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Is Apple Having Problem With The Forthcoming iPhone 8?

April 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

According to Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri Apple company is struggling with low production yields on the revolutionary edge-to-edge display rumoured for the Apple iPhone 8.

He thinks that this will mean that the outfit will have to dump the embedded the Touch ID fingerprint scanner technology, which until now has been housed within the physical button, beneath the glass display.

Arcuri believes Apple is looking at dropping the ambitious new technology for another less-exciting design for the iPhone 8.

Samsung is believed to have faced similar issues with the Galaxy S8, leaving it no choice but to relocate the fingerprint scanner to the back of the phone.

Arcuri believes Apple could follow suit and maroon the Touch ID scanner on the rear of the iPhone. He also thinks it is possible that Jobs’ Mob could drop its fingerprint sensor altogether, and rely solely on the face recognition technology believed to debut on the next iPhone.

However, this would be stupid as the technology is half-baked and not reliable enough to be the sole biometric security option included with the handset.

Apple could push-back the launch of the iPhone 8 until it can remedy the production problems and there are rumours that the next-generation iPhone will miss the company’s traditional September launch window.

Although there are all sorts of rumours put about by the Tame Apple Press, it is clear that the iPhone’s design has not been worked out yet and the next handset has yet to enter full-scale production.

Courtesy-Fud

Blizzard Entertainment Wins Cheating Lawsuit

April 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Blizzard Entertainment has asked for $8.5 million in damages from Bossland, a German company that makes and sells cheats and hacks for its most popular games.

This is the latest and probably final step in a legal complaint Blizzard filed in July 2016, which accused Bossland of copyright infringement and millions of dollars in lost sales, among other charges. Cheat software like Bossland’s Honorbuddy and Demonbuddy, Blizzard argued, ruins the experience of its products for other players.

According to Torrent Freak, Bossland’s attempt to have the case dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction failed, after which it became unresponsive. It also failed to respond to a 24-hour ultimatum to respond from the court, and so Blizzard has filed a motion for default judgement.

The $8.5 million payment was calculated based on Blizzard’s sales projections for the infringing products. Bossland had previously admitted to selling 118,939 products to people in the United States since July 2013, of which Blizzard believes a minimum of 36% related to its games.

“In this case, Blizzard is only seeking the minimum statutory damages of $200 per infringement, for a total of $8,563,600.00,” the motion document stated. “While Blizzard would surely be entitled to seek a larger amount, Blizzard seeks only minimum statutory damages.

“Notably, $200 approximates the cost of a one-year license for the Bossland Hacks. So, it is very likely that Bossland actually received far more than $8 million in connection with its sale of the Bossland Hacks.”

Update: The court has granted Blizzard’s motion for default judgement, ordering Bossland to pay $8.56 million in damages.

That number was calculated based on 42,818 sales of Bossland’s products in the US. The court ruled that the German company should not be allowed to sell Honornuddy, Demonbuddy, Stormbuddy, Hearthbuddy and Watchover Tyrant in the country from now on, as well as any future products that exploit Blizzard’s games. Bossland will also have to pay $174,872 in attorneys’ fees.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Can Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 Throttle?

April 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Before we tell you how well Snapdragon 835 benchmarked we wanted to share one more important thing. The 10nm chip really stays cool even after five runs of the same benchmark. Some of its competitors will fail significantly after five runs. 

Qualcomm gave us access to a Mobile Development Platform (MDP), which can be seen as a demo device, or a prototype of an actual phone based on the Snapdragon 835 SoC. This “phone” comes with 6GB of LP-DDR4 RAM, 64 GB storage, a 5.5-inch 2560×1440 display, and a 2850 mAh battery.  We tested a few benchmarks and we were not surprised to see that the Snapdragon 835 defeats the  Snapdragon 821 based Google Pixel and some of its heavyweight competitors, including the brand new Kirin 960 based P10 or the Exynos 8890 based Galaxy S7.

It is a well-known fact that when running benchmarks, phones get hot and after every single run, you score a bit lower result. This happens due to the heat and the chip has to downclock its CPU and GPU in order to keep the chip health in place.

We decided to try to test AnTuTu 6 exactly five times to see if the score would dramatically change. The first run was, as expected, the fastest. We scored 182395 which is the fastest score we’ve ever seen on an Android phone.

The second run was slightly slower with 181608 followed by 181596, an almost identical score. The fourth time we managed to score 181104 and the last time we got 179657.

