ETC@USC Announces RoninX Foundation as Board Member

The Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (ETC@USC) is pleased to announce the addition of the RoninX Foundation to its executive board. The Japan-based foundation is pursuing a camera metadata interoperability standard and a new 8K streaming protocol for innovative use cases for the open multiverse. The RoninX Foundation is guided by its community of camera manufacturers, storage providers, Internet service providers, infrastructure providers, 5G operators and studios. Continue reading ETC@USC Announces RoninX Foundation as Board Member

Tencent Holdings Sinks $297M into Ubisoft Owner Guillemot

Tencent has invested $297 million in Guillemot Brothers Limited, the company that owns Ubisoft, maker of “Assassin’s Creed.” The Chinese game giant already had a 4.5 percent stake in Ubisoft that it can now increase to 9.99 percent. Tencent gains a 49.9 percent stake with 5 percent voting rights in the parent company. Shares of Ubisoft fell 17 percent last week when it became apparent there was no takeover in the offing. The deal is part of a strategy “to develop immersive game experiences, and to bring some of Ubisoft’s most well-known AAA franchises to mobile,” said Tencent president and CEO Martin Lau. Continue reading Tencent Holdings Sinks $297M into Ubisoft Owner Guillemot

VTubers are Latest Creators Earning on YouTube and Twitch

VTubers are Japan’s latest export, with dozens of the virtual online stars claiming millions of fans and becoming a new breed of influencer, raking in hefty sums on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Tokyo-based Hololive Production kicked off the creator trend, which centers on animated personas that stream using motion-capture or AR face-tracking. Complete with their own mythos and origin stories, the characters amass large followings. As of April, Hololive represented more than 65 VTubers, the most popular in English, Gawr Gura, has more than 4 million YouTube subscribers. Now UTA has signed VTubers Shxtou and Baoo for representation. Continue reading VTubers are Latest Creators Earning on YouTube and Twitch

Video-Game Advertising Projected to Top $14 Billion by 2028

Video games as an advertising medium is still relatively niche, but a migration to streaming has paved the way for what observers predict will be explosive growth. Ad Age recently identified gaming as “the next huge advertising channel.” Fast Company posits U.S. in-game advertising, or IGA, is currently between $6-$8 billion, which is less than 6 percent of U.S. digital advertising. Analytics firm Research Dive predicts in-game advertising will grow to $14 billion worldwide by 2028. Fast Company says here are nearly 3 billion global players — one in four people — and growing by 15 percent a year. Continue reading Video-Game Advertising Projected to Top $14 Billion by 2028

Soft PC Sales, Currency Exchange Cloud Microsoft Earnings

Microsoft reported revenue up 14 percent year-over-year to $51.9 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended June 30. Net income was up 2 percent, to $16.7 billion for the quarter but down almost 19 percent for the year, to $61.3 billion for the 12 month period. Although the results fell short of expectations, Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella identified the Microsoft Cloud sector as a bright spot, pointing out that it “surpassed $25 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time, up 28 percent and 33 percent in constant currency,” despite the tough macroeconomic environment. Continue reading Soft PC Sales, Currency Exchange Cloud Microsoft Earnings

U.S. Firms Chase China’s WeChat in Bid to Build Super Apps

U.S. tech execs are experiencing app envy, with companies from Uber to PayPal and billionaires Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey setting their sights on building one-size-fits-all “super apps” to rival Tencent’s WeChat in China and SoftBank’s LINE in Japan. Where typical apps are built to do one thing really well, so-called super apps are generalists, which in theory means people will use them more often. Spotify and Snap have also expressed interest in super solutions, which have been popular in Asia since 2020 and are sparking new interest in the West. Continue reading U.S. Firms Chase China’s WeChat in Bid to Build Super Apps

ByteDance on Hiring Spree for Expansion of Its Pico VR Unit

ByteDance appears ready to make a splash in the U.S. virtual reality market and is expanding the presence of its Pico VR unit on the West Coast, as per recent job listings. The Beijing-based ByteDance purchased Pico in August 2021, and now has more than 40 open positions posed for operations in San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. According to Pico’s website, the company makes “best in class” wireless VR headsets, and in addition to the U.S. has operations in Europe, China and Japan. Many of the current job listings are for a content division called Pico Studios. Continue reading ByteDance on Hiring Spree for Expansion of Its Pico VR Unit

