BBC reveals plans to launch a new video-subscription service in the U.S. in 2016

BBC iPlayer


With the BBC facing increasing criticism over its publicly funded model in its native U.K., the broadcasting giant today revealed plans to boost the coffers of its commercial “BBC Worldwide” arm by launching a new video-streaming service in the U.S.

Speaking at the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention in England today, BBC director-general Tony Hall said that a new over-the-top (OTT) subscription service would arrive for American viewers in 2016. While details are still scant, Hall said it will offer “programmes they wouldn’t otherwise get — showcasing British actors, our programme-makers — and celebrating our culture.”

BBC abroad

The BBC offers licence-fee payers in the U.K. an online linear and catch-up TV service called iPlayer, which is hugely popular across the country. The broadcaster has introduced international versions of the service in the past with varying degrees of success, but has yet to formally launch a streaming service in the U.S.

However, last year U.S. network AMC revealed it was taking a 49.9 percent stake in BBC America in a 0 million deal. BBC America is available in 80 million American homes through satellite and cable. It’s not clear yet whether the new OTT service will come with the iPlayer brand, but the BBC does say it won’t affect current programming at all — it will be used exclusively for BBC content that doesn’t already have a distribution channel in the U.S.

Elsewhere, the BBC recently launched a new U.K. premium drama channel called “BBC First” in Australia, and it has signed a deal to launch a BBC Earth channel in India. By looking to international markets, the BBC said it hopes to increase commercial returns from BBC Worldwide to .9 billion over the next five years, equating to a rise of 15 percent over the previous five years.

While the commercial-free BBC remains a widely respected media brand both domestically and abroad, it has faced mounting pressure in the U.K. in an age where consumers have a myriad of alternative entertainment options, from Netflix and YouTube to cable and satellite. Indeed, anyone in the U.K. who watches linear “live” television is required to pay an annual 5 fee — irrespective of whether they ever watch the BBC.

“In today’s financial climate, everyone is being asked to deliver more for less, so we need to have a commercial strategy where BBC Worldwide delivers as much as possible back into public service programmes,” said Hall.

And that is the crux of the problem the BBC is looking to fix. By boosting its commercial income from international viewers, it hopes to help supplement the domestic licence fee and ensure the current cost of it doesn’t rise even further.

Experian says it lost the personal data of 15 million T-Mobile customers to hackers

Experian logo


One of the “big three” credit bureaus, Experian, says data on 15 million T-Mobile customers, and would-be customers, were lifted from its servers.

Experian said in a blog post that the data was stolen when hackers attacked a server which contained personal information from consumers who applied for T-Mobile USA postpaid services between Sept. 1, 2013 and Sept. 16, 2015.

The records contained name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, identification number (typically a driver’s license, military ID, or passport number) and additional information used in T- Mobile’s own credit assessment.

No payment card or banking information was obtained, the credit bureau said. But fraudsters and identity thieves can often piece together a full consumer profile using the type of data stolen from Experian.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere is more than a little concerned. “Obviously I am incredibly angry about this data breach and we will institute a thorough review of our relationship with Experian, but right now my top concern and first focus is assisting any and all consumers affected,” he wrote in a letter to customers Thursday.

The company is now notifying the individuals whose data may have been stolen. It’s also offering free credit monitoring and identity resolution services to victims for two years.

“Although there is no evidence that the data has been used inappropriately, Experian strongly encourages affected consumers to enroll in the complimentary identity resolution services,” the company said in the blog post.

Google Play Services 8.1 SDK ships with new app invites, permissions, Player Stats API

Google Play Games' built-in developer analytics tools grew more robust today.


Google has rolled out a series of updates for Google Play and Android 6.0 Marshmallow today aimed at giving better support for developers. The company announced that Marshmallow now has a new permissions model aimed at improving the way app installs and updates are handled. Additionally, Google Play services 8.1 offers support runtime permissions, a new Play Games Player Stats API, and more.

Within Google’s newest mobile operating system version, a new app permissions model promises to let developers offer more control to the users. Not only can the app declare the permissions it’s going to need, but permissions will be divided into groups based on their functionality, making the organization easier. Marshmallow also includes limits on how permissioning is handled at install time — users won’t be prompted to grant permission to some apps because of the nature of these services, such as alarm clock or Internet apps.

