New ‘Poo Poo Power’ Device Turns Dog Faeces Into Electricity

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A new innovative machine can turn dog poop into electricity that can charge household gadgets such as a refrigerator.Geneva-based Oceane Izard has designed the appliance “Poo Poo Power” in which owners place a biodegradable bag of dog waste inside, where sludge-eating bacteria belch out methane that is converted to power.

The electricity is stored in detachable batteries that can be used around the house.

The amount of power it produces depends on the dog, ‘fastcoexist.com’ reported.

“For example, for a German shepherd, the amount of poo is different from that of a beagle,” Izard said.

“For a beagle, it creates between 250 and 340 grammes of faeces per day. This allows you to run a fan for two hours. For a German dog, it’s twice as much. It could almost run your fridge,” Izard said.

Izard also calculated that if someone wanted to power their homes completely via dogs, they would need six to seven dogs.

The product could save money for cities like Paris, which cleans up around 12 tonnes of dog poop off city streets every day.

In the US, dogs produce around 10 million tonnes of poop each year, and most of that waste goes to landfill – where it pumps methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

Microsoft to Bring Android App Support to Windows 10

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Microsoft is likely to announce that its Windows 10 devices (smartphones, tablets and PC) will be able to run Android apps, if long-time Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott is to be believed.The Redmond giant is expected to confirm the news at its Build developer conferencethat kicks off Wednesday in San Francisco.

Thurrott however seems to be questioning Microsoft’s strategy to provide Android app support on Windows 10. He writes, “But letting Android apps run on Windows is another thing entirely. Indeed, it is the literal opposite of opening up universal apps to Android. And I question the logic of this strategy.”

If the report turns out to be true, Microsoft may be able to fix one of the biggest qualms of Windows Phone users, which is the platform’s small app ecosystem. With this, Windows Phone users would gain access to a number of apps that were never released on their platform. It however remains to be seen how Microsoft will manage Android apps on its platform and also whether this will affect the company’s Universal app strategy for Windows 10. Other touch-based Windows 10 devices, like tablets, are also likely to benefit from access to Android apps.

“For developers who have invested a lifetime of learning and mastering Microsoft’s platforms, Android compatibility is a slap in the face. This sends the message that they have wasted their time and that it’s time to move on to a more successful platform since, after all, the apps you create for Android will now work on Android and Windows/Windows Phone. This completely usurps the presumed value of universal apps, which I assume Microsoft will also spend a lot of time promoting this week. It will not sit well with the developers who go to Build,” notes Thurrott.

He went on to suggest that adding Android app support to Windows 10 will make Microsoft’s platform “even less important.”

“The ability to run Android apps on Windows-this utter capitulation-is not a “win” or a positive development. It’s a defeat, an avoidable suicide. And it makes Windows even less important than it already was. To me. To you. To the world,” Thurrott added.

Microsoft is also expected to reveal more technical details of its universal app platform at the Build conference. The company alongside is also likely to release more code samples for developers.

To recall, Microsoft announced Universal Windows apps, a move that claimed to bring a new common Windows runtime to PCs, phones, and tablets (and the Xbox One) at last year’s Build conference.

Here’s an Indian Company That’s Taking a Common Sense Approach to the Mobile Web

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In an environment where companies like Myntra and Flipkart have already shut down their mobile websites and are now talking about shuttering down the desktop versions of their websites as well, one Indian company has called out the practice as lazy and says it has no plans to follow suit.

Cleartrip, one of India’s leading online travel portals, earlier this week unveiled a big revamp of its mobile website and after explaining some of its design decisions, the blog post took time out to share Cleartrip’s thoughts on the recent developments in the Indian e-commerce space.

(Also see: Taking the Web Out of E-Commerce – Why Indian Companies Are Ditching Their Websites)

“There is a trend of brands shutting down their mobile sites in favour of mobile apps – they claim it is due to the overwhelming effort required to maintain all products across multiple platforms,” the post said. “We think that’s a terribly weak argument coming from companies that have no dearth of resources at their disposal. We’re committed to keeping Cleartrip accessible so our customers can use the channels they prefer. The Web is one of the fastest and easiest platforms to develop and maintain (as compared to other front end platforms), and testimony to that, this entire project took us just 2 months to complete.”