The U.S. Is Now Home to the World’s Fastest Supercomputer

In a big win for the United States, the Department of Energy’s Frontier supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee was ranked No. 1 in the Top500 worldwide performance contest and the first to top the quintillion operations-per-second (exascale) benchmark in a LINPACK test. The Department of Energy has said it will spend a total of $1.8 billion to build three machines with exascale performance. The Frontier, or OLCF-5, supercomputer (which features a theoretical peak performance of 2 exaflops) was built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and is powered by AMD chips. Continue reading The U.S. Is Now Home to the World’s Fastest Supercomputer

Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

President Biden kicked-off his three-day visit to South Korea with a trip to a Samsung Electronics semiconductor plant, emphasizing an interest in strengthening supply chains and boosting competition with China in the technology sector. Biden remarked that the U.S. wants to shore-up business ties with allies including South Korea to offset the influence of  “countries that don’t share our values.” Located in Pyeongtaek, the plant churns out some of Samsung’s most advanced memory chips and is the largest semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was present, marking the pair’s first in-person visit. Continue reading Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

The U.S. and European Union Strategize Global Tech Policies

The U.S. and European Union are seeking to establish joint policies that advance cooperation and democratic approaches to trade, technology, and security on both sides of the Atlantic. The second meeting of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) — May 15-16 in Saclay, near Paris — emphasized how Washington, Brussels and other free-market democracies should develop a joint response to the challenges presented by dictatorships and their controlled economies. In addition to semiconductor supply chain issues, topics including China’s digital clout, export controls for technology IP and human rights were discussed. Continue reading The U.S. and European Union Strategize Global Tech Policies

Streaming Battle in Asia as Locals Compete for Market Share

A strong showing by Netflix in Asia amidst an otherwise lackluster Q1 report has focused attention on the region, where streaming is just coming into its own in territories that house roughly half the global population. There are still potentially hundreds of millions of untapped subscribers in the Far East. But the area has its own challenges, namely local streaming services that offer a wide variety of regional content. Not to mention deep-pocketed domestic rivals, including Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video are also competing for market share. Continue reading Streaming Battle in Asia as Locals Compete for Market Share

8K Slow to Take Hold in Homes but Transforming Production

At NAB 2022 in Las Vegas, 8K sets hinted at a home viewing revolution. With 16 times the resolution of HD and four times the 4K screens currently in about 44 percent of U.S. households, the 8K experience represents a leap in immersive viewing. Sony, LG and TCL have been selling 8K sets, but globally only 1 million were purchased. But there are ways 8K is being put to use today to benefit a variety of end-use cases. Virtual production and virtual reality are two instances where content displayed in 4K or HD still benefits from the higher-resolution capture, while 8K also offers added flexibility in post production. Continue reading 8K Slow to Take Hold in Homes but Transforming Production

Nikon Offsets Shrinking Camera Sales with Tech Components

Nikon Corp. is restyling itself from a company that primarily manufactures cameras to one that supplies components to other businesses. Its consumer market share eroded by smartphone image systems, the Japanese company’s revenue also plunged, dropping by about 50 percent since its 2013 peak of $8 billion. In February, Nikon upped its revenue forecast for the year ended March 31 to $4.35 billion, more than $370 million of it projected as operating profit, thanks in large part to components, which is expected to earn more profit than any other division, nosing past imaging. Continue reading Nikon Offsets Shrinking Camera Sales with Tech Components

Agencies Warn That Hackers Are Targeting Control Systems

The White House has issued a warning about hackers attempting to disrupt the energy grid and other industrial control systems with “a Swiss Army knife” of custom-coded malicious software. A joint bulletin issued by the FBI, NSA, DHS and Energy Department cautioned businesses to be on the lookout for “advanced persistent threat actors,” or APTAs, a commonly used way to describe state-backed hackers. Specific reference was made to devices from Japanese electronics firm Omron and the French firm Schneider Electric, suppliers of industrial automation equipment. Continue reading Agencies Warn That Hackers Are Targeting Control Systems

Intel to Acquire Israel’s Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion

Intel announced it will purchase Israeli chipmaker Tower Semiconductor in a deal valued at $5.4 billion. Tower — which specializes in analog semiconductor solutions for high-growth markets including mobile, automotive, medical devices and power management — will make Intel instantly more competitive in sectors dominated by Taiwan’s TSMC. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger cited “Tower’s specialty technology portfolio, geographic reach [and] deep customer relationships” among the assets that will help scale Intel to “a globally diverse end-to-end foundry” to help meet growing chip demands across the nearly $100 billion addressable foundry market. Continue reading Intel to Acquire Israel’s Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion