Pokemon Go PvP Trainer Battles: How They Work, How To Start, And More

After a few teases, Niantic recently confirmed that PvP Trainer Battles are coming to Pokemon Go. Now, the developer has announced even more details about how Trainer Battles will work, who can participate, and more. We also went hands-on with a demo version of these battles, which currently don’t have a firm release date–though they are set to arrive in Pokemon Go soon.

Functionally, Trainer Battles work similarly to Gym or Raid Battles in Pokemon Go. They are more or less real-time and require you to tap the screen to attack, which builds up a stronger “charge attack” that you can unleash for a ton of damage. There are a few differences, however. There’s no dodging; instead, before your opponent uses a charge attack, you’ll have the option to use a Protect shield to block it. You have a limited number of these per battle (we had two in the demo), so timing their use properly and considering the Pokemon in play adds a bit of strategy to the simple tapping system.

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As previously announced, there are three “leagues” to help make Trainer Battles accessible to all levels of player. The Great league is capped at 1500 CP, the Ultra league caps at 2500, and the Master league has no CP limit. Before battling, you can set a battle party in each of the divisions. You’re allowed three Pokemon per party, rather than the traditional six; Niantic representatives said that six-Pokemon battles dragged on far too long for an on-the-go game. Trainer Battles also have a current time limit of 240 seconds to avoid overlong matches. Note that while Legendary Pokemon are permitted, Ditto and Shedinja won’t be allowed in Trainer Battles at launch.

You can battle either in-person or remotely, though long-distance battles have more limitations. You can only battle with faraway friends you’ve been friends with for a while–specifically, you have to be Ultra Friends or above in Pokemon Go. In person, you can battle anyone, even if you aren’t friends in the game, just by scanning a QR code in a new battle menu. You also have the option of battling one of the three NPC team leaders for practice.

One of the best things about the new Trainer Battle system is that there’s no reason not to do it. Both winner and loser get rewards, and each one has the same chance to get a particularly rare item: a Sinnoh Stone, which is used for evolving certain Gen 4 Pokemon. While there’s no limit to the number of battles per day, you’re limited to three rewards per day when battling real people and one reward per day from the NPC battles. On top of that, the game tracks wins but not losses, and you won’t need any healing items post-battle like you do after Gym and Raid Battles, so there’s really no downside to battling.

Finally, the update will introduce the ability to unlock a second charge attack on any Pokemon using Stardust and candy, though the exact resource cost hasn’t been confirmed. The second attack can be used in any type of battle, and it affords you more flexibility with a Pokemon and the type matchups it’s prepared for.

No release date for Pokemon Go’s Trainer Battles has been announced, but a Niantic representative told GameSpot that the update “will begin to roll out to players worldwide later this month.” While you wait, Niantic is bringing back six Legendaries for December’s Field Research tasks, so it’s a good time to stock up on strong Pokemon.

A New Furry Fighter Joins Mutant Year Zero’s Anthropomorphic Squad

The Bearded Ladies Consulting, developer of Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, has revealed Farrow, a new fox character for the upcoming X-COM-inspired tactical game. Mutant Year Zero is set for release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on December 4, so the new character comes as a last-minute surprise.

Farrow is described as an assassin who specializes in stealth tactics, equipped with gear and skills that give her the ability to move quickly yet silently through a battlezone. She will fight alongside the two previously known characters, the iconic duck, Dux, and the grizzly looking boar, Bormin. Farrow’s skillset will compliment Bormin’s explosive launcher and tank-like defense, as well as Dux’s preference for long-ranged sniper attacks.

Mutant Year Zero's newest survivor, Farrow the fox.
Mutant Year Zero’s newest survivor, Farrow the fox.

Mutant Year Zero’s reveal earlier this year struck a chord thanks to its unusual cast, and it was given a bump in the public eye thanks to Microsoft’s recent announcement of its inclusion in the Xbox Game Pass program at XO18.

The Bearded Ladies dev team is made up of former Hitman and Payday developers, and Mutant Year Zero is based on a popular pen and paper RPG from Sweden, simply titled ‘Mutant’. In addition to releasing on Xbox One, the game will also arrive on PC and on PlayStation 4 early next month.

Blockchain gaming gets a boost with Mythical Games’ $16M Series A

Fortnite, the free multi-player survival game, has earned an astonishing $1 billion from in-game virtual purchases alone. Now, others in the gaming industry are experimenting with how they too can capitalize on new trends in gaming.

Mythical Games, a startup out of stealth today with $16 million in Series A funding, is embracing a future in gaming where user-generated content and intimate ties between players, content creators, brands and developers is the norm. Mythical is using its infusion of venture capital to develop a line of PC, mobile and console games on the EOSIO blockchain, which will also be open to developers to build games with “player-owned economies.”

