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Is AMD Making Gains On nVidia?

August 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Number crunchers working for Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry’s research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia have noted that during the second quarter AMD gained market share in the add-in board (AIB) market.

But while AMD fans might be cheering, and while Nvidia fanboys work out ways they can beat them up after school, JPR says that over all the AIB market decreased.

For those who came in late, AIBs using discrete GPUs are found in desktop PCs, workstations, servers, and other devices such as scientific instruments. They are sold directly to customers as aftermarket products, or are factory installed by OEMs.

AIBs are the higher end of the graphics industry with their discrete chips and private, often large, high-speed memory, as compared to the integrated GPUs in CPUs that share slower system memory.

The PC add-in board (AIB) market now has just three chip (GPU) suppliers which also build and sell AIBs. The primary suppliers of GPUs are AMD and Nvidia. There are 48 AIB suppliers, the AIBOEM customers of the GPU suppliers, which they call “partners”.

JPR has been tracking AIB shipments quarterly since 1987-the volume of those boards peaked in 1999, reaching 114 million units, in 2015, 44 million shipped.

The news for the quarter was encouraging and seasonally understandable, quarter-to-quarter, the AIB market decreased -20.8 percent (compared to the desktop PC market, which increased 2.5%), the report said.

AIB shipments during the quarter decreased from the last quarter -20.8 percent, which is below the ten year average of -9.7 percent.On a year-to-year basis, it found that total AIB shipments during the quarter rose 0.8 percent, which is greater than desktop PCs, which fell -0.2 percent, JPR added.

In spite of the overall PC churn, which is mostly because of tablets and embedded graphics, the PC gaming momentum continues to build and is the bright spot in the AIB market.

The overall GPU shipments (integrated and discrete) is greater than desktop PC shipments due double-attach-the adding of a second (or third) AIB to a system with integrated processor graphics.

Another reason is the increase in dual AIBs in performance desktop machines using either AMD’s Crossfire or Nvidia’s SLI technology Improved attach rate. The attach rate of AIBs to desktop PCs has declined from a high of 63 percent in Q1 2008 to 34 percent this quarter, a decrease of -22.7 percent from last quarter which was negative. Compared to this quarter last year it increased a single miserable percentage point.

This research said that the global GPU market demand in Q2’16 decreased from last quarter, and decreased from last year, to 83.32 million units.

“In recent years, as the gaming ecosystem is shaping up, software and hardware developers, information service providers, and even governments have been attempting to unearth market opportunities coming from this new arena. However, global PC shipment volume is forecast to fall further,” the report said.

 Courtesy-Fud

Can Remedy Shorten Its Development Cycle?

August 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

Last week, Remedy tapped Tero Virtala to be its new CEO and said he would guide the Quantum Break studio’s move to developing multiple projects simultaneously. Virtala recently spoke with GamesIndustry.biz to flesh that idea out a little more and provide other details about his vision for the company’s future.

To start with, Virtala acknowledged that Remedy had intended to make a move into multiproject development for a while.

“This idea has lived for such a long time, but naturally, Quantum Break being such an ambitious and big project, it took most of the resources, people, the energy, most of the money the studio has been using for a long time,” Virtala said. “Now Quantum Break has been made and there is a new phase clearly starting for the company. As this strategic path has been discussed, it’s a commonly shared view that going for multiple projects is the way the people at the company want to go. And it also makes a lot of sense.”

Even though Remedy managed to put out the digital release Alan Wake’s American Nightmare and free-to-play mobile game Agents of Storm while Quantum Break was in the works, it’s clear much of the studio’s focus was on its Xbox One title. As Virtala explained, Quantum Break was an immense task for the studio: a new IP on a new platform with new gameplay mechanics and new tech, all paired with a new transmedia approach that would see a four-episode live-action serial created alongside the game.

“You take so many new things at one time and it made sense to focus on just one big project at a time,” Virtala said. “Now when we fast-forward to this moment, there’s so much more experience and skills, competencies that we can use with what we’ve learned. Also, the technology and tools we’ve developed are much further along and much more reusable than they used to be. So that built a base we can utilize, and then you take what else is needed for two projects.”

