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Weekly Respawn 2023w05 - Apex Legends Shutting Down!

Apex Legends Mobile Ends, LoL Gets Hacked & more

This week’s top stories in the gaming industry included developer Respawn announcing the end of Apex Legends Mobile, League of Legends stolen source code, and more!

The End of Apex Legends Mobile

Respawn announced on Twitter that they are ending Apex Legends Mobile. It will no longer be available to play. It disabled all real money in-app purchases on January 31, 2023, which also marked the beginning of a 90-day window of ending the popular battle-royale shooter game. The game will officially end on May 1, 2023.

This announcement was met with surprise and disbelief as players expected Season 4 to drop soon, with some even calling the statement an early April Fool’s joke. Respawn voiced their disappointment and reasoning in a press release stating: “Apex Legends Mobile [had] begun to fall short of [a] bar of quality, quantity, and cadence” that they expect from a mobile game. However, their disappointment may not match up to the player base’s, who were entirely taken off guard by this announcement.  

Many wondered what would happen to their in-game purchases and asked if refunds were possible. While purchases and in-game currency will remain and can be used until May 1, 2023, Respawn will not be providing refunds for real money purchases as per the terms of the EA User Agreement. 

Although the mobile version of the game will cease,  PC and Console versions will continue on. “As a franchise, Apex Legends is strong,” Respawn stated. “We’re looking forward to sharing exciting updates in the future.”

League of Legends Gets Hacked!?

Hackers obtained the source code for League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics, and Packman (a legacy anti-cheat solution) during a breach that allegedly lasted 36 hours. Riot Games, the developer behind League of Legends, confirmed it received a ransom note for $10 million for the stolen source code but publicly announced it had zero intention of paying it. 

The hackers provided Riot Games with two PDFs to prove they had access to Packman and the League of Legends source code. They promised in the ransom to remove the code from their servers if paid and to “provide insight into how the breach occurred and advice on preventing future breaches.” You can read the entire ransom note in this Vice article.

According to Riot Games, players personal data is secure, but the real threat is that the stolen source code is giving cheaters a behind-the-scenes look at how to exploit the game’s mechanics. After Riot declined the ransom offer, the hackers placed the data on auction on a hacking forum. League of Legends source code and Packman were put on auction for a minimum of $1 million and Packman itself for $500,000. Due to this incident, Riot Games had to postpone some of the upcoming patches.

Given the price tag, it’s safe to assume that the attackers believe the source code is valuable. 

OpenAI’s ChatGPT “Pro” In the Works? 

OpenAI plans to release a paid version of its popular AI text-based platform. If you’ve ever used ChatGPT, you’ve probably run into an  “at capacity” error message at some point.Perhaps because the chatbot’s sudden immense popularity made accessing the service difficult. While it may be fun to speak with the AI for personal use, some users have been requesting guaranteed access to it professionally.

Earlier this month, OpenAI announced that it might soon start offering a paid version with an option called ChatGPT Professional. Users can apply for early access to the premium version,  which OpenAI describes as “experimental,” “always available,” faster to respond,  and will provide “as many messages as you need.” The waitlist also specifies that, if selected, OpenAI would reach out to set up  payment and a pilot. 

OpenAI has seemingly already started sending invitations for early access, as one user, Zahid Khawaja, shared a video on Twitter running tests on the new and improved version.

In the video, Khawaja showed the monthly subscription cost at a whopping $42/month. Many users voiced their disappointment over the price and some have begun seeking more cost-effective alternatives, as ChatGPT is one of many AI chatbots currently on the market.ChatGPT has not yet revealed when the professional version will be available. Their website only states: “Unfortunately, ChatGPT professional access is not available for subscription at this time.” 

ChatGPT has captured a lot of early interest, but it will soon have a lot of competition. It’s worth remembering, too, that the AI chatbot market will explode this year. Not only are there systems in development (like Claude), but Microsoft is planning to integrate ChatGPT into both Bing and its office suite, while Google is reportedly rushing to demo its chat-enhanced search product later this year.

Niantic Launches New Mobile Game “NBA All-World” 

Pokemon GO creator Niantic launched their newest game, NBA All-World, earlier this week, and is now available for download.. As with Pokemon GO, NBA All-World players can explore their neighborhoods for collectibles, power-ups, and other items. It is visually quite similar to Pokemon GO. Exploring requires walking to a place, true to Niantic style, and navigating menus by tap- and swipe-gestures. In-app, you’re represented by an avatar on top of a real-world map of your surroundings.

A central theme in NBA All-World is recruiting players. Who can then level up to become the rulers of local basketball courts. Players can challenge each other to three-point shootouts and different minigames in recreations of real-world courts. These do not only increase the level of a player’s recruits but also increase their team level. The higher the team level, the stronger the NBA players an All-World player can recruit.

Although NBA All-World is free-to-play, the merch reflects the basketball fan frenzy around collectibles and there’s an apparent profit motive. Players can purchase the in-game merch and boosts to advance through certain aspects faster. 

Follow NBA All-World on their Twitter to get info on the making of the game, player tutorials, and other content.

Don’t Buy Our Game! – 

The creators of the most expensive game on Steam are discouraging players from buying it.. The game titled The Hidden and Unknown is a story-driven, text-based game that is deeply personal and a reflection of the developer’s life. 

For this reason, (the games developer) intentionally priced it at a  jaw-dropping $1,999,90. Speaking to PCGamesN, the games creator says they would “discourage anyone from buying it if they can’t afford it. The underlying theme is sharing your story and letting people understand that even if you’re in a bad situation, you can work with what you’ve got.”

It remains to be seen if the game lives up to its price as the few who’ve forked over $2000 to play it can’t seem to come to an agreement.