Developers interested in tapping into the updated permission model can view more information here. Google cautions that during the preview period, not all of its core apps will have fully implemented this new model.

Besides Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google Play services has received some updates. The completed rollout of version 8.1 now allows developers to customize the email invitation with a custom image and a call-to-action button. The idea is that by giving more control to developers, more engagement and conversions will happen.

Game developers will be interested in the new Play Games Player Stats API, which will let developers better tailor the user experience to specific segments of players. In an example, Google said that the most valuable players could be rewarded with a special welcome back message when returning to the game.

For those developers using Google Nearby, the company has added a feature that gives apps the ability to receive a callback when an active Nearby publish or subscribe expires. Google Nearby lets apps communicate with nearby devices, and traditionally it would hog up resources. But this update claims to improve accuracy and make it easy to enable apps across devices to talk to one another.

This is the first update to Google Play services since last month, when new APIs were made available that let developers utilize face detection, barcode recognition, and facilitated Nearby Messages.

User acquisition costs go up, up, and away in August

Marketing costs rose in the ugly month of August.


User acquisition costs are on the rise again — as we recently predicted — this time cracking a significant milestone in the month of August. That’s going to spell bad news for small app makers who are trying so hard to get noticed among a sea of bigger competitors.

Mobile marketing firm Fiksu reported that the cost per loyal user index (which measures the cost to acquire users who open an app three or more times) rose to .04 in August, surpassing for the first time for August. The figure is up 36 percent since last month and up 117 percent from a year ago.

Significant year-over-year growth occurred in both the App Store Competitive Index and the Cost Per Install Index (CPI), Fiksu said. August’s results reflect heightened activity across the mobile advertising ecosystem, indicating that deep pocketed advertisers are putting ever-larger shares of their budgets into mobile, trading higher costs for greater audience precision. The takeaway for advertisers is that spending smart is a necessity to get in front of the right mobile audiences, Fiksu said.

The number of apps downloaded for the top 200 rose in August.

Above: The number of apps downloaded for the top 200 rose in August.

Image Credit: Fiksu

On the volume side, mobile app downloads also rose. As measured by the Fiksu App Store Competitive Index, which tracks the average aggregate daily downloads of the top 200 free iOS apps, app downloads increased by 8 percent since last month to 8.1 million.

This is a 53 percent increase since last year at this time.

“Consumer demand for mobile apps is insatiable,” said analyst Jeremy Kressmann in eMarketer’s App Marketing 2015 report, in a statement. “Smartphone and tablet users will spend more than three hours per day in-app combined in 2015 — more than three times the average time spent per day on the mobile web.”

The Cost Per Install Index (CPI) dropped slightly on iOS to .32, but showed a rise of 26 percent year-over-year. On Android, CPI fell to .91, decreasing 30 percent since last month, but increasing 103 percent from last year. The increase in Cost per Loyal user contrasted with the decreases in CPI shows that competition is ramping up for fall campaigns, but advertisers are struggling to get attention.

Fiksu said that may be because users remain in summer mode or perhaps because they’re simply using more apps, so loyalty to any one app is more difficult to establish. One challenge that we highlighted in our VB report on mobile user acquisition is that brand dollars are currently flooding mobile marketing in the run-up to the Christmas shopping season, reducing the availability of premium inventory.

“August demonstrates the reality of ever-increasing competition in the app marketing environment,” said Micah Adler, CEO of Fiksu, in a statement. “Increasing costs across the landscape are nothing new, but particularly with activity surrounding new iPhones, iPads, and iOS 9 launches, marketers better be prepared for those costs to continue at or near these record high levels. If not, marketers could become acutely aware of the challenges of not reaching the right audiences.”

Looking ahead to next month, marketers are concerned about the new ad blocking introduced in iOS 9. For the most part, this won’t have much impact on mobile marketers, given ad blocking is applicable solely to mobile web traffic, which only accounts for 10 percent of the time spent on mobile, and has no effect on in-app ads. However, ad blockers have been shooting to the top of the App Store charts, which shows the popularity of the concept with users, and their willingness to take extra steps to install them.

The CPI for mobile user acquisition in August 2015 was steep.

