Today's Login is a pithy 1,203 words, less than a 5-minute read.
Tyler, a transgender guy, is one of two playable characters in the forthcoming Xbox game "Tell Me Why." Image: Microsoft/DONTNOD Entertainment
In a significant move toward diversifying the world of video games, two major-studio titles due out next year will place queer protagonists at the center of the action.
Why it matters: Gaming has historically been a tough world for LGBTQ players, with plenty of harassment and few visibly queer characters.
Driving the news:
History lesson: The debuts come 5 years after Gamergate, a controversy that involved the online harassment of a number of prominent female game developers, and is frequently interpreted as a precursor to the broader alt-right movement.
What they're saying: GLAAD's Jeremy Blacklow notes that in many ways these new game titles represent a response to Gamergate, given that major-release games take several years to develop.
The creators of "Tell Me Why" said Tyler wasn't created just to be a transgender character, but rather as one aspect of a complex character telling a unique story.
"With 'Tell Me Why,' we want to develop a unique depth of characters that includes a special strong bond between the twins. When we decided on having Tyler be a transgender man we didn’t want him to be recognized just for being transgender."
"Tyler is a very likable young man, courageous, who knows who he is and what he stands for. He's full of hopes, dreams, but also fears. He has a bright side, but also flaws, like all of us."— Florent Guillaume, game director
Out gamers: As important as what is happening in the games is the experience of those playing the games, especially in a world of live-streaming. One of the world's top gamers, Dominique "SonicFox" McLean, proudly identifies as gay, black and furry.
Yes, but: Everyone is prepared for a possible backlash when the games come out next year.
As a result, Microsoft has been tightening the policies on its Mixer streaming service and said it is "already hard at work on several new programs and tools aimed at reducing harmful content and toxic behavior."
Some stumbles: Progress hasn't been linear, even in the last couple years since GLAAD started working with the gaming industry to be more inclusive.
The bottom line: Done right, games that represent a wider range of human experience can help us all broaden our horizons. And if that helps a generation of video gamers better understand a bit of the transgender experience, all the better.
Demonstrators vape during a rally outside of the White House to protest the proposed vaping flavor ban on Nov. 9. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images
Amid growing health concerns over e-cigarettes, Apple is removing all vaping-related apps from its mobile App Store, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: The move comes after at least 42 people have died from vaping-related lung illness, per the CDC. Most of those people had been using cartridges containing THC, though some exclusively used nicotine cartridges.
What's happening: As part of the move, Apple has removed 181 vaping-related apps from its store.
What they're saying:
Photo: Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The multistate antitrust probe into Google will expand beyond the advertising business to search and Android, CNBC reports.
Why it matters: Google is already facing investigations into potentially monopolistic behavior on many fronts, and the expansion of the states' probe will further widen the scrutiny, reports Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.
Driving the news: The states investigating Google plan to write up civil investigative demands for information on search and Android, according to the CNBC report.
Flashback: Google disclosed in September that the Justice Department has requested information on prior antitrust investigations in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images
Amazon Web Services told the government it intends to fight the Defense Department's decision last month to award a gigantic cloud computing contract to Microsoft, Margaret reports.
Why it matters: The politics surrounding the decision made it almost certain Amazon would challenge it, opening up the latest front in the long-running fight over the massive JEDI contract, worth up to $10 billion.
Driving the news: AWS CEO Andy Jassy told employees about the company's plan to fight the contract award at a company meeting, per the Federal Times.
"Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias — and it's important that these matters be examined and rectified."— AWS spokesperson
So which one of these should I try with my editor next week?