Cleartrip is burning holes into the argument most other companies have been making – that websites are too expensive to maintain. E-commerce companies have argued that a majority of their transactions now happen on apps and they don’t necessarily need the Web or mobile Web users to sustain their businesses.

The feedback we got from our readers on Myntra’s move to shut down its mobile and desktop websites has been overwhelmingly negative. You can attribute that to the fact that most online feedback tends to have a negative bias, but you can see why people are upset. Imagine a world every store follows an app-only model, and you have to install an app just to see the link that your friend just shared – how ridiculous would that be?

We understand that native platforms like apps can offer rich experiences that Web will perhaps never be able to match, but we are not convinced that India’s ready for anInternet business that excludes the World Wide Web.

Mobile Games Will Be Cloned and There’s Nothing You Can Do About It

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With a seemingly infinite number of games on mobile platforms like the App Store and Google Play, it’s only normal to see some that are extremely similar to others, particularly when you consider that most feature the same simple gameplay mechanics. Calling one out as a clone, however, is a different thing altogether – inspiration is one thing, and plagiarism another.

Matt Akins (the founder of Tapped, an online community built around iOS game development education) is claiming that his game Rotable was cloned and released by publisher Ketchapp as Circle Pong. Ketchapp is the company behind the addictive math puzzle 2048, which was also allegedly cloned from Threes.

Akins says he had had submitted Rotable to Ketchapp late last year. Circle Pong was not published by Ketchapp on the App Store, but rather by a company called App Cow. This, Akins claims in an exhaustive piece on Medium, is a shell firm for Ketchapp.

2048_ketchapp.jpgAccording to Akins, App Cow’s art assets are very similar to Ketchapp’s games. He further links the two companies through a publisher called Obile Glob. That is an entity on Amazon’s storefront which publishes Ketchapp games, including Circle Pong. This is the clinching factor, as far as Akins is concerned.

Responding to an email requesting comment from Touch Arcade, Ketchapp’s Antoine Morcos said that “Circle Pong is not our game, and all the information of this article are wrong… I don’t know how a writer at Medium could seriously publish that without even verifying the sources.”

A second story on Touch Arcade seems to corroborate this. Circle Pong was developed by Perlagotchi. This was ascertained as the file for the Google Play and App Store version listed by app analyst firm App Annie, was labeled as com.perlagotchiapps.squashpong. The developer Ilyas Hassani claimed that it was a clone of yet another game called Pongo Pongo, which was released in April last year.

Local cloning and open development processes

In the past we’ve seen not so scrupulous local developers rip-off games. The most notorious of which is perhaps Rubiq Labs copying Luftrausers – a game by indie superstars Vlambeer. That was two years ago. Now, however, development processes are a lot more open. Today some Indian creators make no qualms about their games being inspired by others and even seek the advice of the original creators of these titles.

early_screenshot_skatelander_underdog.jpgLet’s take the example of Skatelander by Mumbai-based Underdogs Studio. The game wears its many influences on its sleeve, the most notable of which is Crossyroad. Studio founder Vaibhav Chavan confirmed this. After Underdogs put a link to the game up on Touch Arcade’s forums, Andrew Sum (one of the creators on Crossyroad) provided feedback on how to improve the game.

“We shared the build with him. He beta-tested the game. We got feedback on monetisation and small things like character names,” says Chavan. “How we should not be focussing on ethnicity and stuff like that. In addition to this, things like controls. In an earlier build we had two buttons, which he suggested to remove and use the screen instead. It was powerful feedback from him that helped us improve the game a lot.”

It’s this open development process that avoids ugly scenarios like a new game being called out as a clone. And its something nimble independent teams can work out quicker, given that they’re smaller and have less bureaucracy compared to big companies.

Never going to stop

Not every developer follows an open method of development like Underdogs did. And it’s one of the reasons why you cannot expect cloning or games being called out for being clones (unintentional or otherwise) to stop. At the end of the day, it boils down to design restraints. Smartphones and tablets are limited by their input mechanism, the touchscreen.

