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Tech

Mobile Game Downloads in India Clocked Nearly 1bn in India in Q2 2020; PUBG Tops the Chart

Global player spending in mobile games increased by 27 per cent year-over-year in the second quarter of this year to $19.3 billion even as game downloads in India increased by nearly one billion during the quarter, said a report by analytics firm Sensor Tower. From 1.8 billion game downloads in Q1, the figure rose by 50 per cent to 2.7 billion in India in Q2, the data showed.

Besides India, the other two top countries for downloads were the US and Brazil. Compared to the massive downloads generated in the last two quarters in India, the US accumulated more than 1.4 billion in both quarters. Brazil generated close to 1.1 billion installs in the first quarter of this year, with downloads surging nine per cent to 1.2 billion in the second quarter, Sensor Tower data showed. The peak for the revenue was in May this year, which generated $6.6 billion, registering a rise of 21.5 per cent year-on-year.

Titles such as Roblox from Roblox Corporation and Fortnite from Epic Games experienced a surge in popularity on mobile amid Covid-19. Globally, PUBG Mobile from Tencent was the highest-grossing game during Q2 2020, generating close to $621 million in the quarter.

That was down eight per cent from Q1 2020, when it generated $674.5 million. Fortnite was one of the top-grossing games on the App Store globally in Q2, with player spending rising 110.7 per cent quarter-over-quarter to $146.5 million. Pokemon GO from Niantic also saw a major revenue boost in Q2, rising 32.7 per cent quarter-over-quarter to more than $254 million in the quarter. In terms of revenue generation, the US ranked No. 1 in the first half of 2020, followed by Japan and China, said the report.


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Tech

Apple removes thousands of game apps from China store: research firm

SHANGHAI Apple Inc removed 29,800 apps from its Chinese app store on Saturday, including more than 26,000 games, according to data from research firm Qimai.

The takedowns come amid a crackdown on unlicensed games by Chinese authorities.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year Apple gave game publishers an end-of-June deadline to submit a government-issued licence number enabling users to make in-app purchases.

China’s Android app stores have long complied with those regulations. It is not clear why Apple is enforcing them strictly this year.

The smartphone maker removed more than 2,500 titles from its app store over the first week of July. Games affected by the sweep included titles from Zynga and Supercell, research firm SensorTower reported at the time.

The Chinese government has long sought to enforce stricter regulations on its gaming industry to remove sensitive content.

The approval process for games looking to enable in-app purchases is long and complicated, hurting all but the largest game developers, industry insiders say.

“This affects small- and mid-sized developers’ incomes the most, but due to the difficulties of acquiring a business licence, it’s devastating to the whole iOS game industry in China,” said Todd Kuhns, marketing manager for AppInChina, a firm that helps overseas companies distribute their apps.

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(This story corrects the spelling of name in paragraph 9)

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Categories
Tech

Apple removes thousands of game apps from China store – research firm

SHANGHAI Apple Inc removed 29,800 apps from its Chinese app store on Saturday, including more than 26,000 games, according to data from research firm Qimai.

The takedowns come amid a crackdown on unlicensed games by Chinese authorities.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year Apple gave game publishers an end-of-June deadline to submit a government-issued licence number enabling users to make in-app purchases.

China’s Android app stores have long complied with those regulations. It is not clear why Apple is enforcing them strictly this year.

The smartphone maker removed more than 2,500 titles from its app store over the first week of July. Games affected by the sweep included titles from Zynga and Supercell, research firm SensorTower reported at the time. The Chinese government has long sought to enforce stricter regulations on its gaming industry to remove sensitive content. The approval process for games looking to enable in-app purchases is long and complicated, hurting all but the largest game developers, industry insiders say.

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“This affects small- and mid-sized developers’ incomes the most, but due to the difficulties of acquiring a business licence, it’s devastating to the whole iOS game industry in China,” said Todd Kuhn, marketing manager for AppIn China, a firm that helps overseas companies distribute their apps.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Categories
Tech

Is Microsoft Considering Buying TikTok From ByteDance, At Least In The US?

It seems that Microsoft is considering buying the incredibly popular but under-fire social media network TikTok. Microsoft is believed to be in talks with Chinese tech company ByteDance to buy the social media app’s US operations. This comes at a time when US President Donald Trump has again expressed concerns about the national security threat that the Chinese-owned app poses and threatened to ban it in the US altogether. India banned TikTok a few weeks ago as part of a larger list of Chinese owned apps that are no longer accessible in India.