Huawei P10 scored 140011 on the first run and only 131313 on the second run, while it dropped sharply to 117119 on the third run. On the fourth run, we got an almost identical score to the third attempt, which proved our point that SoCs such as the Kirin 960 will throttle when it gets hot. The fifth time we got 116236, which is around 17 percent slower than the first score.

Google Pixel scored 142607 on the first run, followed by 141823. The third run, with 141421, was quite impressive and even on the fourth run the Snapdragon 821 based Google Pixel XL scored 139658. So you see that a Snapdragon 821 based phone holds out quite well in this benchmark, where the fifth score deviated only slightly from the first one. The fifth score we got with the Pixel was 2.3 percent slower than the first, again proving that this SoC doesn’t really throttle.

If you do the math, Snapdragon 835 makes 1.5 percent difference between the first and the fifth run, which is quite a great achievement. Bear in mind that Antutu 6 runs both CPU and GPU extensively and that it takes a few minutes to finish.

The phone was never hot, and we could not see any signs of overheating to the level that would jeopardize performance and force the chip to throttle down.

There are many factors that should be taken into account, eight Cores based on Kryo 280 custom architecture, powerful Adreno 540 GPU powered by fast memory controller, LP DDR 4 memory and fast storage.

The benchmark didn’t test GigabitLTE – yes this is the first device that we had the chance to play with that supports GigabitLTE. This is not all, as the Snapdragon 835 also supported 2×2 866 Mbps Wi-Fi, but we will talk about this some other time.

One more thing, the Snapdragon 835 powered (MDP) phone performed faster and needed less power too. 

Courtesy-Fud

Google Calendar Makes Its Debut On the iPad

March 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Google’s Calendar app is finally making a long-awaited arrival on a new device: Apple’s iPad. You read that right: Until Wednesday, the tech titan hadn’t optimized its marquee calendar application to run on Apple’s tablets.

The app provides users with a view of their calendars that are shared with them through Google’s service. In addition, they get a handful of features Apple’s native calendar app doesn’t have, like the ability to more easily find time and space for a meeting with other people inside their organizations.

Making iPad users wait for a native Calendar app is hardly a surprise coming from Google, considering that it’s the company behind Android, and frequently ships new features first to apps for devices running its mobile operating system.

That’s not to say Google Calendar was completely unavailable for iPad users for the past several years. The iPhone app for Calendar could run on Apple’s tablets, but it wasn’t optimized for use on those devices.

The move is a part of Google’s continuing push to make its G Suite productivity services useful to as broad a set of people as possible. Google is working aggressively to get customers to switch to its productivity suite from their current systems, which in many cases, revolve around Microsoft Office. Microsoft offers its own calendar app for the iPad in the form of Outlook for iOS, which has supported Apple’s tablet since its launch in 2015.

Google has more iOS-specific features planned, including a Today widget that will let users see their upcoming events in an iPad’s Notification Center, according to a blog post by Calendar product manager Sharon Stovezky.

Apple’s New Video App Clips Challenges Facebook, Snapchat

March 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

With the release of a new video app called Clips, Apple Inc continues its move towards fully engaging in the messaging world, where its huge base of iPhone users could help it compete with Snap Inc’s Snapchat and Facebook Inc’s Messenger.

Clips, which will hit Apple’s App Store in April, lets customers take videos and add animated captions and titles, complete with colorful emoji symbols. The app also makes it possible to stitch together multiple video clips and add speech bubbles and filters.

The functions closely resemble those that drive Snap’s wildly popular Stories feature. With Stories, Snap users string together photos and videos, embellish them and then post them to their feeds.

Apple’s new Clips lets users post their video to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and more. But if users post them to Apple’s own Messages app, Apple will recommend whom to share it with based on which friends are in the videos and whom the user frequently contacts – the kind of predictive social features Facebook excels at.

Apple has a huge number of users for Messages, the flagship app for short notes that is built into the iPhone’s iOS 10 software. Apple does not say how many people use the app, but it does say that there more than 1 billion iOS devices on the market and that 79 percent of them run iOS 10.

Apple also says that Messages is the most commonly used app on iOS devices, giving the company potentially up to 800 million users for its latest messaging platform. Snap, by contrast, has 161 million daily active users. While Apple’s Clips competitor will technically be a separate app from Messages, it will be tied closely to it for the ability share Clips videos with other Apple users.

