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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 30th Jan 2018

Openreach CEO Clive Selley describes programme as "one of the fastest broadband deployments in the world"

Government claims it has reached national 95 per cent superfast broadband target

Superfast broadband is now available to 95 per cent of residential and business premises across the UK, the government has claimed today, which it suggests is up from 29.4 per cent in 2010. Wales has reach the 94 per cent mark, it added. 

Most households and businesses can now access broadband connections of more than 24Mbps, the government claims. "We need to get this caveat in very quickly, the 95% target is not a consistent 95% across all communities in the UK," it said.

Areas such as Epsom, Tamworth, Worthing and Watford are pushing into the 99 per cent coverage zone, while the City of London (50.3 per cent), Orkney Islands (66.8 per cent), Western Isles (71 per cent) and Kingston upon Hull (71.7 per cent) all lag behind.


However, the government was keen to push its £1.7 billion in funding for the roll-out of superfast broadband to areas deemed "not commercially viable", which it claims has helped reach more than 4.5 million UK premises that would otherwise still be without half-decent broadband.

"Providing access to reliable, high speed broadband is probably the single most important thing we can do to ensure the sustainability of our rural communities and businesses and as such it is fantastic to hear that Wales has reached 94% for superfast broadband coverage," said Wales minister Stuart Andrew.

He added: "Wales had a much bigger gap to close than England and so it's really positive news that they've made such giant steps in closing the digital divide, particularly given the very challenging topography in Wales."

Clive Selley, CEO of BT's independent infrastructure arm Openreach - which has benefited the most from government funding for broadband roll-outs - described it as "one of the fastest broadband deployments in the world".

He added that Openreach was "determined to get Britain - the whole of Britain - hooked up to decent broadband speeds", adding that the organisation would "be continuing to expand our network to address the remaining ‘not-spots' through a combination of our own commercial programmes and our partnerships with local authorities and communities".

Commenting on the news, Thinkbroadband explained that the rollout consists of a "mixture of commercial and gap-funded solutions". And many projects are beginning to focus on G.fast and fibre to the premises [FTTP] in commercial areas.

The organisation said superfast roll-outs will continue to improve, potentially reaching 100 per cent within the next few years.

"The hope is that roll-outs will eventually deliver superfast to 97 per cent to 98 per cent of premises before 2020, and the focus of a lot of the work in terms of tracking coverage now from ourselves, Ofcom and DCMS will be looking into how likely that looks and how many premises fall into the USO [universal service obligation] category."

However, people in many rural areas will still be disappointed, it added, such as in "places like Hatherden and Wildhern in Hampshire [that] still have no superfast broadband coverage".

It continued: "The biggest concern people have with the coverage statistics is that they know they cannot get superfast broadband due to the distance from the VDSL2 cabinet, but still presume that Openreach has been paid to deliver it to them and thus feel the projects have been wasting money. "

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 30th Jan 2018

Scientists claim to have found a process for turning worn-out batteries back into new ones

Nano-engineers develop technique to restore lithium ion batteries used in smartphones and electric vehicles

Yang Shi & Professor Zheng Chen developed a method to recycle and regenerate cathodes of spent lithium ion batteries. Image copyright David Baillot/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Scientists claim to have developed a battery recycling process that restores worn cathodes in lithium ion batteries, enabling them to be re-used like new. 

Nano-engineers from the University of California, San Diego detailed the process this week, which takes cathodes from used batteries and turns them into new ones.

They explained that the process takes worn-out cathode particles from old batteries, before boiling and heat-treating them. The researchers say there were able to use them to create batteries that operated like new ones. 


Zheng Chen, a professor of nano-engineering at University of California, San Diego, led the process. He said it could transform the way batteries are manufactured and recycled. 

If we can sustainably harvest and re-use materials from old batteries, we can potentially prevent such significant environmental damage and waste

"Think about the millions of tons of lithium ion battery waste in the future, especially with the rise of electric vehicles, and the depletion of precious resources like lithium and cobalt - mining more of these resources will contaminate our water and soil,' he explained.

"If we can sustainably harvest and re-use materials from old batteries, we can potentially prevent such significant environmental damage and waste."

