WhatsApp now allows for disappearing messages – but what’s the point?

While the feature was introduced earlier this year, WhatsApp has now expanded disappearing messages by allowing you to switch it on by default for all chats, alongside more changes.

The company has been introducing many features to the messaging app over the course of the year, with a refined appearance, multi-device support so you don't need to use your phone to manage chats, and more to better rival other apps such as Telegram and iMessage.

However, its new privacy policy has been a source of contention with users, giving WhatsApp the ability to read messages without your consent. While this expanded feature gives you greater control for certain chats, it could encourage abusers to use the app to better hide any conversations that could bring attention to law enforcement.

How to activate the new WhatsApp feature

In a blog post where the company is advocating the feature for better control over your chats, you can change the expiration timer to 24 hours, 7 days or 90 days.

This way, any messages are deleted after a certain time from when they're sent.

While the feature is slowly rolling out to devices, you can find it by going to Settings > Privacy > Disappearing Messages, and you can set the expiration to one of the three timers.

This applies to both iOS and Android, and the setting you choose will also apply to other devices you use WhatsApp on, such as the web, Windows 11, and iPad.


Analysis: A cocktail of blunders to come

Data is an important commodity in today's age, especially when it comes to social media and messaging apps. Users want to feel safe in what they post and what they share, but disappearing messages, especially if it's switched on by the recipient, and the sender doesn't know them, may struggle to quell anxiety in what's being discussed.

While WhatsApp has published a further post in explaining the disappearing messages, it still won't satisfy others who think that this is a feature that could be taken advantage of.

Indeed, the same post explicitly states that users should 'Only use disappearing messages with trusted individuals.'

It's a feature that doesn't bring much advantage to the user – the main reason of messaging apps is to keep in touch with friends and family. If we're now given the ability to remove messages, it brings in certain scenarios that weren't possible before, such as fraud and more incriminating situations.

Disappearing messages is an example of a feature that is useful in theory, but flawed in execution, and perhaps WhatsApp should roll back this feature for now.

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PUBG news and updates: what’s new in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (or PUBG as it’s commonly known) spearheaded the popularity of battle royale games. It was a breakout hit that inspired countless competitors such as Fortnite and Apex Legends, but it still remains one of the most played games on Steam and Xbox Live. 

Unlike its rivals, PUBG is a more simulation-focused affair, with real-world weapons and physics to consider, such as bullet drop and variable weather conditions. If you’ve been turned off by Fortnite’s flamboyant art style or the relentlessly fast gameplay of Call of Duty: Warzone, PUBG is well worth a go – it’s also on Xbox Game Pass.  

Since its meteoric rise from a Steam Early Access title to achieving the highest concurrent player count on Steam back in 2018, PUBG has made its way to PS4, Xbox One, Stadia, Android and iOS. There’s also PUBG Lite, a free-to-play adaptation of the game which can run on lower-spec hardware, such as laptops. PUBG also receives regular updates, adding new content, features and – perhaps somewhat predictably – plenty of fixes for annoying bugs.

Where we droppin'?

But what is PUBG? Well, if you’ve ever watched the film Battle Royale, you should understand the basic idea. 100 players drop onto a deserted island and quickly scavenge for loot. You’ll need to find armor, weapons and healing items, then do whatever it takes to survive until you’re the last man standing. 

To make things more interesting, you’ll have to move to a constantly shrinking zone that randomly appears on the map, via land, air or sea. If you get caught outside of the zone, you’ll gradually take damage, which increases dramatically as the game progresses. Pro tip: don’t get caught outside the zone. 

Should you manage to survive until the very end, you’ll see the coveted “winner winner chicken dinner” phrase appear on screen. And due to the overwhelming odds stacked against you during every match, you’ll probably want to screenshot it as they don’t come around very often – which makes them taste all the sweeter. 

Despite the game now being available on multiple platforms, PUBG continues to evolve with the addition of new maps, survivor passes and modes for players to enjoy. We’ll show you what’s new, why it matters, and what’s planned for the future of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

What's the latest PUBG update for PC?

Update 7.3 (on test servers June 10)

PUBG update 7.3

PUBG Corp has shared details of what's next coming to PUBG. Update 7.3 focuses on a host of vehicle changes, the addition of a new explosive and some quality of life improvements. It will hit the PUBG test servers on June 10, and make its way to live servers on June 17.