Facebook has more than 1 billion users for both Messenger, which was split off from the main Facebook service in 2014, and for WhatsApp, which it acquired for $19 billion the same year.

Apple has been steadily matching the features of Facebook’s Messenger. But Apple is also walking a fine line with other messaging players, cooperating with them often as it competes with them. For example, it has opened up the iPhone’s dialer app, long closed off to developers, so that iPhone users could place and receive Skype and WhatsApp calls through the device’s native interface.

Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft Corp have been scrambling to get into the game, too. Google has more than a half dozen messaging apps, including Allo, its latest. Microsoft has tried to integrate chat into its Skype app, and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn is a popular tool for business notes.

But tech giants obsess over messaging because it is where users are headed, according to analyst firm Gartner. Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of U.S. and UK smartphone owners who used social media apps dropped from 85 percent to 83 percent while messaging apps jumped from 68 percent to 71 percent, a trend Gartner expects will continue.

Can Washington D.C. Become The Center Of eSports?

March 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Washington D.C. intends to become the home of eSports in the United States, with a strategy that includes sponsorship of the NRG Esports team and the construction of a $65 million stadium.

The city’s plans, which were revealed to Mashable, will be executed by Events D.C., the District of Columbia’s convention and sports authority. The deal with NRG Esports is among the first instances of a city sponsoring a pro gaming organisation, and Washington D.C. will now have its logo and branding on NRG teams’ uniforms, livestreams and websites.

NRG, which has teams competing in Overwatch, Counter-Strike: GO, Hearthstone and Rocket League, has roots in the world of traditional sports. It was founded by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, the co-owners of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, and counts the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal and the baseball stars Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins among its investors.

“This is just another prong in our strategic approach to continue to make D.C. a great place to live and work and play,” Events D.C. chairman Max Brown told Mashable, highlighting the number of students attending the city’s many universities.

“There are lots of younger kids who are here and are coming here every year through our universities, so we think it makes a lot of sense for us as a city to plant a flag [for eSports], and ultimately be the capital of eSports like we’re the capital of the United States.”

There are other “prongs” to the city’s strategy, the most notable being the construction of a new stadium. The arena will be used by the WNBA team the Washington Mystics, as well as other events, but it is being built “with eSports in mind.”

“A $65 million 4,200-seat, state-of-the-art arena,” Brown added. “[It will] come online in late-2018, early-2019. Fully tailored and wired for esports.”

Courtesy-GI.biz

Microsoft Gives Cortana For iOS A Facelift

March 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft gave its Cortana app for iOS a makeover, replacing its old black and blue aesthetic with a new look that puts the assistant’s key features at users’ fingertips.

The app now features Quick Actions, so that users can tap a couple of buttons and get Cortana to create an alarm, set a reminder, or tell them a joke. That means users can get at key features without having to talk or type queries, and it also gives them a framework for what they can do with the app, without them having to discover it on their own.

The virtual assistant market is a crowded one, between Cortana, Siri, Alexa and the Google Assistant all competing for users’ time and interest. Microsoft’s assistant is built deeply into PCs with Windows 10, but the company also needs to keep its apps for other mobile platforms up to date in order to meet users where they are.

In addition, the app’s phone call and messaging functionality got a facelift, so users who want to text using Cortana can do so, in a move that makes it even more competitive with Apple’s Siri.

Cortana’s messaging and calling capabilities got a redesign as well. When users ask Cortana to make a call, the app will fire up the iPhone’s dialer. Sending a message pulls up a view of the built-in messaging app.

The redesign is similar to one that the company gave Cortana’s Android app in December of last year.

Mass Effect: Andromeda PC Specs Revealed

March 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

EA and Bioware have released official PC system requirements for its upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda game that has gone gold and will be launching on March 21st.

According to details provided over at EA’s Origin site, those looking to play the new Mass Effect game will need at least an Intel Core i5-3570 or AMD FX-6350 CPU, 8GB of RAM and Nvidia Geforce GTX 660 2GB or AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB graphics card.

The recommended system requirements rise up to an Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD FX-8350 CPU, 16GB of RAM and either an Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB or AMD RX 480 4GB graphics card.

Both minimum and recommended system requirements include at least 55GB of storage space as well as a 64-bit version of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 OS.