With a touchscreen they’re limited to the usual virtual buttons that most developers and users abhor or a mix of tap, swipe and hold methods of input that other employ. Sure, there are other options like using the accelerometer or gyroscope to provide a unique experience but in most cases they work better in theory than in practise. This is why the games category on the app store is filled with many variations on just a few themes.

ridiculous_fishing_vlambeer.jpgAs developers grow more and more accustomed to device limitations, many gravitate to the similar if not same conclusion in terms of game mechanics and controls. Therefore, the only distinguishing features would end up being how the game is presented in terms of narrative (if any) and art direction. After that, the only other point of concern is how much money can be spent in making such a product discoverable.

Meanwhile, the customers themselves don’t seem to care. If a clone can get attention first, it’s treated as the original. That’s something Vlambeer learned when another one of its game – Ridiculous Fishing – was cloned before it was launched on the App Store. The audience for mobile games is largely made up of casual gamers who aren’t following the latest news, and, if the top download charts are any indication, they don’t seem to care whether a game was cloned or not.

So while Akins might not be right in his tirade against Ketchapp, it just exposes the underlying concern: platform holders like Apple and Google need to take greater care in curating their content. It would go a long way in preventing such situations from happening in the future. Until that happens, however, status quo will be maintained.

Here’s an Indian ISP That Actually Supports Net Neutrality

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“If you’re an Internet Service Provider (ISP), then your job is to get the Internet to people. The Internet should be neutral, and you should not degrade any traffic, or charge more for any traffic, or prioritise any traffic.” Prasanna Gokhale couldn’t have said it in simpler terms if he tried. At a time when India is seeing widespread debate around net neutrality, the words of Gokhale, CTO of Bengaluru -based ISP ACT Fibernet, sound very reassuring as a customer.

Ever since Airtel first announced its plan to charge extra for 3G data used for VoIP services like Skype, people have been paying more attention to the issue of net neutrality. So far, the debate has mostly centred on mobile Internet access. This has partly been because the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had been working on a set of draft guidelines for Over The Top (OTT) services – what we’d call apps and websites – and presented these for feedback last month.

Over a million responses later, we are still no closer to a final resolution on the issue. However, many of the concerns that are being raised about wireless providers are equally applicable for wired broadband. Companies like Airtel and Reliance – for example – both have DTH networks and video distribution platforms, therefore in theory at least, something like YouTube affects their business in the same way.

Because of this, it’s all the more important that our broadband providers make their position clear on the matter before things come to the same pass in that industry. Gokhale is very clear when talking to us that ACT Fibernet supports the idea of net neutrality. The only kind of traffic management he says the company supports is data usage packages (called fair usage policy or FUPs by some ISPs) – where your maximum access speed is throttled after you have used a certain limit of data.

“It is a standard model for India, and one that is well understood by the customer,” says Gokhale. “We are able to give people a good service at a reasonable cost by doing this.” And compared to most other companies’ packages, ACT’s broadband packages are actually much more affordable.

Aside from ACT Fibernet, so far one other ISP has also spoken out in support of net neutrality. In its feedback to Trai, Citycom networks (better known as Spectranet) outright states that it is too early to regulate OTTs, argues that if regulation and interference is kept to a minimum then we will see more innovation from OTTs and thus greater revenue from data. It’s a fantastic response, and well worth reading in its entirety.

spectranet.jpgCompare that to the responses companies like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea or Reliance Communications have stated in their responses to Trai’s draft proposal, and you can see that most Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) are not on the same page as Gokhale.

ACT Fibernet itself is unfortunately not so well known in many parts of India. The company offers its services in just six cities in Southern India – Bengaluru, Chennai, Nellore, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, and Eluru – and Gokhale tells us that growing into new markets is a slow process that will take time. In fact, given ACT’s very reasonable plans (in Chennai, a 20Mbps plan with a 60GB limit costs Rs. 1,099. On Airtel, a 16Mbps plan with a 35GB limit costs Rs. 1,649) when compared to other providers, we had to ask Gokhale whether ACT Fibernet has any plans to expand to Delhi now. He laughed and said that people always ask him about coming to Delhi and Mumbai, but added that at present, the company was going to continue to expand in the South.

