While some publishers establish their own eSports divisions and appoint chief competition officers, Take-Two is approaching the competitive gaming trend with a bit more caution. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz in advance of the company’s financial earnings report today, CEO and chairman Strauss Zelnick said the field was promising, but still unproven.
“eSports we find very interesting,” Zelnick said. “It is, however, still more a promotional tool than anything else. And most people see eSports as an opportunity to increase consumer engagement in their titles, and depending on the title, to increase consumer spending within the title.”
To date, Take-Two’s biggest eSports endeavor has been an NBA 2K tournament with 92,000 teams competing for a $250,000 prize. The final 16 teams are set to compete in a single-elimination tournament this weekend, with the finals taking place during the NBA Finals next month.
“It’s just the beginning for us,” Zelnick said of the tournament. “It’s very gratifying so far, but we have yet to see it as a stand-alone profitable business. We see it more as an adjunct to consumer engagement in our titles.”
Zelnick also addressed the company’s digital revenues, which for the first time made up more than half of its revenues for the year. While the industry has shifted heavily toward digital in recent years, Zelnick doesn’t see this as some sort of tipping point or a harbinger that physical goods are in for declines from here on out.
“This year was a little different because we had a very significant portion of this year’s revenue through digital distribution,” Zelnick said. “And that’s a reflection of the power of titles like Grand Theft Auto Online as well as PC titles, 90 percent of which are digitally delivered. With frontline console releases, your numbers are more like 20 percent from digital distribution. So physical distribution remains the lion’s share of our revenue.”
While Zelnick acknowledged the growth of digital distribution is a good thing for Take-Two, he specified that it wasn’t a strategy for the company because it’s ultimately out of his hands.
“We want to be where the consumer is, and we’re not really the ones who vote,” Zelnick said.
Moving forward with his attempt to attract Indian customers and developers, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook announced that the company was setting up a new development center for its Maps product in Hyderabad in south India.
Apple earlier on Wednesday announced it would set up by early next year a facility in Bangalore to focus on helping developers on best practices and to improve the design, quality and performance of their apps on the iOS platform.
Cook is on his first visit to India, where the company saw a 56 percent year-on-year growth in iPhone sales in the first quarter even as its global iPhone sales and overall revenue dropped.
Apple’s new center will focus on the development of Maps for Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. The investment will accelerate Maps development and create up to 4,000 jobs, the company said.
The Cupertino, California, company did not disclose the size of its investment in the center though some reports have placed the figure at $25 million.
A large number of U.S. companies, including Texas Instruments, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM, have set up software, chip design and product development centers in India, to tap the country’s large pool of engineers.
“The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations,” Cook said in a statement.
India is the third-largest smartphone market in the world, after China and the U.S., according to Gartner research director Anshul Gupta.
Intel has scored a more significant chunk of the upcoming iPhone 7 which is due to be released this year.
Digitimes deep throats claim that Intel will supply half the modem chips for use in the new iPhones slated for launch in September 2016.
Intel will itself package the modem chips for the upcoming new iPhones, but have contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and tester King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) to manufacture the chips, the sources said.
Qualcomm is currently the supplier of LTE modem chips for the iPhone, but Apple has been keep to avoid focusing on one supplier. Still, the figure of half the iPhone 7′s is much more than many expected. It is a pity for Intel that the iPhone 7 is not expected to be a big seller – mostly because there is little new under the bonnet and it looks the same as the iPhone 6S.
EA is telling the world that it wants into the third-person action market with an open world game, but it does not appear to be happening any time soon.
EA Studios VP Patrick Söderlund told us in 2015 that EA wanted to expand its portfolio into gigantic action games like Assassin’s Creed or Batman or GTA and CFO Blake Jorgensen said something similar.
“We feel like there’s a huge opportunity for us to continue to invest in new areas of the business like the action genre where we haven’t competed historically. There’s a very ripe opportunity for us to invest in and we’ve been able to bring great talent in to build out that part of the business.”
But according to Game Radar it is not going to happen any time soon. Blake is quoted as saying that the outfit was building an action genre product that’s probably will appear in three or four years.
We can expect something new from EA next year which has not been announced, Blake said. But this will not be anything like the big games which have captured popular attention.
Apple shares are continuing to fall as more investors realise that the share price is not going to go up any more.
For a while now people have been buying Apple shares with the expectation that they will always go up. This always was largely based on a fantasy created by the Tame Apple Press that assumed the company would keep coming up with new technology ideas which would always be successful.
However lately Apple has not come up with any new ideas and has taken to re-issuing its old phone designs. It has also been floundering in its key Chinese market. The company’s only new idea has been for content creation through its Apple Music streaming brand. The only problem with that is that the software has been killing off user’s iTune libraries. It has also been banned in China which means that hopes that Apple would make money there are still thwarted.