The official release for the game is set for March 21st in the US and March 23rd in Europe and it will be coming to PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Those with EA Access and Origin Access should get the game five days earlier.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Debuts Two New Tablets

February 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Samsung Electronics unveiled two new tablets, marking its first major announcement since being forced to cancel the flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after some of the devices caught fire.

The Galaxy Tab S3 and the Galaxy Book were presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in past years the scene of major Samsung launches. This year, Samsung has postponed the presentation of the Galaxy S8, its next key device.

Instead, it took the wraps off the Galaxy Tab S3 and the Galaxy Book, which comes in a 10.6-inch and a 12-inch version.

The Galaxy Book will run on Microsoft Windows 10. The Tab S3 will have speakers by Harman-owned AKG, Samsung’s first use of the brand since agreeing to buy Harman for $8 billion last year.

Samsung withdrew the Galaxy Note 7 last October after faulty batteries led some devices to catch fire, leading to a loss of consumer trust, wiping out $5.3 billion of operating profit, and allowing Apple’s iPhone to overtake it in sales.

Samsung’s smartphone market share dropped to 17.7 percent in the fourth quarter, while Apple’s rose to 17.8 percent, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

Samsung is expected to launch the S8 in April. In the meantime, dozens of device makers are launching new phones at Mobile World Congress, hoping to exploit the gap Samsung has left.

T-Mobile Riding High, Adds Customers And Beats Revenue Forecast

February 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

T-Mobile US Inc, the No.3 U.S. wireless carrier, has reported higher-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit as its promotional offers aided in adding new customers.

T-Mobile had a number of promotional offers in the fourth quarter, including a free iPhone 7 offer with eligible trade-in around Black Friday.

Riding on the success of these offers, the company gained market share from rivals Verizon Communications Inc, AT&T Inc and Sprint Corp in an oversaturated U.S. wireless market.

T-Mobile said in January that it added 933,000 postpaid phone subscribers, or those who pay monthly bills, on a net basis, in the three months ended Dec. 31.

Chatter around a deal between T-Mobile and Sprint Corp resurfaced in December after Masayoshi Son, whose SoftBank Group Corp is a majority shareholder in Sprint, pledged a $50 billion investment in the United States.

Asked last week about a renewed merger bid with T-Mobile, Son said he was keeping his options open about Sprint.

T-Mobile’s total revenue jumped 23.4 percent to $10.18 billion.

The company’s net income rose to $390 million, or 45 cents per share, for the quarter from $297 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 30 cents per share and revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

 

Is The iPhone 8 Going Qi?

February 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Long-standing rumors surrounding the possibility of wireless charging being a hot feature in Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 this year are now receiving some confirmation, thanks to the company’s recent decision to join the 213-member Wireless Power Consortium group.

Based on the wireless industry group’s website last week, Apple has been officially listed as one of the latest members to take part in and promote the widespread adoption of the Qi wireless interface standard, which has been used for wireless charging across a number of products.

Early last year, we wrote that the company had filed a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (July 2015) describing a near-field magnetic resonance (NFMR) power supply arranged to provide wireless power to a number of devices over 1 meter in distance. With the basic concept in physics being that the efficiency of power transfer decreases with distance, the company was said to be developing an aluminum casing for its upcoming iPhone devices that would allow RF waves to pass through from the wireless charging receiver and through a window made from a non-conductive material.

Qi wireless charging more likely than long-range RF for upcoming iPhone 8

But with recent developments in the industry, the possibility of long-range RF charging coming to this year’s iPhone now seem more distant as the company is more likely to adopt the Qi inductive coupling method instead. During CES, a source within Apple’s supply chain partnered with Energous, a company that develops RF-based charging solutions, and this was the first evidence that the more long-range solution featuring transmitters for the home, car and office would make its way into the hands of consumers in 2017. Unfortunately, Energous then announced that plans changed after a “key strategic partnership” was made with another partner, which will now be the first to ship the technology inside its own mobile devices.

While it appears Apple was indeed focused on developing a long-range charging method for its mobile devices, some analysts now point out that it needed to bring a practical solution to the market sooner in order to avoid a potential missed feature that has become standard in the Android community for at least 24 months.

“The success of wireless charging adoption from Apple’s competitors is something that Apple can no longer ignore,” says analyst Vicky Yussuff at IHS Technology. “Consumer survey data shows over 90% of consumers want wireless charging on their next device.”

Although Apple already uses the Qi standard in its watch, which was released in Q4 2015, it is unclear whether the upcoming iPhone will use the full specifications of the technology, as its smartwatch currently uses a modified version that only works with its own chargers.

