#63 What Is Twitch Hiding Up Their Sleeve?

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Factbox: Ten years of bitcoin

Bitcoin, the world’s first and most famous cryptocurrency, celebrates its tenth birthday on Wednesday.Its emergence has spawned a multitude of other digital currencies, brought blockchain technology to global attention, and vexed regulators worried about its crime misuse and weakness to hacking.

What is Bitcoin?

Zynga revenue and forecast come up short, but big-name games in the works

Zynga Inc. reported a slight miss on its most widely watched sales metric and projected holiday results lower than analyst expectations Wednesday afternoon, but promised a brighter future with a slate of games based on popular intellectual property including “Game of Thrones” and “Harry Potter.

Google Introduces reCAPTCHA v3 – No More Garbled Text or Clicking on Endless Stream of Random Images

Google has launched reCAPTCHA version 3 that is a complete overhaul of the reCAPTCHA technology. The company first introduced this background check system back in 2007 and this is the 3rd major overhaul being sent to it. reCAPTCHA itself was initially introduced in 2014. Designed to ward off bots on the internet, reCAPTCHA has proven to be useful but extremely annoying. However, with reCAPTCHA v3 Google aims to reduce this annoyance by no longer requiring any user interaction. No more squinting of eyes to read garbled codes or clicking on images of billboards.

Twitch CEO plots expansion beyond game streaming as Facebook and media companies enter the market

Twitch, the Amazon-owned video streaming service where viewers watch other people play video games, has outgrown its niche roots to the point that 1 million people on average are using it at any given time. The broader category of esports has blossomed into an international phenomenon, with research firm Newzoo predicting the market will grow 55 percent by 2020 to $1.4 billion. That kind of success brings with it competition from big media and tech companies looking for new areas of growth. “One of the biggest changes for Twitch over the past year is just the way that video games and streaming have started to cross over into the mainstream,” CEO and co-founder Emmett Shear told CNBC in an interview last weekend in San Jose, California, at the company’s annual TwitchCon event.

Twitch Squad Stream will officially allow multi-streams next year

Twitch is getting a major new feature called Squad Stream. Announced at TwitchCon, Squad Stream is Twitch’s way of offering native support for multi-streams. The new feature allows viewers to watch up to four streams at once; one for the streamer they’re following and three other viewpoints for the rest of the squad.

Nubia X: a Dual-Display Smartphone with No Selfie Camera

Nubia, a ZTE brand, this week introduced its new range-topping smartphone outfitted with front and rear displays and Qualcomm’s high-end SoC. The new Nubia X features a rare 93.6% screen-to-body ratio on the primary LCD, maximizing its screen real estate while also offering a serious performance. The phone will certainly catch some eyes, but what remains to be seen is how useful the second display is and how will it affect battery life of the device.

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#17 Valve Changes Everything

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Parents worry about their teens’ smartphone habits. But what about their own?

Take the dinner table, the cliched scene where a parent tries to have a conversation with their cell phone-wielding teen, headphones in and distracted. Seventy-two percent of parents feel their teens are often or sometimes distracted by their phones while trying to have a conversation. But when Pew asked teens the same question about their parents, 51 percent of them said they believe their parents are either often or sometimes distracted by their phones during real-life conversations.

Analyst says Apple’s App Store could take $16B hit as commissions under fire

Some game developers feel that the commission levels charged by both Apple and Google are unfair, and they may take a strong stand. Epic Games already opted out of the Google Play app store when it launched Fortnite on Android, though it does sell the iOS version through Apple’s App Store.

Valve Changes Everything: Windows-Exclusive Games Now Run On Steam For Linux

Windows games with no Linux version currently available can now be installed and run directly from the Linux Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support.

Yup, we know exactly when Apple’s 2018 iPhones will be released

Despite the fact that Apple’s iPhone lineup will be completely different in 2018 than it has been in previous years, the events that have taken place in the lead up to their unveiling is exactly the same. First, a few rumors start to trickle out, then the world’s top Apple insider weighs in and tells us exactly what to expect, then as months go by the picture he painted gets more and more clear as subsequent leaks back up all of his claims.

Zynga to Develop ‘Star Wars’ Mobile Game

The developer has struck a multiyear deal with Disney to develop a mobile game based in the Star Wars universe. New Star Wars titles will be managed by the San Francisco company’s NaturalMotion studio, which is based out of the U.K.

No New Assassin’s Creed Coming In 2019

Reflecting on the decision to stop Assassin’s Creed’s yearly launch schedule and give Ubisoft’s developers the time to reinvent the series for Assassin’s Creed Origins, Guillemot said it was ultimately worth it.

