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Google Brings VR to the iPhone

Google Brings VR to the iPhone | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"While it has been possible to jury rig a VR experience on the iPhone using Google Cardboard, not a lot of developers have done so thus far.

 

But Google’s decision late Wednesday to publish a Cardboard software developer kit (SDK) with tools for iOS meant to streamline things for developers could change that.

 

Cardboard hasn’t gotten quite the level of media attention that has been focused on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Samsung’s Gear VR (a joint venture with Facebook-owned Oculus). Google’s VR headset is literally made of cardboard. While it officially carries a price tag of $15, it’s pretty easy to get your hands on a set for free.

 

Many experts agree that mobile VR is the technology’s best chance for widespread distribution—especially in the early days. With lower-priced headsets (Gear VR is just $99 versus $600 for an Oculus Rift) and by enabling people to experience virtual reality through a device they already own and understand, VR companies stand a better chance to capturing market share."

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Rovio focused on user acquisition for existing games

Rovio focused on user acquisition for existing games | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"The Angry Birds feature film represents the apex of Rovio's oft-repeated aspirations to become the next Disney, and while the movie isn't even debuting in theaters until next month, the company already seems to be changing course after an extended rough patch.

 

After two CEO changes and two triple-digit layoffs in less than two years, the company restructured into two divisions, one for games and one for media and licensing. Speaking with Gamasutra recently, Rovio's gaming head Wilhelm Taht said the studio is refocusing on its roots.

 

'The Angry Birds brand grew at a rate that nobody had really seen coming from a mobile game before,' Taht said. 'We expanded very quickly in certain areas that didn't necessarily turn out to be so profitable.'"

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VR headsets to generate $895M in revenue in 2016

VR headsets to generate $895M in revenue in 2016 | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Market researcher Strategy Analytics said it expects global virtual reality headset revenues will reach $895 million in 2016.

 

About 77 percent of that value will be accounted for by newly launched premium devices from Oculus, HTC, and Sony. These three brands however will only account for 13 percent of volumes in 2016 as lower priced smartphone-based devices will dominate share of the 12.8 million unit virtual reality headset market. Strategy Analytics said it sees 2016 as a pivotal year for virtual reality given a confluence of factors and also one where managing expectations will be paramount given a dearth of available content and the technical limitations of entry-level virtual reality."

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The Challenge of Managing a Long-Distance Relationship With Your Boss

The Challenge of Managing a Long-Distance Relationship With Your Boss | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"More of us are working remotely than ever, and there are more ways to communicate. So why do we still feel so anxious that we’re out of touch with the boss?

 

Communication gets complicated when people work far apart. Employees at distant offices have to be more in touch with the boss, not less. It also requires a strategic touch, matching tech tools such as texts, email, calls or videoconferencing to the occasion.

 

A big mistake employees and bosses make when setting up a remote office is failing to set ground rules and expectations about how and when to communicate, says Nancy Settle-Murphy, president of Guided Insights, a Boxborough, Mass., training and consulting firm that worked with ISEAL managers and employees on communication."

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Super hot Korea gets a new startup fund

Super hot Korea gets a new startup fund | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Korea is sizzling, and the fact isn’t lost on Altos Ventures or its backers. The early-stage venture firm, with an office on Sand Hill Road and in Seoul, has just raised an oversubscribed $110 million fund to invest exclusively in the country, the second fund of its type for Altos, which raised its last Korea-focused fund with $60 million in 2013. (The firm has also raised four U.S.-focused funds over the last decade.)

 

It’s easy to understand LPs’ enthusiasm. Korea boasts the world’s 12th largest economy, with more than 50 million inhabitants and GDP per capita of roughly $25,000, according to the World Bank. Its inhabitants are entrepreneurial, with 28 percent of the population self-employed versus 10 percent in the U.S. Korea also has among the world’s fastest and mostly broadly deployed broadband."

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Stre.am got eSports dreams, shifts focus to mobile game livestreams

Stre.am got eSports dreams, shifts focus to mobile game livestreams | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Reports of ever-expanding eSports viewership(and revenue) have lured a new competitor into the mobile game livestreaming market: Stre.am, which until very recently was focused mainly on livestreaming video from smartphone and tablet cameras.

 

Stre.am marketing exec Will Jamieson acknowledges that the company (which has until recently been trying to compete with mobile camera livestreaming platforms like Periscope) faces competition in the "livestream your phone/tablet screen" arena, but suggests Stre.am's entry into mobile eSports coverage may have an edge over the competition in terms of broadcast latency."