TikTok is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, valued at around $100 billion. It is unclear at this time as to how advanced the talks between Microsoft and ByteDance really are and what terms the two tech giants are looking at, if at all. This development was earlier reported by Fox Business Network’s Charles Gasparino who tweeted, “My banking sources say they are looking at it; can’t guarantee a purchase but this thing is being shopped and one of the stops has been @Microsoft”. Earlier, Trump had made his intentions clear. “We’re looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok. We may be doing some other things. There’s a couple of options. But a lot of things are happening, so we’ll see what happens. But we are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok,” said Trump while speaking with reporters. In China, the National Intelligence Law of 2017 governs all tech companies that are based in China or are under Chinese ownership. The law mandates all businesses to share any and all information that the Chinese Government may ask for. This is something that is worrying governments around the world, including India.

It is also not clear what Microsoft’s potential purchase of TikTok would mean for the structure of the social network’s operations in the country, and whether any Chinese investors would retain a stake in the company. It is believed that the US administration is weighing its options whether it can force ByteDance to sell its US operations or whether the company can be added to the “entity list” that prevents American companies from conducting any business with these companies. Chinese tech company Huawei was on this list last year, and suspicions continue to circle around Chinese tech companies regarding the data they share with the Chinese government.

At this time, Microsoft’s social media stakes rely heavily on LinkedIn, a network aimed more at working professionals rather than a more casual and friend-driven approach that Facebook has, for instance. Yet, Microsoft must also consider the implications of such an acquisition, if at all. Earlier this week, the big tech companies, Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon testified at the US Congress antitrust hearing about business practices and regulation. Microsoft has managed to stay under the radar and out of the attention of regulators in the US mostly because it focused on business consumers. With a TikTok purchase for instance, which is as consumer centric as it can be, Microsoft might come under scrutiny.

TikTok has more than 800 million users worldwide. It was acquired by ByteDance in 2017 and is incredibly popular with the demographic that is also the target audience for the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Snap.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the Indian authorities are scanning as many as 275 more apps for potential user privacy violations and national security threats. This follows the ban on 59 Chinese-owned apps last month, a list that included the very popular social media app TikTok. It is believed that the latest list of apps under the scanner include the incredibly popular game PUBG Mobile, ecommerce platform AliExpress and another popular game Ludo World.


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Categories
Tech

PUBG Mobile: Is It Really A Chinese Owned Mobile Game? The Answer is NO

PUBG Mobile may soon be banned in India. Yes, that may be bad news for many, particularly at a time when this incredibly popular game is on the list of as many as 275 more Chinese-owned apps that are under the scanner of the Government of India (Read more here). These apps are being reviewed for potential user privacy violations and national security threats. This follows the ban on 59 Chinese-owned apps last month, a list that included the very popular social media app TikTok. The latest list of apps that are under the scanner are believed to include the incredibly popular game PUBG Mobile, ecommerce platform AliExpress and another popular game Ludo World. But that takes us back to a question that perhaps has a surprising answer—who is the owner of PUBG Mobile?

Let us run you through some of the basics about PUBG Mobile, which you probably didn’t realize. To be honest, most of us didn’t, till we actually got down to studying the finer details beyond the noise and the posturing. PUBG is an online multi-player battle royale game that is available for multiple platforms. It is available for Microsoft Windows PCs, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and Google Stadia, as well as for Android phones and the Apple iPhone where it is popularly known as PUBG Mobile. PUBG came about as an inspiration taken from mods designed by Irish video game designer Brendan Greene, also lovingly referred to as Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene.

PUBG Mobile

This takes us to South Korea. PUBG is developed and published by PUBG Corporation, which was previously known as Ginno Games. It is an internal game studio of Bluehole Studio, which is now a subsidiary of the Krafton Game Union. The Krafton Game Union is based in Bundang-gu, Seongnam, South Korea and its subsidiaries apart from Bluehole Studio also include PUBG Corporation, Pnix, En Masse Studio which is Krafton’s North American publishing arm, Delusion Studio which developed the popular game Castle Bum and Red Sahara Studio which is currently believed to be working on mobile game based on Tera.

Now for the Chinese influence. At this time, Chinese tech giant Tencent has a 1.5% stake in Bluehole Studio, though there are persistent reports that Tencent wants to increase the stake in the game developer. That is not all. PUBG as a game was banned in China back in 2017. Tencent Games, a part of Tencent Holdings, got into an agreement with the game developers to release the game in China, as a mobile version. And thus, started the development of PUBG Mobile as we now know it, which was eventually released globally in 2018. And that is also why you see the Tencent logo quite prominent when the PUBG Mobile game loads on your phone. Which is why it is quite easy to confuse PUBG Mobile or PUBG as a Chinese owned game.