Nevertheless, the fact that Apple is now an active member of the Wireless Power Consortium allows it to participate and contribute knowledge and ideas to a community responsible for developing some of the world’s more readily available wireless charging standards. The company says “it looks forward to working together with the WPC and its members,” according to a statement given to BusinessInsider.

Courtesy-Fud

Did Apple Really Have A Banner Quarter?

February 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple may have spun its results last week so that the Tame Apple Press thought that it had done much better than was expected.

When Apple published its results, we were surprised as we expected the company to be in a somewhat poorer state due to slumping iPhone 7 and Tablet sales.

Imagine our surprise when Apple announced that it made record profits. After all we knew that Apple had actually contracted its supply of its iPhone’s twice and tablets were a mess – how was it possible to be making even more money? The Tame Apple Press reported that everything was alright and Jobs Mob was back seemingly without coming up with a new product.

We were not the only people who smelt a rat. Jason Snell and the Under pass also thought there was something wrong and delved into the figures. Before the lawyers complain that we are calling Apple liars there is no proof that lied, it just failed to point out that the Tame Apple Press was wrong.

Most Apple fiscal quarters are 13 weeks long. Occasionally, however, they have a 14-week quarter. Apple’s Q1 2017 was a 14-week quarter, for the first time since Q1 2013. This means that Jobs Mob could add in the results of an extra week’s profit.

Snell said that even a rubbish week would add enough to counting stats to push it well above the year-over-year quarter, which was 13 weeks long. In fact, if you knock off a week from the results Apple’s sales and profits fell exactly like we expected.

He said it was possible to make the numbers tell the story you want to tell, with charts to match, and slice it nine different ways.

Part of the issue which the Tame Apple Press failed to spot was that Jobs’ Mob finances were based on its financial statements—and that means the quarters as Apple defines it. In this case Apple, has defined an extra week of sales that it won’t get again for another few years.

To make matters worse it was a windfall week that next year’s year-over-year holiday-quarter comparison will not be able to match.

But that was not the only thing Apple did. A huge settlement benefit hit the first quarter of FY16, which makes Services look even better (but doesn’t change the overall net) so everything is artificially inflated.

So where are the analysts pointing out that Apple might not be the investment that people claim? When this happened in 2013, the Tame Apple Press did exactly the same thing and Philip Elmer-DeWitt wrote a brilliant headline “Apple analysts: Stupid or lazy?” This time they did the same thing and few people have batted an eye lid.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Publishers Missing The Billion Dollar Opportunity Of eSports?

February 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

The traditional sports ecosystem is dominated by three models of organisation. The most decentralised sports, like the PGA Tour or NASCAR, consist of largely independently organised competitions, which are sanctioned and governed by an administrative body and are open to any qualifying athlete. From there, we have typical leagues like the NBA or Premiership, which have a set number of recurring teams and players, and are extensively managed by a league front office that’s owned by each team.

eSports are quite different. If you choose to race without NASCAR or play basketball without the NBA, there’s nothing – and no official body – that can prevent you from replicating the experience. No one ‘owns’ racing or basketball, but someone does own Overwatch, and if you want to play you essentially have to go through that company. If you wanted to create your own eSports league, your ability to market or represent it would be entirely dependent on the legal team of the game’s publisher. Furthermore, the core experience is fully controlled by that publisher.

“No one ‘owns’ racing or basketball, but someone does own Overwatch, and if you want to play you essentially have to go through that company”

Leagues that are operated or endorsed by publishers can do unique things – e.g. item drops, exclusive/first-release capabilities, bundled original content – and offer unique monetisation opportunities. Three months before The International, the annual world championship for Dota 2, Valve sells interactive in-game items that directly contribute to the tournament prize pool. This model has been so successful that, in 2016, the prize pool reached $19.17 million.

Most tier-one publishers also handicap the data streams that the public can leverage. Whereas in traditional sports there are multiple providers of a firehose of sports data, game publishers offer barebones APIs that allow access to little more than character information and select match data. Valve offers an open API but, as events this year have demonstrated, it can shut off access and change policy at any time. On the platform side, Twitch is miles ahead of its competitors in terms of creating an external ecosystem thanks to its two year head-start and passionate developer community, but it maintains an ever more precarious balance between build vs. buy.