Working with the sustainable power and energy centre at UC San Diego, Chen explained that this work could "address economic issues related to battery waste". 

"The price of lithium, cobalt and nickel has increased significantly. Recovering these expensive materials could lower battery costs," he said.

Published in Green Chemistry, this research specifically focused on a battery cathode material called lithium cobalt oxide. It's used in electrical devices, such as smartphones and laptops.

However, the actual method can also be extended to NMC, which is a type of lithium cathode made up of nickel, manganese and cobalt. It, too, is common in consumer electronic devices.

After taking particles from used batteries, researchers exposed them to "a hot, alkaline, solution containing lithium salt" that can be "recycled and re-used to process more batches". They were able to make new batteries in the lab.

Chen added: "We can simply restore the degraded material by putting it through the same processing steps. The goal is to make this a general recycling process for all cathodes." 

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 29th Jan 2018

Businesses don't understand how to protect themselves with the move to the cloud, big data and the IoT

Thales warns: businesses are embracing new technologies, but leaving security behind

Thales warns: businesses are embracing new technologies, but leaving security behind

With data breaches climbing to a new record high last year, businesses are turning to emerging technology to protect themselves and their information.

The 2018 Thales Data Threat Report shows that almost every organisation in the world - 94 per cent - has embraced a ‘transformative technology' like the IoT, blockchain, mobile and the cloud.

Thales questioned 1,200 senior executives in Asia, Europe and North America and found that almost all (99 per cent) are using big data, and similar numbers are implementing IoT technologies (94 per cent) and mobile payments (91 per cent). As-a-service models are also gaining in popularity, with wide adoption of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS.


However, the use of these new environments is a factor in the rise in data breaches, Thales warns.

New technologies mean that old security techniques lose their effectiveness, or may no longer work at all. At the time of the 2018 survey, 67 per cent of respondents had been breached, and 36 per cent in the last year. In comparison, 26 per cent had been breached in the last year in the 2017 study.

Report author Garrett Bekker of 451 Research said, "[W]hile times have changed, security strategies have not - security spending increases that focus on the data itself are at the bottom of IT security spending priorities, leaving customer data, financial information and intellectual property severely at risk."

Although nearly 80 per cent of respondents say that data-at-rest solutions are the most effective at preventing breaches (closely followed by network security and data-in-motion), almost 60 per cent are spending the most on endpoint and mobile security. Data-at-rest solutions were at the bottom of 40 per cent of respondents' security budget priorities.

Encryption was another popular technology, acknowledged as the best way to increase cloud security and meet GDPR requirements.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 29th Jan 2018


Media captionMinister Matt Hancock tells BBC Breakfast both government and social media companies can do more.

Children at risk of online grooming should be sent automatic alerts as part of the government's internet safety strategy, the NSPCC has said.

The children's charity said existing algorithms could be used to flag suspected groomers to moderators.

A "staggering" 1,316 offences were recorded in the first six months of a new child grooming law being introduced last year in England and Wales.

Minister Matt Hancock said he would be robust with social media companies.

The minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said the government was working on making the UK the safest place in the world to go online and that can and "must" include grooming alerts.

He told BBC Breakfast that as a father of three young children it was something that "really mattered" to him.

Before the new offence of sexual communication with a child was introduced in April, police could not intervene until groomers attempted to meet their targets face-to-face.

Of the cases recorded, the youngest victim was a seven-year-old girl, although girls aged between 12 and 15 were the most likely to be targeted by predators.

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat were the most common sites used by offenders, making up 63% of all incidents.

The NSPCC, which campaigned to bring in the new legislation, has criticised social media companies for not making the most of the technology they already use to enforce the law.

Algorithms - the calculations that tell computers what to do - are currently used by social media companies to flag up images of child abuse, hate speech and extremist material.

The charity said the same techniques should be used to pick up "grooming language" and then send an automatic alert to both the child and moderators.


By Chris Baraniuk, BBC Technology Reporter

A child looking at a laptop screenImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionFacebook, Instagram and Snapchat were the most common sites used by offenders

Automatically identifying malicious or illegal content is something that social networks already do, in some measure.

