Roblox and Fortnite were the most popular games for anyone 14 or under to spend their money on under lockdown, according to a new survey, and neither the build-your-own gaming platform nor the team shooter require a games console or a disc.
Nor does cloud gaming. Research firm Omdia predicted today that cloud gaming revenues will rise 188 per cent over the next year to $4bn and will hit $12bn by 2025.
This is the challenge Sony and Microsoft face in trying to sell their next generation of powerful, disc drive-equipped consoles when they launch the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X this autumn.
Sony revealed on Wednesday that its PS5 will go on sale on November 12 at $499, two days after the Series X is launched at the same price. While both will improve graphics performance for serious gamers, in a way, their cheaper options — the drive-less $299 Series S and $399 PS5 Digital Edition are more representative of what the future holds.
“Seven years ago everybody was saying ‘PS4 is going to be the last one, it’s all going to be tablets and mobile phones’, and [more recently] it’s been ‘everything will be in the cloud’, so nobody knows,” Jim Ryan, chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, told us yesterday.
Analysts seem more certain: “We do think the PS5 will be the last console. Games will likely be played entirely online for PS6,” said Citigroup’s Kota Ezawa.
The Internet of (Five) Things
1. The tick-tock on latest TikTok moves
President Trump has raised concerns about the deal Oracle struck with ByteDance to operate TikTok in the US, saying he would not be happy if it allowed the Chinese technology group to retain a majority stake in the new company. Lex says the executive branch of the US government has haphazardly thrusted itself into a complex situation. Meanwhile, the Chinese short-video player Kuaishou is preparing to raise $5bn in a Hong Kong listing.
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2. Chinese alarm grows over Arm
China’s chip industry has urged Beijing to intervene in Nvidia’s $40bn takeover of Arm, warning that the deal will hand the US control over key technology used in almost all mobile phone chips. Competition lawyers said getting China’s approval for the deal represented a huge challenge. Lex says Arm and Nvidia face losing sizeable sales in China, even if the deal does go through.
3. Batteries and battering Nikola
Tesla co-founder JB Straubel has been funded by Amazon for Redwood Materials, a start-up aiming to extract lithium, cobalt and nickel from old smartphones and other electronics for reuse in new batteries. We also have an analysis of hydrogen truckmaker Nikola’s business, where one engineer at the company told us it was “doing nothing meaningful in the world of batteries”.
4. Airbnb under fire ahead of IPO
Dozens of affordable housing groups and community organisations that have long accused Airbnb of exacerbating housing shortages are taking their grievances to US financial regulators just as the short-term rental giant prepares to go public, reports The Information.
5. JFK and 60s supercomputers
In 1960, media reports of dark forces behind John F Kennedy’s winning presidential campaign caused what Jill Lepore calls a “national hullabaloo”. America’s new leader, it was widely reported, had clinched the victory with the help of a “secret weapon”: a supercomputer that crunched troves of data to profile voters, allowing Kennedy to hone his political messaging before the polls opened. Hannah Murphy reviews Lepore’s new book, If Then.
Forwarded from Sifted — the European start-up week
A UK-based quantum software start-up this week announced the rollout of a certifiably quantum, cloud-based random number generation service. The news by Cambridge Quantum Computing may seem esoteric but it’s important for the quantum community because random number generation appears to be one of the first uses of the technology that big companies might actually be willing to pay for. A wide range of companies including casinos, insurance companies, banks and cyber security companies selling “uncrackable” codes all have a need for random numbers.
Elsewhere in European start-ups this week, there was a rash of deals as investors and companies alike unleashed some of their dry powder that has been building up over the summer. One of the biggest deals came from Spanish on-demand delivery start-up Glovo, which sold its Latin American operations to competitor Delivery Hero for around €230m. Meanwhile, Infarm, a vertical farming start-up, raised $170m in its latest big funding round and Berlin-based start-up Sennder acquired Uber’s European freight business. There was also big news in the land of fintech, as Swedish buy-now-pay-later company Klarna raised a fresh funding round of $650m at a post-money valuation of $10.65bn, making it by far the most valuable fintech in Europe.
Tech tools — Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2
Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s next big steps in VR on Wednesday, led by new hardware in the shape of the Quest 2 headset — improving comfort and the screen, and reducing the weight and price, compared to the previous generation. The starting price falls from $399 to $299 (£299), with availability from October 13. The high-res display has 50 per cent more pixels than the first generation, meaning sharper representations of virtual worlds. The Verge has a review.
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