GameStop’s Changes Include Its Digital Transformation Push

GameStop shares dropped during the last quarter after skyrocketing during an earlier trading frenzy but its e-commerce sales rose 175 percent, representing more than a third of its sales in the period. The Texas-based company is pushing its transformation from brick-and-mortar to digital, naming a new operating chief, former Amazon exec Jenna Owens, and promising additional new hires. In addition to less foot traffic due to COVID-19, GameStop is also impacted by the trend towards game subscription services and free-to-play games. Continue reading GameStop’s Changes Include Its Digital Transformation Push

TikTok Rebounds in the U.S. But EU Groups File Complaints

During the Trump administration, video-sharing platform TikTok was scrutinized and charged of spying for China, which resulted in the app losing numerous major advertisers. Since Joe Biden won the presidency, however, TikTok is seeing a strong uptick in corporate sponsors, ad dollars and general interest. Mediahub Worldwide VP and director of social media Erica Patrick said the previous administration’s outcry over national security risks was “more of a stunt” and is not a concern of advertisers. Meanwhile, EU consumer groups are accusing TikTok of violating consumer laws and failing to protect children. Continue reading TikTok Rebounds in the U.S. But EU Groups File Complaints

Bitcoin Tops $51,000 in Value as Major Firms Support Crypto

Bitcoin’s price surged above $50,000 for the first time yesterday as companies including Tesla, Mastercard, PayPal and BNY Mellon showed support for the cryptocurrency. Tesla bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin and plans to accept it as payment for its cars, while Mastercard added that it too would accept Bitcoin as payment for “some of its products.” Coin Metrics reported that Bitcoin broke the $50,000 metric by rising 3 percent on Tuesday to $50,487, and hitting a fresh record high of $51,715 earlier today. Meanwhile, SEC commissioner Hester Peirce has called for crypto regulation. Continue reading Bitcoin Tops $51,000 in Value as Major Firms Support Crypto

Reddit Receives New Funding and Doubles Valuation to $6B

Community-based social site Reddit raised $250+ million in a new round of funding, doubling its valuation to $6 billion from the $3 billion it was valued after a February 2019 round. Led by Vy Capital, the latest funding included Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Tencent Holdings, all previous investors. The social media company, launched in 2005, hosts topic-based message boards, including WallStreetBets, the message board that recently encouraged amateur investors to drive up the stock price of companies shorted by Wall Street investors. Continue reading Reddit Receives New Funding and Doubles Valuation to $6B

Government Monitoring Trade Activity of AMC and GameStop

Individual investors are savoring their win over hedge-fund investors of GameStop, AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry and other companies perceived to be failing. As stocks go through the roof, individual investors gather on Reddit, Discord, Facebook and Twitter to encourage each other and brag, while investors lose the money they bet on short-selling stocks of troubled companies. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her economic team are monitoring the situation. The SEC revealed it was “evaluating the extreme price volatility of certain stocks’ trading prices over the past several days” and would “review actions taken by regulated entities that may disadvantage investors or otherwise unduly inhibit their ability to trade certain securities.” Continue reading Government Monitoring Trade Activity of AMC and GameStop

TikTok Evolved to Become Major Cultural Platform This Year

TikTok debuted in the U.S. in August 2018 and by April 2020 had amassed 2+ billion downloads. By fall of this year it racked up an estimated 850 million monthly active users. While many people still think of TikTok as an app for children and young people, it has become a “rich social and entertainment network” that has impacted online dance culture, the fashion and music industries, and much more. Thousands of TikTok creators recently recreated Pixar’s “Ratatouille” animated feature in 60-second contributions of songs, dances, set designs and puppets. Continue reading TikTok Evolved to Become Major Cultural Platform This Year

Sony Reveals Details on PlayStation 5 Consoles, New Games

Sony debuted two versions of its PlayStation 5 game console as well as new games, in advance of the holiday season. The PS5 Digital Edition, the second version, omits the Blu-ray Disc drive, and its download-only feature could eventually impact Amazon, GameStop, Walmart and other retailers. The Digital Edition also sports a sleeker design and, potentially, a lower price. New games include the latest “Spider-Man” and “Gran Turismo” titles and an enhanced version of Take-Two Interactive Software’s “Grand Theft Auto V.” Continue reading Sony Reveals Details on PlayStation 5 Consoles, New Games