For example, give a machine learning system thousands of nude pictures and it can, much of the time, go on to pick out new examples of nude pictures in the future.

However, the specifics of these algorithms are closely guarded secrets - companies like Facebook don't like competitors to know too much about content filtering, or that they have established a certain way of doing things that they may later decide to change.

But concerns over how much these sites are doing to tackle problematic material are not new. While Facebook already does some work in identifying grooming behaviour, social networks in general may be reluctant to take on too much responsibility in this area.

Should any new anti-child predator system be shown to have failings or loopholes, they could face even greater criticism.

Tony Stower, head of child safety online at the NSPCC, said that despite the "staggering number of offences", government and social networks are not properly working together to stop this crime from happening.

"Government's Internet Safety Strategy must require social networks to build in technology to keep their young users safe, rather than relying on police to step in once harm has already been done," he said.

The NSPCC said an existing voluntary code of practice does not go far enough and has called for a mandatory code to be put in place.

Meanwhile Facebook said it was already using technology to identify grooming behaviour.

Vera Baird, victim affairs lead at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said she expected the number of cases to be higher given the "endemic" scale of online grooming.

She said alerts are "imperative" to prevention, but should be accompanied by sex and relationships education so that children know how to respond to such a warning.

The Home Office said £20m was spent pursuing grooming offenders in 2017.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 23rd Jan 2018

Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama AP Images


  • A Facebook employee has made a blog post about the company's response to the latest allegations about Russian meddling in Western democracy. 
  • He has admitted that Facebook should have done better. 
  • Another test on social medias role in elections is coming up in March with Italy's national elections.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc warned on Monday that it could offer no assurance that social media was on balance good for democracy, but the company said it was trying what it could to stop alleged meddling in elections by Russia or anyone else.

The sharing of false or misleading headlines on social media has become a global issue, after accusations that Russia tried to influence votes in the United States, Britain and France. Moscow denies the allegations.

Facebook, the largest social network with more than 2 billion users, addressed social media's role in democracy in blog posts from a Harvard University professor, Cass Sunstein, and from an employee working on the subject.

"I wish I could guarantee that the positives are destined to outweigh the negatives, but I can't," Samidh Chakrabarti, a Facebook product manager, wrote in his post.

Facebook, he added, has a "moral duty to understand how these technologies are being used and what can be done to make communities like Facebook as representative, civil and trustworthy as possible."

Contrite Facebook executives were already fanning out across Europe this week to address the company's slow response to abuses on its platform, such as hate speech and foreign influence campaigns.

U.S. lawmakers have held hearings on the role of social media in elections, and this month Facebook widened an investigation into the run-up to Britain's 2016 referendum on EU membership.

Chakrabarti expressed Facebook's regrets about the 2016 U.S. elections, when according to the company Russian agents created 80,000 posts that reached around 126 million people over two years.

The company should have done better, he wrote, and he said Facebook was making up for lost time by disabling suspect accounts, making election ads visible beyond the targeted audience and requiring those running election ads to confirm their identities.

Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google and YouTube have announced similar attempts at self-regulation.

Chakrabarti said Facebook had helped democracy in ways, such as getting more Americans to register to vote.

Sunstein, a law professor and Facebook consultant who also worked in the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama, said in a blog post that social media was a work in progress and that companies would need to experiment with changes to improve.

Another test of social media's role in elections lies ahead in March, when Italy votes in a national election already marked by claims of fake news spreading on Facebook.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 23rd Jan 2018

Britain's Kyle Edmund stunned third seed Grigor Dimitrov to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open.

Edmund was playing in the last eight of a major for the first time but showed few nerves in a 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4 win.

The world number 49 becomes only the sixth British man to reach the last four at a Grand Slam in the Open era.

He will play sixth seed Marin Cilic on Thursday for a place in the final.

"It's an amazing feeling," said Edmund.

"With these sort of things, you're emotionally engaged and you don't take it in. At the end of a hard match, I just tried to enjoy the moment.

"It's my first match on this court and it was very special."

