owners a free Blink Mini to replace it. MacRumors noted the change late last week, and The Verge obtained a copy of an email sent to customers announcing the change. Cloud Cam owners will be able to use their cameras and download video until December 2nd of this year, after which all recordings will be deleted and the hardware will no longer function. Customers with the Cloud Cam Key Edition will also lose the ability to connect to smart locks, although they can get a free fourth-generation Echo to replace the functionality. The Verge

Many of the UK’s top scientists working on carbon capture technologies do not believe they will be developed and scaled up in time to reach net zero and limit global heating to 1.5C. Experts speaking at a Greenhouse Gas Removal Hub event in London warned that these techniques, including direct air capture, biofuels, biochar, afforestation and advanced weathering, are not a silver bullet and should make up just a fraction of the efforts to decarbonise. The researchers were polled by event organisers on whether they believed the carbon removal targets would be met. Of 114 scientists in the audience, 57% said they were “not confident” the UK would meet the 2030 goals. Guardian

Chris Price