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Tech giants support FHIR standard. Will that make a difference?

During a White House meeting about the new Blue Button 2.0 API for Medicare, six major technology players signed a joint statement pledging to work toward healthcare interoperability with a particular focus on the cloud and artificial intelligence.

The companies — Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce — promised to support the goal of  “frictionless” interoperability using established industry standards, including the HL7 FHIR standard API. They offered a vision of a robust ongoing dialogue that would include every healthcare entity from payers to patients and application developers, according to a statement released by the Information Technology Industry Council.

Pushing the FHIR standard forward

The statement comes at a time when patient demand for easy access to healthcare data has never been greater. Large hospitals have responded with nascent efforts to improve data exchange based on the FHIR standard API, but there is widespread acknowledgement that healthcare lags far behind other industries when it comes to tech innovation and particularly interoperability. The idea of what could effectively be a consortium of mainstream technology companies working on this tricky problem and promoting the FHIR standard was received warmly by some this week and with a healthy dose of skepticism by others.

The fact that the statement called out cloud usage specifically, is telling, because, for reasons ranging from security to cost, a significant portion of healthcare organizations continue to avoid the cloud. A 2017 report from KLAS Research found 31% of hospitals either won’t expand their cloud efforts or won’t move to the cloud. “The cloud really is a double-edged sword,” said Kathy Downing, vice president of information governance,  informatics, standards, privacy and security at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), in an interview. While the cloud might offer a more secure environment than some smaller health organizations could achieve, Downing isn’t convinced the cloud itself is pivotal to interoperability. “I don’t know that the cloud really has a dog in this interoperability hunt,” she said. “You want to think through the safeguards and do all the assessments. That’s more important than whether you’re using a server or the cloud.”

I’m not sure how any of these entities will solve the issue of semantic interoperability.
John Moorefounder and managing partner of Chilmark Research

It’s a positive sign for the healthcare industry that it’s attracted the attention of these major players, said Coray Tate, vice president of clinical research at KLAS, in an email. But the market has to be there for this to work. “We’re at the base of the mountain and early steps are the easiest,” he said. “It remains to be seen if the market will provide a business case that will sustain the long climb.”

And the business case may not be there because this group of tech companies isn’t in most hospitals in any significant way today, said John Moore, founder and managing partner of Chilmark Research, in an email. “As big and influential as these companies are their collective presence in healthcare is quite disparate and at the end of the day it is what a clinician is using in their workflow that matters,” he explained. “These companies are simply not there. I’m not sure how any of these entities will solve the issue of semantic interoperability.” To further complicate matters, most hospitals don’t want to share patient data with competitors, he said. “They have instead opted to let patients themselves take direct responsibility.”

Tech support potentially a good thing

Attention from tech giants, however, should be seen as a good thing as long as everyone is thoughtful about how to proceed, said Stan Huff, M.D., chief medical informatics officer at Intermountain Healthcare and co-chair of the Health Level 7(HL7) Clinical Information Modeling Initiative, which developed the FHIR standard API. “This is significant because it creates faith in HL7 FHIR and will encourage investment in FHIR development,” he said. “The thing I would want to encourage is that this group work with existing organizations like HL7, ONC, HSPC and CIIC to ensure they all implement the FHIR standard the same way so we get to true semantic interoperability at some point.”

The joint statement offered few details on future plans but stressed the need to get everyone involved, including the open source community. “I think we will need to wait a few weeks to hear specific projects to know what additional impact they will have,” Huff said.

X-Agent malware lurked on DNC systems for months after hack

The malware backdoor allegedly implanted by Russian intelligence agents during attacks on the Democratic National Committee remained on systems at least six months after the hack was first discovered.

The indictment of Russian intelligence officers regarding the hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) included many shocking details, including the assertion that the X-Agent malware was still on DNC systems in October 2016.

The timeline of events according to the indictment showed that the Russian threat actors began spearphishing DNC and DCCC staffers in March 2016 and infiltrated DNC and DCCC systems using stolen credentials in April. Between April and June, the hackers installed the X-Agent malware backdoor and other tools and began to steal data.

“Despite the Conspirators’ efforts to hide their activity, beginning in or around May 2016, both the DCCC and DNC became aware that they had been hacked and hired a security company (‘Company 1’) to identify the extent of the intrusions,” investigators wrote in the indictment. “By in or around June 2016, Company 1 took steps to exclude intruders from the networks. Despite these efforts, a Linux-based version of X-Agent, programmed to communicate with the GRU-registered domain linuxkrnl.net, remained on the DNC network until in or around October 2016.”

The indictment does not mention how or why the X-Agent malware remained on DNC systems. In addition to attempts to remove the hackers and their tools from DNC systems by “Company 1” — assumed to be CrowdStrike, the company publicly known to have been called in to investigate the attack — the indictment noted that the attackers themselves also tried to clean their own tracks.

According to the indictment, the attackers tried to “delete their presence on the DCCC network using the computer program CCleaner” and that the attackers attempted connecting to the X-Agent malware on June 20, 2016, after CrowdStrike had allegedly disabled the backdoor.

Sean Sullivan, security advisor at F-Secure, discounted the possibility that the X-Agent malware might have been left on the DNC systems intentionally in order to track the attackers.

“Malware campaigns such as this use many parts and the goal is to move laterally across the network, collecting admin passwords along the way. Rooting out such infestations is time-consuming incident response work. Shutting down the entire network might have sped up the process, but that would have introduced significant challenges to the DNC’s political campaigns,” Sullivan wrote via email. “The DNC was dealing with a backdoor — so it was possible to continue day-to-day operations while doing incident response. And that sort of work just takes time to get it all.”

