Amazon cuts gaming jobs, introduces own operating system for Fire TV devices

Amazon is the worldwide publisher of online game Lost Ark. Image: Amazon Games

Amazon has become the latest firm to cut jobs in the gaming industry, slashing 180 roles amid a restructure. The internet giant, which owns game streaming site Twitch, is also shutting down its own channel on the platform after it struggled to gain popularity. These are the latest cuts to hit the gaming industry in 2023, which has seen around 6,500 job losses. This is in spite of the year seeing the release of hit games from franchises including Zelda, Spider-Man and Mario. In the last six months, games companies including Fortnite maker Epic Games, Assassin’s Creed developer Ubisoft Montreal and Pokemon Go creator Niantic have all announced cuts. BBC 

Last week, it was reported that Amazon is quietly developing its own operating system that will replace Android on its Fire TV devices before expanding to other products, including the company’s many smart displays. Janko Roettgers spilled the details in his Lowpass newsletter. The report predicted that Amazon’s software, codenamed Vega, could appear on Fire TV streaming hardware as soon as next year. But as discovered by Zatz Not Funny!, it turns out this new homegrown OS is already being used on the latest Echo Show 5, which displays its software as “OS 1.1” instead of the expected Fire OS. TheVerge

WhatsApp is introducing a new feature to improve audio calls within group chats, allowing users to initiate an audio room that other members can easily join. The new Discord-like voice chat feature is way less annoying than the old group call that rang everyone. Instead of disturbing everyone in the group, the new feature sends a gentle notification and lets people join at their own pace by tapping an in-chat bubble, according to a support page. The new process mirrors Meta’s audio room functionality, seamlessly integrating it into WhatsApp group chats. Android Central 

Well, here’s a little unexpected news: “we made iMessage for Android exclaims Nothing’s YouTube video (below) from Carl Pei, the company CEO. And while that’s not precisely the deal, the new Nothing Chats app is a major free upgrade that I think Nothing Phone (2) users’ iPhone-touting friends will love.  From 17 November the new app, Nothing Chats, will become available. It will allow some degree of cross-platform iMessage-like features when communicating between Nothing Chats and iMessage. That includes single messages, group messages, live typing indicators, media sharing, and voice notes.

A new artificial intelligence breakthrough could revolutionise weather forecasts, its creators say. The new technology, built by Google Deepmind, allows for 10-day weather forecasts to be produced in just a minute. And it does so with unprecedented accuracy, Deepmind said. The forecasts made by the GraphCast system are not only more accurate but produced more efficiently, meaning they can be made more quickly and with fewer resources. It can also help spot possible extreme weather events, being able to predict the movement of cyclones and provide early alerts of possible floods and extreme temperatures. Independent 

Cambridge Dictionary has declared “hallucinate” as the word of the year for 2023 – while giving the term an additional, new meaning relating to artificial intelligence technology. The traditional definition of “hallucinate” is when someone seems to sense something that does not exist, usually because of a health condition or drug-taking, but it now also relates to AI producing false information. The additional Cambridge Dictionary definition reads: “When an artificial intelligence (= a computer system that has some of the qualities that the human brain has, such as the ability to produce language in a way that seems human) hallucinates, it produces false information.” Sky News 

Chris Price