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Social casino game creator FlowPlay launches in-game fundraiser for the American Cancer Society

Social casino game creator FlowPlay launches in-game fundraiser for the American Cancer Society | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Online social game creator FlowPlay has cut a deal that allows its Vegas World social casino game players to spend money in the virtual world to raise money for the real-world nonprofit American Cancer Society during the month of March.

 

FlowPlay’s users can purchase American Cancer Society-branded items that benefit cancer support services and raise awareness during the month of March. All of the proceeds for these items will be donated to the group’s Road to Recovery program, which helps cancer patients get rides to their doctor appointments. This is the first campaign of its kind for the American Cancer Society, which hopes to benefit from a dedicated community of millions of FlowPlay players. The deal comes a day after the nonprofit Games for Change and American Express released a mobile game to benefit national parks."

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Jana Announces $57 Million in Series C Funding Led By Verizon Ventures to Bring Free, Unrestricted Internet Access to Billions of People Worldwide

Jana Announces $57 Million in Series C Funding Led By Verizon Ventures to Bring Free, Unrestricted Internet Access to Billions of People Worldwide | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Jana, the largest provider of free, unrestricted Internet access in emerging markets, today announced a $57 million Series C round led by new investor Verizon Ventures and participation from existing investors Spark Capital and Publicis Groupe. The funding will accelerate Jana’s expansion into emerging markets and help the company address the need for free internet data around the world.


“Over 30 million users have benefited from Jana’s free, unrestricted internet access, but our goal is to reach the next billion,” said Nathan Eagle, CEO of Jana. 


Following Jana’s success in India and expansion into additional key markets, such as Indonesia and Brazil, the company has ambitious plans to launch in China, bringing its mCent app to the most populous country in the world. Jana’s mCent Android app unlocks free data in exchange for brand engagement, allowing users to earn data that can be used anywhere on the internet – to use another app like WeChat, to do a Google search or to watch a YouTube video, for example.

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How Wevr is Building the YouTube of VR

How Wevr is Building the YouTube of VR | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Venice, Calif.-based startup Wevr is building what it hopes will become the YouTube of virtual reality. The company has raised over $25 million from strategic investors to help make Wevr Transport a reality.


Transport, which is in private beta, is an online virtual reality content network where creators will be able to publish their work and users will be able to experience them. An assortment of free and paid content will be available through the Transport app, which will be accessible to owners of any headset, including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, and Sony’s PlayStation VR."

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Twitter is Doubling Down on Gaming

Twitter is Doubling Down on Gaming | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Twitter recently hired Rodrigo Velloso as director of gaming partnerships for the company’s media team, which works with partners around the globe. This move comes as the company has added gaming as one of the key verticals, which include movies, sports, news, government, talent, and TV.


“Gaming is a top interest alongside those other verticals,” Velloso says. “Twitter users are 72% more likely to talk about gaming than the average Internet user.”


Twitter  TWTR -0.11%  launched the @TwitterGaming handle on Jan. 13 as a new way to aggregate video game content. That handle has amassed over 118,000 followers. As of September 2015, Twitter has 320 million active users."

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Marmalade Technologies raises $5M to introduce more developers to its game-making platform

Marmalade Technologies raises $5M to introduce more developers to its game-making platform | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"It’s easier than ever to start making a game, and one of the companies responsible for this democratization of development is getting an influx of cash.


Marmalade Technologies has secured $5 million in funding. Investment firm Bloc Ventures led the round. Marmalade will use this money to bolster its game-development engine, which is also known as Marmalade. The company will focus on putting its tool in front of more game makers around the world. Marmalade also says that it will use this capital as a jumping off point to eventually reach an initial public offering at some point in the future. Gaming is a multibillion-dollar business, and companies like Unity and Epic make a lot of money from letting outside developers use their game engines. With gaming on iOS and Android reaching $30 billion in 2015, that is a market that could support an elegant, simple-to-use development tool like Marmalade that specializes in iOS, Android, and Windows Phone development."

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GDC: 16% of game developers are working on VR, up from 7% a year ago

GDC: 16% of game developers are working on VR, up from 7% a year ago | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Virtual reality has the attention of game developers. A survey by the Game Developers Conference shows that 16 percent of all developers are working on VR titles for 2016, compared with just 7 percent a year ago.

In its fourth annual state of the industry survey, the GDC — the big game developer event that draws about 26,000 people to San Francisco in March — found that PC and mobile games are still the top platforms for developers, but VR is growing fast."