Microsoft doubles its game development studios and showcases more than 50 games on E3 stage including 18 console launch exclusives and 15 world premieres | Stories

New titles revealed during the Xbox briefing include exclusive games ‘Gears 5,’ ‘Halo Infinite’ and ‘Forza Horizon 4,’ all enhanced for Xbox One X

Phil Spencer
Phil Spencer, Head of Gaming at Microsoft, onstage at Xbox E3 2018 Briefing where Microsoft added five more creative teams to the Microsoft Studios family on Sunday, June 10, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Microsoft/AP Images)

LOS ANGELES — June 10, 2018 — Sunday’s Xbox E3 Briefing was the largest in Microsoft Corp.’s history with more than 6,000 people, including more than 1,000 fans, invited to attend in the Microsoft Theater. Microsoft announced it is doubling its game development studios and showcased a record 52 games on stage including 18 console launch exclusives and 15 world premieres. The diverse lineup included games for every type of player, from exclusives like “Forza Horizon 4,” “Halo Infinite” and “Gears 5,” and independent titles like “Session,” “Below,” “Ashen” and “Tunic” to some of the biggest blockbuster games coming in the next year like “Fallout 76,” “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2,” “Kingdom Hearts 3,” “Devil May Cry 5,” “Battlefield V,” “Metro Exodus” and “Shadow of the Tomb Raider,” many enhanced to take advantage of the power of Xbox One X.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be part of the gaming industry, with creators large and small showcasing incredible new games for the more than two billion players around the world,” said Phil Spencer, head of Gaming at Microsoft. “At Microsoft, we are committed to empowering gamers to play the games they want, with the people they want, where they want.”

INVESTING IN DEVELOPMENT OF ORIGINAL CONTENT

Microsoft announced it is doubling its game development studios by adding five new creative teams to the Microsoft Studios family. New investments include the formation of a brand-new studio, The Initiative, the acquisition of Playground Games, and letters of intent to acquire Ninja Theory, Undead Labs and Compulsion Games.

  • The Initiative. Based in Santa Monica, Calif., The Initiative is a brand-new Microsoft game development studio headed by industry veteran Darrell Gallagher that is working to create groundbreaking new worlds, characters and game experiences.
  • Playground Games. Microsoft has acquired U.K.-based Playground Games, a development partner since 2010 that has helped grow the “Forza” franchise to new heights. In addition to its work on this year’s “Forza Horizon 4,” Playground Games will have a team dedicated to bringing their open-world expertise to an entirely new project.
  • Ninja Theory. The relationship between Ninja Theory and Microsoft started in 2000 when “Kung Fu Chaos” was in development for the original Xbox and culminated in the release of “Hellblade” on Xbox One earlier this year. Microsoft’s intent to acquire Ninja Theory will help ensure the creative team has the resources and freedom to bring more ambitious games like “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” to fans.
  • Undead Labs. Seattle-based Undead Labs is the creator of the popular “State of Decay” franchise, enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide. In the first two weeks since “State of Decay 2” launched, more than two million fans joined the fight to survive and took down more than two billion zombies. By entering into a letter of intent to acquire Undead Labs, Microsoft is signaling its commitment to growing the franchise and taking the zombie survival-fantasy genre to new heights.
  • Compulsion Games. As “We Happy Few” nears its full, multiplatform release on Aug. 10, Microsoft has entered into a letter of intent to acquire Montreal-based Compulsion Games. By joining the team at Microsoft Studios, Compulsion will have the resources, platform and freedom to take even bigger creative risks and create even more ambitious worlds with its future projects.

“The original games we create at Microsoft Studios are some of our biggest assets,” said Matt Booty, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. “Our growth strategy is to continue to expand the worlds that players love, while developing all-new exclusive games that deepen their engagement with our platform. We are thrilled to welcome five new studios into the Microsoft family. We believe these teams have the collective creative power and operational excellence to deliver the next industry game changers.”

Phil Spencer, Head of Gaming at Microsoft, onstage at Xbox E3 2018 Briefing where Microsoft showcased more than 50 games, including 18 exclusives and 15 world premieres at Microsoft Theater on Sunday, June 10, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Microsoft/AP Images)

The addition of these creative teams reinforces Microsoft’s vision for gaming, which starts with a deep commitment to original content. The company is developing a portfolio of games on every device, including newly announced Microsoft Studios games. Revealed on stage today were three new Gears of War titles — “Gears 5,” “Gears Tactics,” “Gears Pop!” — along with “Battletoads,” “Forza Horizon 4” and “Halo Infinite,” a Master Chief story and the next major release in the franchise built from the ground up on the new Slipspace engine.

ACCESS TO YOUR FAVORITE GAMES FASTER AND BETTER THAN EVER

Microsoft announced several new titles joining the Xbox Game Pass catalog this year including “Forza Horizon 4,” “Fallout 4,” “Tom Clancy’s The Division” and “The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited,” as well as several new [email protected] games being added on their release date. Microsoft also introduced new innovations to push digital gaming forward, including FastStart, an innovation from Microsoft’s Machine Learning Team, and plans from Microsoft’s Gaming Cloud Team to develop a game streaming service to unlock console-quality gaming on any device.

“We’ve been thrilled to see the positive impact Xbox Game Pass is having on the gaming ecosystem, including increasing the number of titles gamers play nearly 40 percent and increasing gameplay hours by almost 20 percent,” said Mike Nichols, chief marketing officer for Gaming at Microsoft. “With the ultimate freedom to explore and play over 100 great games, Xbox Game Pass delivers our members an incredible value in gaming.”