Above: The CPI for mobile user acquisition in August 2015 was steep.

Image Credit: Fiksu

Dropsy is lovable despite some ugliness

Dropsy's short and long-term goals are both hug-based.


Dropsy is, on paper, what your grandmother has wanted more games to be more like.

As the clown in Tendershoot and A Jolly Corpse’s adventure game, you cannot fight, shoot, or even antagonize anyone. Your only action – aside from using or giving people items – is to hug with all of your goofy might. The official subtitle for Dropsy (out September 10 for PC, Mac, Linux, and both iOS and Android) is “A Point and Click Hugventure,” after all. Unfortunately for grandam, the world around Dropsy is a depressed swamp of apathy, cynicism, and the occasional surreal nightmare. I took the PC version for a spin to determine whether or not Dropsy would earn a hug from this jaded reviewer.

What you’ll like

Bringing out the best of a defeated town

Dropsy's town is comprised entirely of miserable people in need of the titular clown's skills.

Above: Dropsy’s town is comprised entirely of miserable people in need of the clown’s skills.

Image Credit: Devolver Digital

This bloated, hideous-looking entertainer of children lets nothing stop him from spreading cheer. We first meet Dropsy and his family in the middle of a joyous performance at the circus, just seconds before a fire destroys the big top. The story picks up a few years later, Dropsy and his father living in abject poverty in the ruins of the circus tent on the outskirts of a desperately unhappy town.

But Dropsy doesn’t let that define him, or it could be that he’s just too dense to realize how sad he should be. And through his single-mindedness (and with occasional help from some animal friends), we hug our way through a litany of depression and misery. Following the main plot is smartly made ancillary to improving the lives of those around you. The strongest moments in Dropsy are when you take just a few moments – and maybe a previously innocuous item — to visibly improve someone’s outlook on life.

Not everything you do is epiphanic, Dropsy understands that affection is often bought, just as much as the next socially-minded game. Where the game excels is showing the grand results of small actions. A fire-and-brimstone preacher women sits alone in a playground at night, smoking a cigarette and wallowing in self-pity over her lack of worshipers. But after you find out the combination to the window lock of her church, she remembers the good works of her deceased father when she sees a homeless woman cold and hungry in the back alley. The preacher converts the church into a shelter, gives the alley a table and coffee service, and finally warms up to a hug (granted, from a distance) from Dropsy.

Dr. Seuss would be proud.

A smooth blend of the cute and the disturbing

Even when not soaked in blood, Dropsy's dreams hint at some serious, unresolved trauma.

Above: Even when not soaked in blood, Dropsy’s dreams hint at some serious, unresolved trauma.

Dropsy’s dreams are off-putting even when animated in blissful pastels and filled with singing toys. The clown was certainly traumatized by the fire, but he never shows it outside of his head. He is just as chipper to visit the grave of the mother he lost in the blaze as he is to meet his sixteenth new friend of that day. Despite his off-putting appearance, the clown has nothing but good intentions.

Dropsy goes for a sort of anti-expressionistic approach, a bummed-out town realized in saturated, light colors and exaggerated proportions. A cartoonishly-drawn shopkeeper mourns his dead wife in a cemetery, two twenty-somethings stew in their idle animations on a stoop. This isn’t the world seen from Dropsy’s point of view, we get that in the pictures he puts on his bedroom wall throughout the adventure, this feels like a world that just hasn’t yet recognized how happy and bright everything is. In a gaming era defined by (often botched) attempts at “gritty” and “edgy” stories, Dropsy is a forcefully optimistic game. Death and misery surround the characters here just as much as (if not more than) most games. But rather than wallow in it, here the developers focused all attention – and gameplay – on overcoming it all. Dropsy certainly doesn’t have the most nuance, but it has no shortage of aspiration.

The ever-present opportunity for more hugs

Dropsy does not limit his hugs to living creatures.

Above: Dropsy does not limit his hugs to living creatures.

Image Credit: Devolver Digital

Filler is not a bad word in Dropsy’s vocabulary. Discovering the ultimately lame story behind the circus fire can be a straight shot, uncovered in two to three hours, depending on the player’s skill with puzzles. But to run through Dropsy’s world with blinders is to essentially join the ranks of its numb townsfolk. Characters populate nearly every screen in the game, loudly complaining in the game’s picture-and-speech-bubble dialogue, of the one major problem in their life keeping them grumpy and anti-social, or at least anti-Dropsy.