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Paving The Way For Women In Science And Tech

Paving The Way For Women In Science And Tech | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Diversity and inclusion must be driven at an executive level. Companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google are publishing their numbers to make inclusion data more transparent. Compared to 35% in 1990, the number of females in computing roles have dropped: Only 26% of computing jobs in the US are held by women in 2013.


But the numbers continue to decrease for big companies and tech roles within them. Women represented just 12% of engineers in 2013. Having a diverse and inclusive workforce can lead to great profits and foster innovation for global businesses. The National Center for Women & Information Technology found that companies with a gender diverse team had higher sales revenue as well as more market share, when compared to less diverse companies."

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Oracle Has A $200 Million Plan To Train Kids To Code

Oracle Has A $200 Million Plan To Train Kids To Code | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Oracle said it will donate $200 million over the next 18 months to the White House's Computer Science for All program. In addition to the funding, Oracle will give more than $3 million in nonprofits that help young girls get computer science and other technical degrees."

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Forge raises $4.5M to make editing and sharing gameplay clips easy

Forge raises $4.5M to make editing and sharing gameplay clips easy | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Twitch and YouTube rule livestreaming and gameplay video. But one company sees a market for people who want to share smaller clips, and it’s raised a good-sized seed round to take advantage of the opportunity it sees.

 

Forge, Inc., has drummed up $4.5 million, it announced today. The sharing of gameplay has become huge on social media — and that’s thanks in part to Twitch, which has 100 million community members and 1.7 million broadcasters. But this is different than Twitch or YouTube — you can make a short clip of a full video (be it a Twitch livestream or a YouTube show) and share it easily on social media. It’s in a public beta test on PC now (sorry, Mac folks).

 

One clear use for Forge is esports, sharing short clips of decisive moments without needing to edit the video of an entire match. You won’t need to use Final Cut Pro or any other software to make the clips — Forge provides its own tools for this.. Or for a pro gamer to promote archived video of one of their livestreams from Twitch."

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How Snapchat Built a Business By Confusing Olds

How Snapchat Built a Business By Confusing Olds | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Compared with Twitter or Facebook, Snapchat can seem almost aggressively user-unfriendly. If you’re new to the app and looking for posts by your kid, your boyfriend, or DJ Khaled, good luck. It’s hard to find somebody without knowing his or her screen name. This is by design. Snapchat co-founder Evan Speigel says, “It’s much more for sharing personal moments than it is about this public display.”

 

Snapchat’s annual revenue is small—perhaps $200 million, according to several press reports—but it has already drawn many big-name advertisers. Earlier this year, PepsiCo, Amazon.com, Marriott International, and Budweiser paid more than $1 million to have their ads appear within the company’s Super Bowl coverage. And because Snapchat has yet to really try to sell ads to the small and midsize businesses that make up most of Google’s and Facebook’s customer base, there’s a lot of potential."

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How Amazon's $70 Million Purchase of Gaming Service Twitch Gave Its Cloud Services a Boost

"Amazon raised a lot of eyebrows when it bought the very popular Twitch game-streaming service for $970 million in August 2014.

Why it would spend so much cash for Twitch was a real head-scratcher--live game broadcasts on the internet isn't exactly what you would call core to Amazon's retail business.

 

Amazon's Twitch buy was an investment in bolstering Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company's $7 billion-plus cloud-computing juggernaut.

 

Amazon is here, mainly to promote Amazon Lumberyard, its new service for helping developers build games and host them with the AWS cloud. You may have heard about Lumberyard's terms of service, which say that you can get out of a contract only in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

 

And right next to the Amazon booth? A Twitch booth, boasting "Twitch Dev Success."

 

See, Lumberyard and Twitch offer tools to help developers include the game-broadcasting service straight into their apps. It means that game developers can include new tools that let players interact directly with the strangers watching them play and vice versa.

 

This is intensely desirable for developers: Twitch has 100 million users and counting, with over 7.5 billion minutes of video watched. Getting that massive community engaged with a game can mean the difference between success and failure."

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Her Story's Sam Barlow joins Interlude

Her Story's Sam Barlow joins Interlude | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Sam Barlow, the creator of popular FMV mystery game Her Story, has joined interactive film company Interlude as an executive creative director.

 

'Interactive video is poised to be a revolutionary medium for exploring these goals. When I saw the work Interlude is doing and the platform they are creating, I felt that we were on the same journey. Our dream is personalized, reactive stories with a heightened emotional impact. I am excited for us to define this medium and create something that is more than games and more than video," says Barlow.

