A big chunk of change was divvied out to Ninja and many other top streamers and content creators on YouTube and Twitch when Apex Legends was released. Is this the strategy that game companies should look at moving forward?
5G is already here, but you can’t do much to access those super-fast speeds unless you live in a specific place with a particular piece of technology. That’s about to change. Samsung and Verizon jointly announced Monday the companies would sell a 5G smartphone in the first half of 2019. Although they didn’t say which phone would support 5G, Samsung usually announces its latest Galaxy S smartphone in the spring.
Between the shambling monsters, meandering cubes, and inter-dimensional butterflies from beyond time and space, Fortnite’s sixth season has certainly been memorable. All good things must come to an end however, and Epic has now confirmed that Season 6 only has only three days left to go. On a happier note, it’s also shared the very first tease for Season 7. For weeks now, Epic’s subtle and not-so-subtle in-game shenanigans have lead many to believe that Fortnite’s Season 7 will have an appropriately wintery sub-zero theme. There’ve been hints of frost and snow in a number of new cosmetics, and then there’s the not-inconsiderable matter of the great snowstorm bearing down on Battle Royale island right now.
Steam is constantly evolving behind the scenes, but the latest reorganization of the storefront’s molecules has left some developers scratching their heads. Now, if a game makes $10 million, developers have to share less money with Valve. And if it hits $50 million, even less than that. Valve announced tweaks to Steam’s revenue sharing system in a post on Friday. Previously, all developers had to give 30 percent of their revenue to Valve. Now, if a game makes $10 million, its developer only has to toss 25 percent of earnings after that into Valve’s bottomless money abyss. If it makes it all the way up to $50 million, the developer only owes Valve a 20 percent cut of remaining sales. “The value of a large network like Steam has many benefits that are contributed to and shared by all the participants,” Valve wrote. “Finding the right balance to reflect those contributions is a tricky but important factor in a well-functioning network. It’s always been apparent that successful games and their large audiences have a material impact on those network effects, so making sure Steam recognizes and continues to be an attractive platform for those games is an important goal for all participants in the network.”
Unboxing The Whirlwind Vortx
Tune in to the above video to get my immediate thoughts and a hands-on look with this epic new gadget, promising to provide the first environmental simulator for PC gaming! Full Review coming soon!
A really interesting gadget that connects to your wifi and protects every device connected to it. Perfect gift for college students heading back to school or to have in the house, because you never know when someone may want to hack into your network.
“In this rogue-like dungeon-crawling adaptation of the famous board game, you will journey through terrifying randomly generated dungeons, fight against increasingly horrific and powerful foes…or die trying.
Our game designers are channelling Gloomhaven’s quintessential spirit day after day: deep tactical mechanics, battle preparations… and also dying.
In Gloomhaven, you play as a team of mercenaries on their own personal quests to go conquer a world of darkness and trials. Choose your group members wisely, because in the turmoil of battle you can only rely on your wits, skills and spells to fight your way through the putrid dungeons and forgotten ruins.
If you survive your perilous journeys, you might have the opportunity to expand your team, improve your spells or maybe fill your coin purse. You’ll need these things to overcome the hordes of malicious beasts, demons and whatever else may find itself in your path towards victory and domination of all. No decision should ever be made lightly, so choose with caution!”
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Putting Oath Bloatware on Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Phones
Verizon will be putting Oath bloatware on Galaxy 9 phones. The company has signed a deal with Samsung to preload four apps from Verizon’s Oath brand to Galaxy 9 smartphones. This is part of the company’s ongoing effort to get people to actually watch content from services like Go90.
Apps To Be Preloaded On Galaxy 9
Specifically, the four apps which Verizon will preload on Samsung’s Galaxy 9 smartphones are:
– Oath’s Newsroom
– Yahoo Sports
– Yahoo Finance, and
– Go90 mobile video apps
These apps will be preloaded on the Galaxy 9 and Galaxy 9 Plus. Samsung has confirmed that the preloaded apps will only be coming to the Verizon phones.
Other Conditions Of The Deal
Also part of the deal is the integration of native ads from Oath into both the Oath apps and Samsung’s own Galaxy and Game launcher apps. Samsung will share revenue with Oath from the new ads.
It seems like the Oath apps will be Samsung’s premier content partner. Adding things like sports scores from yahoo Sports, news from Newsroom, and stock information from Yahoo Finance into Bixby Home, too.
These integrated ads and Bixby Home content will be coming to all Samsung S9 devices, not just Verizon ones. It will start with the US with an eventual plan to roll them out globally. Meaning, if you are not a Verizon customer and you use an S9, prepare to see more of Verizon and Oath content the future.
