SUP3R5 Says It Received “Credible Threats To Our Safety” After Selling Out Of Custom Consoles

by Andy Robinson, VGC

The launch of a batch of custom black PlayStation 5 consoles ended in disaster this weekend, as third-party company SUP3R5 cancelled all orders due to alleged threats made to its staff after it sold out of units.

Around 300 of the highly-anticipated consoles, which feature a custom design based on the PlayStation 2, went on sale to North American customers on Friday, priced at $649 – $200 more than the regular PlayStation 5 RRP.

Unsurprisingly, given the continuing demand for Sony’s console, the black PS5s sold out in less than 20 minutes – and likely would have done so much faster had it not been for significant technical issues on SUP3R5’s website as it struggled to cope with demand.

The company issued a statement on Friday evening saying it was “embarrassed” with how the North American launch went, with some customers reporting that they were charged for their orders without actually receiving confirmation that they’d secured a console.

A large number of the black PS5 consoles also started appearing on reseller sites like eBay, with users asking for thousands of dollars, though SUP3R5 said it would cancel them.

SUP3R5 insisted it would refund those who had been incorrectly charged and pledged to do better with its international launch, which it delayed from Saturday to later in the month.

However, just hours after that message, the company announced it was cancelling all orders and issuing refunds due to its team allegedly receiving “credible threats to their safety.”

“Last night, our team began receiving credible threats to their safety,” the firm said in a statement. “We take these threats seriously. We aren’t willing to risk the safety and well-being of our team, or the potential impact this would bring to delivering your order.”

It added: “All existing orders will be cancelled and fully refunded in the coming days. You will receive a notification when this happens.

“We intended this to be a fun way to celebrate a shared nostalgia. As it turns out, there are people out there who are willing to interfere with that. If we determine that it’s safe to try again, we will. For now, please stay safe.”

The news was predictably met with frustration by those who had managed to purchase a console, with many customers accusing SUP3R5 of scam tactics (however, there’s not evidence of foul play).

Currently, Sony has not committed to releasing different colour PS5 consoles or customisation options, although some other third-party companies have promised their own solutions.

Canadian peripheral firm Dbrand recently announced it would soon be taking orders for a range of black PS5 faceplates and dismissed suggestions Sony could stop it.

Dbrand’s product launch follows a high-profile case in the UK which saw one company cancel its plans to create custom PS5 faceplates after Sony allegedly threatened legal action.

Asked by a Reddit user if it feared similar legal action over its faceplates, Dbrand dismissed the notion, writing: “We encourage them to try.” A caption on its Reddit post also reads: “sue us, Sony.”

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Here’s what Signal is and how it works.

Tech mogul Elon Musk — known as widely for slinging cars into the sun’s orbit as he is for advocating against COVID-19 safety measures — took to Twitter Thursday to slam Facebook over its latest privacy policy updates for its supposedly secure encrypted messaging app WhatsAppMusk instead recommended users choose encrypted messaging app Signal. 

Use Signal— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021

The tweet was then retweeted by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Shortly after, Signal tweeted that it was working to handle the surge of new users. 

This isn’t the first time Musk has publicly sparred with Facebook over privacy concerns. In 2018, he not only had his own personal Facebook page removed, but those of his companies Tesla and SpaceX. His take on the long-fought battle between Signal and WhatsApp isn’t off-base, though. 

Both of the encrypted messaging apps have been found to have security bugs over the years that have been resolved. For years, WhatsApp has openly collected certain user data to share with parent company Facebook. Its latest policy change just expands that. Signal, on the other hand, has a history of fighting any entity that asks for your data, and adds features to further anonymize you where possible. 

Here are the basics of Signal you should know if you’re interested in using the secure messaging app.

The Signal app encrypts all of your messages to others on the platform. Image credit: Getty/Bloomberg

What Signal is, and how encrypted messaging works 

Signal is a typical one-tap install app that can be found in your normal marketplaces like Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store, and works just like the usual text messaging app. It’s an open source development provided free of charge by the non-profit Signal Foundation, and has been famously used for years by high-profile privacy icons like Edward Snowden.