The company says an announcement regarding its initial lineup of games is on the way.

Mythical is led by a group of gaming industry veterans. Its chief executive officer is John Linden, a former studio head at Activision and president of the Niantic-acquired Seismic Games. The rest of its C-suite includes chief creative officer Jamie Jackson, another former studio head at Activision; chief product officer Stephan Cunningham, a former director of product management at Yahoo; and head of blockchain Rudy Koch, a former senior producer at Blizzard — the Activision subsidiary known for World of Warcraft. Together, the team has worked on games including Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Marvel Strike Force and Skylanders.

Galaxy Digital’s EOS VC Fund has led the round for Mythical. The $325 million fund, launched earlier this year, is focused on expanding the EOSIO ecosystem via strategic investments in startups building on EOSIO blockchain software. Javelin Venture Partners, Divergence Digital Currency, cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin and others also participated in the round.

Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, raises $1.25 billion

It’s no surprise investors are getting excited about the booming gaming business given the success of Epic Games, Twitch, Discord and others in the space.

Epic Games raised a $1.25 billion round late last month thanks to the cultural phenomenon that its game, Fortnite, has become. KKR, Iconiq Capital, Smash Ventures,Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners and others participated in that round. Discord, a chat application for gamers, raised a $50 million financing in April at a $1.65 billion valuation from Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners, IVP, Spark Capital and Tencent. And Dapper Labs, best known for the blockchain-based game CryptoKitties, even raised a VC round this year — a $15 million financing led by Venrock, with participation from GV and Samsung NEXT.

In total, VCs have invested $1.8 billion in gaming startups this year, per PitchBook.

Bunch scores $3.8M to turn mobile games into video chat LAN parties

Reveal Hidden Structures in Data

Learn how Quantum Insights implemented a sophisticated and complicated algorithm in record time with a minimum amount of debugging

Quantum Insights invented a novel way of revealing structures hidden in big, complex sets of data. Its challenge was to develop a GUI capable of displaying the animations that make the algorithm easy to use and, at the same time, support the complex underlying mathematics.  It used the symbolic computation tool Maple, and because of the way Maple’s interface works, Quantum Insights was able to quickly get a proof of concept in a matter of days, using interpreted code. In addition, they also successfully replaced the interpreted code with compiled code to make it possible to handle large datasets with the requisite speed. Finally, they were able to prototype the approach using Maple’s threads package.

Marvin Weinstein, the CEO of Quantum Insights will explain and demonstrate this novel approach in this webinar.


Dr. Marvin Weinstein, CEO, Quantum Insights

Dr. Weinstein is a theoretical physicist who worked at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University for 42 years.  He specialized in non-perturbative methods in quantum field theory. His ground-breaking research in this area led to the development of a quantum mechanics-based method for mapping the density of data.  After being granted three patents related to the application of these quantum techniques to data analytics, Marvin retired from Stanford SLAC in 2013 to found Quantum Insights, a company at the cutting edge of precision medicine. Quantum Insights’ algorithms are built into a proprietary library called that Maple calls.

Dr. Samir Khan, Product Manager, Maplesoft

Dr. Khan graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Nottingham, and completed a PhD in Fluid Dynamics at Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He has played several key roles in selling, supporting and marketing math and simulation software during his professional career, and has also consulted in thermo-fluid modeling and energy simulation. Dr. Khan is currently the Product Manager for Maple in professional markets.


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Wreck-It-Ralph could be appearing in Fortnite

Ralph Breaks the Internet

(Photo: YouTube)

Wreck-It-Ralph could seen be coming to Fortnite according to a new video that was leaked by dataminers.

A short video was found by in the program files for the game and the brief clip showed Wreck-It-Ralph walking across the screen and waving, which you can see below.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Fortnite has had a crossover with a popular franchise, as it previously had success helping to promote Avengers: Infinity War.

Many fans have been left wondering whether there will be more to come from Wreck-It-Ralph on Fortnite over the next week.

Players have now discovered that the clip has been playing on the big screen at the drive-in cinema at Risky Reels.

This is likely the main use for the video and some kind of promotional tie-in between the two companies.

It could be a sign of more to come over the next week to help promote the new Ralph Breaks the Internet movie which comes out this month.

Earlier this year Fortnite launched a special limited-time game mode that helped promote Avengers: Infinity Wars when it was in the cinema.

The game mode let Fortnite fans play as the Avengers villain Thanos and cause chaos around the map.

Whether a similar approach will be taken this time isn’t yet clear, but it has already got some fans very excited.