The studio’s old method of focusing on one big game for as long as five years at a time just isn’t sustainable in the long run, particularly when Remedy prides itself on cutting edge technology and envelope-pushing creativity.

“The industry’s developing so fast,” Virtala said. “On the one hand, there are so many great games out there, so when you’re bringing your game out, it has to stand out. It has to be unique. It has to be [high] quality. And if our studio is focusing on one project only, we’re putting all our people there. It usually means the length of the project grows, and if you take four or five years to develop a game, it’s a very risky game. You start the project with certain assumptions of the market, and in four or five years’ time in this type of creative, technology-driven industry, it changes so fast.”

That approach was also limiting the partners Remedy could work with. Virtala had nothing but great things to say about long-time partner Microsoft, but a relationship like that with a single-project studio would necessarily keep the company from collaborating with other publishers. And of course, Remedy fans would probably like more than one new game every five years or so.

Virtala wants Remedy to make more games, and he wants a shorter development cycle for those games. At the same time, he stressed, “We stay loyal to the strengths we have in this industry,” which he interprets as excellent games with a distinctive quality, visually impressive and immersive worlds populated with compelling characters.

As for how Remedy can deliver content to the same quality on a much shorter time scale, Virtala didn’t give many specifics. The company has a headcount of 125 people with another 15 open positions, but Virtala declined to say if there were plans to dramatically expand the staff size. As for doing more with the same amount of people, he did note that the technology and tools that have been developed for Quantum Break over the past five years can be used in future games, so “we are definitely able to provide AAA quality in a shorter time than we have before.”

He was similarly careful when talking about whether the shorter development cycle would be achieved by changing the types of games Remedy makes. The company is exploring “new game mechanics” that

Courtesy-GI.biz

Will Google Launch Its Daydream VR Soon?

August 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-DaydreamBloomberg claims that Google will be launching its Daydream VR platform in a few weeks.

Google is believed to be spending a small fortune getting content ready for the platform, particularly video games and apps, licensing sports leagues and shooting 360-degree videos.

Daydream is being hardwired into Android 7.0 which launched this week. Google says that  Samsung, HTC, ZTE, Huawei, Xiaomi, Alcatel, Asus and LG had agreed to make “Daydream ready” smartphones.

Google wants the software to be the Android of VR. It will provide a VR platform and other outfits will create the hardware and its Android chums will configure their smartphones to run the beast. But while the product is nearly good to go, so far no one has put their hand up and said they will be making headsets specifically for the platform.

The VR market is getting crowded from Facebook, Sony, Samsung Electronics and HTC. However there are a limited number of apps and even fewer games.  Sony’s Morpheus headset is tethered to its PlayStation video-game console, but Google is focused on lower quality mobile-based VR, whereby consumers snap their phones into a visor or headset. With the headset on, Daydream presents users with an array of apps, from YouTube to HBO Now.

Courtesy-Fud

AMD Bundling Deus-Ex With Gaming Cards

August 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-Deus-EXWe already knew that AMD was one of the launch partners for the new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided game and it appears it will be bundled with some of AMD’s hot FX-series CPUs.

While we were hoping to see it bundled with some recently launched Polaris-based graphics cards, it appears that AMD wants to give some love to those that decide to buy AMD’s FX-series CPUs.

To be available in most popular retail/e-tail stores, the bundle will include a copy of the new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided game with a purchase of a 6- or 8-core AMD FX CPU. According to details provided by AMD, the promotion will run from August 23rd to November 14th or until the supply lasts.

Currently, some of the hot AMD FX-series CPUs like the 6-core FX-6300 or 8-core FX-8320 are selling for as low as US $100 and US $130, so bundling a US $60 game sounds like a really good deal.

Hopefully, AMD will decide to bundle the game with some of its Polaris-based graphics cards after Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gets its DirectX 12 patch later in early September.

Courtesy-Fud

EA Appears To Be Going HD With Old Games

August 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

Electronic Arts has one of the deepest back catalogs in the industry, but to date it has steered clear of mining it for new revenue through remastered and HD editions. That’s likely to change soon, according to a Game Informer interview with EA Studios executive VP Patrick Soderlund from last week at Gamescom. When asked if anything in EA’s stance on remasters had evolved in the last year, Soderlund tipped the publisher’s hand.

