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As of January 1, 2012, and part of a new Xbox Live policy, Microsoft will ban the purchase of any and all gun-related Avatar accessories within Xbox Live. In what seems like a troll from Microsoft, it's actually a 'family-friendly' move by them.
The news came from an Epic Games forum post, where community manager raczilla noted that the Lander and Hammerburst Avatar accessories related to the Gears of War series will no longer be available for purchase on the Xbox Live Marketplace in the New Year.
Microsoft debuted Avatars in November of 2008, to copy Nintendo's Mii's on the Wii console, to visually represent a gamer using a cartoon-style character. What I don't understand is, how the hell do Microsoft think they can justify this when Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, Gears of War, with the list virtually never-ending, are all on sale and huge money makers for the company?
It's almost as ridiculous as watching someone get banned on a Battlefield 3 server 'for swearing' when the core game itself, in single-player swears all the time and so do the people within the multi-player itself. It's trolltastic.
There have been plenty of people who have worked for ATI, that have moved onto bigger and better things by packing up their brown box, throwing their personal items inside like a plant or a family portrait (ok, ok, that sounds like a Hollywood cliche, but it's how I imagine it as an Australian) and moving to a better job.
Now former AMD employee, Richard Huddy, has moved onto Intel. His goal with the red team was to form stronger relations with the game developers themselves. Big news, eh? Huddy has pushed through plenty of things for not only the technological industry, but the gaming industry. He worked with one of my favorite games, Max Payne, and ended up with a starring role as the mad professor in the lab. From there, he has helped a tonne of huge games hit the market.
6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated on Christmas Day, also 242 million apps were downloaded
Christmas Day 2011 must have had stockings filled with electronics, because an estimate from mobile app research from Flurry give details on just how many Android and iOS-powered devices were activated on Christmas Day, as well as the amount of downloaded apps.
Combined, we saw 6.8 million devices activated, an insane 353-percent increase from the 1.5 million average activations per day for the first 20 days of December. This is also 4 million devices higher than the 2010 Christmas record of 2.8 million. Flurry doesn't break down the split of iOS and Android, but if we go with the information of Android chief Andy Rubin saying just before Christmas that Android activations are sitting pretty with 700,000 per day, we know that Apple must be pulling the same numbers.
Foxconn, a major Apple manufacturing partner, are planning a huge expansion of their operations in 2012. The expansion is set to dramatically increase production of iPhones and iPads to meet the never-ending demand.
Foxconn is reportedly working with the Chinese city of Zhengzhou to double the size of its workforce at the facility there, where another 10,000 employees will be hired. This is the same number of employees hired in 2011 alone.
The expansion is valued at $1.1 billion and would make the Foxconn factory the largest smartphone production facility in the world. Foxconn's Zhengzhou plant currently pumps out close to 200,000 iPhones each and everyday. Doubling their workforce and having a larger factory is only going to increase that, by, well, a lot.
I've covered SOPA-related news for the past few days, as it is getting quite serious with GoDaddy being hit hard. It has just been announced that Jimmy Wales decision to find a new home for Wikipedia, away from the SOPA loving hands of GoDaddy.
Wales is quite unhappy with GoDaddy's position on the Stop Online Privacy Act, by announcing the shift in the following tweet:
I am proud to announce that the Wikipedia domain names will move away from GoDaddy. Their position on #sopa is unacceptable to us.
He then updated, and posted another tweet the next day:
Wikia is also moving several hundred domains from godaddy. Which registrar has quality and price right?
SOPA is starting to snowball into a serious issue, it needs as much airtime as possible.
It looks as though the iOS platform is the platform for mobile shopping, with a retail analysis coming from RichRelevance. In the months between April and December 2011, RichRelevance analyzed 3.4 billion shopping sessions and found that consumers making purchases from mobile devices accounted for roughly 3-percent of total sales.
Let's take April, where 88-percent of these purchases were made from an iOS-powered device, mostly the iPad and iPhone. Fast-forward to December and it increased to 92-percent. The increase in mobile shopping is being spearheaded by iOS. RichRelevance also add that the average order value (AOV) of purchases made from an iOS device is also more than the other platforms. iOS's AOV sits at $123 in December, where Android's AOV is just $101.
RichRelevance CEO, David Selinger says:
The numbers across our retailing partners sites demonstrate just how powerful the iOS platform is enabling mobile web shopping and, while still below 5 percent in total conversion, mobile traffic's doubling in eight months is a trend we only see accelerating.
After a 7-year partnership with S-LCD, Samsung have acquired all of Sony's shares in the joint-venture for close to $939 million. S-LCD will now become a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung. Up until now, Sony owned 50-percent of S-LCD.
On top of this, both companies have entered into a new strategic agreement for the supply and purchase of LCD panels, with the end goal of increasing the competitiveness of both Sony and Samsung. The agreement also allows Sony and Samsung to continue cooperative engineering efforts focused on LCD panel technology.
Go Daddy have gotten a fair amount of news lately, we reported a few days ago that if Go Daddy supported SOPA, Reddit would be closed down. If Reddit were closed down, 90-percent of my Internet browsing would go with it. GoDaddy have since reversed their decision to support SOPA, and customer service representatives are even taking the phones to beg you to keep your domains with Go Daddy.
According to TheDomains, 21,054 domains were transferred away from Go Daddy on Friday alone. A nice early Christmas present for them and at $6.99ea, this would make for a loss of $147,167. This doesn't take future accounts into consideration. In the days leading up to Friday, they lost 8,800, 13,000, 14,500, and 15,000 on Monday through to Thursday, respectively.
It looks like this could get worse for Go Daddy, but we need these stances from not just people, but companies if we don't want laws like SOPA pushed upon us. Obviously the Government has no idea, and should be "for the people" but like to push these things in while insulting other countries like China for building their firewall. Irony, you're funny.
SOPA is continuing to mark its territory with news of anti-SOPA rallying the tech world's best. Cheezburger (who also does I Can Has Cheeseburger, FAIL Blog, Know Your Meme, and more) CEO Ben Huh has announced that they would be moving their array of over 1,000 domains away from GoDaddy unless the registrar recants their support of the act.
The question now is, will Huh's threat be enough to get GoDaddy on his side? GoDaddy is a large enough company with plenty of controversies under their belt, so they're used to this sort of heat. But, the more news, the more awareness is being raised on the issue.
If SOPA is supported by GoDaddy, it could be not only a big change to Cheezeburger, but to virtually the entire Internet as we know it. With Cheezeburger's 1000 domains, just imagine the implications of SOPA to the rest of the world.
Microsoft have announced that their attendance at CES 2012 will be their last, where on January 9 at 6:30PM, CEO Steve Ballmer will give his third keynote speech. Microsoft will continue to attend to connect with partners and customers, but won't deliver a keynote or schedule a booth.
Microsoft have explained that CES simply doesn't gel with its marketing strategy. Microsoft asks:
What's the right time and place to make announcements? Are we adjusting to the changing dynamics of our customers? Are we doing something because it's the right thing to do, or because it's the way we've always done it?