Nintendo to Double Planned Production of New Hybrid Console

In response to strong initial demand, Nintendo plans to at least double production of its new Switch game console through March 2018. The hybrid console, designed for home and mobile use, launched globally March 3, and “its North American unit described the initial momentum as the strongest in the company’s history,” reports The Wall Street Journal. This could put Switch on a similar trajectory as the company’s popular Wii system (and Nintendo needs a hit after its Wii U performed less than expected). “In the fiscal year starting April 2017, assemblers under contract with Nintendo are now planning to manufacture 16 million or more Switches, up from an initial plan for eight million.” Continue reading Nintendo to Double Planned Production of New Hybrid Console

Sony Holds Lead in Console Market, Platform Subs on the Rise

IHS Markit reports that Sony led the gaming hardware, software and service market last year, nearly doubling the share of Microsoft and its Xbox One. Sony is expected to continue its dominance through 2017. According to IHS, Sony captured 57 percent ($19.7 billion) of spending by gamers in 2016, “thanks to growth of digital console games,” notes VentureBeat, adding, however, “that the overall console game market shrank in 2016, and Nintendo is newly competitive this year with the launch of the Switch game console.” Additionally, Microsoft may experience a rebound this year with the launch of its PS4 competitor, Project Scorpio. Continue reading Sony Holds Lead in Console Market, Platform Subs on the Rise

IBM and Salesforce to Link AI Technologies for Data Analytics

Chief execs Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com and Ginni Rometty of IBM announced a new partnership yesterday that will combine the two companies’ artificial intelligence technologies to create new data analytics offerings for helping others target products and services. Available in the second half of 2017, the offerings will introduce “integrated AI services that weave the broad human-like conversation and learning capabilities of IBM’s Watson with Salesforce’s more sales-oriented Einstein,” reports The Wall Street Journal. In an “effort to reinvent itself for the cloud-computing era,” IBM has been tailoring Watson “for a variety of industries including health care, financial services and automobiles.” Continue reading IBM and Salesforce to Link AI Technologies for Data Analytics

Apple Cuts Fees Charged to Streaming Services in App Store

Apple is halving the amount it charges streaming services to sell video on its App Store, in response to widespread discontent among content partners. Earlier, Apple tried unsuccessfully to create its own live TV service, but instead released an app that relies on programs from streaming services including HBO, Hulu and Showtime. Apple is now cutting its share from 30 percent to 15 percent. Some non-video apps will also dip to 15 percent after the customer has been a subscriber for a year. Continue reading Apple Cuts Fees Charged to Streaming Services in App Store

Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

Spotify is readying an initial public offer next year, pressured by its most recent financing. Private-equity firm TPG, hedge fund Dragoneer Investment Group and Goldman Sachs are part of a group that issued $1 billion in convertible debt, which carries an interest rate that increases until Spotify’s IPO. Investors also get a discount on shares if they convert debt into equity — 20 percent now, but increasing if Spotify delays the IPO. One problem prevents Spotify from doing so: long-term rights for the music it plays. Continue reading Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

‘Pokémon Go’ Rakes in Over $200 Million After its First Month

App analytics platform Sensor Tower reports that Niantic’s location-based, augmented reality game “Pokémon Go” is continuing its rise in popularity, with more than $200 million in net revenue generated during its first month of availability. The meteoric rise “compares favorably to in-game revenue generated by other huge in-app purchase-driven games,” notes TechCrunch. “Pokémon Go” has nearly doubled “the first month revenue of ‘Clash Royale,’ the other big in-app star this year” and “made almost four times as much as ‘Candy Crush Soda Saga’ managed during its first 30 days of availability.” “Pokémon Go” experienced a significant spike when it launched in Japan. The game was just introduced to 15 additional Asian countries. Continue reading ‘Pokémon Go’ Rakes in Over $200 Million After its First Month

After Consecutive Quarters of Decline, Disc Sales On Upswing

Consumers spent 4 percent more on movies, other content on discs and digital during Q2 2016 compared to the same period last year. According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, disc sales increased 3 percent to $1.2 billion, including a 35 percent jump in Blu-ray Disc sales. Digital HD jumped 8.7 percent to $466 million. “Total consumer spending on home entertainment purchases is estimated at $1.67 billion for the three-month period that ended June 30, a healthy increase of 4.5 percent from $1.59 billion in the same period last year,” reports Variety. Ultra HD Blu-ray, which launched in March, could be a contributing factor. Continue reading After Consecutive Quarters of Decline, Disc Sales On Upswing