As the name suggests, ACT Fibernet uses fibre-optic cables to deliver Internet access to its customers. In contrast, most established companies use a technology called DSL that uses the regular copper line of your phone, Gokhale explains. Fibre allows for much faster connections, and is also free of electro-magnetic interference, according to Gokhale.

“With DSL, the upload speeds are also much slower, it is a technological limitation,” he explains. “The real advantage of fibre is that it is scalable. Today we are offering plans from 20Mbps to 100Mbps, but over time, we will be able to offer even greater speeds with the same cable. On the other hand, the DSL connections can’t get faster.”

This is why DSL providers are also starting to invest in installing fibre-optic cables, and bringing these services in other parts of the country. That doesn’t mean that ACT is going to rush to gain a presence all over India just yet.

“To build the network, there is a lot of investment needed,” says Gokhale. “You have to basically dig up the place, and lay the cable and this is not an easy process. We have gained a level of expertise in doing this, but if you try and expand too fast then you won’t be able to ensure quality of service.”

This is another important point that the TSPs could stand to learn from ACT Fibernet – especially at a time when practically half the mobile Internet users say that the experience between 2G and 3G connections is indistinguishable.

Hopefully, companies like ACT Fibernet and Spectranet will stick to their beliefs when the debate shifts from wireless broadband to all ISPs, so that we as customers have viable alternatives to switch to if we feel we need to do so.

Creating a Winning Strategy for Playing Solitair

Solitaire remains popular through generations, due to its simplicity and challenge. And, of course, as the name insinuates, it can be played alone, filling hours with entertainment whether you’re sitting at home, filling time between appointments, sitting on a plane, etc.

It’s likely that you’ve played and been stumped a number of times due to the placement of the cards. However, applied strategy helps players win more often.

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Klondike

Several versions of Solitaire exist. Most are familiar with Klondike, which serves as the ‘default’ version of the popular game. Unlike the Vegas version, one card is turned at a time, and a player may go through the deck as many times as needed. Scores are based on the number of cards placed, those left in the deck, and the number of ‘Ace stacks’ made during the course of play. If you’re yearning to play right now, head to Solitaire Arena online. Otherwise, take note of the following tips related to better play.

Solitaire Tips

Play and Ace or Two card whenever they pop-up during gameplay. Also, make moves that will ‘free’ another card; it’s better to create more potential moves for yourself. Also, don’t draw from the pile until you’re absolutely positive there are no moves to be made.

If you are waiting for a King to accompany an open spot, keep the space occupied and don’t move other cards from there. If you’re going to play an Ace stack, be sure that it won’t interfere with the game; it can be ‘exciting’ to move the Ace stack, yet a common mistake is doing so too soon and missing a later opportunity to further advance.

Be sure to keep a vacant spot; this way, it’s easier to move a King when needed. Experienced players do not occupy all columns because they keep the option of moving a King that came out of the deck as a surprise. Let’s discuss this strategy further.

When a spot is cleared for a King card, it means you have played or transferred all cards in the column. So, there are no cards left there, but you should not clear a column unless there is a King waiting. In short, don’t clear a spot just because the opportunity is there. Also, you may clear a spot if you have gone through the deck at least once, now knowing that a premature clear won’t influence further opportunity.

Avoid moving number cards Five-Eight. In order to keep the game moving at a steady pace, it’s best to keep them where they are and leave yourself more opportunity for future moves. Let’s think about this logic; A Four card can be played anywhere since it will (hopefully) link with a Three. We limit at the Eight card, because, by the time you reach a Nine in the column, it is likely you have uncovered most of the ‘down cards’ and won’t have to worry about the remainder of the column.

Now, you’re ready to play Solitaire with a few more strategies in mind. Remember, don’t be tempted to make a move just because you can. Solitaire requires premeditation and disciplined strategy!

Andrea Porter is a gaming audio engineer. She likes to write about the game and tech industries. You can find her articles mainly on tech and game websites.

 

5 Dangers of Mobile Banking – and How to Avoid Them

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Managing your money has never been so easy. With the rise of mobile banking, paying your bills and checking your balance can be as simple as posting a photo to your Instagram feed. But there’s a price to pay for the convenience of depositing checks from anywhere in the world with a simple click of your mobile camera. That price is the increased risk that your private data and access to your accounts could fall into the wrong hands.