Because of these walled gardens, the investible opportunities within eSports often end up being features not products, which set them and their investors up for more of an acquihire than a Twitch-esque exit. There’s a strong argument to be made to publishers that working with third-party developers will lead to a stronger overall bottom line, foster innovation and provide defensibility.

Economics 201

It’s no secret that being a top publisher is a lucrative business. Activision reported $1.57 billion in revenue for Q2 of 2016 and EA $1.271 billion. It’s rumoured that Valve’s 2015 revenues reached $3.5 billion in 2015, and Riot Games’ over $1.6 billion. It’s not hard to see why partnerships with third parties and external API infrastructure aren’t a priority with so much money flowing, but that’s shortsighted. As publishers start thinking about how to monetise beyond game licenses and IAP, every moment not spent developing the ecosystem is a wasted one.

This isn’t unparalleled, and we can see examples of where large platforms in other verticals have made the decision to invest in their future, often early on in their company lifecycle. Salesforce, an enterprise software company, has a market cap of $50 billion. A report last year by IDC put the opportunity front and center: the AppExchange currently generates 2.8x the revenue of Salesforce itself and is expected to grow to 3.7x the size of Salesforce.

“As publishers start thinking about how to monetise beyond game licenses and IAP, every moment not spent developing the ecosystem is a wasted one”

Slack, the enterprise collaboration tool darling, also gets it. Even before raising money in April 2016, at a $3.8 billion valuation and boasting over 1.25 million paying users, they announced the Slack fund in December 2015 - an $80 million investment into supporting new integrations. Slack and Salesforce could have gone the closed route and developed these integrations and products internally, but they understood that the immediate revenue trade-off was well worth the ability to focus on creating the best core product possible, in addition to leveraging minimal company resources.

Now to everyone’s favourite eSports comparison : traditional sports. During the height of the daily fantasy sports craze in 2014/15, the NBA entered a multi-year partnership with FanDuel that gave it an ownership stake. The NFL expanded its partnership with Providence Equity in 2013, investing $300 million to participate in, “media and technology deals where it believes the league could help play a strategic role.” And these are just a few examples. Partnering with and investing in new properties allows older, larger establishments to participate in the upside of nascent industries quickly and cheaply.

Publishers are thinking about the shelf-life of games.  The NFL and NBA will both be around in 25 years, but what about League of Legends or Counter-Strike? Opening up the ecosystem not only benefits players and fans by allowing them an outlet to interact with their favorite IPs, but ultimately enhances the core value of those IPs and gives publishers an opportunity for additional exposure through revenue share, API fees and strategic investments.

In addition to commercial benefits, let’s look at network effects. Valve is the publisher of both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (25 million+ copies sold, 8.2 million+ players in the last two weeks), and Dota 2 (87 million+ times downloaded, 11 million+ active players in the last two weeks.) While the titles have richer histories than virtually any other competitive esport, Valve’s open API, developer tools and hands-off approach has contributed to their sustained success and status as two of the top eSports titles.

ELeague, FaceIt Esports Championship Series and Gfinity, ESL One and IEM. These streams of revenue have contributed to a high demand for professional CS:GO players, leading to lucrative contracts and opportunities.

3: The most lucrative has been the in-game skins economy, which allows players to purchase crates that contain different cosmetic versions of CS:GO weapons or Dota 2 items. During major tournaments, Valve has offered exclusive stickers that generate up to high six-figures for qualified teams. Valve has also allowed free reign on opening up use cases within this skins economy, which led to wagering, gambling and marketplaces (Bloomberg estimated yearly transaction volume to be >$7 billion.) Variations of this model have since been followed very conservatively by multiple franchises, including Call of Duty, Halo, H1Z1 and Overwatch.

On the platform side, Twitch’s dominance in livestreaming can largely be credited to going all-in on eSports first, but Twitch also has numerous native or platform exclusive features for its users. Diving deeper, this experience is powered by a blend of features that were built in-house or created by third parties. Examples include:

Bits, preceded by Streamlabs and StreamTip: direct donations from viewers are one of the foundations of a streamer’s income.

Clips, preceded by Oddshot, Plays.tv and Forge: allows viewers and creators to efficiently capture highlights and share to different social media channels.

Subscriptions / Partner Program and 3rd-party services (Revlo, Gamewisp and Curse/Discord integrations): subscriptions are another big source of income for streamers, and the third-party services all add further value to a sub and reduce churn.