In fact, this isn’t Tencent’s only foray in the gaming space. Tencent is part of a Luxembourg based consortium which acquired 81.4% stake in Finnish game developer Supercell, the studio behind the popular game Clash of Titans and Clash Royale. Within the consortium, Tencent has a 51.2% stake, as of October last year. Tencent also has a 48% stake in Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, PUBG Mobile’s biggest rival.

Tencent also owns 5% stake in Ubisoft game studios which has given us popular gaming title such as Assassin’s Creed and Rainbow Six Siege, as well as a 5% stake in Activision Blizzard, the folks behind the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft titles.


Categories
Tech

PUBG Mobile, AliExpress, Ludo World: Are More Chinese Apps Set To Be Banned In India?

More Chinese owned apps seem to be under the scanner in India at a time when the geopolitical tensions between India and China are at an all-time high. Reports suggest that authorities are scanning as many as 275 more apps for potential user privacy violations and national security threats. This follows the ban on 59 Chinese-owned apps last month, a list that included the very popular social media app TikTok. It is believed that the latest list of apps under the scanner include the incredibly popular game PUBG Mobile, ecommerce platform AliExpress and another popular game Ludo World.

The new list of 275 Chinese-owned apps which are under the scanner are being reviewed for any possible security threats or violations. The data that these apps collect, as well as what they potentially share with the Chinese government, is being potentially looked at. In China, the National Intelligence Law of 2017 governs all tech companies that are based in China or are under Chinese ownership. The law mandates all businesses to share any and all information that the Chinese Government may ask for. This is something that is worrying governments around the world, including India.

PUBG sees a partial stake by Chinese tech giant Tencent, AliExpress is owned by AliBaba, Zili is an app by popular phone maker Xiaomi, Resso is a music streaming app from Bytedance who also own TikTok, to name a few. This list not only includes apps by Chinese tech giants including Xiaomi, Tencent, Alibaba and Bytedance, but also developers and companies Meitu, LBE Tech, Perfect Corp, Sina Corp, Netease Games and Yoozoo Global.


Categories
Tech

Creaks is a New Puzzle Adventure Game Added to Apple Arcade

Image for Representation
(Reuters)

Image for Representation
(Reuters)

Creaks will be available to play on iPhone, Mac, and Apple TV and is designated as a single-player experience aimed at players nine years or older.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 13, 2020, 10:31 AM IST

Apple’s subscription-based gaming service Arcade has added a new puzzle adventure game “Creaks” for its users. “Creaks” is described as a puzzle adventure game in which players have to explore an old mansion to find hidden paintings and solve puzzles to uncover the mansion’s secrets.

“Creaks” is available to play on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. It is also designated as a single-player experience aimed at players nine years or older, news portal iMore reported. Amanita Design, the developer behind the game, ‘Creaks’ isn’t their first experience working with Apple Arcade. The developer also built ‘Pilgrims’, a playful adventure game, for the service.

Earlier, Arcade added two new games – deep-sea adventure ‘Beyond Blue’ by E-Line Media and the emotional puzzle game ‘A Fold Apart’ by Lightning Rod Games – on the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. ‘A Fold Apart’ makes gamers interact with paper-like puzzles as they navigate a world where two people have been separated by their career choices, news portal iMore reported.

‘Beyond Blue’ game is set in the near future with players becoming a deep-sea explorer as they try to interact with the ocean. The subscription gaming service costs $4.99 a month and lets you play more than 120 new as well as exclusive games across the iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod Touch and Apple TV.


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Tech

Most Expensive Game Ever: Rare, Unopened Copy of Super Mario Bros Sold for Rs 85 Lakh

The sealed copy of Super Mario Bros from 1985 that was auctioned for $114,000. (Image: Associated Press)

The sealed copy of Super Mario Bros from 1985 that was auctioned for $114,000. (Image: Associated Press)

The Super Mario Bros copy, designed for Nintendo’s NES gaming console in 1985, was said by the auction house to be one of a handful of sealed copies of such vintage games to be still available in the world.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: July 12, 2020, 5:20 PM IST

An unopened copy of a vintage Super Mario Bros. video game has been sold for $114,000 (~Rs 85.72 lakh) in an auction that underscored the enduring popularity of entertainment created decades ago. A bidder who wished to remain anonymous snapped up an early version of the pioneering Super Mario Bros. game released in 1985 for Nintendo’s NES console during an auction conducted Friday by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.