Edmund joins list of British 'idols'

Andy Murray, Greg Rusedski, John Lloyd, Roger Taylor and Tim Henman - who was watching from the front row on Rod Laver Arena - are the only other British men to have reached Grand Slam singles semi-finals since tennis turned professional in 1968.

Edmund has long looked the most likely to join that list, but few would have predicted it would happen at this year's Australian Open.

Ranked 49th and without an ATP final to his name, let alone a title, logic suggested there were several more steps to make before becoming a major contender.

However, the 23-year-old Yorkshireman's huge forehand is already one of the biggest shots in the game, and marked improvements on serve and return in the off-season appear to have fast-tracked him.

"It's great," added Edmund. "You don't think of those things when you play but it's something to be proud of.

"As a kid you're growing up looking at your idols and when you're here progressing in the best tournament in the world, it's amazing."

'I prayed that last ball was out'

Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund hit 46 winners to Grigor Dimitrov's 32

Dimitrov, 26, had won a much-anticipated match against Nick Kyrgios to reach the last eight, but his form had been patchy before then and he failed to impose himself on the powerful Edmund.

The Bulgarian dropped serve in the opening game with a loose backhand and, despite levelling at 3-3, it was a fair reflection of the play when Edmund hammered a forehand return to break again at 5-3.

The serve he had worked so hard on came to his rescue in seeing off three break-back points, and after 42 minutes the outsider was a set up.

A scrappy second set slipped away from Edmund at the start as Dimitrov raced into a 3-0 lead and held on, despite an edgy seventh game that included three double faults.

Inspired to play tennis?

Rafael Nadal

Find out how to get into tennis in our special guide.

Dimitrov's athleticism was on show with some brilliant defence early in the third set but the more experienced man was the one to crack.

A loose forehand offered up two break points and a seventh double fault of the day gifted Edmund the chance to serve out the set.

When Dimitrov hooked a wild forehand wide to drop serve midway through the fourth set there appeared no way back, but the tension took hold as Edmund handed it straight back with a poor service game.

Again there was an opening for the world number three to take charge, but once more it was Edmund who looked the calmer with victory in his sights.

He pressed for the break in game seven and then upped the pressure in game nine, opening with a hooked forehand winner followed by a backhand arrowed down the line.

Grigor Dimitrov

Grigor Dimitrov won the ATP Finals in London in November but is yet to reach a Grand Slam final, losing in the semi-finals to Rafael Nadal in Melbourne in 2017

A first break point slipped way, but Edmund got his racquet on a good serve to float back a return on the second, and a desperate Dimitrov slammed his forehand into the net.

With Swedish coach Fredrik Rosengren a bundle of nerves in the stands, the Briton was thankful for a Dimitrov error at 15-30 and followed up with an ace.

There was one final moment of drama on match point when Edmund was made to wait - before Hawkeye eventually confirmed that Dimitrov had sent the ball long.

"He's played hard matches, especially against Nick Kyrgios, and I knew it was going to be tough," said Edmund.

"I had a bit of a dip and I was playing quite poor tennis at times. But I held my nerve and prayed that last ball was out."

Analysis - Edmund shows 'perfect timing'

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

That was Edmund's 12th attempt to beat a top five player, so he has shown perfect timing as well as the game to beat the world number three.

For a man making his Grand Slam quarter-final debut, on his first appearance in the Rod Laver Arena, Edmund played a hugely impressive first set. And even during the second set, which Dimitrov won, there were signs that all was not well with the Bulgarian's game.

His first serve virtually deserted him in the third set, and again, Edmund was there to take advantage.

The British player out-served Dimitrov, hit a healthy number of forehand winners, and profited handsomely when moving forward to the net.

Edmund is yet to reach a final at tour level. Thursday night would be a handy time to break his duck.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 23rd Jan 2018

Bitcoin miningImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionProducing or mining crypto-coins uses lots of computers to do complicated maths

Booming interest in crypto-currencies has been blamed for pushing up the prices of graphics cards.

The cards are popular because they speed up the process of minting or "mining" crypto-coins.

Keen miners are buying graphics cards in large quantities and running them in parallel to boost their coin-producing efforts.