“What’s changed is that there is proof in the market that people want it, maybe more than there was when we spoke [previously],” Soderlund said. “There were some that did it before, but I think there is even more clear evidence that this is something that people really want. The honest answer is that we are absolutely actively looking at it. I can’t announce anything today, but you can expect us most likely to follow our fellow partners in Activision and other companies that have done this successfully.”

Soderlund added that if EA were to remaster games, it would “have to be careful in choosing the right brands for the right reasons at the right time.” Part of that would be ensuring the company handles the remasters properly instead of just selling quick and dirty ports.

That attitude is a pretty clear pivot from where the company’s thinking was just a year ago. Last October, Peter Moore said EA wasn’t interested in remakes and remasters because “it feels like pushing stuff out because you’ve run out of ideas,” adding, “I don’t know where we find the time to do remakes. We’re a company that just likes to push forward.”

While EA hasn’t been especially aggressive with remastered games, it has produced HD versions of older games like American McGee’s Alice and Crysis, primarily as preorder incentives for sequels in those series.

Courtesy-GI.biz

nVidia Dumps The Shield Tablet

August 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

According to leaked FCC documentation, it appears that Nvidia has decided to cancel its new Shield Tablet, that was earlier spotted in the in the FCC filing.

According to a leaked document from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) database, dated August 1st and spotted by Androidpolice.com, Nvidia has decided to cancel the tablet “for business reasons”.

The earlier rumored Shield Tablet refresh, which was spotted at FCC, packed some impressive specifications, including an 8-inch 1920×1200 resolution screen, faster Tegra X1 SoC, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

The most probable reason is the decline in tablet sales and Nvidia’s focus on cars.

Hopefully, this doesn’t mean that we won’t see any more tablets or similar devices from Nvidia in future but not the new Shield Tablet.

Courtesy-Fud

 

nVidia Makes Financial Gains

August 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia released its financial results yesterday for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2017, which ended July 31, 2016.

The company’s numbers came in slightly better than expected during a quarter fueled by consumer interest in the 4K-capable 16nm Pascal GPU product family, along with increasing enterprise investments in Nvidia’s GPU-accelerated deep learning, computer vision and AI platforms and products.

The company turned in revenues of $1.43 billion with 58.1 percent adjusted gross margin. This is up nine percent from $1.30 billion in Q1 (February 1 to May 1, 2016) and up 24 percent from $1.103 billion a year earlier in Q2 FY2016 (April 27 to July 26, 2015).

Looking ahead at a forecast for Q3 FY2017 – ending late October – the company is issuing guidance between $1.65 and $1.71 billion, or between 57.5 and 58.5 percent adjusted gross margin.

During the company’s Q2 FY2016 ending July 31, 2016, the company unveiled its flagship Geforce GTX 1080 graphics card along with the Geforce GTX 1070 and Geforce GTX 1060. Just two days later after the quarter ended, it released an even higher-performing Pascal enthusiast model – the Geforce GTX Titan X – although revenue numbers from this card will be presented in Q3 FY2017 results in a few months from now.

“Strong demand for our new Pascal-generation GPUs and surging interest in deep learning drove record results,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and chief executive officer, NVIDIA. “Our strategy to focus on creating the future where graphics, computer vision and artificial intelligence converge is fueling growth across our specialized platforms — Gaming, Pro Visualization, Datacenter and Automotive.”

As we mentioned a few days ago, the driverless automotive market is expected to grow to $42 billion in nine years and so far the few companies that have signed on with Nvidia’s Drive PX hardware include BMW, Ford, Daimler and Audi. Nvidia is currently working closely with Audi as its primary brand but will soon move to Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini and Bentley.

“We are more excited than ever about the impact of deep learning and AI, which will touch every industry and market. We have made significant investments over the past five years to evolve our entire GPU computing stack for deep learning. Now, we are well positioned to partner with researchers and developers all over the world to democratize this powerful technology and invent its future,” Jen-Hsun said.