Solving these mini-objectives (described during GamesBeat’s preview of the game as “hug missions”) requires just one or two interactions and a single item. Their simplicity, combined with the direct nature of the townspeople’s dilemmas, means it’s never a challenge to figure out what they need. At most times during my playthrough, I had half a dozen solutions in my head as I uncovered the item I needed to make an NPC I met two hours ago happy. It makes scouring each screen for items an amusement I willingly underwent, rather than the chore I have put up with in many other adventure games. More methods of getting each hug beyond “find item” or “activate nearby object” would have gone a long way, but the hunt never felt too dull.

Dropsy’s lack of dialogue and limited menus really help gel this notion of constant helpfulness. I looked forward to aiding these one-note caricatures out more than the most realistic, AAA-game side characters because doing so came about more holistically. Their needs were broadcast over their heads in a loop in the background of each scene, their distinct looks making it easy to distinguish them in my head. Diving into my inventory and retrieving their item was my reward for simply paying attention.

Not the most sophisticated pleasure, but Dropsy is a simple guy.

What you won’t like

Decrypting the game’s hieroglyphics

The 1% of the time when Dropsy's picture-book style doesn't work is agonizing.

Above: The 1% of the time when Dropsy’s picture-book style doesn’t work is agonizing.

Image Credit: Devolver Digital

The problem with relegating all of your story to pictorial word balloons is that you need to be very specific. When you only have images to guide player behavior, it compounds the slightest confusion, sending you marching in the wrong direction for an hour. The vast majority of the time, Dropsy conveys instructions and puzzle requirements well in its universal, picture-book style. But when comprehension becomes muddy, as it did for me just a few times, it lead to some serious frustration.

Worse still, this game that has rather bluntly laid out the feelings of every microbe you’ve passed by up until a point will suddenly leave out the one clue you need to an essential puzzle. I found myself stuck only a few times during Dropsy, but each brought with it about a half-hour of mindlessly item-hunting and revisiting every screen of the game multiple times, exactly the kind of genre-inherited tedium the developers had vocally intended to avoid. That it usually excels (even if through childishly obvious means) at guiding player action makes its few lapses agonizing.

The not-so-dynamic soundtrack

The game's soundtrack feels jammed in at the last minute.

Above: The game’s soundtrack feels jammed-in at the last minute.

Image Credit: Devolver Digital

Rarely have I played a game more proud of its soundtrack than Dropsy. Not only is each of the game’s handful of songs on a constant loop in their respective screen or screens, but players can acquire most of it in-game as cassette tapes for your inventory. It would be a neat feature, if I didn’t already feel like the score had been constantly inflicted on me every moment before then.

The soundtrack itself isn’t bad, largely simple tunes that emphasize the game’s tonal mishmash rather well. But the reportedly dynamic soundtrack feels like a middle school crush awkwardly fumbling over his mixtape for the first time. Songs don’t blend into each other, one leaps into your headphones after an earlier tune stops abruptly, jarring any possibility of fluid transition. It doesn’t even a proper loop to individual tracks; a few seconds of silence just hang fat in the air between a song’s end and it starting back up. A simple flipping sound effect of a cassette tape would have covered this gap perfectly. As it is, the soundtrack constantly blurts out in the worst possible way.

Conclusion

Dropsy is a game that warmed my hardened, cynical heart. Like the titular clown himself, the game smashes an amiable joviality together with an unabashed dementia. Making people happy is such a rare goal in games, and to have one excel at the notion and the motivation for doing so is a doubly rare joy, although glaring missteps do keep it out of the center ring of adventure games.

Verdict: 80/100

Dropsy launches September 10 for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. The publisher provided GamesBeat with a PC download code for the purpose of this review.

Box debuts photo-sharing app Capture and adds more support for interactive files

Box chief executive Aaron Levie on stage at BoxWorks conference on September 29, 2015.


