Weekend news round-up: sexual harassment in gaming, teens ditch Facebook

13 Oct 2014

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In our round-up of the weekend’s tech news, another female video games executive has had to flee her home for tackling sexual harassment, business grads choose tech over banking, and teens are over Facebook.

Sexual harassment in gaming

A leading video game developer Brianna Wu was forced to flee her home in Boston at the weekend after receiving death threats, Kotaku reported. Wu, who developed a well-received game called Revolution 60, was critical of the newly formed Gamergate movement and what she and others say is targeting of women in the games industry.

After catching the attention of a Gamergate chatroom on 8chan Wu was viciously attacked on Twitter and saw personal information about herself and her husband posted online.

“Wu's account of her harassment was widely retweeted last night and viewed, by many, as a distressing new incident to add to the progression of people in gaming, mainly women, who've born the brunt of intense harassment largely due to their views on games and the gaming scene. Wu joins Zoe Quinn, the indie developer who was the original target for what was then not yet called Gamergate in late August and who said she had to leave her home due to threats. There is also Anita Sarkeesian, the critic behind a video series about the depiction of women in gaming, who chronicled in late August the most recent threats that had her leaving home and notifying police out of fear for her safety.”

Teens are officially over Facebook

The Washington Post has reported that teens are officially done with social network Facebook having fled Mark Zuckerberg’s parent-flooded shores for the more forgiving embraces of Twitter and Instagram.

“Between fall 2014 and spring 2014, when Piper Jaffray last conducted this survey, Facebook use among teenagers aged 13 to 19 plummeted from 72 percent to 45 percent. In other words, less than half of the teenagers surveyed said ‘yes’ when asked if they use Facebook.”

Laugh so hard even your face (and wallet) will hurt

The BBC reported at the weekend that a comedy club in Barcelona is experimenting with charging users per laugh, using facial-recognition technology to track how much they enjoyed the show.

“The software is installed on tablets attached to the back of each seat at the Teatreneu club. Each laugh is charged at 0.30 cents (23p) with a cap of €24 (£18). Takings are up so far. The project was developed to combat falling audience numbers.

“Partnering with advertising agency The Cyranos McCann, the experiment was a reaction to increased government taxes on theatre tickets, which in turn led to drastic drops in audience numbers.

“The results of the experiment have so far proved positive with overall ticket prices up by €6, according to the theatre.”

The end of the line for WiMax

Once WiMax would have competed with 3G and 4G as a technology that would provide blanket broadband coverage. But now, according to Fierce Wireless, the death knell for the technology has been sounded by US carrier Sprint which will shut off WiMax services in early November.

“In the spring of 2013, before it acquired Clearwire, Sprint started laying the groundwork to get its WiMAX customers onto LTE devices. Under its revised terms of service, Sprint said it ‘expressly reserves the right to migrate’ customers from its WiMAX service to Sprint's LTE service. ‘Reasonable advance notice’ will be given to customers who might be impacted, and they will have several options: They can choose to finish their contract without WiMAX capability, they can deactivate their service without being charged an early termination fee, or they can transition to Sprint's LTE network.”

Business school graduates shun banking for tech

Traditionally graduates of the world’s leading business schools flocked to join investment banks. However, according to The Economist, bonus cuts and cultural shifts means banks are being shunned in favour of consulting and technology firms.

“Tech firms and consultants both appeal to the growing number of students who want to gain the right experience to start their own business. A survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, an association of business schools, found that although only 4pc of MBAs have entrepreneurial experience when they enter their course, 26pc say they want to start companies after they graduate.

“Competition for the best students is also coming from the non-bank financial-services sector, notably hedge funds and private-equity (PE) firms. Five years ago it was rare for such places to recruit MBAs straight from campuses. Instead they would often poach talent from the banks. But now several big schools, including Harvard and Wharton, are building formal recruiting ties with such firms.”

Sexual harassment image at top via Shutterstock

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com