School bomb hoax suspect arrested in US

Los Angeles airport School bomb hoax suspect arrested in US School bomb hoax suspect arrested in US 5055a1b66aImage copyrightReuters
Image caption LA’s airport was one target for the Apophis hacker group

An American man accused of deluging schools and Los Angeles’s airport with hoax bomb threats has been arrested.

Timothy Dalton Vaughn is suspected of being part of the Apophis Squad hacker group that was allegedly behind the pranking spree.

One member of Apophis, Briton George Duke-Cohan, is serving a three-year jail sentence for aiding the attacks.

Clues to Mr Vaughn’s identity emerged when a gaming firm was hacked and user data leaked.

Stolen database

In a lengthy indictment document, Mr Vaughn is accused of conspiring to carry out a series of hack attacks that, say prosecutors, involved:

  • threatening FBI offices with anthrax and Ebola
  • crashing websites
  • defacing webpages
  • spoofing emails
  • sending bomb threats to 2,000 US and 400 UK schools

One fake bomb threat led to a United Airlines jet being quarantined for four hours at San Francisco International Airport as the warning was investigated.

The document said the incidents took place between January and August 2018. The Department of Justice said if Mr Vaughn was convicted of all 11 charges he faced, he could go to jail for 80 years.

Cyber-security expert Brian Krebs, whose digital detective work helped to unmask Duke-Cohan, said the identity of his claimed US conspirator had remained a mystery for some time.

Clues to his identity emerged when the user database from gaming firm Blank Media Games was stolen and made available online.

An email address seen in the stolen data dump resembled one of the aliases Mr Vaughan is alleged to have used, wrote Mr Krebs, and showed that whoever owned that account logged in regularly from North Carolina.

Earlier this week, Mr Vaughan was arrested at his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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Airbus scraps A380 superjumbo jet as sales slump

Emirates Airbus A380 Airbus scraps A380 superjumbo jet as sales slump Airbus scraps A380 superjumbo jet as sales slump bb2a169f29Image copyrightEPA

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has pulled the plug on its struggling A380 superjumbo, which entered service just 12 years ago.

Airbus said last deliveries of the world’s largest passenger aircraft, which cost about $25bn (£19.4bn) to develop, would be made in 2021.

The decision comes after Emirates, the largest A380 customer, cut its order.

The A380 faced fierce competition from smaller, more efficient aircraft and has never made a profit.

What has prompted Airbus’ decision?

The A380’s future had been in doubt for several years as orders dwindled. But in a statement on Thursday, Airbus said the “painful” decision to end production was made after Emirates reduced its latest order. The Dubai-based airline is cutting its overall A380 fleet size from 162 to 123.

Emirates said it would take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years, but has also ordered 70 of Airbus’ smaller A330 and A350 models.

“Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its very inception,” said the airlines’ chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum. “While we are disappointed to have to give up our order, and sad that the programme could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation,” he added.

The order cut meant keeping production going was not viable, said Airbus chief executive Tom Enders, who is due to step down in April.

There was “no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years” he said.

Airbus has taken a €463m charge for shutdown costs, but it is expected that the repayment of government loans could be waived to help cushion the blow.

The aerospace giant said the financial impact of the decision was “largely embedded” in the firm’s 2018 results, which showed a net profit for 2018 of €3bn (£2.6bn) up nearly 30% from the previous year.

Airbus said it would deliver between 880 and 890 new commercial aircraft this year.

Image copyrightAFP
Image caption Airbus employs 6,000 people at its main wings factory at Broughton in Flintshire

What does it mean for jobs?

Airbus said it would start discussions with partners regarding the “3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years”.

The BBC understands that around 200 jobs in the UK could be under threat from the decision.

Airbus confirmed it hopes to redeploy a “significant” number of affected staff to other projects.

Mr Enders said: “It needs to be evaluated. It’s clear we make a lot of wings in Britain and a few wings for the A380.

“Hopefully we can redeploy a significant number of our employees there and re-use also the infrastructure.”

Airbus UK makes the wings for its wide variety of aircraft in the UK. The company employs about 6,000 staff at its main wings factory at Broughton in Flintshire, as well as 3,000 at Filton, near Bristol, where wings are designed and supported.