  • Xbox Game Pass. The Xbox Game Pass catalog continues to expand, with exciting new blockbuster titles available to members starting today, including “Fallout 4,” “The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited” and “Tom Clancy’s The Division.” Microsoft also announced several notable titles launching through the [email protected] program that will be coming to Xbox Game Pass this year to coincide with their debut on Xbox One. These include “Warhammer: Vermintide 2,” “Ashen,” “Afterparty” and “Phoenix Point,” as well as blockbusters from some of our biggest first-party franchises such as “Forza Horizon 4,” “Crackdown 3,” “Gears 5” and “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” which will release later in 2018 and beyond.
  • FastStart (Xbox One). With FastStart, you can now jump into your game[i] twice as fast and play after downloading just a fraction of your title. FastStart identifies which files are needed to begin playing and prioritizes the download of those files first, enabling you to quickly jump into full-fidelity gameplay while the remainder of your title downloads in the background. Simply find the FastStart-enabled title you want to play, hit Download and your console will take care of the rest. It’s that simple.
  • Xbox Adaptive Controller (Xbox One, Windows 10). Beginning at 9 a.m. PT on June 11, preorders will begin in select markets for the first-of-its-kind Xbox Adaptive Controller, designed for gamers with limited mobility. Available exclusively through Microsoft Store for $99.99 USD, the newest addition to the Xbox family of controllers and devices is designed to be as adaptable as possible, so gamers can create a setup that works for them in a way that is plug-and-play, extensible and affordable.
  • Mixer. Mixer, Microsoft’s live streaming service, is seeing continued growth with viewership doubling in just six months to more than 20 million. The majority of this is growth from viewers on mobile

 BEST PLACE TO PLAY ORIGINAL, BLOCKBUSTER AND INDEPENDENT GAMES

Xbox One continues to be the best place to play the biggest blockbuster games with over 220 titles enhanced for Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful console, with new games leveraging the power of the platform from some of the world’s most talented creators like “Fallout 76” from Bethesda Game Studios, “Cyberpunk 2077” from CD Projekt Red, “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2” from Ubisoft Massive and dozens more. Independent game creators also continue to innovate on Xbox One with games like “Session,” “Below,” “Ashen” and “Tunic” coming to Xbox One as console launch exclusives.