Shares of Apple dropped below $90 on Thursday for the first time since 2014 as Wall Street worried about slow demand ahead of the anticipated launch of a new iPhone later this year. Some more reasonable analysts even think that the iPhone 7 is going to be a disaster because it lacks any new tech and has the same design as the poor performing iPhone 6S
Component suppliers in Taiwan have confirmed that they have received fewer orders from Apple in the second half of 2016 than in the same period last year.
Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang saidt that investors were getting negative data points about component orders and production forecasts, and the features on the new iPhone do not seem to be a big change from the 6S.
Apple briefly relinquished its position as the world’s largest company by market capitalisation to Alphabet – oh the horror.
At the close, Apple and Google each had market values of about $495 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. In the past year, Apple’s market capitalization has fallen by more than $200 billion. Which just goes to show this whole value thing was an illusion.
Suppliers of iPhone components also fell, with Skyworks Solutions off 4.54 percent, Broadcom down 1.95 percent and Qorvo declining 1.76 percent.
Revenue from China slumped 26 percent during the March quarter. Apple faces increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi and Huawei selling phones priced below $200, Rosenblatt’s Zhang said.
Last week, Dialog Semiconductor, which sells chips used in iPhones and other smartphones, cut its revenue outlook due to ongoing softness in the smartphone market.
The Tame Apple press is trying to do its best to find analysts who recommend buying the stock claiming it is too cheap.However how much should you pay for an outfit which has milked its cash cow and has nothing new on the horizon.
FireEye has found a vulnerability in Qualcomm software packages which are under the bonnet of hundreds of Android phone models.
Google announced this week that it released an Android update to patch shedloads of vulnerabilities, but the advisory mentioned an information disclosure vulnerability in the Qualcomm tethering controller (CVE-2016-2060) that allows a malicious application to access user information.
FireEye said that this vulnerablity is “high severity,” but Google noted that it does not affect Nexus devices. The patch for the issue is not in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository but might make it in the latest driver updates for affected devices.
The security outfit said that researchers informed Qualcomm about the vulnerability in January and the vendor developed a fix by early March, when it started reaching out to OEMs to let them know about the issue. Now it’s up to the device manufacturers to push out the patch to customers. So probably a long time then.
The flaw exists in an open source software package maintained by Qualcomm and is related to the Android network daemon (netd).
“The vulnerability was introduced when Qualcomm provided new APIs as part of the ‘network_manager’ system service, and subsequently the ‘netd’ daemon, that allow additional tethering capabilities, possibly among other things,” FireEye said.
The flaw has been confirmed to affect devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop and earlier, which currently account for roughly three-quarters of Android devices. Researchers noted that the affected Qualcomm software package is used in a variety of projects, including the popular CyanogenMod, and the vulnerable APIs appear to have been around since at least 2011.
The vulnerability can be exploited to escalate privileges to the built-in “radio” user, which has permissions that are normally not available to a third-party app. The most efficient way to exploit CVE-2016-2060 is via a malicious application that is granted the “ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE” permission.
Billionaire activist investor and Apple cheerleader Carl Icahn has dumped his entire stake in Apple because he thinks the writing is on the wall for the tech company.
Icahn has been a big fan of Apple since he started investing three years ago. He has also made a fortune out of his investment. But he said that Apple’s glory days could be over because the company has become too dependent on the whims of the Chinese government.
Icahn, who owned 45.8 million Apple shares at the end of last year, said China’s economic slowdown and worries about how China could become more prohibitive in doing business triggered his decision to exit his position entirely.
He said that there was nothing wrong with Apple’s management and it was still a great company, “but you worry a little bit, maybe more than a little, about China’s attitude.”
He said that the Chinese government could “come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there,” Icahn said.
Earlier this month, China shut down Apple’s iTunes movies and iBooks stores within the country, following Beijing’s introduction of regulations in March imposing strict curbs on online publishing, particularly for foreign firms.
Icahn said that Apple stock is still pretty cheap but China could be a shadow for it. He would have to look closely at what was happening in China before he bought another Apple share.
To be fair Icahn said that he had made $2 billion off the Apple trade and got a 48 percent to 50 percent total return which is not bad.
Apple shares have now declined more than 10 percent this week.
After experiencing its first-ever drop in iPhone sales, Apple Inc sought to reassure investors by saying its latest and cheapest model was in strong demand after being launched in late March. Some retailers and suppliers in Asia aren’t so sure.
In a Reuters survey of 10 retailers in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, seven – including four Apple Stores – reported solid early demand, but three third-party retailers said sales were weak. Two suppliers of components for Apple phones, including the new iPhone SE, said they were seeing lower orders.
“I’ve been dealing with iPhones for five to six years now. This current quarter for Apple feels weak,” said an executive at a Taiwan-based company whose components are used in iPhones including the SE model, which markets for $399. “Our current shipment situation for Apple is not like the last two years. There are more iPhone models, but the total volume of iPhones is falling.”