Bloatware may not have been invented by Android phone. But Android phone makers and carriers seem to like taking advantage of it. Bloatware is all the extra software apps that come pre-installed in your phones. Most android users do not like having these unwanted apps on their phones. But some carriers do not care about customers’ aversion toward Bloatware.
Yesterday, Yahoo shocked millions of users who could not believe their eyes when confronted with the advisory that it is transitioning to Oath, a subsidiary of telecommunications giant, Verizon. Although the acquisition was announced two years ago, the abrupt change, close at the heels of the Facebook data breach scandal was considered ill-timed by most netizens, including myself. Here we are, reeling from thoughts of our privacy being compromised to then being practically forced to read the fine print on the consequences of getting to your email. We had gotten so used to “trial or beta versions” of Skype, Yahoo Mail and others that allowed users to test drive the new version prior to committing. This time, if you don’t “agree” you won’t be able to read your Yahoo email – feeling like a hostage with an “I’ll do this later” button that freezes leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
We cringe at mail getting derailed or losing contacts and cross our fingers that the changes will be for the better and not the death knell of the once-happy giant. With hordes migrating to other social media, one can’t help but think, of “what ifs” – if Yahoo 360, Blog and Video were not discontinued, we would have a viable option in case we were upset enough to delete our Facebook account. Then again, it may not be the most secure option as it was hacked in 2014; a cyber attack so massive that it affected over 500M users worldwide. Before we move on to its merger with AOL (the search leader before the rise of Google) to become Oath, here’s a brief review of Yahoo:
Purchased at only 4.8B or roughly 10% of the original Microsoft offer, Yahoo is in bed with once rival AOL. Last year, Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL tweeted about the merged company’s strength and predicted competitive advantage. Followers disparaged the choice of Oath as the brand name of the union. The recent volatile reaction to Yahoo’s apparent email-hostaging does not augur well for the future of Oath. It seems as if it wasn’t a marriage made in Internet heaven, after all.
“Oath strives to create a passionate and engaged community of users by building content and products that inspire and entertain the world.”
Even with its advantages for branding and having prestigious names like Huffington Post and TechCrunch as part of the family, there is a universal aversion to the security clause that implicitly tells you that to continue using your Yahoo mail, you must allow access to private information, location, interests, and media and allow Oath to link it to their other subsidiary accounts “to integrate and improve our services, and to provide more customised advertising & content, as well as for other analytics purposes”.
In short, consensual hacking that is made sadder for those who’ve had their very first email account in 1998. Even with its numerous statements about protecting privacy, it does boil down to “take it or leave it”. Allow it to scan your mail for targetted advertising or it politely gives you instructions on how to delete your account should you not allow sharing of information with Oath and the Verizon family.
Chinese company receives a major blow and losses Best Buy as one of their retailers.
It is definitely not a good time for Huawei, the world’s third largest smartphone manufacturer.
Best Buy, the US’s largest retailer electronics retailer, has reportedly stopped ordering smartphones from the Chinese company. They will also stop selling its products over the next couple of weeks. This is according to a person who is familiar with the issue.
“We don’t comment on specific contracts with vendors”, a Best Buy representative explained in a report. “And we make decisions to change what we sell for a variety of reasons,” he adds.
A Huawei spokesperson declined to comment on the issue but maintains that Best Buy is a “valued partner”. But “as a policy, we do not discuss the details of our partner relationships,” she said.
“Huawei currently sells its products through a range of leading consumer electronics retailers in the U.S.,” the Chinese company also said in a statement.
“We have a proven history of delivering products that meet the highest security, privacy and engineering standards in the industry and are certified by the Federal Communications Commission for sale in the U.S.”
This move follows AT&T and Verizon’s last-minute change of decision to not go ahead with promoting the Mate 10 on contract after the increased U.S. scrutiny of Chinese tech firms over protection issues.
The company was apparently expected to announce their partnership with AT&T in January at the CES but the US company backed out. When asked for comments, AT&T kept mum but about the reports but said that they never publicly committed to the partnership. Verizon followed the move a few days later.
In Nature, the big fish eat the small fish, and web dominance in cyberspace is no different with tech giants taking over partners, competitors, and promising start-ups. The movers and shakers in various industries have many strategies to keep them on top like consolidating, designing new products, going into other services, and expanding capabilities – all of which make them hungry for acquiring both established and fledgling solution providers to either crush emerging competition or expand their core strength without the downtime. According to a ten-year study, Microsoft and Google are the two companies that are most focused on AI and machine learning and buy-outs are in the billions – but nothing close to the $32B purchase of ARM, a U.K. based chip design company by Softbank in 2016 and its $33B purchase of Fortress Investment Group, an asset management company in 2017
In 2012, Google, one of the pack leaders in this PACMAN-like game of M & A spent more than the combined acquisition spending of its biggest competitors using a simple guide, “create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day (like a toothbrush)”. Enroute to Google Home and Alexa, the path was strewn with successes and curveballs.