Vehicle damage

Vehicles will no longer explode instantly once they reach zero HP. Instead, players will now have a small window to bail, as the engine will be disable and the vehicle will set on fire first. After five seconds, the vehicle will then explode. 

Vehicles will also now have multiple damage zones, with the engine being the best place to target your fire, and react more realistically to velocity.

New throwable

Speaking of explosives, PUBG is getting a powerful new throwable. C4 will be added to the battleground as part of update 7.3, and should make for some interesting new gameplay opportunities. You won't be able to throw C4 very far due to its weight, but its explosive range covers a massive 25 meter radius, which can also penetrate cover. 

Parachute follow

The final noteworthy change is the ability to follow a teammate automatically while parachuting. You can choose to follow a teammate before you leave the plane, which should make it easier to coordinate exactly where you'll all be dropping. 

Apart from the big three additions above, most of the other changes relate to bug fixes, quality of life improvements and the addition of some new purchasable skins. 

Update 7.2

PUBG Update 7.2

Update 7.2 is now available for PC players to install. The sizable update introduces a number of pleasing changes to the game, the most crucial of which is Ranked Mode. 

Ranked Mode

Ranked Mode replaces the old Survival Title system and is a separate mode to the new normal match, which will include the universally disliked PUBG bots. A player's rank will increase or decrease depending on their performance in each game and, perhaps somewhat controversially, ranked mode is only available to squads. 

Each Ranked Mode match will include a maximum of 64 players (that's quite a bit less than the usual 100 player limit) and players will compete on either Erangel, Miramar or Sanhok. The red zone has also been removed, and the timing and speed of the blue zone have been increased.

Bot opponents

Seemingly undeterred by the criticism from console players, developer PUBG Corp is adding bots to the PC version of PUBG with update 7.2. Thankfully there is a way to avoid them as they'll only appear in normal games, but it's a divisive addition nonetheless. Bots are also designed to appear less frequently as your skill increases, but that hasn't been the case sadly, which the developers are aware of.

Gameplay balances 

More adjustments have been to made to the strength and characteristics of each weapon type, with the M416 receiving a slight nerf, while other assault rifles such as the M16A4, Beryl M762 and MK47 Mutant will get a nice buff.

One of the biggest new gameplay changes is how gas cans can be used. You can now pour fuel onto the ground and light it with a weapon or throwable, and you can rain fire down upon your opponents by shooting a thrown gas can while it's mid-air. Frustratingly, we'll have to wait a little longer for the gas can changes to arrive as PUBG Corp has pulled them from the latest patch due to technical issues.

Introducing Season 7: Vikendi returns, along with a ‘new’ weapon and Survivor Pass

PUBG new Vikendi

Update 7.1 sees the long-awaited return of Vikendi, PUBG’s snow-covered map that was unceremoniously hooked during Season 6. The old Vikendi was generally disliked by players due to its many performance issues and rather uninspiring locations. That’s all changed this time around, though, as Vikendi has received a significant face-lift and a bevy of new attractions for players to wage war on.

The old dilapidated Dino Park has now been transformed into the fun-loving Dinoland, which has been completely remade to feel like a proper amusement park. There are also nine functioning trains that chug around the map – and yes, you can ride them to one of the 12 stations.

PUBG Vikendi Dinoland

Further changes include tweaks and redesigns to certain locations, such as Abbey and Mount Kreznik, and you’ll notice there’s a lot less snow on the ground now, too. For that reason, the snow bikes and snowmobiles have been removed in favor of the standard motorcycle, and motorcycle with sidecar.

It wouldn’t be a big new update without a fresh weapon being added to the mix, although the Mosin-Nagant isn’t entirely new. It’s essentially a re-skin of the popular Kar98k, but it does sport its own unique look and sound effects. Hey, we’re all for variety, so it’s not a deal breaker by any means.

Finally, there’s a brand-new Survivor Pass to grind through, called ‘Cold Front’. It consists of 100 levels full of unlockable skins, experience bonuses, challenges to complete and emotes to collect.

What's the latest PUBG update for Xbox One and PS4?

Season 7 is out now

Since Season 6, developer PUBG Corporation has tried to align its PC and console updates more closely. Usually it takes about two weeks before consoles catch up with the PC version of the game, but that gap has closed recently, particularly with the release of Season 7 which arrived April 28. It brings all the goodies from the PC version, including new Vikendi and the Survivor Pass: Cold Front.