Parts of the A380 are manufactured in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK, with final assembly and finishing split between Toulouse and Hamburg.

Airbus had already cut staffing as A380 orders dried up, and the future of employment at the company very much now depends on the success of its new generation of aircraft.

Why has demand for the A380 fallen?

The spacious jet, which had its first commercial flight in 2007 with Singapore Airlines, was popular with passengers but it was complicated and expensive to build, in part thanks to the way production was spread across various locations.

But ultimately demand for the A380 from airlines dried up as the industry shifted away from larger planes in favour of smaller, wide-body jets.

When Airbus was conceiving the A380, Boeing was also considering plans for a superjumbo. But the US company decided to scrap the idea in favour of its smaller, efficient – and more successful – 787 Dreamliner.

“The very clear trend in the market is to operate long-haul aircraft with two engines [such as] Boeing’s 787 and 777, and Airbus’s A330 and A350,” said Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor of Flight Global.

Airbus had been working on a revamped A380 to make it more efficient, but needed sufficient launch orders to make the huge investment viable.

Despite Airbus’ website describing the Airbus as the “future of long-distance travel” the last aircraft will be delivered in 2021.

Where did Airbus go wrong?

Analysis: By Dominic O’Connell, Today programme business presenter

When Airbus’s A380 first took off it was hailed as a technological marvel that would meet airlines’ needs for a new large aircraft to connect the world’s crowded airport hubs – London, New York, Dubai, Tokyo. Airbus said the market for the giant planes would be 1,500.

After today’s decision to end production, it will have made just over 250.

In hindsight, airlines were already turning their back on very large aircraft when the A380 made its debut.

Advances in engine technology meant planes no longer needed four engines to fly long distances – and carriers were able to use a new generation of light, fuel-efficient, twin-engined aircraft to link secondary cities, bypassing the crowded hubs altogether.

Even though Airbus was aware of the threat posed by these new types of plane, they pressed ahead.

There was a bigger game afoot – Airbus needed to negate Boeing’s 747, believing that the profits the American company made on 747 sales were helping it cross-subsidise other, smaller planes. The A380 succeeded in that – the last passenger 747 was built two years ago – but Boeing will have a kind of last laugh.

Freighter versions of the 747 will be built past 2021, meaning the venerable jumbo jet will outlive the plane sent to kill it.

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YouTube’s copyright claim system abused by extorters

The YouTube logo split between a wall and a phone screen YouTube's copyright claim system abused by extorters YouTube's copyright claim system abused by extorters dbe4722a04Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Google bought YouTube for $1.65bn (£1.28bn) in 2006

Google has removed a YouTube channel after it was found to be abusing copyright claims to extort money from users.

Kenzo and ObbyRaidz, whose channels predominantly feature them playing Minecraft, reported receiving messages demanding money in exchange for dropping two claims against them.

These messages threatened that refusal to pay would result in a third copyright “strike”, which, according to Google, results in a YouTube channel being “subject to termination”.

The extorter’s YouTube account has been deleted after the illegal activity was made public.

Image copyrightYouTube/Twitter

The extortion

Kenzo and ObbyRaidz both received messages demanding payment ranging from $75 to $400 (£58 to £309) be sent via Paypal or Bitcoin.

Neither paid and British YouTuber Kenzo, who has 60,000 subscribers, took to social media to plead for help after one of his videos was taken down by the extorter’s second fraudulent copyright strike,

Skip Twitter post by @KenzoPvP

hello @TeamYouTube

I have two false copyright strikes on my channel & someone out there is extorting me for my money to have the strikes removed. help.

— Kenzo (@KenzoPvP) January 30, 2019

End of Twitter post by @KenzoPvP

In its response to Kenzo’s tweet, YouTube said both of the copyright claims against him had been “obviously abusive” and it had reinstated his video to its platform.

“This is an example of a fraudulent legal request, which we have zero tolerance for,” it said in a statement. “We [have] terminated [the extorter’s] channel.”

Google, which owns YouTube, did not respond to a request for information regarding how YouTube intended to prevent such extortion attempts in the future.

How easy is it to make a copyright claim?