Amazon Eyes Low-Income Shoppers With PayCode Service

Amazon recently announced PayCode, a new pay-with-cash option for its online shoppers. The e-commerce giant’s service is the latest step in taking on low-price retail chains like Walmart. The move could help attract the 8+ million low-income households in the U.S. that do not presently have bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards. PayCode users can place an order on Amazon and then pay in cash within 24 hours at one of 15,000 Western Union locations. Amazon is also looking to expand its recently developed cashierless Go technology by bringing it to retailers such as movie theaters and airport shops. Continue reading Amazon Eyes Low-Income Shoppers With PayCode Service

Electronic Arts to Launch Subscription Service for PC Games

Electronic Arts has embraced a subscription model for its latest PC games, following similar moves by Sony and Microsoft to offer older games via subscription. EA’s Origin Access Premier, to debut this summer, will give full access to more than 100 of its games and some other publishers’ titles, for $15 per month or $100 annually. Ordinarily, games such as “Battlefield V” and “FIFA 19” cost $60 each. Electronic Arts comes in second after Activision Blizzard, the biggest U.S. video game publisher. Continue reading Electronic Arts to Launch Subscription Service for PC Games

Record-Breaking Launch Weekend for New Nintendo Console

The new Nintendo Switch hybrid video game console had the highest first weekend sales in the U.S. of any system in Nintendo’s history, beating a record previously held by the Nintendo Wii. “Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” the first major title for Switch, is also the best-selling launch title in the first two days of sales. The initial numbers are promising for Nintendo, but the challenge is to keep the momentum to reach its goal of selling more than 100 million Switch consoles. That kind of success hasn’t been seen since Nintendo’s Wii console, but so far, the Switch is off to a solid start. Continue reading Record-Breaking Launch Weekend for New Nintendo Console

VR Faces its Moment of Truth as Headsets Become Available

Virtual reality is finally available for consumers. Oculus will ship the much-anticipated Rift VR headset next week, HTC will deliver its Vive VR headset one week later, and Sony is also readying the launch of its PlayStation VR headset. Although there are technical kinks to be worked out and business models to emerge, early signs that consumers want VR are positive. The Rift is back-ordered to July, the Vive to May, and, on Amazon, the PlayStation VR Launch Bundle pre-order sold out within minutes of going live. Continue reading VR Faces its Moment of Truth as Headsets Become Available

Video Game Downloads Becoming More Popular This Year

This holiday shopping season comes at an opportune time for the gaming industry — the latest “Fallout” and “Call of Duty” games have hit the shelves and the newest consoles have hit their stride in terms of price and availability. However, video game sales are down and GameStop and Electronic Arts recently reported disappointing earnings. The dismal numbers may be due to an increased number of game downloads, which are not usually counted in these reports. Continue reading Video Game Downloads Becoming More Popular This Year

Target Aims to Enhance Shopping Experience with Beacon Tech

Target will start using Bluetooth beacon technology to send recommendations about product deals directly to the smartphones of customers who opt-in for alerts. Users with the latest version of the Target iPhone app on their phones will receive in-app updates and two push notifications per shopping trip. Target is testing beacon tech in 50 of its stores around the country, and plans to use consumer feedback to adapt the service, and release it nationwide by the holiday shopping season. Continue reading Target Aims to Enhance Shopping Experience with Beacon Tech

Amazon Debuts its Digital Wallet App in Time for Fire Release

Amazon’s first smartphone, the Amazon Fire, hit stores on Friday preloaded with a digital wallet app that can store users’ loyalty cards and gift cards. About 70 retailers, including stores such as Whole Foods, GameStop, and AMC Entertainment are participating in the service. Customers can redeem their gift cards and rewards at stores by using the app-generated scanable barcode. The Amazon Wallet app is also available for download through the Google Play app store. Continue reading Amazon Debuts its Digital Wallet App in Time for Fire Release

Retail Giant Walmart to Offer Store Credit for Used Video Games

Starting next week, the country’s largest retailer Walmart will allow customers to trade in used video games for store credit to spend on other products in more than 3,100 Walmart stores nationwide. The plan is an expansion of Walmart’s program that provides customers with credit for used tablets and smartphones that can be used toward new devices. The plan also represents a potential threat to game retailer GameStop, the biggest seller of used games in the U.S. Continue reading Retail Giant Walmart to Offer Store Credit for Used Video Games

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