  • “BATTLEFIELD V” (ELECTRONIC ARTS). Available worldwide Oct. 19, 2018, enter mankind’s greatest conflict with “Battlefield™ V” as the series goes back to its roots in a never-before-seen portrayal of World War 2. Take on all-out multiplayer across the world or witness human drama set against global combat in single player War Stories, including Nordlys — a first look shown in the Xbox E3 briefing — the story of a young Norwegian resistance fighter during the German occupation, you must pay an unthinkable price to save not only yourself, but also your family.
  • “BLACK DESERT” (PEARL ABYSS). “Black Desert” is a revolutionary MMORPG that delivers intense, fast-paced combat, profitable life skills and an expansive open world. Slay monsters, abominations and gods, or engage in relaxing life skills like crafting, fishing and cooking. Become your true self in this truly open world MMORPG
  • “CRACKDOWN 3” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE). “Crackdown 3” brings the boom next February, where players will stop crime as a super-powered Agent in a sandbox of mayhem and destruction. Developed by Microsoft Studios in collaboration with Sumo Digital and Elbow Rocket, “Crackdown 3” delivers cooperative mayhem, signature antics, explosive gameplay and an all-new multiplayer mode,[ii] Wrecking Zone, where destruction is your ultimate weapon powered by Microsoft Cloud. Available worldwide in February 2019.
  • “CUPHEAD: THE DELICIOUS LAST COURSE” (STUDIO MDHR).In “Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course,” Cuphead and Mugman are joined by Ms. Chalice for a DLC add-on adventure on a brand-new island! With new weapons, new charms and Ms. Chalice’s brand new abilities, take on a new cast of multifaceted, screen-filling bosses to assist Chef Saltbaker in Cuphead’s final challenging quest.
  • “CYBERPUNK 2077” (CD PROJEKT RED). “Cyberpunk 2077” is a narrative-driven, open world RPG set in the most vibrant and dangerous metropolis of the future — Night City. You play as V, a hired gun on the rise, who just got their first serious contract. In a world of cyber-enhanced street warriors, tech-savvy netrunners and corporate lifehackers, today is your first step to becoming an urban legend.
  • “DEVIL MAY CRY 5” (CAPCOM). A brand-new entry in the legendary over-the-top action series comes to Xbox One in spring 2019, complete with its signature blend of high-octane stylized action and otherworldly and original characters the series is known for. Years have passed since the legions of hell have set foot in this world, but now a new demonic invasion has begun, and humanity’s last hope will rest in the hands of three lone demon hunters, each offering a radically different play style. United by fate and a thirst for vengeance, these demon hunters will have to face their demons if they hope to survive. The devil you know returns in the most over the top, technically advanced, utterly insane action experience of this generation.
  • “DYING LIGHT 2” (TECHLAND). The bold sequel to the open-world phenomenon, “Dying Light 2” brings to life a unique post-apocalyptic vision of the Modern Dark Ages, where your parkour abilities and brutal combat skills are the only things that let you dive into darkness and emerge alive. Make morally grey decisions, shape the transformation of the City and ultimately decide its fate.
  • “FALLOUT 76” (BETHESDA GAME STUDIOS). The award-winning creators of “Skyrim” and “Fallout 4” welcome you to “Fallout 76” — a stunning prequel and the largest world ever created in the legendary Fallout universe. Set in the hills of West Virginia, you are one of the first to emerge, into a new and untamed wasteland.
  • “FORZA HORIZON 4” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE – WORLD PREMIERE). In “Forza Horizon 4,” seasons change everything. This highly anticipated follow-up to 2016’s breakout hit “Forza Horizon 3” brings players dynamic seasons in a shared open world that change every week. Experience beautiful, historic Britain in spectacular native 4K and HDR, collect over 450 cars, and become a Horizon Superstar. “Forza Horizon 4” will launch worldwide on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Game Pass on Oct. 2, 2018, as an Xbox Play Anywhere title.
  • “GEARS 5” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE – WORLD PREMIERE). As Kait, journey across the biggest, most beautiful Gears world ever created. Play solo or with a friend in local split-screen co-op, or online co-op[iii] and experience every mode in 4K Ultra HD resolution with stunning HDR at a smooth 60 frames per second. “Gears 5” will be released in 2019 on Xbox One and Windows 10 and will come to Xbox Game Pass on the same date as its global release.
  • “GEARS POP!” (IOS AND ANDROID EXCLUSIVE – WORLD PREMIERE). “Gears Pop!” brings together iconic Gears characters in a cute Funko Pop! style. The game is being developed in partnership with Funko (Nasdaq “FNKO”) and inspired by the “Gears of War” vinyl collectible figures. It’s the perfect slice of mobile mayhem, available on iOS and Android in 2019.
  • “GEARS TACTICS” (WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE – WORLD PREMIERE). “Gears Tactics” evolves turn-based tactics games combining signature fast-paced brutal action and character-driven storytelling with customizable squads, upgradable weapons, and, of course, massive boss battles. “Gears Tactics” is also the first Gears game to be specifically designed for PC gamers.
  • “HALO INFINITE” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE – WORLD PREMIERE). The Master Chief returns in the next chapter of the legendary franchise in “Halo Infinite.” Developed by 343 Industries and created with the studio’s new Slipspace Engine, “Halo Infinite” debuted at the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing with a thrilling engine demo that provides a glimpse into the future of Halo, leading the franchise into new and unexpected directions.
  • “JUMP FORCE” (BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA INC). The greatest heroes and villains from the 50-year history of Shueisha’s influential Japanese Weekly Jump manga will battle against each other across iconic locations across Earth in this anime fan’s dream come true! Featuring the world’s most popular and classic manga and anime franchises including DRAGON BALL Z, ONE PIECE, NARUTO, and many others, players will be able to compete in hyper-stylish arena brawls set against familiar backdrops of famous landmarks around the world, including New York City’s Times Square and the Matterhorn.
  • “JUST CAUSE 4” (SQUARE ENIX). Rogue agent Rico Rodriguez journeys to Solis, a huge South American world home of conflict, oppression and extreme weather conditions. Strap into your wingsuit, equip your fully customizable grappling hook, and get ready to bring the thunder!
  • “KINGDOM HEARTS III” (SQUARE ENIX). “KINGDOM HEARTS III” tells the story of the power of friendship as Sora and his friends embark on a perilous adventure and support each other through difficult times. Set in a vast array of Disney worlds, “KINGDOM HEARTS” follows the journey of Sora, a young boy and unknowing heir to a spectacular power. Sora is joined by Donald and Goofy to stop an evil force known as the Heartless from invading and overtaking the universe. Through the power of positivity and friendship, Sora, Donald and Goofy unite with iconic Disney-Pixar characters old and new to overcome tremendous challenges and persevere against the darkness threatening their worlds.
  • “METRO EXODUS” (DEEP SILVER). “Metro Exodus” is an epic, story-driven first person shooter from 4A Games that blends deadly combat and stealth with exploration and survival horror in one of the most immersive game worlds ever created. Explore the Russian wilderness across vast, nonlinear levels and follow a thrilling storyline that spans an entire year through spring, summer and autumn to the depths of nuclear winter. Inspired by the novels of Dmitry Glukhovsky, “Metro Exodus” continues Artyom’s story in the greatest Metro adventure yet.
  • “NIER: AUTOMATA” BECOME AS GODS EDITION (SQUARE ENIX). “NieR: Automata” is a revolutionary action RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by machine lifeforms and abandoned by mankind. As part of an android army created by humans to reclaim the planet, players will fight their way through the mechanical horde using a collective of close-combat weapons and ranged attacks.
  • “ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE). The highly anticipated sequel “Ori and the Will of the Wisps” made its worldwide gameplay debut, showcasing Ori’s immersive world, dynamic combat mechanics, gripping enemy encounters and challenging puzzles in this story-driven adventure. “Ori and the Will of the Wisps” releases on Xbox One and Windows 10 in 2019.
  • “PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS” (CONSOLE LAUNCH EXCLUSIVE). PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG), the tactical, high-octane battle royale phenomenon, debuted footage from two new maps: Sanhok, a smaller-scale, action-packed map inspired by the islands that dot the Southeast Pacific Ocean, and a snow-covered map currently in development. New footage also debuted of War Mode, a deathmatch-style battle royale gaming experience and the world premiere debut of the Ballistic Shield, a new tool for setting up quick cover for explosive and close-distance attacks. Sanhok and War Mode will debut on Xbox in late summer 2018.
  • “SEA OF THIEVES” (XBOX ONE[iv] AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE). “Sea of Thieves,” the shared-world multiplayer game that provides the quintessential pirate experience, returns with additional content that continues to grow and evolve the game. Releasing in July, Cursed Sails will bring a new threat to the seas in the form of terrifying skeleton ships. In September, Forsaken Shores will reveal a perilous new part of the world, filled with dangers that will test the skill and nerve of even the most hardened crews. Each update will be accompanied by a time-limited campaign that introduces content in a fun, engaging and memorable way. “Sea of Thieves” is now available on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Game Pass as an Xbox Play Anywhere title.
  • “SEKIRO: SHADOWS DIE TWICE” (ACTIVISION). A fantastical, dark and twisted new gameplay experience developed by the renowned team at FromSoftware and published by Activision. Directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is a third-person, action-adventure game with RPG elements. The single-player game puts gamers in the protagonist role of a hard-hearted warrior whose mission is to rescue his master, a young lord, and exact revenge on his arch nemesis. “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is scheduled for release in early 2019 for the family of Xbox One devices from Microsoft, including the Xbox One X. Preorders are available now at select retailers for the suggested retail price of $59.99.
  • “SESSION” (CREA-TURE STUDIOS). Inspired by the golden era of skateboarding, the early 90s and early 2000, “Session’s” primary goal is to make you experience what skateboarding really is: an incredible sport where there are no other goals other than expressing your creativity and achieving success through hard work, perseverance and bits of madness for no one else other than yourself.
  • “SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER” (SQUARE ENIX). Experience Lara Croft’s defining moment as she becomes the Tomb Raider. In “Shadow of the Tomb Raider,” Lara must master a deadly jungle, overcome terrifying tombs, and persevere through her darkest hour. As she races to save the world from a Maya apocalypse, Lara will ultimately be forged into the Tomb Raider she is destined to be.
  • “TALES OF VESPERIA: DEFINITIVE EDITION” (BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA INC). Available this winter, “Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition” celebrates the 10th anniversary of this cherished RPG with new fully playable characters, events and other additional content never released outside of Japan. Follow Yuri Lowell, a former Imperial Knight, as he befriends a colorful cast of characters throughout the world of Terca Lumireis and finds himself in the middle of a nefarious plot that threatens the destruction of the entire planet.
  • “THE AWESOME ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN SPIRIT” (SQUARE ENIX).Have you ever dreamt of being a superhero? Meet Chris, a creative and imaginative 10-year-old boy who escapes reality with fantastical adventures as his alter ego, the Awesome Captain Spirit! Return to your childhood and play a touching and heart-warming one-of-a-kind narrative experience from the directors and development team behind the BAFTA award-winning game “Life is Strange.” “The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit” is an original story set in the Life is Strange Universe that contains links to the brand new story an characters of “Life is Strange 2.”
  • “TOM CLANCY’S THE DIVISION 2” (UBISOFT). Developed by Ubisoft Massive and the same teams that brought you “Tom Clancy’s The Division®,” “Tom Clancy’s The Division® 2” is an online open-world, action-shooter RPG experience set in a collapsing and fractured Washington, D.C. This rich new setting combines a wide variety of beautiful, iconic and realistic environments where the player will experience the series’ trademark for authenticity in world- building, rich RPG systems, and fast-paced action like never before. Play solo or co-op with a team of up to four players to complete a wide range of activities, from the main campaign and adversarial PvP matches to the Dark Zone — where anything can happen.
  • “TUNIC” (FINJI). “TUNIC” is an isometric action adventure about a tiny fox in a big world. Embark on an adventuresome questabout set in that place just beyond the farthest you’ve ever been! Explore ancient ruins, fight monsters and uncover mysterious secrets. The world is big and scary — so be brave, little one!
  • “WE HAPPY FEW” (COMPULSION GAMES, GEARBOX PUBLISHING). After debuting as an Xbox Game Preview title at the 2016 Xbox E3 Briefing, “We Happy Few” 1.0, which includes an all-new narrative and community-driven improvements, will launch on Xbox One and Xbox One X (with 4K and HDR support) on Aug. 10, 2018. “We Happy Few” is a narrative-driven action adventure game set in a drug-fueled, retrofuturistic 1960s England. Uncover the mystery of Wellington Wells as you play through the interwoven narratives of three moderately terrible citizens trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial.