During the quarter ending July 31st, Nvidia also launched the Quadro P6000 workstation GPU with 12 teraflops of compute power, introduced the Tesla P100 accelerator for PCI-E based servers, released its first self-created game called VR Funhouse, and introduced an ultra-high resolution screenshot capture utility called Ansel, although it is limited to a few select games for now.

Courtesy-Fud

HP Building Mobile Device Strategy Around Windows 10

August 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

HP has experimented with many operating systems over the last few years, but the company always returns back to Microsoft’s Windows.

The company is building a mobile device strategy around Windows 10 Mobile and is slowly cutting its reliance on Android, once high on the company’s list for tablets and PCs.

HP has discontinued low-cost Android tablets, and two remaining enterprise tablets feature aging hardware and an old version of the OS. Company executives have said future mobile devices will be built around Windows 10 unless there’s significant new demand for Android.

HP is following the lead of Dell, which has cut Android devices to focus on Windows. Lenovo, meanwhile, still sells Android tablets and smartphones but is cutting its number of Android tablets and increasing its number of Windows 2-in-1s.

The goal for HP is simple: to unify products around one OS, much like Apple. That’s a challenge facing Samsung, with its PCs on Windows, tablets and smartphones on Android, and wearables and smart TVs on Tizen. Samsung is still working to put the pieces together to ensure all devices communicate flawlessly, but the company claimed progress during the recent launch of Galaxy Note 7.

HP is re-entering the smartphone market its Elite X3 handset, which runs Windows 10 Mobile. The company is building its smartphone strategy around Windows 10 Mobile, which had just a 0.7 percent market share in the first quarter, according to Gartner.

HP says Elite X3 can be a PC replacement with help from cloud services and accessories. Users will be able to run Universal Windows apps on PCs and smartphones. HP also plans to bring augmented reality apps on HoloLens to the Elite X3.

“We’re not trying to hit the volumes and scales of Android,” Park said. “We’re going after IT shops. There are a lot of people in the commercial domain who are not using Pokemon Go.”

HP has said it doesn’t want to sell low-cost devices and has cut many Android devices in the process. But the same strategy doesn’t apply to Windows — this week it announced low-cost Stream notebooks running Windows 10 starting at US$199.

 

 

 

 

Some Qualcomm Processors May Have Security Issues

August 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Some Qualcomm chips have four serious holes which allow potential attackers to “trigger privilege escalations for the purpose of gaining root access to a device.”

According to security outfit Checkpoint, Quadrooter flaws are particularly nasty, if only because they appear in a large number of phones.

Most of the major recent Android devices are expected to be affected by the flaw, including the BlackBerry Priv, Blackphone 1 and Blackphone 2, Google Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, and Nexus 6P, HTC One, HTC M9, and HTC 10, LG G4, LG G5, and LG V10, Moto X, OnePlus One, OnePlus 2, and OnePlus 3, Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung S7 Edge and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

Three of the four holes have already been patched, with a solution for the fourth is coming but given the fact that handset manufacturers work at glacial speed applying them the world could see a lot of these being exploited.

Google has pushed patches to its phones, but the others might release theirs when hell freezes over. One of the weak points about Andorid is that phone manufacturers or a Mobile Carriers think developing a new versions of software and patches is expensive, some of the might chose not to do it.  But that is the whole fragmentation thing and the reason why you cant get an decent Android update for your phone.

Checkpoint revealed its findings over the weekend at the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas. It said that the “vulnerabilities can give attackers complete control of devices and unrestricted access to sensitive personal and enterprise data on them.”

Qualcomm has yet to issue an official statement so we don’t know how many chips are effected.  Meanwhile there is an App to know if you have a problem.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Goes 10nm

August 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Last week Qualcomm’s CEO  confirmed to its investors that the company has taped out its 10nm system on a chip (SoC).

This news kind of went unnoticed and we have decided to revisit this. A few months back Fudzilla was talking with a few industry sources about 10nm and it was the general impression that Apple and Qualcomm would get to 10nm quite  soon.

When David Wong from Wells Fargo asked Steve Mollenkopf when we could expect a tape out of 10 nanometers and samples, Steve answered that it had already happened.