TwitchPlays: what started out as a fun social experiment (TwitchPlaysPokemon) is now its own category to interact with potential customers for publishers.

Chatbots (Moobot, Nightbot and Xanbot): automated assistants that help moderate chat to prevent spamming and inappropriate behaviour.

Stream+ currency: Twitch’s new currency announced at TwitchCon 2016, which will allow developers to integrate monetisation options directly into games.

Facebook Live has launched to much fanfare, and given the massive distribution channel it will always be a huge threat. However, until it can get to feature parity Facebook Live will need to rely on traditional media partnerships or viral hits to create consistent content. These types of partnerships don’t scale when we’re talking about the individual streamers and professional players that have played a large part in getting Twitch to 100m+ MAUs, although the signing of G2 and Heroes of the Dorm is a good first step. YouTube Gaming is farther along and is doing a great job of starting to launch some analogous features.

How, then, should publishers look to partner with entrepreneurs and third parties? I’d like to see publishers create a vehicle, individually or collectively, in the model of Disney Accelerator, to offer mentorship, funding and support to kick-start the next generation of eSports businesses. Publishers should be developing their games as platforms, not individual entities - tons of data are being generated and archived and there is a treasure trove of use cases for them.

I’m confident that we’re slowly moving in the right direction. One day we’ll see a truly open ecosystem with publishers and third parties living in harmony.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Is Apple Losing In Some Aspects Of The Hardware Space?

January 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple has really dropped the ball when it comes to hardware and is rapidly losing ground to rivals.

Jobs’ Mob’s Mac sales dropped roughly 10 per cent amid a declining market which fell 5.7 per cent for the year. But Apple’s rivals seem to have benefited from Apple’s failure. Bloomberg analysts Anand Srinivasan and Wei Mok noted that Apple’s rivals grew.
Dell saw the most growth at just over 10 per cent.

Apple was pushed to number by with ASUS overtaking it. The top four vendors are now Lenovo, HP, Dell, and ASUS.

These four make up 65.2 per cent of the overall market and each grew year- over-year. All this happened while Apple lost ground by declining to 7.1 per cent. The other 27.7% of the market is comprised of more than 200 vendors.

Bloomberg predicts that the market will consolidate. Samsung and Fujitsu are reported to be in discussions to sell their PC businesses to Lenovo.

Apple has even been losing ground to Microsoft which has been pouching customers so that they switch from the Surface clone that Apple created to the much better real thing.

Srinivasan and Mok suggest that Apple needs to find new markets with their high priced computers to continue growth. They might find an easy mark with the growing middle class in China but they are still in the high price-range relative to other PCs. While
American buyers are that dumb enough to fall for Apple’s marketing, the Chinese are a little more cost conscious. Any Chinese buyer looking at the spec will be aware that they are paying too much for the logo on the clam shell.

Apple needs its US and developed countries in Europe, to improve. These represent 63 per cent of its market and are where people have more money than sense.

Courtesy-Fud

Qualcomm Gives Samsung Exclusivity

January 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

According to the latest report, it appears that Samsung managed to secure an exclusive deal with Qualcomm, scoring the latest and fastest Snapdragon 835 SoC for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone, which means that other flagships will have to settle for Snapdragon 821.

According to a report from Forbes, citing industry insiders in Asia, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 SoC “won’t be available in large quantities until after the Galaxy S8 launches”. This means that flagships coming before the Galaxy S8, like the LG G6 or the HTC U Ultra, will be sticking to Snapdragon 821 SoC.

In case you missed it, Snapdragon 835 SoC is based on the 10nm FinFET manufacturing process, has a quad-core Kryo 280 cluster paired up with quad-core Cortex-A53 cores, working at 2.45GHz and 1.9GHz and comes with Adreno 540 GPU.

The Snapdragon 821 SoC is based on the 14nm FinFET process but comes with two quad-core Kryo 200 CPU clusters and Adreno 530 GPU.

The Snapdragon 835 SoC also comes with a fancy new X16 Gigabit LTE modem, capable of 1000/150 Mbps, Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ad WiFi and Quick Charge 4.0.

As wrote earlier, Qualcomm is promising a 27 percent faster SoC with 40 percent lower power consumption, so it is obvious that Samsung’s Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone will have an upper hand.

Hopefully, more details will be available as soon as Mobile World Congress 2017 starts on February 26th, despite the fact that Samsung already confirmed that its smartphone won’t be unveiled there.

Courtesy-Fud

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