Jump in Bluetooth Headphone Sales, Beat Wired for First Time

The NPD Group reports that Bluetooth headphones represented 54 percent of sales for the first half of 2016, marking the first time that Bluetooth headphones have surpassed sales of wired headphones in the U.S. “Bluetooth headphones saw a 42 percent year-over-year increase in dollar sales for the six-month period, while the overall headphones category saw a 7 percent increase,” notes Twice. The average sales price dropped 5 percent from the same period last year. The top brands for the period included Beats, LG, Bose, Jaybird and Skullcandy. Continue reading Jump in Bluetooth Headphone Sales, Beat Wired for First Time

Amazon Posts Record Profit and Significant Growth for AWS

Amazon announced its fifth consecutive quarterly profit yesterday, and its third consecutive record-setting profit. Revenue increased 31 percent; sales rose to $30.4 billion from $23.19 billion. The company’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, accounted for an impressive 56 percent of Amazon’s operating income, and it grew 58 percent in the last quarter. “The results show Amazon moving toward investors’ long-held hope of consistent profitability after a lengthy period of heavy investments and quarterly losses,” notes The Wall Street Journal. “Overall, Amazon posted a second-quarter $857 million profit, or $1.78 a share, compared with $92 million, or 19 cents a share, a year earlier.” Continue reading Amazon Posts Record Profit and Significant Growth for AWS

Google Reports Strong Quarter Based on Strength of Mobile

Google’s quarterly profit rose 24 percent, while revenue increased 21 percent to $21.5 billion, thanks in large part to its advertising and push into mobile, according to The Wall Street Journal. Google is also experiencing success with its cloud services division. Parent company Alphabet reported 33 percent growth of its non-advertising business over the previous year, surpassing Wall Street expectations. “The strength of the quarter is about mobile,” said Google chief exec Sundar Pichai. “Our investment in mobile now underlines everything that we do today, from search and YouTube to Android and advertising.” Continue reading Google Reports Strong Quarter Based on Strength of Mobile

Apple Experiences Downturn, iPhone SE Sales a Bright Spot

Apple’s quarterly profit fell 27 percent to a net income of $7.8 billion in the fiscal third quarter ending June 25, compared with $10.68 billion in last year’s third quarter. This downturn, which marks a second straight quarter of reduced revenues, reflects a prolonged downturn in iPhone sales, the first since the smartphone was introduced in 2007. The smaller, less expensive iPhone SE, which debuted in March, alone enjoyed strong sales, with sales of all other models dipping. Continue reading Apple Experiences Downturn, iPhone SE Sales a Bright Spot

Delays in International DVD Releases Lead to Increased Piracy

Carnegie Mellon University’s Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics released a report that establishes a link between delays in international DVD releases and piracy. Delays hurt aftermarket sales, which often account for the lion’s share of a movie’s revenue, mainly because it opens the door for piracy. Although artificial delays may help movie theaters maximize their revenues, minimizing or eliminating “unneeded delays” is an important consideration, says the report. Continue reading Delays in International DVD Releases Lead to Increased Piracy

Drone Sales Grow 224 Percent Year-Over-Year to $200 Million

The FAA’s mandatory drone registration does not seem to be impacting UAV sales, which have grown 224 percent from April 2015 to April 2016 for a total of nearly $200 million, according to The NPD Group. Robotics Trends reports the FAA’s database indicates there are now “461,433 registered hobbyist drone owners in 39,471 zip codes.” NPD notes that DJI is the clear U.S. market leader at 49 percent, followed by Parrot (19 percent), Protocol (6.3 percent), Yuneec (5.6 percent) and 3D Robotics (4 percent). Drones with 4K cameras represented more than one-third of sales for the 12 month period, and GPS-outfitted drones accounted for 64 percent of sales. Continue reading Drone Sales Grow 224 Percent Year-Over-Year to $200 Million

Cyber Monday Sets Sales Records, Mobile Shopping on Rise

While retailers have extended their special online deals before and after Cyber Monday this year, yesterday’s sales are still poised to break records. Adobe reports that by 10:00 yesterday morning, shoppers had already spent a record $490 million. When the numbers are finalized, Adobe predicts the day will represent the biggest e-commerce day on record with $3 billion in sales. Mobile shopping is also on the rise; Adobe notes that 41 percent of shopping visits originated on smartphones and 12 percent from tablets. Continue reading Cyber Monday Sets Sales Records, Mobile Shopping on Rise

CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

During last week’s CES Unveiled event in New York, the newly named Consumer Technology Association (former Consumer Electronics Association) released its annual holiday purchase pattern study. According to Shawn DuBravac, CTA’s chief economist and senior research director, consumer electronics will have a strong showing this holiday season, but spending is expected to shift from high-end TVs to less expensive audio devices, mobile electronics and emerging technologies. The shift is expected to result in a drag on industry sales growth. Continue reading CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

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