A successful “copyright takedown notification” results in a video being removed and the infringing YouTube channel receiving a copyright strike.

To make such a claim, an individual must provide their contact information and a description of the copyright they say has been infringed by the video in question.

The applicant must also accept possible legal consequences for “false or bad faith” allegations of copyright infringement.

But US-based YouTuber ObbyRaidz has now called the system “broken”, in a video posted to his YouTube channel.

“Anybody can do it,” he said. “They made it so easy to take somebody’s channel down – they strike a few videos and your channel is terminated.

“The way I look at it, YouTube just put a Band-Aid on a much bigger issue,” he said, referring to the deletion of the extorter’s account.

“This is something that can affect more channels in the future and they need to fix this right now.”

You may also like:

Copyright strikes and Content ID

YouTube has come under fire for its Content ID system, which automatically determines whether a video contains copyrighted material.

This system was criticised in 2018 after it resulted in a YouTuber receiving a copyright infringement notice for including his own song in a video.

A copyright takedown notification, in contrast, results from an application submitted to YouTube by an individual.

These claims, however, do not necessarily lead to a takedown and a strike being placed on a channel.

For example, an individual can choose to make a copyright claim that, if successful, keeps a video online but directs any ad revenue towards the original copyright holder.

This type of copyright claim is becoming increasingly commonplace, with YouTuber MrBeast – who has more than 14.8 million subscribers – revealing that five of his most recent videos have all been demonetised under such claims.

Image copyrightMrBeast/Twitter

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The basketball coverage directed and filmed by AI

A system which uses a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and high resolution fixed cameras could change the way some sports like basketball are covered.

Developed by Playsight the system can track players, the ball and events like passes and three-point field goals.

Coaches and officials can also replay game footage on court.

The system is currently being tested by the British Basketball League.

BBC Click finds out more.

See more at Click’s website and @BBCClick.

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Former Apple lawyer charged with insider trading

Apple logo is seen on a mobile phone. Former Apple lawyer charged with insider trading Former Apple lawyer charged with insider trading d1dd8ad3b4Image copyrightGetty Images

US prosecutors have charged a former top Apple lawyer with insider trading.

Gene Levoff is accused of using confidential information to trade the firm’s securities for personal gain.

Mr Levoff, who was responsible for ensuring compliance with Apple’s insider trading policies, is accused of breaching those policies on several occasions.

Apple fired him last year after being contacted by authorities and conducting an internal investigation.

The US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) said Mr Levoff engaged in insider trading various times between 2011 and 2016.

“Levoff’s alleged exploitation of his access to Apple’s financial information was particularly egregious given his responsibility for implementing the company’s insider trading compliance policy,” Antonia Chion, associate director of the SEC’s division of enforcement, said in a statement.

“The SEC is committed to pursuing insiders who breach their duties to investors.”

In 2011 and 2012, Apple’s former head of corporate law made $245,000 (£193,801) in profits by engaging in insider trading, the SEC said.

Mr Levoff also traded Apple securities ahead of three quarterly earnings announcements in 2015 and 2016, making approximately $382,000 in combined profits and losses avoided.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5m.

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Nasa calls time on silent Opportunity Mars rover

Rover selfie Nasa calls time on silent Opportunity Mars rover Nasa calls time on silent Opportunity Mars rover 599c9adb9aImage copyrightNASA/JPL/Doug Ellison
Image caption Oppy used one of its cameras to take this selfie on Mars

The US space agency (Nasa) has called time on its Opportunity Mars rover.

The six-wheeled robot last contacted Earth in June last year, just before it was enveloped in the darkness of a global dust storm.

Engineers hoped Oppy would power back up when the skies cleared and sunlight hit its solar panels again – but there has not been a peep out of the rover.

The routine prompt commands that have been sent to Opportunity will now end. The mission has been declared over.

“We tried valiantly over these last eight months to recover the rover, to get some signal from it,” explained project manager John Callas.

“We’ve listened every single day with sensitive receivers, and we sent over 1,000 recovery commands. We heard nothing and the time has come to say goodbye.”

Image copyrightNASA/JPL
Image caption The “Blueberries” were among Opportunity’s earliest discoveries

How big a deal is this?

The decision brings the curtain down on one of Nasa’s most successful ever ventures.