We expect to see the successor of Snapdragon 820 being introduced this year and shipping in phones in late Q1 early Q2 2017. This has been the course of things for a while at Qualcomm. The timing also mateches a normal phone refresh lifecycle as most companies –  including Samsung – will launch their next generation phones at the Mobile World Congress that takes place in Barcelona on February 27 2017.

This might be the 10nm that Mollenkopf mentioned and confirmed that it has been sampled to customers. We can call it Snapdragon 830 but there are no real guarantees that this will be the final branding. Steve also said that Qualcomm will continue its multi-sourcing strategy for 10nm and beyond.

Multi-sourcing is always a good strategy, as having more than one supplier is definitely better and safer. After 10nm, Samsung, TSMC, GlobalFoundries and Intel will use 7nm and then 5nm.

From what we’ve heard, we will be stuck at 10nm for a while probably through 2017 while we might see some of the first 7nm products in 2018. After 7nm comes 5nm and then it becomes very interesting as the semiconductor manufacturing industry can’t work out how to get smaller than that. It’s the end of Moore’s Law.

So the next generation phones that we expect in early 2017, powered by the next generation 10nm Snapdragon will definitely get faster on a CPU, DSP and GPU side, probably getting more processing power and performance at the same time. This has been the case since the introduction of the smartphone, and won’t change anytime soon.

Qualcomm will also have a server ARM based product in 10nm, as we exclusively reported too.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Smartwatch Sales In 2016 Experienced Signficant Decline

July 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The global smartwatch market experienced a decline by 32% in the second quarter of 2016, with Apple Watch shipments down by 55% when compared to a year earlier, according to research firm IDC.

The decline — the first since the market started in 2013 — is expected to reverse next year after Apple and Google launch important operating system updates this fall, IDC said. Also, more watches will launch with cellular connections to LTE wireless without the need to connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone.

Apple was the only smartwatch maker in the top five to see a decline in the second quarter, although the Apple Watch remained the top smartwatch by far, with 1.6 million devices shipped and 47% of the market, IDC said.

Samsung smartwatches placed second, with 600,000 shipped and 16% of the market. Lenovo, LG Electronics and Garmin rounded out the next three positions, each with less than 300,000 smartwatches shipped.

In all, 3.5 million smartwatches shipped in the second quarter, down from 5.1 million in the second quarter of 2015, for a 32% decline.

For all of 2016, smartwatch shipments are forecast to reach 19.2 million, just slightly below the 19.3 million units in 2015. The big rebound will come in 2017, when shipments reach 28 million, IDC said.

“There’s definitely optimism down the road, but not so much in 2016,” said IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani, in an interview. IDC’s smartwatch category doesn’t include most fitness bands, which don’t run third-party applications, as smartwatches do.

The second-quarter decline for the Apple Watch came even as the device’sstarting price was dropped to $299, down from $349. Apple is expected to launch its next-generation Apple Watch and WatchOS 3 as early as September. The new device is expected to support LTE independent of a Bluetooth connection to an iPhone.

In the next two years, more traditional watch makers will enter the smartwatch market. So far, Casio, Fossil and Tag Heuer have launched their own smartwatch models. As more traditional watch brands start selling the devices, the market will grow, IDC said.

New applications and games will also help smartwatch growth, Ubrani said. Some users might want to play Pokemon Go on a smartwatch, Ubrani said. However, a Pokemon Go Plus wearable has already been announced that can be worn on the wrist with a polyester wristband to connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone running the game. It will sell for $35.

 

 

 

 

Is Google Really Working On Augmented Reality Devices?

July 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

The rumor mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that Google has abandoned its VR projects and is secretly working on a an augmented reality-style headset.

Engadget reported that the Californian technology giant is building the head-mounted computer that will work independently of smartphones and desktop PCs.

It claims that this secret project, which is quietly in development, is a replacement for an Oculus Rift style project that has been axed.

Actually the project sounds more like a hybrid VR-AR setup: “While it does have a screen, it will offer features more in line with augmented reality systems than existing VR headsets.”