“As additional people flock to the mobile channel and transactions multiply, the bad guys are paying attention and deploying more attacks against it,” banking fraud expert Julie Conroy warns. The best way to protect yourself, of course, is to know the risks. Read on for our guide to the dangers of mobile banking and foolproof tips on how to avoid them.

1. Wireless Networks Are Hacker-Friendly

Unlike websites, mobile apps don’t properly encrypt information, which means it’s not a good idea to access your bank account via mobile app when you’re on a public or otherwise unsecured Wi-Fi network. As computer science expert Ron Vetter explains, “mobile banking apps are connected to wireless networks, and these networks are inherently insecure as they broadcast their messages into the open air.”

If you plan to use a mobile app to conduct a sensitive transaction, you’re better off using a secure wireless network or your phone’s data network. This will help reduce the risk of your private information being intercepted by a hacker or some other third party.

2. Poor Reception Means Poor Security

Even if you’re diligent in accessing your mobile banking app on your phone’s data network rather than a wireless network, the security of your financial information could still be at risk if your 4G or 3G data drops into a lower service range. Poor reception invites the chance that the data contained in your banking transaction could misfire and be intercepted by an unauthorized third party.

3. There’s More at Stake If You Lose Your Phone

Studies show that nearly 40 percent of smartphone owners don’t password-protect their devices. If any of those folks were to lose their phone, anyone could pick it up, log into their banking app, and access their money. Even if you do password protect your phone, you could still be putting yourself at risk by auto-saving your password. For optimal security, select “no” when any of your apps ask to remember your username and password. You can further help protect yourself from fraudsters who gain access to your phone by installing a remote-wiping application that allows you to erase your phone’s data even when the device isn’t physically in your possession.

4. You May Have to Wait to Access Newly Deposited Funds

Although you can deposit funds into your account instantly via a mobile banking app, there may be a longer lag than normal until you can access those funds. “In many cases, [banks] will protect themselves against fraud by increasing the delay in the availability of funds, as compared to if you’d just deposit that check in an ATM or branch,” Conroy says.

5. Fraudulent Apps May Deceive You

Mobile apps can cost you — even the free ones. Fraudulent apps posing as your official banking institution are lurking throughout the app store, and if you unknowingly start using one, the app creators can access — and abuse — your private information. Download your app directly from your bank’s website to avoid this scam. And if you use Android, set your security settings to abort installations from sources other than Google Play.

Her Business Is All About Making Money From Your Divorce

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As any couple going through divorce will tell you, breaking up is expensive to do. Sometimes the richer the couple, the harder it is for one party to pay attorneys and track down assets. More money, more problems. Stacey Napp believes she can level the playing field.
“I was very fortunate,” Napp said of her own divorce, in 2008. “I came from a family that had resources, I went to law school, I had been [working] in debt collection for awhile, so I had all the components that you would want to have in a bad situation like this.” After her divorce was final, Napp realized other people weren’t as fortunate, and she learned that divorce attorneys are barred by law from working for contingency fees. “That was really the ‘aha!’ or epiphany moment,” she said.

In 2009, she formed Balance Point Divorce Funding, a Beverly Hills, California, company that finances the cost of a divorce in exchange for a percentage of any settlement. If there’s no award, Napp not only doesn’t make any money, she loses the money she invested. “We haven’t lost money on a case yet,” she said, literally knocking on wood. “We’ve funded probably over 25 cases now.” Clients include Patricia Cohen, the ex-wife of SAC Capital Advisors founder Steve Cohen. The former Mrs. Cohen believes her ex owes her millions of dollars from their divorce over 20 years ago, according to The New York Times.

How It Works

Napp funded the company with her own divorce settlement, proved that the business model worked, and investors came on board. Here’s how Balance Point finances a divorce:

  • Potential clients are asked how long they’ve been in divorce proceedings, who their lawyers and experts are, and how much they believe they’re due from a spouse.
  • Napp asks the client’s lawyer to come up with a budget for the total estimated cost of pursuing a divorce all the way through trial — though most are settled ahead of time.
  • Balance Point does its own due diligence and decides whether a potential settlement is worth an investment. Napp said her return on investment averages in the double digits.
  • If the company funds a divorce, the money is doled out in tranches.
  • Assuming the client wins a settlement, as much as 25 percent of it goes to Balance Point.

