TweakTown NewsRefine News by Category:
Environment Artist David Ballard used to work with Naughty Dog on games like Uncharted and The Last of Us, but left the studio last September to join Ubisoft's San Francisco office. After nine months with the Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed developer, he left and walked back through the doors of Naughty Dog.
Ballard was working on a "AAA next-gen title" over at Ubisoft, but there's no other information available on that title. But now that he is back at Naughty Dog, Ballard has a new position: Multiplayer Level Layout Artist.
Naughty Dog should be showing off Uncharted 4: A Thief's End for the PlayStation 4 at E3 2015 next month.
The PC rumor mill is buzzing yet again, with unconfirmed reports published by DigiTimes indicating Lenovo is interested in purchasing the MSI gaming notebook unit. MSI isn't at the top in gaming laptops, but largely releases affordable products that have decent specs - but that doesn't mean MSI wants to get rid of its mobile gaming business.
"In regards to the rumors circulating about [a] Lenovo and MSI acquisition, MSI is not in talk with Lenovo to sell the MSI Gaming Notebook business," said Andy Tung, president of MSI, in a statement to the media.
Even though the deal would make logical sense for Lenovo, which has been unable to break into gaming, MSI apparently isn't happy about the rumors - and has threatened possible legal action. "We are currently seeking the source of this false information and reserve the right to take any legal action," Tung confirmed.
During a concert featuring rare songs, Jay-Z also took the time to rip into Tidal competitors, with jabs thrown at Apple, Spotify and Google. Tidal, which features a $20 per month subscription that is double the cost of most of its rivals, has drawn extreme criticism - and music fans aren't ready to spend the extra money.
Even though Jay-Z says Tidal is "just fine" right now, he took the time to speak his mind about a few competitors:
"You bought nine iPhones and Steve Jobs is rich...
Phil Knight is worth millions, you still bought them kicks
Spotify is nine million, they ain't s**t"
Starbucks has entered a music streaming partnership with Spotify, allowing the coffee chain's My Starbucks Rewards members to access Starbucks music on Spotify. They will be able to offer input on in-store music playlists, along with other key benefits.
The rollout will begin with retail stores in the United States, with additional expansion taking place in the United Kingdom and Canada. Starbucks is giving all of its US employees a Spotify Premium subscription, which costs $9.99 per month.
This is the first time that Starbucks has allowed third-party companies a crack at its loyalty program - and is a high-profile agreement for both companies.
Rdio has unveiled the Rdio Select streaming music service, a $4 per month subscription designed to undercut Spotify, Pandora, and other similar offerings.
The music industry standard for monthly streaming services is around $10 per month, or music listeners can listen to ad-supported music. Rdio offers a free online radio service and $10 monthly subscription, but wants to find a new revenue stream to reach consumers unwilling to pay $10. Rdio Select would provide ad-free streaming radio stations created based on song selection, genre and user play history - and up to 25 songs that can be downloaded when no Internet connection is available.
"We're excited to reach a new group of price-sensitive music subscribers with Rdio Select and have designed the service to appeal to a wide audience," said Anthony Bay, CEO of Rdio, in a statement.
King, the developer behind mega smash hit Candy Crush Saga, has reported its fiscal first quarter earnings today, where we have found out that the company has a huge 550 million monthly active players. This is up from the 481 million during the first quarter of its fiscal 2014. The company should expect an injection of players in the near future, as Candy Crush Saga will be pre-installed with Windows 10.
The company has 158 million daily active players, with 364 million monthly unique players, respectively. With mobile gaming being a massive $30 billion business, King is one of the kings of it - pun intended. But, it's not all soda pops and candy bars, as player spending has dropped considerably over the last 12 months.
The amount of unique players that are spending money inside of King's games has dropped, from 11.86 million from this time last year, to 8.52 million. Paying gamers who continue to spend money, are spending an average of $23.64, compared to $18.02 during the same time of 2014, but it's not enough to make up for the amount of players not spending money.
Nasdaq may not be fully on the bitcoin bandwagon, but has found some bitcoin-related technology it will be able to leverage in the future. Specifically, the bitcoin blockchain will be leveraged, as it can provide a more efficient, fully-electronic service that can be used to keep records for the Nasdaq Private Market.
If nothing else, this is an important step to show that bitcoins have major potential in the financial and trading markets.
"Utilizing the blockchain is a natural digital evolution for managing physical securities," said Bob Greifeld, CEO of Nasdaq. "Once you cut the apron strings of need for the physical, the opportunities we can envision blockchain providing stand to benefit not only our clients, but the broader global capital markets."
It looks like Warner Music Group, which confirmed it makes more revenue based on streaming music than digital downloads, has learned how important Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming services can be. The company noted a 33 percent increase in streaming income, and warned other labels not to shut the door on free, ad-supported streaming models that are currently offered to music listeners.
"The rate of this growth has made it abundantly clear to us that in years to come, streaming will be the way that most people enjoy music," said Stephen Cooper, CEO of Warner Music, during a recent company earnings call. "Not only that, we are also confident that streaming's ongoing expansion will return the industry to sustainable, long-term growth."
Even though Cooper also added that ad-based and subscription-based services are "better than piracy," that isn't likely any solace in the news - the music industry has created absolutely insane business agreements that Pandora, Spotify, and other services were forced to adopt. Apple is preparing to launch Beats Music, pending record label support, though it won't even have a free membership available.
Verizon is purchasing AOL for $4.4 billion, valued at $50 per share, according to both companies early Tuesday morning. It's the latest strategic push by Verizon, as the company looks to expand its Internet of Things (IoT) offerings - and could benefit from AOL's digital and video experience.
AOL, which was the dial-up ISP king in the 1990s, has generated millions in digital advertising revenue, while supporting major media brands such as Engadget, TechCrunch, and The Huffington Post. Verizon is preparing a mobile video service this summer, and could call upon AOL's advertising platforms.
"AOL has once again become a digital trailblazer, and we are excited at the prospect of charting a new course together in the digitally connected world," said Lowell McAdam, chairman and CEO of Verizon, in a public statement.
Apple wants to throw down with Pandora, Spotify, and other companies in the streaming music market, hoping its Beats Music service will win over listeners. The company is expected to offer a free trial that will range from one month up to three months, with more details after Apple and music labels agree to a deal.
Instead of offering a free, ad-supported service, Beats Music will require listeners to sign up as a member. However, a rumored feature would allow current subscribers to upload a song sample that can be shared with non-subscribers.
Apple, which once earned praise from the record industry due to booming sales with iTunes, must rebuild trust with music labels. The RIAA has insane contract agreements with Pandora and Spotify, with both companies clawing for every subscriber they have.