“Oppy” and its twin robot, called Spirit, landed on Mars in January 2004 with the goal of investigating whether the planet ever had the conditions necessary to support life.

The mission team believed its “mobile geologists” would work for at least 90 Martian days and have the capability to travel up to 1km.

In the end, the golf-buggy-sized rovers surpassed all expectations.

Spirit worked for six years, logging a drive distance of almost 8km; and Opportunity trundled on for 45km over 14.5 years – a record for any wheeled vehicle off Earth.

Image copyrightNASA/JPL
Image caption Gypsum: Later in the mission, Oppy saw rocks that were laid down in neutral water

What did the twin rovers achieve?

The science the rovers returned was hugely significant. They proved the planet in ancient times was very different to the freezing, desiccated world we see today.

It was warmer and wetter. Indeed, there was evidence in the rocks examined by the rovers’ instruments that bodies of water would sit at, or just under, the surface for prolonged periods.

Oppy made this discovery almost as soon as it had landed in a small depression known as Eagle Crater.

Its cameras spied small spherules that were quickly dubbed “Blueberries” because of their shape and small size. These concretions contained a lot of hematite, an iron-rich mineral that forms (often) in the presence of water.

Scientists concluded this water would have been fairly acidic and therefore not that friendly to life, but then later in the mission, when it reached Endeavour Crater, it came across clay minerals and gypsum deposits – clear signs of water interactions under much more neutral, and hospitable, conditions.

“We were able at the rim of Endeavour Crater to find rocks that were probably the oldest observed by either one of the rovers; rocks that pre-dated even the formation of Endeavour Crater,” said Steve Squyres, Opportunity’s chief scientist from Cornell University.

“And those told a story of water coursing through the rocks but with a neutral pH – it was water you could drink. That was one of the mission’s most significant discoveries.”

Image copyrightNASA/JPL
Image caption Artwork: The rovers lived far longer than anyone expected

What are the legacies?

One is an inspirational effect, says Abigail Fraeman, the deputy project scientist on the rover mission.

She was actually a high-school pupil when the robot landed and attended mission control on the day of touchdown, having won a competition.

“There really are hundreds, if not thousands, of students, who were just like me, who witnessed these rovers, and followed their missions with the images they released to the public over the last 15 years – and because of that went on to pursue careers in science, education and math(s).”

Another key legacy is the engineering, believes systems engineer Jennifer Trosper. Opportunity and Spirit showed how it was possible to build bigger and more capable machines to explore Mars. The previous landers, even ones with some mobility, were very restricted in what they could do.

“We weren’t able to get to the things that we saw in the distance,” she said.

“We saw mountains, we saw rocks, we saw stuff that our geologists wanted to get their hands on and we couldn’t get there.

“So, one of the great paradigm shifts of Spirit and Opportunity was that we took everything that we needed, we put it on wheels and we made a geologist that could go and investigate the things that the science team was interested in.”

Image copyrightNASA/JPL
Image caption Engineers made a last communication attempt on Tuesday

What’s left working on Mars now?

Opportunity’s silence leaves just the one working rover on Mars.

The Curiosity robot landed in 2012 in Gale Crater. It has a plutonium battery and so was able to ride out the darkness of the recent dust storm with ease.

Nasa is currently preparing a near-twin of Curiosity, which will be delivered to the planet in February 2021. It will be joined on the surface a month later by Europe’s Rosalind Franklin rover, although at a very different location.

The US space agency currently also operates a static lander, called InSight, which touched down in November last year. and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmos

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Apple to investigate Saudi app

Saudi man with phone, woman in background Apple to investigate Saudi app Apple to investigate Saudi app 17bfc775e1Image copyrightGetty Images
Image caption The app makes it easier for men to prevent women from travelling, human rights group claim

A Saudi Arabian app that can be used to track women and prevent them from travelling will be investigated by Apple, its chief executive has said.

In an interview with NPR, Tim Cook said he wasn’t aware of the Absher app but would look into it.

The app, which offers access to government services, has been criticised by human rights groups.

Democratic senator Ron Wyden has called for Apple and Google to remove it from their stores.

Women in Saudi Arabia need to get permission to leave the country from a male guardian, usually a father or husband.