Say, hypothetically, that a woman believes she is due $10 million based on a couple’s assets, worth $20 million. Taking the case all the way to trial might cost $750,000. Balance Point will fund $750,000 but in $150,000 increments. The more a client draws down, the higher the percentage he or she owes Napp from any eventual settlement.

In determining how much of a percentage to ask for, Napp decided to stay below the 33 percent that’s typical of attorneys who operate on a contingency basis (again, divorce attorneys cannot work for contingency fees).

Gender Divide

“We start as low, quite frankly, as a one-digit percentage,” she said. “Typically we don’t go above 25 percent.” Most clients are women. All of its investors are men. Nearly all of the women who’ve received funding are divorcing men with self-made fortunes. Of the few men who’ve received funding, all are going up against wives who inherited their wealth.

Balance Point is expanding its services into funding asset recovery, and Napp is considering moving into funding custody battles. Napp won’t name names, but she says her craziest case at the moment involves a man who works as a criminal informant for the government. “He’s being protected, the assets are being hidden, and there is a level of complicity that you cannot believe,” she said.

There are some cases that Napp won’t touch, however, like the woman divorcing a man whose money is in Dubai. “I said, ‘You’re a woman with a judgment going into an Arab country. I think you’re going to have a worthless judgment at the end of the day. I can’t fund this.'”

She also won’t work with people who aren’t willing to compromise. “You’re not going to get everything. You shouldn’t expect to get everything,” she said. “Take a haircut, walk away with your sanity, walk away with time in your life, and start over.”

Vibosoft iPhone Data Recovery

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http://www.any-data-recovery.com/images/products/key_features/iphone_data_recovery_2.jpg· Vibosoft iPhone data recovery is capable of restoring 12 different types of files from any iOS based device. It makes a deep scan of the memory space in the device and directly restores files from there.

· Vibosoft is able to retrieve lost data even after damage, upgraded or jailbreak from any Apple device. It is best iPhone data recovery tool.

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· The user interface of the application is very easy and simple. The users can easily operate and navigate through it.

· It shows the preview of the lost files and it gives you the choice of selecting the specific files which you want to restore in your iPhone.

· The device is first detected and undergoes a deep scan after which all the files are listed with full specification thus helping the user to choose the exact file which needs to be restored.

· The application is regularly updated and is compatible with the entire iOS based device including the latest version.

· Two different modes for easier recovery process. One mode is done when you already have a backup and data synced with iTunes and the other which deep scans from the device itself and the restoration process is done directly from the device.

These were some of the most important and unique features of the Vibosoft iPhone data recovery . It is the best tool for restoring lost data from an iPhone or other Apple devices. It is very easy to use and is very precise in its functioning.

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Destiny Expansion ‘House of Wolves’ Release Date Revealed

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Fan of shared world first-person shooter Destiny have much to look forward to in May. Dubbed the House of Wolves, the second expansion to developer Bungie’s sci-fi extravaganza sees a slew of fixes to the game in addition to the all but obvious new content.

In terms of narrative, it’ll take players to the Reef, a location that was host to a few cutscenes in the base game and little else. The expansion will be made available on May 19.

“The Reef will open to all Guardians, and you will join the allies of the Queen to destroy the traitorous Fallen from the House of Wolves. Over the course of the next month, we’ll be pulling the wraps off of all the new activities, modes, events, and gear you’ll have access to. Stay tuned to see exactly where your legend is headed next,” a post on Bungie’s website reads, linking to a prologue you can view below.

It’ll be interesting to see how Bungie deals with this new locale and what else comes along with it in terms of building a cohesive game world. Though the base game had solid gunplay, it was (and still is) criticised for being somewhat threadbare in terms of content. Hopefully House of Wolves will do its bit to rectify that.

Along with this, the expansion should fix some of the issues plaguing Destiny’s in-game economy. Hitting higher levels will become easier in terms of character progression as well as giving players a reason to customise their gear should feature as well if a post by designer Luke Smith on popular video game forum NeoGAF is to be believed.

Bungie also revealed a calendar of events leading up to the release of the expansion. You can check it out here.