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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

TikTok parent ByteDance said to raise $1.45 billion for AI and content

ByteDance, the Chinese company behind the immensely popular video app TikTok, is in talks to raise $1.45 billion for a new fund, The Information reported on Friday citing sources.

The fresh vehicle will help power artificial intelligence and media content for the $75 billion startup, which reportedly leapfrogged Uber’s valuation after raising $3 billion in October.

ByteDance declined to comment on the matter.

The Chinese startup has set off an aggressive global expansion that sees it merge teen video app Musical.ly into TikTok, which has 100 million and 500 million users, respectively. The upstart has compelled Tencent to up the ante in short videos and Facebook to make a clone.

By 2021, ByteDance aims to count at least 50 percent of its total users from overseas, its founder and chief executive officer Zhang Yiming said during a speech in June.

In China, a fold of ByteDance’s media products — ranging from short-video platforms, a news portal to a humor app — have been in hot water with media watchdogs who are tightening control over online content. The harshest punishment arrived when the government shuttered Neihan Duanzi, literally meaning “implied jokes” in Chinese, for charges of propagating “vulgar content”.

The Beijing-based media company is seeking capital from government-led funds and state-owned investment banks for its new venture fund, according to The Information.

The gesture could help six-year-old ByteDance navigate relationships with local authorities. Meanwhile, it has already hired thousands of censors to ensure its content does not deviate from China’s official guidelines, though the startup has long prided itself on its AI prowess to make personalized recommendations to users.


Source: TechCrunch

Ex-Facebook exec Kirthiga Reddy becomes first female investor at SoftBank’s Vision Fund

Following speculation that SoftBank is hiring a China-based team, so the Japanese investment giant has brought on a first venture partner (and first female) for its $100 billion Vision Fund.

Kirthiga Reddy, a former executive with Facebook, has taken the role and, in doing so, she becomes the first female member of SoftBank’s Vision Fund investment team. She will be based in San Carlos, Silicon Valley.

Reddy spent eight years at Facebook, mostly as managing director for its business in India and Southeast Asia before a two-year stint in the U.S. leading global partnerships.

In her new role, she will work closely with Deep Nishar, senior managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisors who is located in the Bay Area and was previously an exec at Google and LinkedIn . Reddy said her focus will be frontier technologies such as AI, robotics, health, bio engineering, IoT and more. In a comment to Bloomberg, she revealed that she is “actively recruiting” for the firm, especially for female investors.

Kirthiga Reddy [right] is interviewed alongside India Today Group Chief Creative Officer Kalli Purie [left] in 2012 (Photo by Qamar Sibtain/India Today Group/Getty Images)

“I look forward to contributing to their mission to positively shape the future by seeking to back the boldest, most transformative optimistic, and ideas of today. Like in other investment firms, the Venture Partner role enables quick integration of new talent from non-investing backgrounds, which is a perfect fit for me. I look forward to bringing my technical and business expertise – from both enterprise and consumer technology, in developed and emerging markets – to the Vision Fund team,” Reddy wrote in a post on LinkedIn announcing the move.

The Vision Fund has been criticized for an all-male cast of 10 deal-makers. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son said in September that he has “no prejudice of any kind,” and first-in-command Rajeev Misra has led an effort to hire women for the team.


Source: TechCrunch

Galaxy S10 could take portrait videos and double the photos using new Snapdragon 855 chip – CNET

Here are six ways Qualcomm’s new processor can benefit Samsung’s phone and others in 2019.
Source: CNET

Obsidian reveals The Outer Worlds, a new sci-fi RPG, at Game Awards 2018 – CNET

The developers of Fallout: New Vegas put the FPS RPG in sci-fi. Yes, please.
Source: CNET

The Epic Games Store is now live

It’s a busy week for Epic Games . Fresh from pushing out a major season 7 update for Fortnite, so the gaming giant has taken the wraps off its own games store.