The Absher app, which is designed for a range of government services, such as renewing driving licences, makes the process of allowing or prohibiting travel a lot easier, and it can be done via a smartphone.

Originally designed for the Ministry of Interior, the app has been in use for several years and downloaded more than a million times.

An investigation from website Insider exposed how it was being used by male guardians to register wives, sisters and daughters to either restrict or permit international travel.

The man receives a notification if a dependent woman attempts to leave the country.

Human Rights Watch told the publication: “Apps like this one can facilitate human rights abuses, including discrimination against women.”

In an open letter to both companies, in response to the report, Mr Wyden wrote: “It is hardly news that the Saudi monarchy seeks to restrict and repress Saudi women but American companies should not enable or facilitate the Saudi government’s patriarchy.”

The app has also been used by some women to secretly change the settings on their male guardian’s phone so that it allows them to travel, the Insider reports.

Google has not responded to requests from the BBC for comment.

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Elon Musk named as Twitter boss favourite

Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey Elon Musk named as Twitter boss favourite Elon Musk named as Twitter boss favourite 3b30078b4dImage copyrightGetty/Reuters
Image caption Mr Musk (left) is Mr Dorsey’s favourite, despite some rather controversial tweets

Elon Musk has been named as Twitter boss Jack Dorsey’s favourite tweeter in an interview about how to tackle abuse.

The singling out of the Tesla boss has raised eyebrows because Mr Musk’s tweets have often proved controversial.

One tweet about taking Tesla private saw him lose his job as chairman, while another has led to a defamation case.

In the live-tweeted interview, Mr Dorsey also said that the way the social network had been handling abuse was “a huge fail”.

‘Twitter rocks’

Mr Dorsey made his comments during a 90-minute interview with technology news website Recode.

When asked whom he personally thought was exciting and influential on the platform, he wrote: “I like how @elonmusk uses Twitter. He’s focused on solving existential problems and sharing his thinking openly. I respect that a lot and all the ups and downs that come with it.”

Elon Musk was happy to take the praise, tweeting: “Thanks Jack. Twitter rocks.”

But others were less complimentary. “While lamenting harassment on Twitter, Dorsey praises Tesla CEO, who is being sued for defamation over a tweet,” wrote one user.

Skip Twitter post by @RtGT_Guinness

“While lamenting harassment on Twitter, Dorsey praises Tesla CEO, who is being sued for defamation over a tweet”

Among other tweet-related troubles and lawsuits. $TSLA$TSLAQ

— Riding The Gravy Train (@RtGT_Guinness) February 13, 2019

End of Twitter post by @RtGT_Guinness

Some of Mr Musk’s Twitter controversies include:

  • He was briefly blocked by Twitter, which suspected his account had been hacked after he tweeted: “Wanna buy some Bitcoin?
  • His now infamous tweet, “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” led to an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which resulted in him stepping down as chairman for three years and paying a $20m (£15m) fine
  • An attack on a diver involved in rescuing a group of Thai boys from a cave, who was referred to by Mr Musk as a “pedo guy” on Twitter, has led to an ongoing defamation case

Difficult to follow

Twitter has been grappling with a range of issues such as how to crack down on fake accounts, election meddling, fake news and bullying on its platform.

Shares in Twitter fell 10% this month, with revenue for the first quarter of 2019 expected to be below analyst forecasts. It has also lost users, down to 321 million from 330 million a year earlier.

In the Recode interview, Mr Dorsey did not offer any new solutions but admitted that putting the burden on victims to report abuse was not the answer.

Asked what grade he would give himself for “tech responsibility”, he replied: “Myself? C. We’ve made progress but it has been scattered and not felt enough. And we’ve put most of the burden on the victims of abuse (that’s a huge fail).”

The public interview was given a dedicated hashtag – #karajack – but some attempting to follow it complained it quickly became confusing and difficult to follow, as more people joined in the conversation.

This will not reflect well on Twitter, which has been accused before of not being very user-friendly.

Mr Dorsey tweeted: “OK. Definitely not easy to follow the conversation. Exactly why we are doing this. Fixing stuff like this will help, I believe.”

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Is new game Apex Legends a threat to Fortnite?