The $114,000 price eclipsed Heritage Auctions’ previous record amount for a video game, which was a $100,150 bid made early last year for an unopened copy of the same game. The Super Mario Bros. copy that sold for a new record was part of a collection of video games from the 1980s and 1990s that sold to various buyers for nearly $700,000, which was well above Heritage Auction’s initial target of about $500,000.

Other titles auctioned off included “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!” a 1987 video game based on the former former heavyweight boxing champion, that sold for $50,400. It is important to note that the price that has made this humble copy of Super Mario Bros from 1985, made for Nintendo’s NES console, to be the most expensive video game of all time, is most likely because of it remaining unsold and sealed for all these years. The auctioneers reportedly noted that such unopened copies of old and rare video games only remain in the world in ‘single digits’ which makes it quite a collector’s items to lap up.

Meanwhile, on the other end of things, both Sony and Microsoft are expected to heat up the gaming world in the closing months of 2020. With PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X set to bring massive performance jumps, it remains to be seen which console manages to outdo the other in terms of overall popularity.

(With inputs from Associated Press)


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Tech

This Gurugram-based University Has Developed a New Game to Help Spread Covid-19 Awareness

Faculty members and students of Gurugram-based BML Munjal University have developed a new game with an aim to spread awareness about the Covid-19 pandemic. The game is known as “Unlock Me”, that serves as an educational and entertainment purpose and is available on all Android smartphones, running on Version 4.4 and above. Furthermore, the game doesn’t ask users for any personal details like name, age, and address and also happens to be a secure app. The game can be download from the Google Play Store using the following link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Shreyansh.UnlockMe

Speaking on the launch of the game, Prof Maneek Kumar, Dean, School of Engineering and Technology BML Munjal University says, “In these times, we read so many advisories related to COVID-19 but aren’t sure how they’ll play out once we’re out in the open again. The game “Unlock Me” simulates the real-life situations and experiences to help give players an understanding and feel for discriminating between right practices and wrong practices, and thereby reduce their risk of contracting the virus.”

“Unlock Me” plays out as a simulation of real-life risks related to Covid-19, wherein players get infected by the deadly virus. Users need to make the right choices and be careful of the risky practices as they move through the game. Through a series of events, players earn sanitisers which act like powerups and after gaining enough experiences, a question is presented in order to test the player’s knowledge regarding the current scenario. Interestingly, these questions are solved in a different section of the game where samples of the virus are analysed. Players also get to learn about the announcements made by the Union Health Ministry as they progress. Moreover, after completing a specific number of levels and getting all the answers right, players get to unlock a “cure” for the Covid-19, thereby unlocking a new mode in which the player needs to deliver it to those in need. “Unlock Me” has been developed in Unity3d as a top-down arcade game, and according to developers, new levels will be added to the game in the coming months along with an Arena Mode that will get unlocked after players reach level 100.

“BMU has taken a leap forward in tech innovation to create a game that has deeper penetration and easier understanding for the masses”, says Prof. Manoj Arora, Vice-Chancellor, BMU. “The development of these state-of-the-art technologies and tech-oriented studies have allowed students and faculty to explore uncharted territories in the face of this pandemic and develop ingenious solutions that contribute to the betterment of society,” he added.


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Tech

Microsoft is Pulling The Plug From Video Game Streaming Service Mixer to Team Up with Facebook

Microsoft has announced it has discontinued its game streaming service Mixer from July 22. In a statement, the tech giant said that it plans to move over to Facebook Gaming and also encouraged people who watch and create content to move there as well. It is worth noting that Microsoft acquired the Seattle-based video game live streaming platform Beam in 2016 and renamed the platform to Mixer in 2017.

“It became clear that the time needed to grow our own live streaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences that Microsoft and Xbox want to deliver for gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform,” Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, said in

a blog post.

To recall, Facebook’s first foray into gaming was in 2016 when it launched Instant Gaming services that allowed developers to build mobile-friendly games using HTML5 that would work on both Facebook and Messenger. Two years later, the tech giant launched Facebook Gaming, to take on its rival Twitch, making it possible for users to find and follow gaming content and live stream their gameplay on the social network. Microsoft claims that gamers will be encouraged to switch to Facebook Gaming that sees the participation of over 700 million people every month.

“The Facebook Gaming team and Creators will help expand the vision that Mixer has always held around the community and building a platform that is inclusive and supportive of each other. For Mixer’s streamers, this opens up the opportunity to reach the vast audience of one of the world’s fastest-growing streaming platforms,” Spencer added.

“Imagine a scenario where people can instantly move from watching a Facebook Gaming creator’s live stream to jumping in and playing the game with their closest friends, all in one click,” Vivek Sharma, head of Facebook Gaming, wrote in a blog post.


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