I use Signal every day. #notesforFBI (Spoiler: they already know)— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 2, 2015

Signal’s main function is that it can send text, video, audio and picture messages protected by end-to-end encryption, after verifying your phone number and letting you independently verify other Signal users’ identity. You can also use it to make voice and video calls, either one-to-one or with a group. For a deeper dive into the potential pitfalls and limitations of encrypted messaging apps, CNET’s Laura Hautala’s explainer is a life-saver. But for our purposes, the key to Signal is encryption.

Despite the buzz around the term, end-to-end encryption is simple: Unlike normal SMS messaging apps, it garbles up your messages before sending them, and only ungarbles them for the verified recipient. This prevents law enforcement, your mobile carrier and other snooping entities from being able to read the contents of your messages even when they intercept them (which happens more often than you might think). 

When it comes to privacy it’s hard to beat Signal’s offer. It doesn’t store your user data. And beyond its encryption prowess, it gives you extended, onscreen privacy options, including app-specific locks, blank notification pop-ups, face-blurring anti-surveillance tools, and disappearing messages. Occasional bugs have proven that the tech is far from bulletproof, of course, but the overall arc of Signal’s reputation and results have kept it at the top of every privacy-savvy person’s list of identity protection tools. 

For years, the core privacy challenge for Signal lay not in its technology but in its wider adoption. Sending an encrypted Signal message is great, but if your recipient isn’t using Signal, then your privacy may be nil. Think of it like the herd immunity created by vaccines, but for your messaging privacy. 

Now that Musk and Dorsey’s endorsements have sent a surge of users to get a privacy booster shot, however, that challenge may be a thing of the past. 

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Image credit: CD Projekt Red

by Wesley Yin-Poole, EuroGamer

CD Projekt has clarified Cyberpunk 2077’s Judy romance after players found unused male voice lines in the game.


Last week, modders discovered male V is able to romance Judy in the PC version of the game via a simple code change inserted via the console command.

Doing so means the Judy romance scene occurs with the male V body type with male voice over. Unmodified, Judy can only be romanced as a female body type and female voice type V.

Later scenes with Judy that are only possible after the romance scene is completed also include full male V voice work, which replicates the lines exactly as they’re spoken by female V.

The NSFW video, below, from YouTuber FredrickFlower, explains how to use mods to play the Judy romance as male V, and includes the unused dialogue:

There are some irregularities when playing the Judy romance as male V, however. While you can see the male body type in the sex scene, V’s hand clips through objects on occasion. Later, in a scene involving Carol and Judy, Carol tells Judy and male V: “leave you girls to it.”

Some fans have called this “cut content”, but speaking to Eurogamer, a CD Projekt representative denied this was the case, insisting the male voice lines were only recorded “so we could avoid missing something by mistake that would require future recordings”.

“It was simply more convenient and easier for our localisation team from a production point of view to record all lines with both voices, so we could avoid missing something by mistake that would require future recordings,” the CDP rep explained.

Image credit: CD Projekt Red

“This was done with pretty much everything just to be on the safe side although it can vary between the different languages.

“Judy was always only a female V romance partner and that was the artistic vision from the start, there was no male romance option cut from the game.”

Cyberpunk 2077 includes four romance NPCs, each with a different V type condition. Panam requires V to have the male body type, but you can have any voice. River requires the female body type and any voice. As mentioned, Judy needs both the female body type and female voice. And Kerry needs both the male body type and male voice.

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by Nathan Birch, WCCFTech

Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have their own advantages, with Sony’s new DualSense controller being a big check in the “pro” column. The DualSense features cutting edge haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, and is arguably the first gamepad in quite some time to really enhance gameplay in a new way. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S controller is also solid, but it doesn’t bring quite as much to the table.

Well, it seems like Microsoft may be eying some of those new DualSense features jealously. Microsoft recently sent out a survey to new Xbox Series X and S owners, asking them to rate their experience and state what they might want in the future. Interestingly, one question specifically asks whether the user is “aware of features on PlayStation controllers” and which of those features they’d like to see included in future Xbox controllers.