Such a mixed outlook from Greater China, its most important market after the United States and generator of a quarter of the company’s revenue, could be a major cause of concern for Apple.
The company’s revenue from the region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, dropped 26 percent in the March quarter, making it the weakest region in the world.
“iPhone is still popular but sales have dropped because… there’s no new model and the SE is similar to 5C. So it doesn’t sell well,” said Zhu You Peng, a salesman at Apple product reseller Xiongyu in Shenzhen. The 5C was Apple’s last attempt to produce a cheaper phone, back in 2013.
Zhu said it sold around 300 iPhones per month last year but the number has dropped to around 100-200 this year.
That view contrasts with upbeat comments about the phone from Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri on Tuesday.
“The situation right now around the world is that we are supply-constrained,” he told Reuters, referring to the iPhone SE. “The demand has been very, very strong.”
The iPhone SEs are sold out in Apple’s own stores in mainland China and customers have to wait about three weeks to get the product delivered by Apple, according to Apple’s websites. The size of the original supplies to the stores is unclear.
Qualcomm predicted a third-quarter profit below analysts estimates as it expects to ship fewer chips, including those for smartphones, its biggest business.
Qualcomm, whose customers include Apple and Samsung expects chip shipments to fall 13-22 percent to 175-195 million in the current quarter with its expects 3G and 4G devices to increase to eight percent at the midpoint in this quarter, lower than its previous estimate of about 10 percent growth.
Besides slowing smartphone sales, Qualcomm is also being squeezed by competitors making chips that rival its own in price and performance, and the likes of Samsung and Apple increasingly making their own components for smartphones.
Research firm Gartner expects global smartphone sales to grow in single digits in percentage terms for the first time ever this year, while Apple in January also forecast its first revenue drop in 13 years.
The uncertainty in the smartphone business seemed to show in the company’s third-quarter revenue forecast of $5.2-$6.0 billion, which implies revenue could be between 11 percent lower and 3 percent higher than the year-ago quarter.
However, while Qualcomm’s chip business is the bigger contributor to revenue it makes most of its dosh by licensing its chip technology. But the outfit has sufferd from delays in closing licensing agreements in China, its biggest market.
Qualcomm, which has recently signed new deals with several companies including Lenovo and it was still in talks with key Chinese smartphone makers to sign agreements.
Revenue at Qualcomm’s chipmaking division and its licensing business fell, 25 percent and 12 percent respectively, in the latest quarter, dragging down total revenue for the fourth quarter in a row. However, the 19.5 percent drop, to $5.55 billion, in the three months ended March 27, was less than the nearly 23 percent drop analysts were expecting. Net income attributable to Qualcomm rose 10.5 percent to $1.16 billion, or 78 cents per share.
Apple will pay the money to Marathon Patent Group, the parent company of Texas firm Dynamic Advances, which held an exclusive license to a 2007 patent covering natural language user interfaces for enterprise databases. Marathon reported the settlement in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.
In response to the settlement, Magistrate Judge David Peebles of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York dismissed a lawsuit against Apple filed by Dynamic Advances and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where the natural language technology was created.
A trial had been scheduled to begin early next month in Syracuse, New York. Dynamic Advances first filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in October 2012.
A “portion” of the settlement will go to RPI, Marathon said in its SEC filing. The company believes “other voice recognition services also infringe patents involved in the settled action,” it said in the filing.
The natural language technology covered in the patent was invented by Cheng Hsu, then a professor of decision sciences and engineering systems, and Veera Boonjing, then a doctoral student at RPI, according to an amended complaint filed in June 2013.
The patent covers “novel methods” for processing natural language, wrote lawyers for the plaintiffs. The technology gives computer and smartphone owners “the ability to input search queries or commands in language they would use in conversation with another person,” they wrote in the complaint.
Apple’s Siri voice-enabled digital assistance service encourages users to use technology that “processes natural language inputs” as claimed in the patent, the complaint said. Since the first lawsuit in 2012, “Apple has known that, or has been willfully blind to the fact that” its customers are infringing the patent, the plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote.
Apple apparently does not plan to make enough of the newly launched iPhone SE model, the Nikkei report said.
The company’s shares fell 1.8 percent to $110.05. Shares of some Apple suppliers also fell following the report. Skyworks Solutions Inc was down 1.4 percent, Broadcom Ltd fell 2.4 percent while Jabil Circuit lost 1.7 percent. The Nikkei reported in January that the technology giant was expected to cut production of its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models by about 30 percent in the quarter ended March, but production was expected to return to normal in the current quarter.
The production cut could last longer than the one it implemented in 2013, when Apple cut production orders for its cheaper iPhone 5C a month after its launch, the Nikkei said.