BIGGEST XBOX SALE OF THE YEAR HAPPENING NOW

Microsoft also announced its Biggest Xbox Sale of the Year where gamers can find discounts on hundreds of games, accessories, Xbox Game Pass and Live Gold subscriptions, plus $50 off ANY Xbox One. For more information, visit Xbox Wire.

Be sure to preorder now at your Microsoft Store or local retailer. With retail locations across the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia, and through Microsoft.com, fans can begin preordering their favorite games and select accessories and hardware from this year’s Xbox E3 2018 Briefing right now. For a list of Microsoft Store locations, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/locations/find-a-store.

WATCH E3 LIVE STREAMING ON MIXER

For additional news, highlights, exclusive reveals and a behind-the-scenes look at some of your favorite games throughout the week of E3, watch Inside Xbox: Live @ E3 on Monday, June 11 at 3 p.m. PDT and tune in to live streaming on Mixer Tuesday, June 12 and Wednesday, June 13.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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More details about Xbox One, Xbox One games and the latest Xbox news at Xbox E3 2018 Briefing can be found at https://news.xbox.com.

Press releases and media assets can be found at https://news.xbox.com/media (and relevant content can be found by clicking on Select Category).

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[i] Select titles only. Requires 20Mbps download speed. Average improvement across FastStart-enabled titles; performance varies by title and internet connection (aka.ms/FastStartGames).

[ii] Xbox Live Gold required to play online multiplayer on Xbox One (sold separately).