While the basic Xbox Series X/S controller is likely set for now, Microsoft is almost certainly working on a third iteration of their Xbox Elite controller – could we see features like haptics and adaptive triggers added to that gamepad? It wouldn’t surprise me! As a reminder, here are some of the unique features the DualSense controller brings to the table…

  • Haptic feedback – Feel physically responsive feedback to your in-game actions with dual actuators which replace traditional rumble motors. In your hands, these dynamic vibrations can simulate the feeling of everything from environments to the recoil of different weapons.
  • Adaptive triggers – Experience varying levels of force and tension as you interact with your in-game gear and environments. From pulling back an increasingly tight bowstring to hitting the brakes on a speeding car, feel physically connected to your on-screen actions.
  • Built-in microphone and headset jack – Chat with friends online3 using the built-in microphone – or by connecting a headset to the 3.5mm jack. Easily switch off voice capture at a moment’s notice with the dedicated mute button.

What do you Xbox fans think about this? Do you want Microsoft to take some notes from the DualSense or is the Xbox Series X/S controller just fine as is?

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by Tyler Fischer,

A proper next-gen Assassin’s Creed game on PS5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S is reportedly releasing next year. Adding to this, the new report, claims that Ubisoft will use 2021 to focus on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which will be primarily bolstered with two separate single-player expansions. That said, while 2021 won’t feature a new Assassin’s Creed game, 2022 reportedly will, and its development will be helmed by Ubisoft Sofia, the company’s Bulgarian studio.

Ubisoft Sofia isn’t known as one of Ubisoft’s lead studios, with the bulk of its existence since it was founded in 2006 being primarily a support studio and a studio that works on handheld games. However, it has served as the lead studio behind two Assassin’s Creed games: Assassin’s Creed Rogue and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation.

As for the report, it comes the way of French streamer and YouTuber xj0nathan, who doesn’t divulge much else of consequence other than the aforementioned information. The big thing with Assassin’s Creed games, at least in the modern era, is the setting. Right now, there’s no word from any reputable source where the game will be set, but there have been some dubious rumors pointing towards the series heading to China, or more specifically, ancient China.

Of course, not only should these rumors be taken with a massive grain of salt, but take all of the other information with a grain of salt. Not only is all of the unofficial variety, but it’s vague enough that it’s unclear what is scoop and what is speculation.

At the moment of publishing, Ubisoft has not commented on this report in any capacity, and it’s unlikely it will, as it maintains a pretty strict “no comment” policy when it comes to rumors, reports, and anything and everything of the speculative and unofficial variety.

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All in less than a month since release

by Jess Weatherbed, TechRadar

Cyberpunk 2077 has become a controversial topic to discuss since its release on December 10 last year, with its ‘fall from grace’ hitting major news networks around the world. After hitting a record-breaking 1 million concurrent players on Steam, CD Projekt Red’s futuristic RPG is now struggling to maintain 225,000 users less than 4 weeks after the game was released.

A fall in player base is to be expected of course, with previous games such as The Witcher 3 seeing a similar drop in users – though this took three months to occur. 

For PC players at least, these numbers dropping at such an alarming rate are an interesting gauge for the satisfaction level of the gamers who purchased Cyberpunk 2077, and the potential future of the game itself.

Well that was quicker than expected

It’s easy to understand why we’re seeing such a dramatic fall in players when you look at the game issues documented by players across both PC and consoles, with bugs and hardware limitations rendering the game unplayable for some and unsatisfactory for many. A massive drop-off in player numbers is typical in video game life cycles and isn’t news in itself, but the speed at which we’re seeing gamers abandoning the game should concern CD Projekt Red.

Cyberpunk player numbers over the four weeks since release. (Image credit: GitHyp)

With recent history providing examples of games like Marvel’s Avengers and Anthem struggling to retain a player base, it’s not hard to see why developers should be looking to providing optimized products with replayable content. 