Image copyrightElectronic Arts

Apex Legends – a new Battle Royale game – has had over 2 million concurrent players and over 25 million downloads in its first week.

The game, released at the start of February, has a similar narrative to Fortnite.

But Apex’s new spin has taken the gaming world by storm, leading people to question whether it will be a threat.

Apex Legends is available on PlayStation and Xbox – and Like Fortnite, it’s free to download.

Skip Twitter post by @YUNGBANS

Apex legends just put fortnite out of business no cap.

— YUNG BANS (@YUNGBANS) February 10, 2019

End of Twitter post by @YUNGBANS

What’s come as a shock to some is how fast Apex is growing.

Although Fortnite now has over 200 million players, Apex Legends seems to be growing much faster in its earlier stages.

Fortnite was released in July, 2017.

In its first two weeks, only 10 million gamers had played it.

Skip Twitter post by @FortniteGame

In two weeks since we’ve launched, over 10 million of you have played Battle Royale. We can’t say thank you enough.

— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) October 11, 2017

End of Twitter post by @FortniteGame

Newsbeat has been speaking to some American gaming experts who’ve played both.

Image copyrightJavy Gwaltney
Image caption Javy Gwaltney. 29 (right)

Javy Gwaltney is an associate editor for Game Informer in Minnesota.

He believes Apex Legends is a great game but is not convinced it will be as successful as people think:

“It just doesn’t have the potential for that level of appeal in a way that doesn’t really have to do with the mechanics of the game itself.

“They have to learn, in a shockingly short amount of time, how to give players reasons to return over and over again outside of the core gameplay loop.

“That means doing more than just dropping cosmetic skins and weapons into the game.”

Skins are a range of costumes that can be used to customize aspects of your character and playing experience.

They can be bought with the in-game currency V-Bucks.

Image copyrightJavy Gwaltney
Image caption Javy often writes reviews about newly released games for Game Informer

The 29-year-old believes the reason why Apex Legends has done so well so far is due to the hype around the battle royale concept.

Despite this, Javy doesn’t think Apex will pose as much of a threat to Fortnite:

“The problem isn’t ‘Apex Legends isn’t as good as Fortnite’ – but instead Fortnite was at the right time and place when nothing else was.

“Epic (games) wisely built on that in a way that was massively beneficial to them.

“You can’t replicate that kind of success by making a great, even better game.”

For Javy, the more interesting question to is can Apex Legends carve out its own sizable audience?

“Sure, the game’s got 25 million people who have played it but those numbers drop off all the time.”

However, Javy would still choose Apex Legends over Fortnite as for him the shooting lets it down:

“The combat is fantastic. Movement, gunplay, sound, everything is just superb.

“The shooting in Fortnite is bad. It’s real bad.”

Skip Twitter post by @Cade_Onder

Recruiting people for an elite squad (you don’t have to be good, it’s fine, I just want people to help me review it) for Apex Legends on Xbox One or PS4.

Probably going to prioritize my mutuals first but I’ll consider anyone! DM or reply!

— Cade Onder (@Cade_Onder) February 5, 2019

End of Twitter post by @Cade_Onder

Cade Onder is editor-in-chief of GameZone.

The 18-year-old from Iowa in the United States says Apex Legends is a completely different experience compared to Fortnite:

“Apex has 60 players and you’re forced into squads of three.

“Fortnite has 100 players and you can play solos, duos, or squads of four. Apex is first person, Fortnite is third person”

Similar to Javy, Cade thinks Apex’s game play gives it the edge:

“Communicating with players without headsets, automatically transferring attachments to new guns you pick up, and more.

“It gets rid of a large amount of junk and fixes the issues that bog down other battle royale games.

“Apex has much better shooting mechanics, much more enjoyable.

“If Apex Legends can find a way to raise the bar and keep the engagement alive, it could at the very least go toe to toe with Fortnite.”

But what do actual gamers think about Apex?