First announced earlier this week, the Epic Games Store is targeted squarely at Steam — the giant in the digital game commerce space — and it quietly went live today.

Right now there’s a small cluster of games available including Hades, a new title from Supergiant Games that is in ‘early access’ for $19.99, and Epic’s own Fortnite and Unreal Tournament, both of which are free. But Epic is saying that’s there’s a lot more to come. In particular, the store will offer a free game every two weeks, starting out with Subnautica from December 14-17 and Super Meat Boy from December 28 until January 10.

What is most interesting about the store is the revenue split, which is just twelve percent. That has set off a change at Valve, the firm behind Steam, as we reported earlier this week:

While Valve will continue to take an App Store-like 30 percent from sales of game makers with less than 10 million in revenue, that figure drops to 25 percent until they hit 50 million revenue, from which point the slice drops to 20 percent.

All in all, the store is very early-stage but you can imagine that Epic is working to add more flesh to the bones. It makes absolute sense that the company is aiming to capitalize on the phenomenal success of Fortnite — which was estimated to be grossing as much as $2 million per day in the summer — by building a destination for gamers. Indeed, a big clue came from its decision to bypass the Google Play Store and offer its Android app directly from its website — that’s a move that is estimated to cost Google around $50 million in lost earnings in 2018.

“As a developer ourselves, we have always wanted a platform with great economics that connects us directly with our players,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney told TechCrunch in an emailed statement sent earlier this week. “Thanks to the success of Fortnite, we now have this and are ready to share it with other developers.”

The Epic Games Store is part of a wider vision for the coming that prompted a range of investors to pump $1.25 billion into the company in October. That round was participation from the likes of KKR, Kleiner Perkins and Lightspeed Venture Partners and it is said to value the Epic Games business — which also includes Unreal Engine for game development — at more than $15 billion.

Epic is the only gaming firm to go after Valve this year. Discord introduced a game store in August — just months earlier, Valve appeared to go after Discord with the rollout of its own gamer chat system.

So everyone is going after everyone, but Epic’s big advantage continues to be Fortnite.


Source: TechCrunch

Smash Bros. Ultimate's newest DLC fighter is Persona 5's Joker – CNET

Joker joins the fight.
Source: CNET

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reviews are in: Here's what you need to know – CNET

Our review has arrived, and the new Smash Bros. is the best yet.
Source: CNET

Game Awards 2018: Mortal Kombat 11, Smash Bros., and everything else revealed – CNET

It’s supposed to be an awards show, but we know why you’re really here: announcements, trailers and reveals.
Source: CNET

Fortnite gets into Christmas mode with snow, planes and ziplines in season 7

Fortnite, the world’s most popular game, is getting into the festive period after it released its much-anticipated Season 7 update which includes lots of Christmasy touches.

The new season sees an iceberg smash into the island where the battle royale smash hit is located, that means there’s frozen terrain in the form of places like Frosty Flights and Polar Peak as well as falling snow, snow-covered trees and slippery ice.

The most notable update to the playing style is the arrival of X-4 Stormwing planes which you can take for a ride in the skies. Beyond helping you get around quicker, they’re also complete with weapons for shooting down other planes or taking aim at enemies on the ground. The game now also includes ziplines, another useful addition that’ll change how players get around the map.

The festive touches also include wrapping for weapons and vehicles, while there’s a Sergeant Santa skin that’s up for grabs.

Outside the regular battle mode, Epic Games has added a Minecraft-like ‘creative’ mode that gives each player their own island which can be customized. This, to me, is one of the best introductions to date since the new game mode gives players a new way to battle privately with friends.

Creative is initially limited to players who buy the season 7 battle pass, but it’ll be available to all Fortnite gamers after December 13.


Source: TechCrunch

Mortal Kombat 11 explodes heads at Game Awards 2018 – CNET

If you want to see the trailer, get over here.
Source: CNET

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