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Samsung and Tencent surge in race to become Asia’s most valuable firm

VentureBeat reports “Tencent Holdings Ltd and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd are racing to be crowned Asia’s most valuable company as expectations for robust earnings growth push their share prices to record highs.

Their surge – both have gained by a third this year – has made them the world’s best performing large-cap tech stocks and highlights how these nimble Asian firms are thriving while rivals Apple Inc and Alibaba have struggled.”

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Leap Motion’s new VR physics engine is built for your hands

The Verge reports “If you’ve ever used the Leap Motion hand tracker, you’ll know that it’s a magical experience punctuated by moments so frustrating it makes you want to throw things — except that you can’t pick them up, which is why you’re frustrated in the first place. Leap Motion is well aware of this problem, and the company has just announced a beta of what it calls the Interaction Engine, which is meant to fix it.”

All Stories / by Staff Report - is a VR Twitch for your favorite eSports titles

TechCrunch reports “VR’s content problem has been baffling more than a fair share of co-founders in the space looking to create experiences or networks in the space. wants to create the Twitch of VR and to do that, they’re building tech that turns 2D eSports title livestreams into immersive spherical footage viewable on VR headsets and mobile devices. does all of this by relying on what they call a network of “virtual cameras.” The platform takes advantage of the full breadth of views available on these streaming network’s spectator mode and records the entire 360-degree spherical environment.”

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NBC’s Olympics Lesson: Try to Monetize Streaming Better

The Hollywood Reporter reports “Declines from London highs in 2012 tarnished NBC’s Rio ratings gold, but audience dips likely say more about how Olympic Games will be presented in the future than comparisons with the past.

‘The biggest takeaway, and it’s a good one for NBC, is to make everything available to the viewer as they want to consume it,’ says Horizon Media senior vp David Campanelli. ‘That is where TV in general is heading. That’s the way advertisers have to adapt as well.'”

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France and Germany want Europe to crack down on encryption

The Verge reports “France and Germany this week called on the European Union to adopt a law that would require app companies to make encrypted messages available to law enforcement, as part of Europe’s ongoing efforts to thwart terrorist attacks.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and his German counterpart, Thomas de Maizière, said in a joint proposal released Tuesday that encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram “constitute a challenge during investigations” by making it difficult for law enforcement to conduct surveillance on suspected terrorists. The proposal calls on the European Commission to draft a law that would oblige app makers to “remove illicit content” and “decrypt messages” in terrorist investigations.”

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Wands casts a spell as it soars to the top of Samsung Gear VR store

VentureBeat reports “You can’t play as Harry Potter in virtual reality yet. But the next best thing is Wands, a spellcasting VR game where you can duel with another player in a fantasy universe. This first VR title from Stockholm-based Nux Studios debuted August 18, and it shot to the top of the Samsung Gear VR app store.

This kind of game, which is set in 1880s London with a steampunk art style, is a natural for VR, because you’re waving a wand and being active. You play as a magic user, casting spells. I played it on the Samsung Gear VR headset and thoroughly enjoyed it. With the Gear VR, all you do to cast your spells is look at your target and then tap the button on the side of the headset to fire. You have to spin around to see where the enemy is.”

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New Report Focuses on Harnessing the Power of Digital Data

A new report from Luth Research hammers this point home by pulling the curtain back on behind the scenes data in the whitepaper “Unlock Your Imagination for Digital Data.” Luth Research is a leader in delivering insights and exploring new digital tools, platforms, and methodologies to enhance and support the most insightful, accurate market research. Luth’s ZQ Intelligence™ is an innovative tool for collecting and tracking significant data.

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YouTube gets a new TV app

TechCrunch reports “With more people than ever cutting the cord, watching via smart TVs, and turning to streaming media players like Roku and others, YouTube decided it was time to update is TV application to be easier to use on the big screen. A new version of the application rolling out now will feature a different look and improved organization of categories, in order to better fit in with how people watch YouTube in the living room.

On the desktop and mobile, people often end up on YouTube because of a search or someone sharing a link, but in the living room, you tend to browse for content – often not having a specific idea of what you want to watch.”

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HTC Vive drawing more interest than Oculus from devs – VRDC survey

GamesIndustry reports “The survey found that Rift and Vive are neck-and-neck for current development efforts – Vive commands 48.6% compared to Rift’s 43.2% – but when it comes to their next title, 34.6% said they’re choosing Vive compared to 23.4% for Rift. It should be noted, however, that “a large number of respondents skipped answering this question, which may suggest that many VR/AR developers aren’t confident about where their next project will be or even if it will be at all, given that this question did not include the option to respond with ‘Other’ or ‘None’,” the report stated.”

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Comcast’s Watchable Unveils First Original Series, Including Show With Vine Star Logan Paul

Variety reports “Comcast has invested in its first batch of original digital shows exclusively available on Watchable— its free, ad-supported multiplatform video service aimed at reaching millennials, a cohort that notably watches less traditional TV than their elders.

The nine short-form series include “Logan Paul Vs,” a reality series featuring the social-media star from Studio71; Refinery29’s unscripted “Ballin’ on a Budget” starring rapper-comedian Awkwafina (who has been cast in the all-female “Oceans Eight”); street-improv game show “I Want My Phone Back” from CollegeHumor; and travel series “Cholos Try” from Hispanic-focused digital media company Mitu.”

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Slow July sees US game sales dip 14% – NPD

GamesIndustry reports “The NPD Group has issued its newest monthly report that combines physical retail point-of-sale data with digital game sales tracking, revealing that July was a down month overall for the US games business. “Lack of strong new titles for the month resulted with poor comparison with last July’s Batman: Arkham Knight with consumers spending 14 percent less year-on-year on hardware, software and accessories, however the release of Monster Hunter: Generations and the price drop for the 2DS helped to bolster spending for 3DS and 2DS hardware by 44 percent,” said NPD analyst Sam Naji.

The industry saw overall sales tally 480.1 million for the July reporting period, down from last July’s $559.1 million, while software dropped 5% to $210.3 million and hardware fell 30% to $141.3 million. PC software sales also dipped 12% to $11.4 million while accessories dropped 5% to $117.1 million.”

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Viewers engage with ads in VR much more than in mobile or desktop apps

VentureBeat reports “Making money in virtual reality isn’t easy in these early days of the medium. ButImmersv, which has built a VR marketing platform, has some promising early results that show engagement with VR ads is much higher than on mobile or desktop.

Emeryville, Calif.-based Immersv has a platform that tracks whether someone is viewing a particular ad embedded within a virtual reality experience. It found that click-through rates, or more correctly “gaze-through rates,” are nearly 30 percent on Immersv’s platform, compared to industry averages of 1 percent for mobile and 0.4 percent for desktop, according to the Innovid 2016 Global Video Benchmarks.”