Google is not saying anything and it does have a habit of working on things and then giving up on them. But the rumours are indicative of just how important AR and VR is becoming for the industry’s major players:

It is widely viewed as the next major platform, with similar possibilities to the early days of mobile. Facebook has the Oculus Rift, Microsoft has its AR Hololens headset, and there are rumours about Apple’s intentions to get into virtual reality after everyone else has done the legwork and then it will arrive and claim it has invented it.

Google was into mobile-powered VR game early with its DIY Cardboard headset, and earlier this year it announced Daydream — a virtual reality platform that, like Cardboard (but much more sophisticated), uses a smartphone as its hardware base.

Engadget claims that employees working on the secretive alternative headset have been told that Daydream is “not the company’s long-term plan for virtual and augmented reality.”

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is AMD Share Price Making A Comeback?

July 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

A report from financial analysts Seeking Alpha has issued guidance on the share price of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and said the company’s outlook is quite bright.

The report said that only 11 months back AMD was one of the most shorted stocks in the USA largely as a result of falling revenues and losses.

But, said Bill Maurer at Seeking Alpha, all that has completely changed now. Analysts think that AMD’s share price is currently overvalued.

It all hangs on how well AMD performs when it releases its earnings next week.

The introduction of the RX 480 was supposed to help out on revenues but there’s a question mark over how well it’s contributed to the bottom line.

On the bright side, the arrangement it had with Nantong Microelectronics terminated in the quarter and that ended up meaning a net cash bonus of over $320 million.

The share price currently stands at over $5. AMD’s biggest phone the processors based on Zen architecture are promised to start shipping later this year. This should have an effect on the stock value.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is The NPD Finally Going Digital?

July 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

It’s been more than five years since The NPD Group said it would start including digital data in its monthly reports on the US video game business. In those five years, not only has digital grown, but publishers, analysts, press and more have all thrown shade at NPD, questioning the relevancy of a service that only offers physical sales data in an increasingly digital era. Today, NPD is finally taking that first step to offer a more complete picture of the entire games market as it’s unveiled its digital point-of-sale (POS) sourced service, tracking SKU-level sales data on digital games.

“Following several years of beta testing, the Digital Games Tracking Service will allow participating clients to understand the size and growth of the digital market, and analyze attach rates and other important metrics. Combined with physical data available by NPD, these clients can gain a better understanding of the interplay between the physical and digital sales channels,” the firm explained in a press statement.

“As has been experienced across a wide variety of industries, digital has made a big impact on the overall gaming market, and we’ve risen to meet the demand for a reporting mechanism that tracks those sales in a timely and accurate way,” said Joanne Hageman, President, U.S. Toys & Games, The NPD Group. “With the participation and support of leading publishers – whose cooperation makes this possible – we are excited to launch an industry-first service that addresses a long-standing need.”

The usual report on physical sales data will now be combined with digital sales data and issued on July 21 instead of July 14; it’s expected to follow that cadence (the third data Thursday of the month) moving forward. Initially, NPD has gained the support of major publishers like EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Capcom, Square Enix, Take-Two, Deep Silver and Warner Bros. There are notable exceptions, however, like Bethesda as well as first-party publishers like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, but NPD analyst Liam Callahan promised that more publishers would be signing on as the service evolves.

“This has been several years of beta testing and we’ve been doing this in partnership with publishers, shaping the product, encoding the data the way the industry wants to see it. It’s really at the behest of or on the behalf of the publishers that we’re moving forward with this announcement… Really the goal is to bring a new level of transparency never before seen, at least in the US market. This is really the first step. We recognize that there’s still a ways to go, we want more publishers to join, we want to be able to project for people who are not participating. It’s an evolution, it’s something that takes time and our philosophy was really to start – if we waited to have every publisher in the world to sign up it would take forever. We’ll be improving this as time goes on,” he said.

Importantly, NPD will notate next to game titles on the chart that do not include digital data. Callahan wants the service, which is being produced with the assistance of EEDAR, to ultimately be able to project data even for non-participants but NPD isn’t starting with that ability just yet. Instead, it’ll focus on tracking revenue from full-game downloads across Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Steam. Services like Battle.net and Uplay won’t be included at this point.