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Asian companies dominate App Annie's top publishers of 2015

Asian companies dominate App Annie's top publishers of 2015 | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"European companies occupied the top two spots in App Annie's top mobile publishers of 2015, but East Asian businesses filled 28 of the 52 positions overall.

 

Japan was the most lucrative country, with 16 companies overall and 11 of those in the top half of the list. China had nine companies, and there were a further three from South Korea, making East Asia the world's leading region for mobile games."

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Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata gets posthumous lifetime achievement award from gaming peers

Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata gets posthumous lifetime achievement award from gaming peers | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it
Former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata received a posthumous lifetime achievement award tonight at gaming’s equivalent of the Oscars.
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Watching Technology Trends Emerge In Africa

Watching Technology Trends Emerge In Africa | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"The big story in January was Netflix’s Africa entry. CEO Reed Hastings turned the switch on for the entire continent at the company’s CES global expansion announcement. 


Moving to homegrown African tech, the continent’s first unicorn could be Nigerian fintech firm Interswitch in 2016. Sources confirmed to TechCrunch the Helios backed company is likely to launch on the LSE north of $1 billion in Q3 or Q4. 


Uber in Africa showed signs it will adapt its model to local needs. Techcabal reported the company has rolled out a cash payment option in Nigeria, where many consumers are still attached to hard currency. For Nigerians privy to digital payments, Uber also announced a partnership with fintech firm Paga to pay using local debit cards."

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Square’s guide to supporting female engineers goes open source

Square’s guide to supporting female engineers goes open source | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Square has created a publication that’s not centered around payments, transactions, or commerce, but rather on female engineers. The company wants it to be a guide for other businesses that have an interest in supporting a diverse workforce. But recognizing that it doesn’t have all the answers, Square has open-sourced the handbook by hosting it in a GitHub repository for not only anyone to read, but also to contribute their own thoughts.


Called the 'WomEng Handbook,' it features sections on how to create an buddy program for newly hired engineers, organizing internal events such as monthly lunches or roundtables, attending conferences, and more."

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Gameloft opens Nigerian office for regional expansion

Gameloft opens Nigerian office for regional expansion | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Mobile and social game publisher Gameloft has opened a new trade office in Nigeria, allowing the company to expand its reach in an emerging market that already includes 367 million users. 


Gameloft, a major player on mobile thanks to franchises such as Asphalt and Modern Combat, has had a presence in Johannesburg since 2012, and has seen its revenue in that area increase by 536 percent over the last four years."

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Yahoo and Tumblr: A Wasted Opportunity for Digital Media Innovation?

Yahoo and Tumblr: A Wasted Opportunity for Digital Media Innovation? | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"Yahoo acquired Tumblr back in 2013, and continued to assure users it would not change Tumblr as it had done with other acquisitions in the past. But the intervening time has resulted in Yahoo making decisions the Tumblr community viewed as an assault on how they used the site.

Former Tumblr head of media and digital media consultant Mark Coatney noted that Yahoo is missing out on some great opportunities when it comes to Tumblr. Coatneydiscussed in a blog post how Yahoo lacks a coherent editorial voice, and has a content platform in Tumblr that is being underutilized and mismanaged.


Coatney pointed out that Yahoo seems attached to a digital magazine style of publishing within its networks, and this approach simply doesn’t work for Tumblr. If Yahoo were to engage with Tumblr for what it is — a social conversation platform, not a broadcasting platform — the parent company likely see more success. Blasting updates out without interacting in the Tumblr style doesn’t work for Tumblr’s audience."

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Here's a Sure Bet: Merger Mania Won't Abate in Gaming Industry

Here's a Sure Bet: Merger Mania Won't Abate in Gaming Industry | Innovation + Leaders | Scoop.it

"It’s been the busiest year for gaming-industry consolidation in a decade, and the wave of mergers and acquisitions isn’t over yet.


As governments ratchet up the tax burden at a time when companies are competing harder than ever for new customers, oddsmakers are finding the best way to combat the squeeze on profitability is to join forces. At $12.9 billion, the volume of deals announced in 2015 was about double that of 2014 and the highest since 2005, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


'Consolidation will continue, because a trend is in place where globally governments are increasing taxes on gambling,' said Warwick Bartlett, chief executive officer of researcher Global Betting and Gaming Consultancy. 'There’s a lack of profitability and a need to gain scale.'"

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