Their actions have led some makers and sellers of graphics cards to limit how many people can buy at any time.

Writing on PC Gamer, Jarred Walton said: "Right now is the worst time in the history of graphics cards to buy or upgrade this all-important gaming component."

Gamers only

Many websites that cover the PC and computer component industry are reporting that top-end video cards are selling for far more than the price seen on a manufacturer's site.

For instance, Nvidia's GTX 1080 Ti is priced at £679 on the firm's store but the same card costs more than £900 on almost every well-known electronic retailer's site - though on one, the price is closer to £2,000. It is being offered for similar prices by smaller stores and auction sites.

Surging demand has also meant that many stores have sold out of the best-performing cards.

In response to the high demand, Nvidia has asked firms that sell its hardware to try to vet buyers so cards end up in the hands of gamers rather than crypto-coin enthusiasts, German tech news Codebase.de has reported.

"For Nvidia, gamers come first," said a statement given to the news site.

As well as issuing these instructions Nvidia has put a limit on the number of video cards people can buy from its store.

Computer motherboardImage copyrightDAMIEN MEYER

Image captionThe higher prices are making it tricky for people who like to build or upgrade their PC

Retailers Scan, Overclockers and Ebuyer have followed suit and, for many Nvidia and AMD cards, will only let people buy one at a time.

"The crypto-currency boom has had a dramatic effect on the cost and supply of some PC gaming graphics cards," said Ben Hardwidge, editor of magazine Custom PC, which gives advice on building computers from scratch and upgrading hardware.

"The retailers I've spoken to about this issue describe it as unprecedented," Mr Hardwidge told the BBC. "It's usually not individuals buying up the cards, but organised firms buying bulk loads of cards to set up a graphics processing farm."

He said the effect had been seen across many different cards, and rising prices across the board meant relatively low-powered components now commanded premium prices.

Really powerful cards tended to use a lot of power, he said, which might mean less room for the profits miners hope to make as they mint and trade coins.

"It's often the mid-range graphics cards that offer the best bang-per-buck for currency mining," he said. "That's where we've really seen the effects of the crypto-currency boom hit the hardest."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 22nd Jan 2018

mark zuckerberg facebook ceo sadMark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • Facebook says it will start prioritizing news from outlets that its users think are "trustworthy."
  • The change comes amid criticism that the social network helps to spread misinformation.
  • Facebook's CEO said the company wasn't "comfortable" deciding for itself whether a news outlet is reliable.

Facebook says it will start sorting news sources by how "trustworthy" its users think they are — a major change as the social media giant continues to come under fire over the spread of misinformation on its platform.

On Friday, the California tech giant announced in a blog post that it would alter the algorithm for picking news to show in its News Feed based on whether the news is considered "trustworthy," whether it is "informative," and whether it is "relevant to people's local community."

Facebook won't be assessing the trustworthiness of news outlets itself. Instead, users are being polled on which outlets they believe to be trustworthy, and that data will be used to rank outlets, said Adam Mosseri, Facebook's head of News Feed.

He wrote in the blog post: "We surveyed a diverse and representative sample of people using Facebook across the US to gauge their familiarity with, and trust in, various different sources of news. This data will help to inform ranking in News Feed."

But there are concerns that this could prioritize partisan sources of information. For example, a right-leaning user Facebook polls might consider CNN extremely untrustworthy but rate a right-wing blog far higher — even if CNN is, in reality, a more accurate source of information about current affairs.


Myles Udland@MylesUdland

This literally reinforces biased outlets. https://twitter.com/DeItaOne/status/954452695015919618 …

8:37 PM - Jan 19, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


In short: "Trustworthy" is not the same as "accurate."

Earlier this month, Facebook announced major changes to the News Feed to prioritize updates from friends and family while de-emphasizing news and brands, a move aimed at fostering what CEO Mark Zuckerberg called "meaningful interaction."

Meanwhile, Facebook — and the broader tech industry — has come under a barrage of criticism over its impact on society, from its role in spreading Russian propaganda and misinformation during the 2016 US presidential election to its effects on the mental health of children.