“EEDAR is excited to be part of this initiative with NPD and the participating publishers. Tracked digital revenues have seen annual growth of over 100% each year since 2012. In 2016, we’ve already tracked more digital revenue than we saw in 2012 and 2013 combined. This initiative is a great milestone for the industry which will allow publishers to make better business decisions with a broader data set,” added EEDAR CEO Rob Liguori.

Add-on content like DLC and microtransactions will be tracked as well, but that data will only be released to participants, not the media and public. “We’re waiting until that’s a little more fully baked for us to roll that out to the media. We’re doing things in stages,” Callahan said.

It may be frustrating for the media to not have a granular breakdown at the SKU level to see what portion of a game’s sales are digital versus physical, but NPD anticipates more openness as the service evolves.

NPD communications chief David Riley commented, “This is a closed service, the detailed data is only available to participants so if you’re a non-participating publisher you cannot see the data. The fact that we’re allowed to go out with something for the media is a huge step in the right direction. I think as the service matures and as the publishers get used to it and we get more on board, we have more history, we do some benchmarking, we can provide that, but what we wanted to do for multiple reasons, including appeasing the publishers was to combine full-game physical with full-game digital, keep away from the DLC, keep PC games separate because that’s a whole different ball of wax. It’s not comprehensive, but it’s the most comprehensive, we’re the first in the market to track this and we’re sort of very cautious.”

He added, “I expect a good old slamming from the industry press because of the limitations here but what we don’t want to do is open ourselves up by separating it at this time. We’ve just opened the gates right now. Just as you’ve seen a withdrawal [of data] on the physical side – we used to give units – this is sort of going to be the reverse I’m hoping and we can provide more over time.”

Working with the publishers is great, but there are numerous digitally released titles from indies which make up a growing piece of the industry pie. Will the service grow to track those titles too? “Indies are a big part of the industry in terms of their innovation and I think when I talk about our projection methodology and assets at NPD, that is part of how we can track everything, not just for publishers, including indie games and everything that’s outside the panel right now,” Callahan said.

“Some of those smaller games are published through a publisher or first-party so there are ways to get some of those with our publisher-sourced methodology, and otherwise we’re approaching it with developing a robust projection methodology. That’s certainly part of our plan, we’re not going to ignore the indie piece.”

In our previous conversations with NPD, the firm had hinted at possibly working towards the goal of global digital reports. That’s not off the table, but it’s not a focus at the moment. “US is our core competency… our vision is to expand this as much as we can in a way that makes sense for our partners. If that’s global that may be what we pursue. But we also want to do the best job that we can in projecting for the market and recruiting as many publishers as we can,” Callahan concluded.

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

Nintendo Questioned Over Pokemon GO Data Collection, Privacy

July 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

A Democratic U.S. senator requested the software developer behind Nintendo Co Ltd’s Pokemon GO to clarify the mobile game’s data privacy protections, amid concerns the augmented reality hit was unnecessarily collecting vast swaths of sensitive user data.

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota sent a letter to Niantic Chief Executive John Hanke asking what user data Pokemon GO collects, how the data is used and with what third party service providers that data may be shared.

The game, which marries Pokemon, the classic 20-year-old cartoon franchise, with augmented reality, allows players to walk around real-life neighborhoods while seeking virtual Pokemon game characters on their smartphone screens – a scavenger hunt that has earned enthusiastic early reviews.

Franken also asked Niantic to describe how it ensures parents give “meaningful consent” to a child’s use of the game and subsequent collection of his or her personal information.

“I am concerned about the extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information without their appropriate consent,” Franken wrote.

“As the augmented reality market evolves, I ask that you provide greater clarity on how Niantic is addressing issues of user privacy and security, particularly that of its younger players,” he added.

Franken additionally asked Niantic to provide an update on a vulnerability detected on Monday by security researchers who found Pokemon GO players signing into the game via a Google account on an Apple iOS device unwittingly gave “full access permission” to the person’s Google account.

Pokemon GO on Tuesday released an updated version on iOS to reduce the number of data permissions it sought from Google account users.

Niantic did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Franken’s inquiry.

The company, spun off by Google last year, created the game in tandem with Pokemon Co, a third of which is owned by Nintendo.

 

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