Whilst not directly comparable as Cyberpunk 2077 is a single-player open-world game, consistent player numbers are important for future longevity developments like DLC and expansions.

The developer is currently working on a host of patches and bug fixes, and has already promised refunds for unsatisfied PS4 and Xbox One players after having admitted to not paying enough time on the version for the previous generation of consoles. CD Projekt Red’s diminished reputation may be a factor in the decline in players, so fixing the game to a better standard is keep to win back the trust that had previously fueled the years-long hype surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 prior to its release.

We’re hoping to see the issues ironed out over the coming weeks so that CD Projekt Red can salvage the situation and deliver a game that can be enjoyed by players across both PC and consoles. For now, we will continue to try and ignore the NPC’s T-posing in clubs and V’s pants disappearing during a gun fight.

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“We went through every component, every piece”

by Fraser Gilbert, Pure Xbox

You might recall that we highlighted Bloomberg’s excellent oral history of the original Xbox earlier this week, and as part of the feature, Xbox exec Aaron Greenberg revealed the PS2 played a notable role in the console’s development.

Various team members admitted that they were “so naive about the complexity” of building a brand-new console, and with no companies doing tear-downs, they took it upon themselves to strip a PS2 to its bare bones.

“In the old days, there weren’t companies that did tear-downs, so we actually had to take a PS2, we took the entire thing apart, put it on a giant wood board. We did a whole competitive review, and we went through every component, every piece and priced it out and tried to figure out how many screws and how much did it cost.”

The CEO of the manufacturer Flextronics also admitted that the team was “very transparent about the fact that they didn’t know what they were doing,” and the first version of the Xbox ended up having a failure rate of about 20-25%.

To make things worse, 200,000 consoles had to be reworked because the DVD drive was scratching the discs, but fortunately it all worked out in the end, and the Xbox was finally released on November 15, 2001 in the US.

Here’s what Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had to say about the original Xbox team:

“One of my favorite things about Microsoft—and something I still love to do today—was getting to explore big, new ideas that might seem impossible to other people. We built the whole company around that. The early Xbox days were a great example—with a group of people who knew that gaming would be huge, and they believed Microsoft had a role to play even though it would mean starting something completely new.”

How do you feel about the original Xbox? Were you a fan? Let us know down in the comments.

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Sony’s SRS-RA5000 speaker.
 Image: Sony

Your first look at the upcoming SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 speakers

by Jay Peters, The Verge

Earlier today, Sony announced that it would be releasing two new speakers compatible with 360 Reality Audio, its spatial audio technology that replicates the feel of live music by placing different sounds and vocals in a virtual sphere around you. It said its plan is to release them this spring, but it didn’t share what the speakers would look like. We didn’t have to wait to learn more about them, though, as Sony’s UK website now has full product pages for the upcoming SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 speakers.

The higher-end SRS-RA5000, pictured at the top of this post, will have three up-firing speakers, three side speakers, and a woofer. It’s also certified for High-Resolution Audio. The SRS-RA3000, pictured below, has two tweeters, two passive radiators, and a full-range driver.

Sony’s SRS-RA3000 speaker.
 Image: Sony

Both speakers can calibrate themselves to the room they’re in with an internal microphone and a “unique Sony algorithm,” too. With the SRS-RA5000, you have to press and hold a button on the speaker, while the SRS-RA3000 can calibrate itself automatically. The two speakers also have Sony’s Auto Volume feature, which adjusts the volume of each track automatically to play them at a consistent volume. And both speakers support Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

The SRS-RA5000 will cost approximately £500 / €599, while the SRS-RA3000 is priced at about £280 / €359, according to the press release on Sony’s UK website. That also says both speakers will arrive in February 2021, which is a bit sooner than the previous “spring” date we had heard before, so perhaps there will be different release dates in different regions.

Sony said it is expanding the 360 Reality Audio platform from audio to video earlier on Friday, and the company is working with major music labels and service providers to begin streaming video content with the codec later this year. Approximately 4,000 songs currently support the format, according to Sony.

