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Can foreign tech companies win in China?

TechCrunch reports “People have often referred to Google, Facebook and Twitter as cases where foreign tech companies are blocked in China. In reality, while Facebook and Twitter were indeed blocked, Google chose to withdraw because they didn’t want to comply with Chinese censorship regulations.

It’s important to note that most foreign tech companies were not blocked, and companies like eBay, Amazon, Viadeo and, of course, Apple and Samsung all entered and competed in China.”

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CtrlMovie – A film format for interactive storytelling

GamesIndustry reports “Whilst games have adopted many of the things which made cinema great, there hasn’t been much reciprocation.

CtrlMovie is attempting to redress that balance. A new platform for creating live-action film with deviating plotlines, CtrlMovie offers the audience the chance to make significant plot-changing decisions in real time, under the same pressure as the characters, with indecision having its own consequences. The company’s first proof-of-concept title, Late Shift, is available now on iOS and Android but has also been touring the film festivals of the world and appearing in selected cinemas, giving audiences the chance to exercise democratic power over the big screen. Associate producer Demetri Jagger says it’s a delicate proposition.”

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Ubisoft Retreats from Free-to-Play Business Model

Motherboard reports “It wasn’t that long ago that pundits championed the “free-to-play” business model as the future of gaming, and publishers who stuck to old methods of revenue generation like full sales or subscriptions were often dismissed as outdated. Why not let players start playing games for free, optimists asserted, and let funding comes from items bought in-game like boosts or cosmetics? And that optimism wasn’t unwarranted. Free-to-play games like Candy Crush Saga, Hearthstone, and World of Tanks built fabulous fortunes with it and continue to do so.

But these days it’s difficult to confidently label free-to-play the best choice. One of the biggest signs of change appeared just yesterday, when massive game publisher Ubisoft announced it’d be closing four of its free-to-play games by the end of the year.”

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European Commission Seeks Solutions for YouTube Value Gap

Billboard reports “Plans for user-generated platforms like YouTube and DailyMotion to require licenses or sign-up to revenue sharing deals with rights holders are reportedly being considered by the European Commission (EC).

Reuters says it’s seen a draft paper by the EC that proposes the idea of forcing platforms hosting user-generated content to sign agreements with rights holders “reflecting the economic value of the use made of the protected content.”

The agreements could take the form of a copyright license or a monetization agreement such as sharing of revenue, the news agency reports. The proposed draft reforms are part of the EC’s ongoing Digital Single Market strategy, which is expected to include regulatory reform to copyright legislation in the EU.”

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Genvid Technologies raises $1.5 million for more compelling esports broadcasts

VentureBeat reports “Genvid Technologies has raised $1.5 million to enable a new kind of esports livestream broadcast.

Investors in New York-based Genvid include Los Angeles-based March Capital Partners, with Chicago’s OCA Ventures participating. Founded by former tech and business leaders of Square Enix’s now-defunct Shinra Technologies division, Genvid is building tools that developers can use to create more compelling and interactive esports broadcasts.”

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What Pokémon Go has done for augmented reality

VentureBeat reports “For more than five years, Vuforia has been selling augmented reality. More than 30,000 apps have used the Vuforia platform for AR, which is owned by enterprise technology company PTC. Another 37,000 apps are in development, and there are more than 250,000 registered developers making AR apps, which use glasses or smartphones to overlay computer animations on the real world.

And while those apps have been installed more than 288 million times for things like Lego’s interactive toys or Skylanders Battlecast cards, people viewed AR as a curiosity or a niche, said Jay Wright, president and general manager of Vuforia, said in an interview with GamesBeat.”

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Mobile has become an indie-hostile market

GamesIndustry reports “From the advent of what we might consider modern game consoles in the 1980s through to the point when standard budgets for individual games topped $10 million took around 25 years. Budgets spiked significantly when the PlayStation shifted the industry from 2D to 3D, but that merely drove them from six to seven figures; it wasn’t until the last generation, with Xbox 360 and PS3, that $10 million became the baseline for developing a AAA game.

From the advent of modern smartphones, in mid-2007, less than a decade has passed; so when Kabam CEO Kevin Chou talks about budgets of over $10 million for mobile games, and easily twice that when launch marketing costs are taken into account, it’s a sign of how quickly the world has accelerated.”

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Facebook Gives Away Machine Vision Tools of the Future

Wired reports “THANKS TO A form of AI called deep learning, computers are now really good at telling the difference between a dog and a cat. But Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab wants to make machine vision far more useful, going well beyond digital parlor tricks.

FAIR research scientist Piotr Dollar says the first step lies in helping machines not just recognize that a particular thing appears in a photo—say, a cat or a chair or a gun—but spot each individual detail in a photo and understand where it sites in relation to everything else. His team has built a set of tools that does just that.”

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 review: insane gaming and VR power in one graphics card

VentureBeat reports “Nvidia is well into the release of its Pascal chips, and the company is clearly not shying away from delivering high-end power for gamers who want every graphical trick set to max.

At the top of its 10-series lineup is the GeForce GTX 1080. This is the luxury video card for most sane people — although you can get the $1,200 Titan X if you want to make no sacrifices. And, as you might expect, the GTX 1080 delivers beastly performance at $600 (or $700 for Nvidia’s own Founder’s Edition version). It is absolutely the card to consider if you’re looking to build a powerful rig or wanting to upgrade to something that can easily handle all of today’s games as well as VR.”

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Guess and Republic Records Partner on ‘Artist Discovery’ Platform Guess Music

Billboard reports “Guess is walking the catwalk with Republic Records for the launch of a new joint-project, Guess Music.

The first project through the collaboration will kick off this Sunday (Aug. 24) when Guess.com hosts a 24-hour exclusive premiere of Republic artist Ariana Grande’s latest single “Side to Side” featuring Nicki Minaj, which the pair will perform at the VMAs.

The integration between the fashion brand and music company runs deeper still. Grande wears and introduces Guess’ new athletic line in the clip, while Guess will return the favor by promoting a special “get Ariana’s look” feature on its merch page.”

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What The Heck Is Bitcoin? The Law Struggles For An Answer

Forbes reports “A recent court decision has thrown up even more confusion about the legal status of digital currency. A state judge in Florida dismissed criminal charges against a man accused of selling $2,000 in Bitcoin. An undercover police officer had posed as a buyer, and after making two small transactions, revealed that he (the undercover agent) intended to use the Bitcoin to purchase stolen credit card numbers. The officer then said he wanted to buy $30,000 of Bitcoin. The two met to discuss the transaction, but before it was consummated, police arrested the man. He was charged with running an unlawful money services business, and two counts of money laundering.”

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On-demand music streaming has won

Recode reports “This past week has seen headlines about three different companies each seeking new rights agreements with major music labels. Spotify is reportedly trying to lock in longer-term deals with the major labels ahead of its IPO. Amazon is apparently trying to secure rights to offer a cheaper subscription service that will only work on its Echo device. And Pandora is trying to sign U.S. and international rights in order to launch an on-demand streaming service.

Each of these stories tells us something about the state of the music streaming market and, taken together, they highlight some interesting trends.”