[iii] Xbox Live Gold required to play online multiplayer on Xbox One (sold separately).

[iv] Xbox Live Gold required to play game on Xbox One (sold separately).

On her terms: Ghada Khalifa is making a social impact across the Middle East and Africa – Microsoft Life

During the Egyptian revolution of 2011, urban youth groups across Egypt came together to call attention to the variety of societal challenges their communities faced, including economic issues such as high unemployment rates and low wages. With such a pervasive threat to the future of Egypt’s youth, major corporations began to advertise philanthropic programs that aimed to help.

Ghada Khalifa, who was Microsoft’s philanthropy lead for Egypt at the time, noticed a slew of campaigns aimed at supporting the people of Egypt. Despite these commitments, she said, life wasn’t necessarily getting better for the average urban Egyptian; tools and technology that would lead to jobs and empower people never materialized.

“Little to no money was put toward actual community development,” Khalifa said.

Microsoft wanted to take a different approach, using its expertise and technology resources to empower Egyptians so they could then—in turn—enact lasting change. The company assessed the situation, uncovered opportunities to truly add community value, and committed to creating programming that would prepare Egyptians to transform their communities through long-term solutions, Khalifa said.

This was the type of integrity that Khalifa had dared to wish for when she first interviewed with Microsoft for a role in antipiracy in 1996.

Khalifa had challenged her interviewer to better understand how antipiracy was being managed in Egypt. “In my religion, Islam, people who copied the software were committing a sin, so I was passionate about the company’s efforts to prevent it,” she said. “I would never accept a role because it simply drives a company’s bottom line. I would take it on because it was what I wanted to do for my country.”

She hoped her sense of responsibility to improve life for Egyptians—and her strong convictions—would be embraced.

Khalifa had first been introduced to Microsoft years earlier, while working for a friend’s computing magazine, when she had an opportunity to interview several Microsoft employees. She was invited to visit the company’s campus and learn more about its mission, which sparked her initial admiration for the company. “It was very transformative for me,” she said of that first exposure. “It gave me a long-term vision of how tech could impact life, especially in Africa, where tech can make a huge impact on our continent.”

Now, the moment to be a part of Microsoft’s work was right in front of her. But it would have to sync with her principles. Khalifa told the hiring team that if the company did anything that was non-supportive of Egypt, she could not sign on. Her hiring manager explained that that was the passion they desired in the candidate. It turned out that Microsoft valued Khalifa’s conviction and her commitment to Egypt and her culture. She was brought on board.

It was the beginning of a fruitful partnership between Microsoft and Khalifa, who would later move into a Philanthropies role, which would ultimately help to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of her fellow citizens.

Platform to make a difference

In response to the protests, Khalifa spearheaded and led an employment initiative to help Microsoft bring real value to the youth of Egypt. Her team looked at the community and government to identify opportunities for local youth, with the goal of reducing the unemployment rate. At the time there was a staggering growth in the youth population, while unemployment rates were nearly 10 times higher for urban youth with college educations than those who had completed only elementary school.

“We wanted to prevent them from going in a harmful direction, and encourage them toward a beneficiary one,” she said. “I wanted to provide the youth with hope and opportunity, while getting them out of poverty and preventing a stagnated future.”

Khalifa and her team partnered with the Ministry of Youth, the United Nations, universities, STEM schools, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to launch the initiative, part of Microsoft’s global YouthSpark program, which creates opportunities for youth around the world through technology.

The Egypt initiative kicked off in 2011, targeting underserved communities and their respective youth centers to provide IT training, web and app development courses, business training, freelance consulting company setup, and sessions on entrepreneurship. Khalifa explained that after the revolution, jobs were scarce, so the objective of her program was to create opportunity for the very youth who were in the streets during the protests.

“I spent seven months researching, attending research sessions, and meeting with a lot of the youth” to better understand the needs, then rollout the program in phases, she said.

Since 2012, the program has created 91,000 job opportunities with more than 1,400 employers in Egypt. Over 80,000 youth participants have attended career advisement sessions, and more than 400,000 youth have accessed digital, entrepreneurial, and employability skills training.

In addition to her work with the YouthSpark initiative, Khalifa was also a leader in Microsoft Egypt’s intern program. Rather than seek students from top-tier universities, she sought young adults who showed initiative, interest in tech, and came from less affluent backgrounds.

“It’s important that you allow them to innovate and drive out their capacity for leadership, then watch them excel,” she said. “We had to be willing to share the knowledge and take the risk. They learn from you, but you also learn from them.”

Khalifa—now the regional director of Microsoft Philanthropies (Middle East and Africa)—is currently working on other community development programs, using technology to address societal challenges. It’s especially exciting, she says, to be able to take this type of initiative to Sub-Saharan Africa and make an impact.

An example of such impact: across the broader Middle East and Africa region, more than 968,000 youth were upskilled through YouthSpark program activities, more than 462,000 accessed employability services, and 88,000 were connected to job opportunities in 2017 alone.

A strong foundation

“Being strong means you can stand up for what you believe is right, regardless of what others think.”

Khalifa’s father taught her this rule, which became one of the many mantras that has guided her life.

She is most grounded when she is helping others. The practice of giving back is second nature: Khalifa, born and raised in Cairo, says she was taught to always consider the welfare of others.

Her father, a former fighter pilot in Egypt, strongly believed in equality between all genders, backgrounds, and religions.

“He always encouraged us to not judge others and embrace them for who they are and to see the good in them,” she said. “When I was about 9 years old, I made a judgement about a certain sect of Islam. He was so furious that he made me read many books about other religions, not just that sect.”

