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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Fortnite-maker aims for Steam’s head with Epic Games Store

Fortnite-maker Epic Games is capping off their insanely successful 2018 with an even more ambitious product launch: a desktop games store built to take on Valve’s Steam Store.

The store, which is “launching soon” on PC and Mac, is going to be an attractive proposition to game developers with a revenue split that leaves them taking 88 percent of revenues on the store.

“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 said in an emailed statement. “Thanks to the success of Fortnite, we now have this and are ready to share it with other developers.”

Valve’s Steam Store is by far the most dominant presence in online PC game sales; they’ve enjoyed years of prosperity with rather light rivalry from competing stores that haven’t been able to match the scale of Steam. Valve, in a very conveniently timed announcement yesterday, announced that it was rehashing its revenue split with developers in a bid that they hope will keep higher-earning developers on the platform. 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.

It’s a more complicated revenue split that obviously benefits successful game makers more so than indies. For Valve, holding onto big-game publishers is mission critical. Epic Games already has the benefit of a close working relationship with many major PC game developers that are using the company’s Unreal Engine to build their titles.

Epic Games earns money with their Unreal Engine by taking a slice of revenues from game makers. Generally that share is 5 percent after the title is released, though Epic also does deals with developers for higher upfront costs with a lower royalty rate. Publishers like EA, Sony Interactive, Microsoft Studios, Activision and Nintendo have titles out that are built on the Unreal Engine.

A big sell for developers using Epic’s game engine is that the company says it will forego that Unreal revenue cut for any sales of the titles in the Epic Games Store. Depending on the early success of the game store, this could be a big threat to other game engines like Unity.

A 12 percent overall revenue slice for Epic Games is incredibly competitive and could have left a lot of big developers grumbling about the 30 percent cut they were missing out on because of Steam’s take.

Epic Games has notably eschewed storefront revenue splits on Fortnite wherever they can. The app isn’t on Steam for starters, but even on Android, users are forced to download it directly from the Epic Games site as well. This kind of highlights the sway that big studios hold in the market. This year that studio happens to be Epic Games, but in the future that will be some other studio and Valve likely doesn’t want the next blockbuster side-stepping their storefront.

Valve still has a lot going for them. Their store is a massive presence, and die-hard users already have a library of titles built up with little incentive to switch unless their favorite game makers are the ones to decide to shift their allegiances.


Source: TechCrunch

Bose is dabbling in ‘audio AR’ with a pair of sunglasses

Back in March we first caught wind that Bose is dabbling in augmented reality, with the launch of a new wearable SDK. Seems the headphone maker is ready to bring that technology to market, launching its first headset next month.

Don’t let the AR name fool you. Frames are actually “audio augmented reality,” as one would expect from Bose. That means, in spite of offering the sunglasses form factor, there’s no heads-up display on board here. The aim instead is to offer a more immersive audio experience.

The hardware detects where you are and which direction you’re facing via a nine-axis head motion sensor and the GPS on a tethered Android or iOS devices. The audio pumped through the on-board headphones changes accordingly.

The glasses feature small speaker grilles, rather than earbuds or bone conduction, meaning you’ll still pick up ambient sound. That’s both a positive and a negative. You won’t be getting the same full audio you’d get on a pair of devoted headphones, but you’re also likely to be more aware of your surroundings.

No actual content has been announced here — that’s going to start arriving at some point next year — though the company mentions applications like gaming, learning and travel (think audio-based tour guides for starters) as possibilities. Assuming, of course, you’re in a spot where wearing a pair of sunglasses makes sense.

The headset will run $199. Not cheap for an unproven technology, but given the price of many Bose products, you’re actually getting off pretty easy here. The on-board battery should last around 3.5 hours on a charge, with 12 hours of standby time.

The Frames will be available in two styles when they hit U.S. stores in January. They’ll arrive in other markets in the spring.


Source: TechCrunch

Foreign Trolls Are Targeting Veterans on Facebook

Opinion: The VA needs to take preventative measures to protect vets—and more broadly, our democracy—from digital manipulation and fraud.
Source: Wired

13 Best Geeky Gifts for Mom and Dad: Roku, Echo, Fitbit, and More

From a smart microwave to a new board game, check out our favorite gifts for your favorite parents—whether they’re tech-savvy or not.
Source: Wired

Study Revives Debate About Google's Role in Filter Bubbles

Rival browser maker DuckDuckGo found users got different results for the same search, even when they were logged out or using incognito mode.
Source: Wired

Facebook’s collections are becoming shareable, just in time for the holidays

This holiday season, Facebook is hoping you’ll use a relatively little-known feature to share your gift ideas.

With collections, users can already save Facebook content — whether it’s a post, an ad, a video in Facebook Watch or a listing on the Marketplace. Now the company says that you’ll be able to share these collections with your Facebook friends.

The idea is to turn collections into more of a collaborative tool. To do so, you’ll need to open up a collection and then click the “invite” button. Then you can invite other users to become contributors to that collection.

A Facebook blog post explains how this collaboration might work:

If you and a group of friends are planning a holiday party, one of them can create a collection called “holiday recipes” and share with each person helping to plan. Those invited can add holiday recipes they’ve discovered on Facebook and save in the shared collection. The possibilities extend beyond the holiday season and can be useful for coordinating with friends on things like summer vacation planning, wedding registry ideas, furnishing a new apartment and more.

If you had no idea that this feature existed before now, I’m right there with you. Apparently Facebook has been testing “save” capabilities since 2014, which (quietly) evolved into the collections feature last year.

The company says “millions” of people are already using collections. Now that they’re becoming more of a social tool, it seems that Facebook is ready to do more to promote them.


Source: TechCrunch

China Is Both the Best and Worst Hope for Clean Energy

China is the world’s biggest polluter but a leader in renewable energy, making it the country to watch at this week’s climate summit in Poland.
Source: Wired

Nonprofits on Facebook Get Hacked—Then They Really Need Help

Facebook is an enormous platform for charitable giving, but some nonprofit leaders say there aren’t enough resources when something goes wrong.
Source: Wired

An Eye-Scanning Lie Detector Is Forging a Dystopian Future

EyeDetect is pitched as more efficient and accurate than a polygraph, but a WIRED investigation found that a reliable lie detector is still a fantasy.
Source: Wired

The battle for midrange phone is going to get crazier – CNET

Forget flagships, the fight for sub-$400 dominance is heating up.
Source: CNET

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