SAN FRANCISCO — Box revealed that it intends to change the way we’re viewing how we’re working with files in the cloud. At BoxWorks 2015 today, the company announced new native cloud applications for users to interact with their content — including support for HD videos, medical images, and 3D graphics — and introduced a new media-sharing app to improve workflows.

As has become standard at the annual event, company chief executive and cofounder Aaron Levie presented statistics about Box’s performance. Today, Box has 40 million users, with 50,000 companies spanning 72 countries and 52 percent of the Fortune 500 using the service, including Whirlpool, GE, LinkedIn, and Uber.

To put that into perspective, at last year’s event, Box touted over 27 million users worldwide. What’s more, 47,000 developers were hacking away on Box’s platform API, and more than 1,200 apps had been produced for its OneCloud offering.

Aaron Levie pokes fun at Satya Nadella

Calling itself “the next generation enterprise content management and collaboration platform,” Box is rolling out new tools to help users better reimagine how they’re interacting with files in the cloud. The first centers on HD video support, which movie studios and record labels have used to easily share files to people.

The company said that 1 in 7 users on Box accesses video, which gives the service a huge opportunity to offer more incentive to use its platform. The goal of this native offering is to make sure that all major video formats are supported, up to 4K. Additionally, videos are playable immediately in 1080p, while also having a variable bitrate. The video tool is in alpha today and will be in beta later this year.

Box's Vice President of Platform Chris Yeh speaking on stage at BoxWorks conference on September 29, 2015.

Above: Box’s Vice President of Platform Chris Yeh speaking on stage at BoxWorks conference on September 29, 2015.

Image Credit: Ken Yeung/VentureBeat

Box is also adding support for medical images. Since Box is HIPAA-compliant and has served major hospital and medical facilities around the world, why not add a new feature to leverage this? It now offers a zero-footprint, HTML-based, diagnostic-quality DICOM viewer, a universal viewer that supports all modalities such as DX, CT, MR, and US. You’ll be able to scroll through a stack, adjust the contrast window, annotate, and capture key images. In a demo, the company showcased images being securely transmitted to a doctor, leveraging a 3D cursor to better analyze an image while also getting a better idea of the diagnosis. The DICOM viewer is in beta right now.

There are tens of thousands of 3D files on its servers, from companies like P&G, Tesla, and New Balance. Box has built in an interactive 3D viewer that supports all of the major transfer formats so that no matter what file your designer is using, it can be imported into Box. Additionally, it runs on HTML5 so no software or plugins are required. Lastly, the company said it has intuitive user controls. It’s in beta right now for select customers.

Mobile offers more opportunities to innovate than any other platform. According to Box, 47 percent of the U.S. workforce doesn’t sit at a desk. That’s why Box has introduced a new app called Box Capture, which quickly and securely captures images from the field to share with the team.

Box Capture

This photo-sharing app lets users capture photos, videos, and contextual data. Developers can tap into it using Box’s mobile SDK to integrate Capture right into their workflows. Within Box, Capture will display who took the photo and other metadata. It’s available on iOS starting today.

This is the first customer-focused conference Box has held since it went public in January 2015. The company’s stock price has dropped more than 48 percent (as of close on September 28) from its IPO price of .20.

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Mighty No. 9 gets February release date

Beck from developer Comcept's Mighty No. 9.


All robot masters better watch their metal butts this winter.

Mighty No. 9 is due out February 9 in the Americas, according to developer Comcept and publisher Deep Silver. You can will hit retailers as a physical version for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U — additionally it’ll go up as a digital download for all of those systems and the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Linux, and Mac.

Mighty No. 9 is the spiritual successor to Mega Man from one of the game’s original artists, Keiji Inafune. After Inafune left Capcom, he took the idea for a Mega Man-style platformer to the crowdfunding site Kickstarter and was able to raise .85 million with that campaign. During development Comcept revealed it was also partnering with Deep Silver to help publish the game.

While the game is due out February 9 in the Americas, it will not go live in other territories until February 12. Comcept and Deep Silver also plan to release Mighty No. 9 on PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS handheld systems, but those version won’t go on sale until later this year.

Datadog’s French founders announce their NY-based company will open Paris R&D office

Datadog


Armed with an idea for a startup, French natives Olivier Pomel and Alexis Lê-Quôc landed in New York City, where they launched Datadog in 2011.