Khalifa said the exercise reminded her that she is “not a god on Earth” and of the importance of being humble and respecting people of all religions and backgrounds.

As for her mother, she continues to challenge her to this day—although, Khalifa says, her mom doesn’t realize it. Khalifa laughs while explaining how her mother has this “capability of forgiving anybody for everything and never holds grudges.” As a person who is easily angered when she sees another person or an animal being treated unjustly or inhumanely, Khalifa often fights an internal battle to forgive.

“I can’t do that, but I’d love to one day,” she said.

Khalifa shuns the idea of being title driven. For her, it’s not about the position, rather it’s about the good you’ve done in the world.

“At the end of life, your position should not be measured as an output of your life. It should be about the people around you,” she said.

In her spare time

Khalifa has always been a world traveler. “I love history and archaeology, especially ancient history. I’ve enjoyed going to old monuments since I was very young and tagging along with my dad,” she said. “There’s so much wisdom. I find it impressive to see how people during that age used to think.”

Her next stop? She would love to visit China and India.

Meanwhile back home, she’s the “mom” to three Rottweilers (Star, Tarazan, and Rex) and three cats by the names of Posy, Eldu, and Lily. A staunch advocate of animal rights, Khalifa said she’s never one to back down from a fight when she’s sees an animal being harmed.

“I’m crazy about animals,” she said. “They teach humans the value of loyalty, cleanliness, calmness, and warmness.”

With her upbringing, her dedication to helping others, and her fondness of animals, Khalifa continues to embody the tenets of humility and selflessness that her parents taught her. She acknowledges that life can get busy but says one should never forget they can help and improve the world as we know it.

“Sometimes you forget humility as you go along. But, sometimes you just need to be reminded.”

Dell Certified Refurb brown box – XPS 9365 2-in-1

Purchased (15/02/2018) from the Dell Outlet during a discount day

After a few hours of use – Prefer my older XPS 13 instead of the 2-in-1 style :(

So it is up for sale

XPS 13 – 9365 2-in-1
Windows Pro 10
7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7Y75 Processor (4M cache, up to 3.6 GHz)
8GB Memory
QHD Touch Screen

Comes in Dell brown box with charger and usb-c to usb 3.0 adapter – certified refurb not scratch and dent.

Cost £1099.48 (will provide original invoice if needed)

29 months next day on…

Dell Certified Refurb brown box – XPS 9365 2-in-1

Dell Certified Refurb brown box – XPS 9365 2-in-1

Purchased (15/02/2018) from the Dell Outlet during a discount day

After a few hours of use – Prefer my older XPS 13 instead of the 2-in-1 style :(

So it is up for sale

XPS 13 – 9365 2-in-1
Windows Pro 10
7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7Y75 Processor (4M cache, up to 3.6 GHz)
8GB Memory
QHD Touch Screen

Comes in Dell brown box with charger and usb-c to usb 3.0 adapter – certified refurb not scratch and dent.

Cost £1099.48 (will provide original invoice if needed)

29 months next day on…

Dell Certified Refurb brown box – XPS 9365 2-in-1

Top Microsoft Gaming Moments of 2017

During E3 this year, we showed the biggest and most diverse Xbox games lineup ever. Many of those games are coming in 2018, and as gamers we cannot wait to share them with fans. Among Microsoft Studios exclusives games are new IP like Sea of Thieves (launching March 20), deep gameplay in fan-favorite franchises like State of Decay 2, and the explosive return of a celebrated franchise to Xbox with Crackdown 3 – all releasing on Xbox One and PC. That’s in addition to all the great [email protected] and cross-platform games (more on that below), and as well as other unannounced surprises to come.

As we prepare to step into the new year, it’s a great time to reflect on our favorite gaming moments of 2017 on Xbox and PC. We released the world’s most powerful console Xbox One X with the largest games lineup in Xbox history, including more than 1,300 titles and over 220 exclusives. Among those were incredible 2017 releases from Microsoft Studios, third party publishers and innovative independent developers, with over 85 specifically enhanced to take advantage of the power of Xbox One X. We also offered new ways for gamers to access content, interact with spectators and participate in the game development process.

Phil Spencer at E3

The excitement capped recently with The Game Awards, where Forza Motorsport 7 took home Best Sports/Racing Game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds won Best Multiplayer Game, and Cuphead snagged three awards, including Best Independent Game.

Join us as we look back at our top 10 games moments of 2017.

  1. The World’s Most Powerful Console Launches

Reception to Xbox One X has been incredible and we’re so grateful for our fans. One of the things we’ve enjoyed most is seeing how developers are taking advantage of the world’s most powerful console, with 4K Ultra HD, HDR, Dolby Atmos and other exciting features and improvements. Xbox One X truly is the best place to experience games with many enhanced games available and more adding support as we move into 2018.

  1. The Biggest PC Game of 2017 Comes Exclusively to Console on Xbox One

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds took the gaming world by storm in 2017. Over 25 million players experienced PUBG on PC and console fans got a shot at winning their own chicken dinners with its exclusive release on Xbox One as part of the Xbox Game Preview program last week. The reception from Xbox fans has been phenomenal with over one million copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Through the Xbox Game Preview program, fans get to be a part of the development process, and PUBG on Xbox One will continually receive content updates including the new desert map, Miramar, optimizations, and more exciting stuff in the months ahead.