“[The time] gave the team the possibility to really bring what they wanted to. The community has been responding very well to it and when I see what we are bringing with Odyssey I know that the community that got back in with Origins will be amazed.”

Overwatch’s D.Va Gets Her Own Animated Short, Watch It Here

Blizzard has released a new animated short for Overwatch called “Shooting Star” and this time the focus is much-loved Meka pilot D.Va. With Gamescom 2018 going on in Germany, the short was shown at Korea Fanfest, where Blizzard also debuted a brand-new Overwatch map. The video starts with a news report about D.Va, who has become a national hero by defending her nation from the Omnics.

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Facebook doubling their efforts to remove fake “Likes”

Facebook is trying to clamp down on bots that are being used by individuals to “Like” posts.

With the company going public, Facebook is trying to protect their business by removing fake accounts which include fake “Likes”.

According to a blog post by the Facebook Security team, they are going to toughen up their efforts to remove those “Likes” which are violating their company’s terms.

Facebook said, “These newly improved automated efforts will remove those Likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk Likes. While we have always had dedicated protections against each of these threats on Facebook, these improved systems have been specifically configured to identify and take action against suspicious Likes.”

“On average, less than 1% of Likes on any given Page will be removed, providing they and their affiliates have been abiding by our terms,” the post said.

A Statistics company studied the number of the fake “Likes” that Facebook is removing. They found out that Texas HoldEm Pker of Zynga lost about 74,000 likes in a single week while Lady Gaga lost about 55,000 likes in the same span.

Zynga’s “Likes” loss accounted to about .3% of the number of “Likes” for the company .

Image Source: allfacebook.com

EA sues Zynga over “The Ville” game attributes

Electronic Arts Inc. is suing Zynga Inc. accusing them that the latter copied essential elements of their “Sims Social” in their “The Ville” game.

Zynga is one of the largest game providers for Facebook. The company has been at the receiving end of copyright infringement accusations coming from different game developers.

According to EA, Zynga copied “Sims Social” personality traits to its characters’ actions.

Head of EA’s Maxis label Lucy Bradshaw said, “Zynga’s design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions have been directly lifter from ‘The Sims Social’. The copying was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable.”

Reginald Davis, the general counsel of Zynga said, “It’s unfortunate that EA thought that this was an appropriate response to our game, and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic  copyright principles.”

Analysts have said that it is common place for competitors like EA and Zynga to have similar offerings.

A partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC J. Gregory Boyd said, “There’s a tremendous significance to this case. The issues of copying, particularly in the social space, have been bubbling for years. Now we have two behemoth companies that have the opportunity between the two of them to settle a lot of questions.”

EA vs Zynga. Who will win over “The Ville”?

Image Source: mobilenapps.com

Zynga cuts 2012 forecast amid poor sales

Social gaming company Zynga Inc. cut third 2012 forecast after their second quarter expectations fell short of Wall Street’s targets resulting to a 40% stock drop.

Zynga ,who is responsible for games such as Hidden Chronicles and Farmville, also pulled social networking tycoon Facebook down. The latter gets 15% of their earnings from Zynga.

The social gaming brand edited their 2012 earbibgs forecast from 23 to 29 cents initially to 4 to 9 cents. Zynga went public last December and was well on its way to earning top dollars.

Unfortunately, Wall Street has slowly backed down from the company as gaming rivals became more and users began to hop off the Zynga wagon.

According to Arvind Bhatia, analyst from Sterne Agee,“The quarter is a disaster. I think that it’s looking more and more like this was a fad because they’ve introduced so many new games, yet EBITDA continues to come down.”
“The company has been saying for some time that declining traffic doesn’t matter and clearly it does. The decline in some of their top games in terms of traffic has been huge,” he added.

Thomson Reuters also said that Zynga had a quarterly revenue amounting to $332.4 million which is below the average which analyst pegged at $344.12.

Image Source: morningwhistle.com

Zynga games coming to Windows Marketplace

Zynga has produced a number of popular games for quite some time now. Two of their most popular are Draw Something and Words With Friends. These addicting games have caught individuals in a trance and have caused problems for others (attention Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock).

Now, Draw Something and Words With Friends are coming to your Windows 8 Phone platform, as soon as Microsoft launches the operating system.

Microsoft announced that their Windows 8 will have more than 100,000 apps on their Windows Phone Marketplace.

Microsoft is banking heavily on their Windows 8 operating system to fend off Android and iOS, two of the leading operating systems out there today.