Four years and .4 million in venture capital later, the data-analytics company is now trying to find new talent as fast as it can to accommodate its ambitious growth plans. And so the company’s founders are looking homeward in their bid to expand, and announcing the opening of a new R&D center in Paris.

“Paris is home to a number of prestigious universities and engineering schools, which generate top-notch math, sciences and software engineering talent. I am myself a product of this educational system,” Pomel, now chief executive officer of Datadog, said in a press release. ”The goal of our Paris R&D Lab is to attract highly skilled researchers and engineers who want to be part of a high-growth global startup with deep technical challenges and an entrepreneurial culture.”

The move comes on the heels this week of an announcement by San Francisco-based Scality that it is moving its Paris R&D center to new offices to accommodate a massive expansion planned there. Scality is also helmed by a French native, Jérôme Lecat.

This kind of foreign investment is just what French Tech boosters have been seeking as they’ve tried to promote the region’s startup community. But the Datadog and Scality announcements will likely have special resonance with the French cofounders feeling confident enough to invest in their home country after seeking startup glory elsewhere.

“Paris is a major presence on the engineering talent map, with one of the most ambitious and competitive technology industry projects to come out of Europe,” Lê-Quôc said in the press release. “There was never any question that Datadog would ultimately have a presence here.”

In an interview by phone, Amit Agarwal, Datadog’s chief product officer, said the company had been bringing French interns to NYC almost since its founding. The quality was impressive, Agarwal said, and so the company began looking toward Paris as a place where it could attract new talent without necessarily facing the same intensity of competition it faces in NYC and Silicon Valley.

“These interns were super successful for us,” he said. “And we found we could hire a lot more people in Paris without facing the crazy competition for people from Stanford.”

The initial goal is to higher 50 people as quickly as possible, Agarwal said. The company raised its latest round of million back in January, and with a pair of French founders with extensive U.S. connections at the helm, it should be attractive to French engineers.

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nWay’s ChronoBlade is a massive effort to create a hardcore fighting mobile game

nWay's ChronoBlade is a fast-action fighting game on mobile.


When it comes to ambition, you can’t get much bigger than ChronoBlade. The inaugural free-to-play mobile title from San Francisco developer nWay is expected to debut early next year, and it will be the latest test of whether hardcore games will begin to take a big chunk of the revenues in the billion mobile game market.

ChronoBlade is a fast-action fighting game that will have high-end 3D graphics and a speed of 60 frames-per-second — the equivalent of console games. But it’s going to run on mobile devices with touchscreens or controllers. And it’s coming to the U.S. mobile gaming market early next year.

nWay has a very interesting pedigree, with a number of its employees hailing from Realtime Worlds, creator of the massively multiplayer crime game APB.

Taehoon Kim is the chief executive and cofounder. He cofounded Pixelberry and Nurien Software. The latter had raised million in Silicon Valley venture capital to create an ultimately unsuccessful 3D social platform for online gamers.

Kim’s efforts are always gargantuan in scope. Kim has more than 80 employees, and he has raised million from investors such as Translink Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Baseline Ventures to build out a title that is continuously updated.

Tony Harman, president and cofounder, worked on titles such as APB and Crackdown at Realtime Worlds. He also was a longtime Nintendo development director and was a leader at DMA Design, which became Rockstar North. David Jones, a gaming pioneer from DMA Design and a co-creator of Grand Theft Auto, is nWay’s creative director. They are joined by Stieg Hedlund, vice president of creative and a former Blizzard game designer on titles such as StarCraft and Diablo. They started working on ChronoBlade three years ago.

nWay has both 2D side-scrolling and 3D gameplay.

Above: nWay has both 2D side-scrolling and 3D gameplay.

Image Credit: nWay

“The question is what is going to happen with the next-generation mobile devices,” Harman said in an interview with GamesBeat. “We thought the market is going to go very quickly from casual to mid-core to hardcore. We wanted to be ready when the hardcore doors opened because that’s where our expertise is.”

Hedlund said, “When we started, a lot of people thought we were crazy. We’re building a 3D, side-scrolling, beat-em-up RPG. We wanted minute-to-minute gameplay, with arcade quality experiences, and an RPG with a lot of depth to explore. ”

Hedlund added, “I’ve been working in games for nearly 30 years. I’ve been waiting for mobile to go hardcore.”