From 2006-2014, it spent over $24.5B on acquiring YouTube for (only) $1.6B, Waze, Double Click, NestLabs, ITA, AdMob, and other companies that supported Google’s vision of dominating online advertising, mobile ads, home automation technology, travel, satellite imaging, and GPS Technology. It lucked out on Motorola, an expensive acquisition at $12.5B which was eventually sold to Lenovo. Its acquisition of Deepmind in 2014 entrenched it in the world of machine learning. Although acquisitions slowed down in 2015-2017, Alphabet (Google’s mother company), remained as the company of choice of start-ups. 11% opted for Google to take over their company, 5% favored Facebook while Amazon and Salesforce tied at 4%. From 2017 to the present, Google is definitely eyeing more cloud, AI, AR, and hardware companies – aside from software that could see Google Assistant (already available in 400M devices worldwide) reigning supreme. Proof of this is the acquisition of Kaggle, an online community of 600,000 data scientists known for hosting data science and machine learning competitions. Brainpower on steroids that could push Google Assistant on even more Android phones, iPhones, Google home products, and other electronic equipment and gadgets.
“I used to have this debate with Steve Jobs, and he would always say, ‘You guys are doing too much stuff.’ He did a good job of doing one or two things really well. We’d like to have a bigger impact on the world by doing more things.”
Larry Page, Google CEO in Business Insider
Speaking of Steve Jobs, Apple uses M & A to strengthen their core products. Focusing on innovativeness and functionality, Apple stays ahead of the game by taking some shortcuts -mainly, buying-out technologies from start-ups for integration into their existing computer and smartphone technologies. However, compared to Google, Apple is definitely more frugal at $6B total M & A spending. Eleven acquisitions cost Apple between $200M-$500M, and only BEAT Electronics surpassed the billion mark in 2014 at $3B. In fact, NeXT Computer was bought for only $400M and SIRI for what seems to be a paltry sum of $250M. The drive has now shifted from Mac support to mobile and AI. Turi and Lattice Data are focused on AI, PA Semi and Anobit Technologies target chip performance, C3 Tech for mapping, and Authen Tec for Apple Pay.
Typically, Apple completed the buy-out of Workflow, an automation tool for iPad and iPhone and will be hiring its creators. In what seems to be a surprise move wrapped up 2017, by buying Shazam, a London-based company that has gained unicorn status on the strength of its song recognition app. Apple also acquired Lattice.io for less than $200 and according to Computer World, “The startup provides an AI-enabled engine that can take unstructured ‘dark’ data and turn it into meaningful and structured insights.” Something definitely to look forward to as Apple expands its realm from purely consumer electronics to machine learning.
“Overall, these top deals reflect Apple’s strategy evolution, from a focus on the Mac platform (NeXT Computer) in the late 1990s to mobile (PA Semi, Anobit Technologies) and AI (Turi, Lattice Data) more recently.”
– CB InsiGHTS, Dec. 2017
Yahoo, one of the strongest players in the Internet age has been bought by Verizon for $4.5 billion. Yahoo will be combined with AOL to form a new subsidiary called OATH. It will eventually be on top of 50 media brands affecting about 1billion people globally.
With Google attempting to dominate the machine learning space, Microsoft seems the runaway leader in AI with its focus on AI products and solutions. It has steered away from computer products to generating 2/3 of its almost $30B revenue from its intelligent cloud platforms, consulting services, and enterprise software licenses. True to the Bill Gates vision, Microsoft is attempting to provide AI access to more people. CEO Satya Naella said, “we acquired AI deep learning startup Maluuba, whose work in natural language processing will help advance our strategy to democratize AI for everyone.” Of course one of the biggest news is the acquisition of LinkedIn – the social media of choice of professionals, entrepreneurs, and decision-makers.
The infographic below shows the dominance of certain tech titans running through the intricacies of the web. While the jury is still out on whether this dominance is a good or bad thing, it is clear that all these competition has made life more convenient for users who can do more, play more, and think more artificially.
Watch out for Part 2: Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba
Where does Facebook come in all of these? Mark Zuckerberg has kept “enemies” close to his chest by acquiring them – Friendster, WhatsApp, Instagram and now Oculus, a virtual reality company are now part of the Facebook family.