Individuals went crazy when Zynga released Words With Friends back in 2009. This Scrabble like game has made millions for Zynga.

Words With Friends was the top iOS game for many users until Zynga released their latest game Draw Something this year.

Draw Something was downloaded 50 million times in only its first 50 days in business.

Draw Something and Words With friends are the first Zynga owned games to be made available to Windows 8 and Windows Phone users.

Can this be a start of something big for Windows 8 and Microsoft?

Image Source: naption.com

YoVille hacked!

Players of the popular YoVille have been airing their complaints on the company’s forum since last month due to cyber theft.

They have been reporting that their virtual items have been stolen and have not been returned while some player’s properties were completely stolen.

According to VentureBeat, the game has been hacked. Hackers have been disrupting YoVille’s gameplay for some 1,000 players during a certain span in April.

According to chief security officer of Zynga Nils Puhlmann, “We detected unusual activity in YoVille, and it coincided with reports from a small number of users. We analyzed the reports. We found that a small number of vulnerabilities that contributed to the unusual activity. The game team patched these vulnerabilities immediately.”

According to the report, the hackers only hacked games and did not breach the private and sensitive information of the players.

Puhlmann added, “Credit card numbers are not an issue here. It is more a case of YoVille players disrupting other YoVille players.”

YoVille was launched back in 2008 and is played through Myspace or Facebook. Players can create a character, design a house, host a party, earn virtual cash and chat with other players. It has a throng of about 1.5 million monthly users.

Image Source:teepeegmaes.com

Draw Something bad news for Zynga?

Draw Something was a game that used to tickle our imagination and fancy. Now, it looks like this once popular app is slowly slipping into oblivion.

The once popular app was released last February of this year and within a couple of weeks, about 10 million individuals downloaded the said game. The free and paid versions of the app quickly rose to the top of iTunes download charts.

By the end of April about 50 million individuals were able to download the game and about 14 million people play the game each day. Unfortunately for the developers, Draw Something has lost about 4 million daily users according to market analyst AppData.

AppData collects information directly from Facebook’s active user formula. They added that the game has lost close to 900,000 users during the past week.

The company who developed the game, Zynga, recently bought OMGPOP for $180 million. The latter developed Draw Something and a few more online games that includes Checkers, Pool and others.

Due to the decline of the popularity of Draw Something, the company’s stock price fell. Since the acquisition of OMGPOP, Zynga’s stock has dropped to more than 38%.

Image Source: TGdaily.com

Zynga now offers games in own website

The successful partnership of Zynga and Facebook has resulted into triumph for both companies. For years they have achieved more and more through their continuing collaboration.

Now, Zynga sets its sights out of the 4 walls of Facebook. The game maker is planning to expand its enterprise out of the famous social network and offer games at Zynga.com.

The company said in their blog, “On Zynga.com, players can meet and connect with others who share a love for social games and help players progress faster in their games by tapping the entire community to instantly get what they need to complete quests, obtain virtual items, and advance to the next level. Zynga.com will feature five of our most popular games at launch – Words With Friends, CityVille CastleVille, Hidden Chronicles and Zynga Poker. We’re also teaming up with third party game developers in an effort to make Zynga.com the best destination for play.”

According to VentureBeat, the company’s website will go online any time this month.

Zynga’s stock price has rose after they announced the decision to create an own website.

Will this move by Zynga be good for the company or would they pay the price later on?

Facebook releases top social games for 2011

The most popular social networking site has released their top social games for the year. Heading the list is Playdom’s Gardens of Time, a modern version of the classic hidden objects game.

Facebook based their ratings on games that had the most active users and those who received the highest recommendations for the year.

Although not taking the top spot, social game developer Zynga dominated the list with ­their most popular game Cityville taking the 3rd spot, Indiana Jones Adventure World in the fifth place, the word game Words With Friends at the sixth spot and the army game Empire and Allies at the 8th place, the online slots site was also pretty close to the first places.

EA’s virtual world game The Sims Social took home the second place.

Below is the complete list of Facebook’s top ten list.

Most popular games in 2011
1.  Gardens of Time (By Playdom)
2.  The Sims Social (By EA)
3.  Cityville  (By Zynga)
4.  DoubleDown Casino (by DoubleDown Interactive)
5.  Indiana Jones Adventure World  (By Zynga)
6.  Words With Friends (By Zynga)
7.  Bingo Blitz (By Buffalo Studios)
8.  Empires & Allies (By Zynga)
9.  Slotomania-Slot Machines (By Playtika)
10. Diamond Dash (By wooga)