"We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren't just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being," Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post last week.

In a post on Friday outlining the latest change and the rationale for it, the CEO said that Facebook wasn't "comfortable" assessing the trustworthiness of news outlets itself and that asking outside experts wouldn't be "objective." So it views community feedback as the most suitable method.

He wrote: "The hard question we've struggled with is how to decide what news sources are broadly trusted in a world with so much division. We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that's not something we're comfortable with. We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. Or we could ask you — the community — and have your feedback determine the ranking.

"We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective."

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 22nd Jan 2018

Digital Interruption found the flaw in 'digital fantasy' app SinVR

Poor security left 20,000 porn-watchers exposed

SinVR creates digital versions of popular characters

​​​​​​​Sharing data with adult websites has always been a risk. As if it's not bad enough to have your personal details in the hands of cyber criminals, knowing that they came from a naughty source also adds an element of embarrassment. Although not on the same level as the 37 million customers exposed by the Ashley Madison leak, the 20,000 customers potentially exposed by a fault in a new VR porn app probably feel the same way.

Cysec firm Digital Interruption discovered the vulnerability in the SinVR app, which has more than 300 backers on Patreon. True to its name, it aims to enable backers to live out their private fantasies; some of the characters on the Patreon page are modelled after Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Jessica Rabbit.

Digital Interruption reverse-engineered the app, which uses the .NET library, and found a number of vulnerabilities ‘and deviations from security best practice'. One of these, a function called ‘downloadallusers', predictably can be used to access a list of all customers with an account. This includes names, email addresses and devices used to access SinVR. Another similar function did the same for the list of customers who had paid using PayPal.


The security firm says that it went public after trying to contact SinVR's parent company, InVR, with its findings and receiving no response. SinVR itself wrote in a post on Patreon that it began fixing the issue ‘right away' after being informed about the hole.

Although credit card and payment details were not able to be lifted, an attacker could certainly use the data to identify customers and use the information for blackmail.

SinVR added, ‘Moving forward, we are confident in our ability to prevent security holes and will keep using a professional security service to audit our system.  We are making sure that all ‘back door' intrusions are fully consensual'.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 22nd Jan 2018


  • Microsoft-owned "Minecraft" continues to be a massive success.
  • The monthly player count is at 74 million, an increase of nearly 20 million players across 2017.
  • Nearly 150 million copies of the game have sold — a staggering sales number for any single video game. 

"Minecraft" continues to be one of the most popular games ever made. 

The creation/survival indie game that Microsoft purchased back in 2014 for $2.5 billion has now sold 144 million copies, and enjoys a monthly userbase of 74 million players. The latest numbers were revealed in an interview with Helen Chiang, the new head of Microsoft's "Minecraft" group, at PopSugar.

Those numbers are exceptional, even by "Minecraft" standards.

The game has been a notoriously explosive phenomenon since early in its life; "Minecraft" started as a work-in-progress game, made by a single man (Markus "Notch" Persson). It had rudimentary graphics and controls. It was only available on PC. It was prone to breaking, because it was an unfinished game being made by a single person. 

And yet, millions of people bought and played that early version of "Minecraft." When Microsoft bought the game back in 2014, the tech world was surprised and confused by the purchase. Persson did not join Microsoft.

But clearly that early success has persisted under Microsoft's care. Just to compare, more people play Minecraft on a monthly basis than the populations of France, UK, Italy, or South Korea.

But why is it so popular? We're talking about a game that looks like this:

minecraft nintendo switch"Minecraft" is available on nearly every game platform available, including the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo

Think of "Minecraft" as virtual LEGO.

It's a system for fitting pieces together to create something — sometimes amazing somethings— from nothing. "Minecraft" provides endless building blocks and a blank canvas. It's up to you to create something incredible, or silly, or referential, or whatever, using the tools it provides. The tools are blessedly user-friendly, as are the systems for employing those tools.

With that in mind, it's not hard to understand why "Minecraft" has been such a hit. That it's graphically rudimentary and simple to play just makes it all the more accessible to a large audience — nearly 75 million people every month, apparently.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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