  1. Xbox Game Pass Opens up a New Way to Play

Launching Xbox Game Pass was a big moment for Xbox this year. Giving fans more options to diversify and expand their library of games, as well as discover new experiences has been important to us, which is what we set out to achieve with Xbox Game Pass. We have been excited by the amazing fan reaction and engagement with Xbox Game Pass, which gives unlimited access to over 100 great games on Xbox One.

  1. Xbox is the Best Place to Play Multi-Platform Games

This past year, we worked with fantastic publishers and developers across the industry to make Xbox the best place to play their games. Players responded by playing more than 1,870 third-party games for over 12 billion hours. The Xbox community demonstrated how Xbox Live is the fastest and most reliable gaming network by logging in more than 3.7 billion hours in multiplayer across games from our partners. This has inspired our partners to enhance over 80 Xbox One X games with any combination of benefits like faster loading times, higher resolution textures, HDR support or steadier framerates. We’re looking forward to a great 2018 full of new games and even more Enhanced games with our players and partners.

Xbox One X Launch

  1. Forza Motorsport 7 Sets a New Bar

Throughout the years, Turn 10 Studios has worked hard to push the award-winning Forza franchise to new heights, and the pinnacle (so far) was this year’s Forza Motorsport 7 – a game built from the ground up to showcase native 4K gaming at 60 frames per second on Xbox One X. It was an honor bringing the community the most comprehensive, beautiful and authentic racing game ever made. In September alone, more than 7.9 million unique players raced in the Forza community. Next up is the Xbox One X Enhanced version of Forza Horizon 3 coming January 15, and we’ll have more exciting news in the months to come.

  1. Original Xbox Games Join Backward Compatibility Collection

One of the big highlights this year was bringing Original Xbox classics into the Xbox One Backward Compatibility program. Compatibility is important to Xbox, to developers and their games, and our community. In 2017, we added 136 Xbox 360, 13 Original Xbox and seven enhanced Xbox 360 titles, which helped contribute to the more than 400 titles available today and 740 million hours of Backward Compatible games played to-date.

  1. Independent Developers Drive Innovation

Every year, we look back at all the great games released by independent developers around the world, and 2017 was a banner year for great independent games. First off, we launched the Xbox Live Creators Program in August and it’s already flourishing with more than 100 games playable on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs today. And [email protected] continues to be the home for creativity, innovation, and just plain rad games. From console exclusive Cuphead to Thimbleweed Park, What Remains of Edith Finch to Aer, or Fortnite to Tacoma, and favorites like Ark, Smite, Warframe and Rocket League [email protected] has fast become a super relevant way for independent developers to bring their creations to the Xbox One and Windows 10 community. With Deep Rock Galactic, Battlerite, The Darwin Project, Black Desert, Full Metal Furies, Robocraft, Below and hundreds of others in the pipeline for 2018, 2017 may get a run for its money!

  1. Minecraft Becomes First Game Ever to Unify Players on PC, Mobile, and Console

2017 was a year focused on breaking down barriers for Minecraft. With the release of cross-device multiplayer in the Better Together Update, Mojang and the Minecraft team brought tens of millions of Minecraft players together on the game they love where they want, when they want and on the device they want. In 2018, Minecraft players can look forward to cross-device multiplayer on Nintendo Switch, a whole new world of under-the-sea adventures with the Update Aquatic, a spiffy new graphics engine powering the Super Duper Graphics Pack, and more.

Xbox gamers at Xbox One X launch

  1. Mixer Unlocks New Interactive Streaming Experiences

For the Mixer team, 2017 was about community growth and innovation. We welcomed a ton of new streamers, expanded our existing communities and added new ones, and made huge investments in new features like 4-person Co-Streaming, Mixer HypeZone and our new mobile app for iOS and Android that make Mixer the best place to stream and watch for console, PC, and mobile gamers alike. Seeing communities, creators and game developers unite around new experiences on Mixer has been incredible – Telltale Games using “Crowd Play” enables the audience to control story decisions, for example, or developers using new means of interactivity in Minecraft, The Darwin Project, Death’s Door and more. 2018 will bring even more interactive games as well as new capabilities for streamers.

  1. Reinvesting in Age of Empires

Celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the Age of Empires franchise with the community at gamescom this year was epic. We announced Age of Empires IV there, which has long been on many fan wish lists. Add that we are partnering with Relic Entertainment, one of the best RTS developers in the world, and there is a lot to look forward to with the storied PC franchise. It’s just the beginning, as Age of Empires: Definitive Edition launches early next year, and Definitive Editions of Age of Empires II and Age of Empires III are planned in the future.

  1. The SteamVR library comes to Windows Mixed Reality

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update brings mixed reality to your PC this holiday season, and along with it a catalog of over 2000 of the most popular VR games available with SteamVR. Windows Mixed Reality headsets don’t require any external cameras or sensors, and set up in just minutes so you can enjoy the immersive action of the top VR games available today, along with all of the apps in the Microsoft Store.

On behalf of the entire Xbox team, thank you to all Xbox fans. You are what makes gaming on Xbox great and the motivation that drives our team. 2018 is going to be an amazing year, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out your own personal Xbox Year-in-Review to see how you gamed in 2017. Happy holidays!

Wanted – Urgent – Socket 775 m-ATX Motherboard

Looks like i managed to kill my in-laws motherboard during pc cleaning :blush:
So i need an m-ATX socket 775 motherboard to replace the current Foxconn G31MX-46GMX.
Something similar would be ideal, cpu i have is core2duo E6300, memory is 2 x 2Gb DDR2 800MHz so nothing special needed.
Please note, i can only pay via PPG…….

Thanks
Jamie.

Location: Brandon / Suffolk / UK / IP27

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