Skip Twitter post by @Frenzeeuk

FINALLY 😅🥳 Not a regular player of FPS games but I’m really enjoying @PlayApex 🙌🏻

— FRENZEE✖️ (@Frenzeeuk) February 11, 2019

End of Twitter post by @Frenzeeuk

Josh, a YouTuber from Birmingham who goes by the name Frenzee says it’s too early to decide whether Apex will be a long term threat to Fortnite:

“But with the way it has launched, already hitting 25 million players with 1 million plus concurrent players, I think Fortnite are a little scared.

“If the Apex developers have a solid roadmap and keep things fresh I do believe it could continue to take over the battle royale genre.”

Image copyrightJason Wyllie
Image caption Jason Wyllie, 23

Jason Wyllie, 23, a Twitch streamer from Scotland says Apex can be enjoyed by casual and hardcore first-person-shooter lovers:

“The game has a high skill ceiling cap – but low threshold for beginners – which means new players have a better first time experience (than Fortnite).

But Jason, who also goes by the name of Jaspers, believes Apex may not be a threat to Fortnite because of the strong following it’s gained:

“Fortnite is such a unique game that they will always have a core group that play the game and caters to the younger generation, as well as older generations.”

However when asked to choose between the two, Apex Legends still took the biscuit.

Skip Twitter post by @JaspersPlays

I forgot how boring life was… then @PlayApex servers went down… Please I

need you

— Jason ‘Jaspers’ Wyllie 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (@JaspersPlays) February 9, 2019

End of Twitter post by @JaspersPlays

“The big draw to apex over Fortnite is it comes down to team play, individual ability and gun skill.

“Fortnite has a added skill of building that I’m not a fan of I prefer one on one gunfights where your aim is what wins the fight.”

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra – if you miss us you can listen back here.

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Overwatch and Call Of Duty maker to cut 800 jobs

Overwatch Overwatch and Call Of Duty maker to cut 800 jobs Overwatch and Call Of Duty maker to cut 800 jobs afd873db6bImage copyrightActivision Blizzard

Video games publisher Activision Blizzard has announced it will lay off about 800 people, despite reporting record revenue in 2018.

The company made $7.5bn (£5.8bn) last year, up from about $7bn in 2017.

Its chief executive, Bobby Kotick, said the results were “the best in our history” but did not “realise our full potential”.

Titles published by the Activision Blizzard group include Call Of Duty, Overwatch and Candy Crush Saga.

The Activision Blizzard group is made up of several games studios including Crash Bandicoot maker Activision, World Of Warcraft maker Blizzard and mobile gaming giant King.

It has about 9,600 employees and 8% of them will be laid off.

Most of the job losses would not be in game development departments, the company said. But many roles related to its e-sports business appear to have been cut.

King’s Seattle-based mobile game studio Z2Live will be closed entirely, with the loss of 78 jobs.

Skip Twitter post by @Nytara1782

Heartbroken to announce that I was released from my dream job today @Blizzard_Ent . Grateful to have worked alongside the brightest & best. Analyst in Esports, specializing in Financial Modeling & Reporting. Prev XP in Financial Analyst roles w USAToday, BoA & WellsF. LFW,pls RT.

— Amy Tay 🎮🐾 (@Nytara1782) February 13, 2019

End of Twitter post by @Nytara1782

Skip Twitter post by @Jen_Mallett

Today was my last day at Blizzard Entertainment. I knew that layoffs are commonplace in the video game industry, but I somehow always thought that if I could work really hard, get the right education, and be an exceptional employee that they’d never happen to me. I was wrong.

— Jennifer Mallett (@Jen_Mallett) February 13, 2019

End of Twitter post by @Jen_Mallett

In its latest earnings report, Activision Blizzard said Call of Duty had been the best-selling console franchise worldwide for 2018.

Games produced by Blizzard, which include Overwatch, Hearthstone and World Of Warcraft, had 35 million players monthly.

And King, behind the hit game Candy Crush Saga, boasted 268 million players monthly.

However, despite the record revenue, industry analysts had hoped the company would perform even better.

Many games studios are facing pressure from free-to-play titles such as Epic Games’s global hit Fortnite.

Fortnite Battle Royale is free to download and play and generates money selling optional outfits and accessories known as skins.

Rival publisher EA Games has adopted this model for its new game Apex Legends, which it hopes will challenge Fortnite’s dominance.

The company said Apex Legends had attracted 25 million players in its first week.

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