One of the biggest changes to PUBG on consoles is the addition of bots, which have been added to each map. While it’s an update that is bound to cause controversy among the purists, bots have been included to help new players get familiar with the game. In a recent blog post, PUBG Corporation outlined how bots will work in the game, with the intention that they act like your average human player, but are obviously easier to kill.

Console players will finally get to leave bots behind as the long-awaited Ranked Mode is now available as part of update 7.2. Frustratingly, it's only open to squads (four-man or one-man), so you'll need to partner up with some like-minded teammates to get the most out of it. 

Can I play PUBG on mobile?

PUBG mobile news and updates

Yes! With PUBG mobile, you can win chicken dinners directly from your phone. The game is more arcade-like and accessible than the PC and console versions of the game, but it shares all the maps and features that players have come to enjoy. You can expect things like auto pick-up, aim assist and touchscreen controls and other mobile optimizations. 

To play PUBG on your mobile, you’ll need to be using at least iOS 9 (that’s an iPhone 5S or newer) and Android owners must be using 5.1.1. Lollipop or later. You’ll also need 2GB or RAM to play the game, and 900 MB of free space.

In the latest patch, PUBG mobile has received a ‘Death Replay’ option, letting you see who the hell shot you in the back, and ‘Arctic Mode’, a brand new survival experience that will be available soon. 

What is PUBG Lite?

PUBG Lite news and updates

PUBG Lite is a stripped-down version of PUBG that’s designed for lower-spec hardware. PUBG is notoriously taxing on GPUs and CPUs, so PUBG Lite was created so that more people could get in on the battle royale craze. It’s a great alternative if you don’t own a powerful gaming PC or console to play on, plus it’s free-to-play.

Can I play PUBG on Stadia?

PUBG Stadia

You sure can! The game is free to Stadia Pro members, and supports cross-play with Xbox One and PS4. It's the most up-to-date version of the game, too, which means it includes all the maps and the latest features from the recent 7.1 update. There's no download or patches, either, so you can start playing instantly. 

What's coming to PUBG on PC?

Although new content is always in the pipeline along with regular performance updates, the developers of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds are taking the fight to cheaters in 2020. In a dev letter to players, Taeseok Jang, executive producer of PUBG PC, outlined the company’s plans.

“The fight against cheat programs is never-ending and something we’ve been trying very hard to find a solution for. Last year, we spent time working on various measures to block cheat programs. Most of these actions focused on blocking cheat program developers to make it more difficult for them to create these highly lucrative cheats,” Jang explains.

“As these cheat developers excel at adapting to our measures, we chose to keep these efforts secret to increase the time it takes for them to react, as much as possible. The unfortunate side effect of this is that it makes us look like we’re doing nothing against a high-priority issue. This year, we will be making improvements to ensure players can feel the impact of our efforts."

PUBG Corporation is also turning its efforts to address PUBG’s performance issues, which continue to be a source of frustration for many players. The game has often been prone to game-breaking bugs, such as hard crashes and fluctuating frame rates, which can mean the difference between life or death in a fire fight.

Jang admitted that the developer has struggled to get the balance right between adding new content and dealing with performance. “First of all, we know it hasn’t been the best year for this category so far, with persistent network, server, and game client issues. Although providing a high level of service is always one of our top priorities, specific issues have endured for far too long and overshadow any good improvements we make. Hitching and game crashes especially have increased and remained persistent in the recent months. Your feedback has been heard loud and clear and is completely justified.”

What's coming to PUBG on Xbox One and PS4?

Along with reducing the content gap between the PC and console versions of PUBG, the developers want to continue to improve the game’s performance on console, bring further console-specific adjustments, and strengthen anti-cheat detection. 

PUBG Corporation has also released a blog post that says they are investigating the possibility of bringing a 60fps performance mode to Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, which would be a huge boon for console players. Currently, PUBG is locked to 30fps on consoles, while other competitive battle royale games, such as Call of Duty: Warzone and Apex Legends, treat players to a silky-smooth 60fps experience. 

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Game remakes vs remasters: what’s the difference?

If you missed a classic game at the time of its original release, there are a few reasons you might find it tough to play in 2020. 

For one, you might not have the same nostalgic appreciation for the game as those who did play it at the time, which can sometimes make up for a game's shortcomings when it doesn't age so well. Secondly, unless you're happy to collect older games consoles, a lot of retro games simply don't work with modern machines. 

If you prefer to move with the times, maintaining access to older titles is often at the mercy of console manufacturers. 

