News Blips: Zynga’s money woes, Microsoft denies security breach, always-on DRM in the arcade, and changes to the Dark Souls CE

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Zynga may be heading for financial trouble. According to Business Insider, social-gaming giant Zynga’s Q2 results indicate worrisome trends in revenue and active users. Analyst Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry asks what happened to the company’s profits and writes, "In short, revenue rose by about 15 percent sequentially…and costs rose by nearly 30 percent." He concludes that "costs rose faster than revenue, which is not good news." Secondly, he writes that "Zynga’s monthly active users have been flat for five quarters now," which means that "since 2010, the company’s revenue growth has come mostly from revenue operational efficiencies — i.e., wringing more cash out of existing users — and acquisitions rather than from growing its user base."

Microsoft denies Xbox Live security breach. Website Piki Geek noticed a recent uptick in reports of compromised Xbox Live accounts from users. In response, Microsoft issued this statement:

We do not have any evidence Xbox Live has been compromised. We take the security of our service seriously and work on an ongoing basis to improve it against evolving threats.

Recall, though, that CBC News reported back in July that hackivist group Lulz Security claimed to have released the log-in credentials for "62,000 private internet accounts" that included "Facebook, PayPal, dating sites, Xbox Live, and Twitter." Just to be safe, I recommend that you change your account information, anyway.

Always-on, digital-rights management (DRM) reaches the arcade. Worthplaying reports that arcade machines of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 in Japan will require a constant Internet connection to function at all. In addition, operators need to purchase prepaid cards for their game boards. Each play will deduct points from the system; when the cache reaches zero, the machine will cease to work. If anything undermines industry claims that DRM's purpose is to prevent piracy, this is it.

Dark Souls collector's edition receives a downgrade. You likely didn’t notice, but Namco Bandai silently updated its Dark Souls pre-order page. Website Co-Optimus reports that the included strategy guide will no longer be a hardcopy. The publisher will treat early purchasers with a digital download code instead. You can still buy the book version, The Dark Souls Official Guide, separately.

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