Kim said that his company wanted to create a game that had a lot of precise control of characters. ChronoBlade has role-playing game elements, with persistent online features, as well as synchronous multiplayer where one player can take on another simultaneously in real-time.

“When we got started, there was nothing like this on mobile, so we had to create the technology from scratch,” Kim said.

nWay has applied for patents on inventions related to getting the game to run at 60 frames per second, Hedlund said. It licensed the Unity Technologies’ source code and added a lot of custom work to deliver a fast arcade-style feel. The touchscreen has buttons that you can tap with various combinations that add a lot of depth to the fighting. You can also play the game with Bluetooth-based gamepad controllers.

“We think we did this in a novel way,” Hedlund said. “It was an incredibly difficult task to make the game so fast.”

nWay's ChronoBlade

Above: nWay’s ChronoBlade

Image Credit: nWay

The title will be published by publisher Netease in China soon, and it will come out in the U.S early next year. It will be continuously updated over time. Right now, the game has a level cap of 60, five chapters of single-player play, 270 rooms, player-versus-player tournaments, challenges, and 2,000 in-game items for character customization.

“We have a ton of content,” Harman said. “It will take a while to see the end of it.”

Kim said, “It’s like a full-blown PC online game, only it’s done on mobile.”

Harman said the company will be able to move the title to different platforms, since it is built with Unity. Over time, devices have gotten bigger and better able to run the game.

“One thing that helped us a lot is that the screens of mobile devices have gotten bigger,” Kim said.

Microsoft attempts to address Windows 10 privacy concerns, will separate activity reports for children and teenagers

Windows 10


Ever since Windows 10’s release, there have been privacy concerns surrounding the operating system’s various tracking features. Microsoft today attempted to address many these with an explanation of what data and information Windows 10 does and doesn’t collect about you. Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of operating systems, promised that Microsoft gathers these details so Windows 10 “will work better for you” and that “you are in control with the ability to determine what information is collected.”

One of the red flags some have raised centers on activity reports, which parents can use to monitor their child’s device use. Many have complained that they simply don’t want to know what their kids are doing, finding the feature creepy and largely unnecessary.

Microsoft has thus decided to address this feedback by separating how it treats children and teenagers:

As an example of direct response to feedback we’ve received, all Windows 10 customers will receive an upcoming update to family features, with default settings designed to be more appropriate for teenagers, compared to younger children. Additionally, we’re working on ways to further enhance the notifications that kids and parents get about activity reporting in Windows.

Activity reports aside, Microsoft has detailed what Windows 10 does and doesn’t track:

  1. Safety and Reliability Data: Anonymous device ID, device type, and application crash data is collected so Microsoft and its developer partners can improve application reliability. This doesn’t include user content or files.
  2. Personalization Data: Information about what you prefer, common words you type, questions you answer when using Cortana, and so on is collected to provide a better user experience. You can disable this by updating your settings.
  3. Advertising Data: While Microsoft can serve ads in its products, the company promises that no matter what privacy options you choose, Windows 10 does not scan the content of your email, other communications, or your files, in order to deliver targeted advertising to you.

In short, tracking of personalization data can be completely disabled, and data for targeted advertising is not collected. Most users cannot turn off the collection of safety and reliability data (enterprises will get an update that lets them disable this telemetry later this year), though Myerson said Microsoft takes “several steps to avoid collecting any information that directly identifies you, such as your name, email address, or account ID.”

He goes further and offers an example of its effectiveness: Last month, aggregate data showed that a particular version of a graphics driver was crashing on Windows 10, causing some PCs to reboot. The company contacted the partner who builds the driver, worked with them to put a fix together, tested the patch with Windows Insiders, and rolled it out the fix to the broad public via an update. In short, the data helped find, fix, and resolve a crashing issue “within 48 hours.”

Given how effective collection of safety and reliability data is, it’s no surprise Microsoft doesn’t let users disable it, and that the company wants to “strongly recommend against” enterprises disabling it later this year. But for most users, the message is clear: Windows 10 isn’t collecting anything personal about you that you can’t easily turn off in settings.

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