While facilitating backwards compatibility is the traditional way to provide players with access to their collections of older games, developers and publishers alike have found a more preferable and profitable method: through remasters and remakes. 

Repackaged classic games are now commonplace, with various classics re-emerging on our shelves and hard drives in the form of 'HD Editions', 'Remasters' and 'Remakes'. With so much unfamiliar marketing jargon attached to our favorite games, it's not always obvious what's changed between the original and these new versions. 

If you're a bit confused by it all, then don't worry. We're here to (simply) break down the differences between game remakes and remasters.

Remasters: a lick of paint

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age went above and beyond a simple ‘HD remaster’

The term 'remaster' is something that's used across multimedia as a whole, with the term holding significance when it comes to the likes of music and film. Remastering usually involves enhancing the quality of an original 'master' version, meaning the fabric of the source is merely enhanced, rather than modified. 

Within videogames, this same rule usually applies, with the most popular form of remastering being based on fidelity and resolution. To put it simply, remastering an old game will make it look less like pixelated vomit on your fancy new TV. 

Despite this simple definition, remasters can still vary in quality, which is often down to how much effort has gone into each instance. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 saw a plethora of 'HD Remasters', mainly consisting of ported titles that weren't previously compatible on the aforementioned hardware. Other than upscaling the original title to an HD resolution, there's little else that distinguishes them from their original form. 

This type of HD upscaling could also be achieved through backwards compatibility, or through using additional hardware to upscale a retro console, as described in our retro gaming guide. Some would say that this specific type of HD remaster is the same as stealing the wheels off of someone’s bike to resell back to them, which we're somewhat inclined to agree with. 

Thankfully, the art of remastering games has come a long way. Rather than simply upscaling the resolution, remasters such as Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age revitalized the game's textures, performance and soundtrack. With consumers expecting more from their videogame remasters, simple ports are becoming less common. As a result, many publishers have ventured into not just adding polish, but rather rebuilding games from the ground up.

Remakes: a world of reimagination

The Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a completely new game based on the original, while 2019’s Final Fantasy 8 Remastered was the same game, only improved in many ways. 

The word 'remake' basically means a completely new game based on an older game, usually a classic. But there are variations on how this is defined. 

Rebuilding using modern technology
Videogame remakes in the classic sense could almost be viewed as a process of painting by numbers. Many of these projects will simply take the original game's mechanic loops and ideas, and rebuild them using modern technology, with better controls and often new assets, with the result usually being an experience you’re familiar with – but much more polished.

Great examples of this type of remake are the likes of the Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, MediEvil and Shadow of the Colossus remakes, which in their new guise are visual recreations that bear an uncanny resemblance to their original retro counterparts but aren't exactly the same game. See also the Wii U's Zelda: Wind Waker remake, which has a slightly different art style, and adds the option for faster sailing around its seas.

Same idea, different execution
Now, though, we're starting to see total remakes that are more than just a better version of the original. They're essentially different games, even if they use the same story, setting, music, art style or gameplay ideas. 

We might not have our hands on it just yet, but the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake is looking to be a prime example of this, ditching the traditional turn-based shenanigans of the original and instead using the mechanics of modern Final Fantasy titles. Regardless of Final Fantasy VII’s complete overhaul, Cloud will hopefully still slip into that cute purple dress like he’s supposed to.

Resident Evil 2's 2019 remake, too, is designed to mirror the original as much as possible, but instead of the 1998 version's fixed camera angles, it's a more modern over-the-shoulder third-person shooter. This approach shows how you can give people a comfortable dose of nostalgia while still making a best-in-class game for today's players. No wonder Resident Evil 3 is getting the same treatment.

Expect to see more of this kind of remake in the next few years.

Identity crisis

MediEvil

Some people got confused about whether MediEvil is meant to be a remaster or remake

If one thing is certain, it's that repackaged nostalgia sells. The recent wave of retro recreations from the PSone has marked a new culture within the industry, one of which opts to use the modern standard of technology to breathe fresh air into classic franchises and reintroduce them to a new audience.

While trying to differentiate between a 'remaster' and a 'remake' can sometimes prove a bit technically confusing, it is worth noting that trying to use these labels as an absolute will likely never prove accurate, in which case, you’d be best to adjust your expectations. 

The only absolute in this dynamic industry is those old games on your shelf that have already been made and mastered, no matter how disappointing their modern-day resurrection may be.

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