Epic Games has yet to announce any kind of crossover with the creators of Wreck-It-Ralph, which has led some people to believe that there is more to come than just a short video.

Ralph Breaks the Internet has just released in the US and will be available in other parts of the world over the next week, so there is time for a big event to start over the next few days.

On Tuesday Epic Games launched the newest Fortnite LTM which has a Wild West theme that ties in with the game’s latest weapon – dynamite.

MORE: Fortnite update adds dynamite and Wild West LTM

MORE: Games Inbox: Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 20th anniversary, Fallout 76 reception, and PUBG decline

What If Banks Were the Main Protectors of Customers’ Private Data?

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The ability to collect and exploit consumers’ personal data has long been a source of competitive advantage in the digital economy. It is their control and use of this data that has enabled the likes of Google, Amazon, Alibaba, and Facebook to dominate online markets.

But consumers are increasingly concerned about the vulnerability that comes with surrendering data. A growing number of cyberattacks — the hackings of credit watch companies Experian (in 2015) and Equifax (in 2017) being cases in point, not to mention the likely interference by Russian government sponsored hackers in the 2016 US Presidential elections — have triggered something of a “techlash”.

Even without these scandals, it is likely that sooner or later every netizen will have suffered at some point from a bad data experience: from their credit card number being stolen, to their account getting hacked, or their personal details getting exposed; from suffering embarrassment from an inappropriate ad while at work, to realizing that their favorite airline is charging them more than they charge others for the same flight.

The most practical consequence of the concerns generated by data hacking has been the imposition of more stringent privacy regulation, of which the most obvious example is the European Union’s new GDPR. We can certainly expect this trend to continue around the world. And digital natives are likely to become more rather than less sensitive to the value of their data.

The obvious consequence from these trends is that the big tech firms will find it increasingly difficult to legally use the personal data they collect.  At the same time, that data can be a toxic asset as it is hard to keep safe and coveted by many. A company that collects more data than it really needs is unnecessarily generating more risk because each personal datum is the object of a potential leak or lawsuit.  And at least some of the personal data that companies gather generates little or no value for them — data that is inaccurate, out of date, unlawful, or simply irrelevant.

In this environment online merchants will have to find ways to do more with less data — whether through smarter application of analytics or because they introduce a business model that enables them to offer their services without collecting sensitive data.  But those changes do not really resolve the underlying challenge: how can consumers protect their digitized data?  Prior to the digital age, that data was kept on paper which meant it could be protected by physical means and was relatively difficult to share. Today, the IT skills needed to protect digitized data are beyond most consumers and even most of the traditional custodians of data.

This points to a business opportunity.  But whose?  One obvious possibility is that a few big tech companies — such as Apple, or maybe someone new — could become consumers’ data guardians.  Amazon, for instance, could offer an option on Prime in which it manages users’ personal data for them, liaising with other companies and platforms but remaining in control of the data.    There are problems with this approach.  If the company is new, users might be unwilling to give up their most sensitive information to an organization that has still to prove its trustworthiness. That would be less of a risk for a household name like Amazon, but in that instance, users might rightly hesitate to give an already hugely powerful digital corporation even more power over them.

Another option that consumers might take would be to follow the approach being explored by Solid, a project led by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.  Solid proposes that users store their personal data in virtual ‘pods’ that work like secure USBs through which users can share their data with whomever they want. It is uncertain whether the project will be able to garner enough support and resources to make it workable, widely available, and affordable. Users can store their pod with Solid — in which case we bump again into questions of trust and power — or keep it themselves. But if consumers keep the data themselves, that may not be as safe as it should be—a USB, physical or virtual, can easily get lost or stolen. It would be like keeping your money under your mattress.

This analogy brings me to perhaps the most likely scenario.  Maybe the best-suited institutions to manage digital data are banks. In a sense, banks are already data guardians. After all, most of the money in circulation is virtual, nothing but data. They also have a long history of being at the forefront of security methods, from the development of the vault to multi-factor authentication. Moreover, banks have experience in safeguarding privacy through their commitment to confidentiality. Finally, banks tend to have more local and personal relationships with their clients in ways that might make users feel safer than trusting their data to an international corporation. And if you’re unhappy with one bank, you can always switch to another. Banks’ business model and their experience give them a comparative advantage over other businesses to become our personal data guardians.

Of course, banks are far from perfect.  They are notoriously conservative, which may make them slower to roll out necessary updates to the technology involved. And regulatory hurdles might make it hard for them to expand their services. But given that governments have an interest in making sure their citizens can keep their personal data safe, and that banks may need to innovate and transform themselves in order to outlive fintech competition, these possible obstacles do not seem insurmountable. Maybe someday in the not so distant future we will keep our data where we keep our money.


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