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by Tyler Fischer,

PlayStation players can now order a special PS2-themed PS5, though not via Sony, Walmart, Target, GameStop, Best Buy, Amazon, or any other major retailer, but courtesy of SUP3R5. Earlier this month, SUP3R5 announced its “retro-inspired” PS5 console and PS5 DualSense controller. At the time, neither product was available to purchase, but today that changed. That said, if you want to pick up either of these custom-made pieces of nostalgic hardware, you will need to be prepared to fork over some additional cash money.

The special PS5 DualSense controller runs at $99 USD, while the console, which comes with the controller, runs at $649 USD. The former is limited to just 500 units, while the console is even more limited at 304 units. In other words, stock is going to vanish very, very quickly. In fact, by the time you’re reading this, both pieces of custom-made hardware may very well be sold out.

That said, if you decide to purchase either of these products, you should keep in mind that neither come the way of Sony, who may very well shut down the operation before any products are shipped out. Further, “the retro-inspired conversion process” for the controller includes a complete disassembly of the controller, which will void its warranty. The console does not require this, and thus its warranty shouldn’t be voided, but for now, there’s no way to confirm this will be the case. For the console, all SUP3R5 is doing is temporarily removing the side panels from the console. Again, this shouldn’t void the warranty, but for now, there’s no guarantee it won’t

It’s also important to keep in mind this is a new operation with no history, and the return policy is very vague. Meanwhile, full payment is required at checkout, though the product won’t begin shipping until sometime this spring.

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KFConsole heats up fried chicken. KFC

by Kate Duffy, Business Insider

Fast-food chain KFC has created a new high-end gaming console that comes with a built-in “chicken chamber” to keep your chicken warm while you play.

KFC has teamed up with CoolerMaster to create the “KFConsole,” the chicken chain said in a statement on Tuesday. It is essentially a high-end gaming PC with components made by Intel, Asus, and Seagate.

It’s a powerful machine: KFC claims it can run games at 4K resolution at 240 frames per second – more than the PlayStation 5 or Xbox One can manage. It can also run virtual reality games, KFC said.

The bucket-like console has a cooling system that transfers the heat produced by the components to the chicken chamber, helping to keep the hardware cool and the finger lickin’ chicken warm.

“The Bargain Bucket-shaped machine features the world’s first built in chicken chamber, which is kitted out to keep its contents hot, ready for consumption during intense gaming sessions,” KFC said.

Cooler Master didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. An Intel spokesperson said they don’t have anything additional to share at this stage beyond the details on the Cooler Master website.

The cost and release date of the KFConsole haven’t yet been announced.

The KFConsole chicken chamber. KFC

The console has smooth gameplay with 240 frames per second frame rate, 4K display compatibility, and can run virtual reality games, according to Cooler Master’s website.

It also includes an Intel Nuc 9 Extreme Compute Element and two Seagate BarraCuda 1TB SSD drives for storage, Cooler Master said.

“This machine is capable of running games at top-level specs, all on top of keeping your meal warm for you to enjoy during your gaming experience… what’s not to like?” said Mark Cheevers, PR & social media lead at KFC UK & Ireland, in the statement.

“If Sony or Microsoft want any tips on how to engineer a chicken chamber for their efforts next time, they’d be welcome to get in touch,” he said.

Stephen James, global PR & influencer manager at Cooler Master, said in the press release: “When we were approached by KFC Gaming to make the KFConsole, we jumped at the chance to get involved and enter the console war.”

“The KFConsole has been custom built with the gamer at the front of mind. The last thing we want is anyone to go hungry while playing!” he added.

One Twitter used responded to KFC’s tweet asking how Cyberpunk, which has now sold more than 13 million copies, will run on the console. KFC replied: “It runs better than any console.”

This isn’t the only mind-boggling invention KFC has come up with in recent years.

In February, the food chain collaborated with Crocs to create shoes with fried chicken painted on them, topped with a chicken-scented charm. The shoes sold out within half an hour after their launch in July.

KFC announced the release of its 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog in December 2018 – basically a log that smells like fried chicken.

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