Apple has told parts suppliers in Japan and elsewhere that it will maintain the reduced output level in the current quarter, the Nikkei report said.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In January, Apple said it expected a fall in revenue for the quarter ending March – its first forecast for a revenue drop in 13 years – as the critical Chinese market showed signs of weakening. It also reported the slowest-ever increase in iPhone shipments.
Global smartphone sales in 2016 are expected to grow at their slowest rate – in single digits in percentage terms, according to research firm Gartner Inc.
It is looking certain that Samsung phones are getting Iris security scanners.
Iris scanning technology has been a long-standing rumour with Samsung flagships even as long ago as the Galaxy S5. However nothing actually happened and it was always rumoured as being in the next model,
Now Galaxy Club spotted a tracking entry in Zauba indicates something called an IRIS CAM has been shipped from South Korea to India. This could be indicative that Samsung is already busy testing the technology in its local R&D department.
It would be reasonable to assume that it might actually be ready in the Galaxy Note 6. Of course this could be another disappointment, but at least this time there has been paperwork seen that such a device exists.
The FBI has promised to aid local law enforcement authorities in cracking encrypted devices, in a letter that refers to the federal agency’s success in accessing the data on an iPhone 5c running iOS 9 that was used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.
The agency did not, however, explicitly promise investigators that it would deploy the same tool, said to have been developed by an outside organization, on other iPhones.
The FBI had earlier demanded in court that Apple should assist it in its attempts to crack by brute force the passcode of the iPhone used by the terrorist, without triggering an auto-erase feature that could be activated after 10 unsuccessful tries.
It changed its stance and informed the court that it was trying out a technique from an external organization that could possibly help it access the data on the phone. It later informed the court that it was able to access the data on the phone and that Apple’s help would not be required.
The FBI did not disclose in court the method it had used to access the data and whether it was device specific or could be used on other iPhones.
The letter by the FBI to local investigators appears to be a response to requests for help from local agencies after the hack of the phone used by the San Bernardino shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook, but does not make commitments.
“We know that the absence of lawful, critical investigative tools due to the ‘Going Dark’ problem is a substantial state and local law enforcement challenge that you face daily,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by BuzzFeed News and some other news outlets. The FBI has previously said that even when law enforcement has the legal authority to intercept and access communications and information, backed by court orders, it faces a ‘Going Dark’ problem to technically access the data in motion or at rest in devices.
“As has been our longstanding policy, the FBI will of course consider any tool that might be helpful to our partners,” it added. “Please know that we will continue to do everything we can to help you consistent with our legal and policy constraints. You have our commitment that we will maintain an open dialogue with you. We are in this together.”
Apple has finally released its first developer preview of Safari for OS X, saying it is following in the footsteps of other major browser makers — all of whom provide early looks at their under-construction projects — to give website designers and app creators a continuous sneak peek.
Labeled “Safari Technology Preview,” the browser can be downloaded by anyone, not just Apple registered developers, and runs alongside the production-quality Safari on OS X. The preview will be updated via the Mac App Store every two weeks.
The Safari preview, Apple said, is a “more convenient and stable way” to run a developer-grade build than WebKit’s nightly iterations. WebKit is the open-source project that feeds code to Safari, and like other browser “channels” — such as Google’s Chrome Canary or Mozilla’s Firefox Nightly — features daily updates.
Safari Technology Preview has a major advantage over WebKit’s nightlies in that the former is signed by Apple. The means it supports iCloud, which Safari uses to synchronize bookmarks and opened tabs, making it easier to bounce between preview and production versions on one or more Apple devices.
Developers also get the latest additions to Web Inspector, Apple’s tool for prototyping and debugging websites, in the preview.
The preview can be downloaded from Apple’s developer website. OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 or later is required. More information about the sneak peek was published on the WebKit blog.
Apple Inc recently began using Google’s cloud service while it simultaneously builds its own data centers to reduce its reliance on third-party service providers, technology news website Re/code reported, citing sources familiar with the deal.
Apple currently also uses Amazon.com Inc’s and Microsoft Corp’s cloud services, but intends to end its reliance on all its rivals in the next few years, Re/code said.
The iPhone maker is spending between $400 million and $600 million on Google’s cloud services, tech magazine CRN reported, adding that it was unclear if the range was for an annual rate or a set amount of capacity.
CRN said Apple has also significantly reduced its reliance on Amazon since signing up with Google late last year.
Apple, Amazon and Alphabet Inc-owned Google could not be reached for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.
Apple said last February that it would spend a combined $3.9 billion to build three data centers in Arizona, Ireland and Denmark. The Arizona facility is planned to be a command center to manage its other data centers.
Google has also been pushing to gain share in the fast-growing market. In November, the company appointed industry veteran Diane Greene to run its cloud business.
Last month, Google signed a deal to provide cloud services for online music streaming platform Spotify.