Pandemic Could Have Long-Term Impact on Gaming Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic is boosting the multi-billion-dollar video-game industry into the stratosphere, and Big Tech companies predict the trend will endure past the pandemic. Microsoft, for example, plans to acquire the company behind the “Doom” game franchise for $7.5 billion. NPD Group reported that about 244 million people in the U.S. play video games, up 15 percent from a 2018 study. The report added that, “Americans spend an average of 14 hours a week playing video games … compared with 12 hours weekly in 2018.” Continue reading Pandemic Could Have Long-Term Impact on Gaming Industry

Booming Computer Sales Still Cannot Meet School Demand

Remote working, learning and home entertainment have soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with it, sales of personal computers. Gartner reports that sales of Chromebooks have risen 90 percent in the third quarter, in part driven by school districts’ desperate need for Chromebooks and low-cost laptops for students learning from home. Gartner states that worldwide PC sales rose about 9 percent year-over-year in the quarter, with Chromebooks representing 11 percent of the combined market. Continue reading Booming Computer Sales Still Cannot Meet School Demand

Cord-Cutters Are Driving Sales of OTA Antennas for Live TV

The Consumer Technology Association released research suggesting that, in 2018, about 8.1 million Americans will buy TV antennas, up from just under 8 million for the past several years. CTA senior vice president of research and standards Brian Markwalter believes that the uptick in sales of home antennas is due to more cable subscribers cutting the cord. CTA research found that 20 percent of consumers say they watch over-the-air (OTA) TV via an antenna; NAB stated that more than 72 percent of Americans rely on an antenna for OTA. Continue reading Cord-Cutters Are Driving Sales of OTA Antennas for Live TV

Riding AirPod Success, Apple to Debut High-End Headphones

Following the success of Apple’s AirPod earphones, the tech giant is planning another music-centric product with a push into the high-end headphones market. This would potentially compete with its own Beats by Dre brand, which Apple acquired in 2014 for $3 billion. According to people familiar with the product’s development (Apple reps declined to comment), Apple is working on wireless, noise-canceling, over-ear headphones for launch at the end of 2018 unless ongoing development challenges push back the release. Continue reading Riding AirPod Success, Apple to Debut High-End Headphones

Sales of DJI Drones Are Going Sky-High as Market Takes Off

Drones are a booming industry sector. Gartner Research says global drones sales in 2016 bumped up 60 percent to 2.2 million, with revenue growing 36 percent to $4.5 billion. The Consumer Technology Association reports that hobbyists in the U.S. purchased 2.4 million drones in 2016, compared to 1.1 million in 2015. But it isn’t easy to nail down sales numbers for drones, given that the definition for what constitutes a drone varies. Gartner calls an aircraft that can connect to the Internet a drone, a “conservative” definition.  Continue reading Sales of DJI Drones Are Going Sky-High as Market Takes Off

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

Pinterest Develops Image-Discovery App for Mobile Shopping

San Francisco-based Pinterest plans to unveil an image-discovery app aimed at jumpstarting a new kind of consumer shopping. The user points his smartphone camera at anything, taps dots over the object for recommendations of similar items, and the app searches 75 billion images for a visual match. Currently, Pinterest, valued at $11 billion, makes its revenue from advertising. With the image-discovery app, Pinterest could transform the company by encouraging consumers to embrace mobile shopping. Continue reading Pinterest Develops Image-Discovery App for Mobile Shopping

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

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

Half of U.S. Homes with Internet Have Connected TV Devices

NPD Group reports that “connected TV devices” were in 46 million U.S. homes at the end of Q2 2015. That figure represents about half of all U.S. homes with an Internet connection. NPD defines “connected TV device” as one that connects to the Internet and allows the user to access apps (including connected devices such as smart TVs, game consoles, streaming media players and Blu-ray Disc players). According to NPD executive director John Buffone, the 4 million year-over-year jump is attributable to increased sales of smart TVs and a surge of streaming services. Continue reading Half of U.S. Homes with Internet Have Connected TV Devices

UHD Displays Expected to Take Center Stage at January’s CES

Ultra HD displays will deliver on last year’s promise at the 2015 International CES next month. Expect to see 4K/UHD sets with very attractive prices. Set manufacturers Vizio and Acer have already launched 4K displays for $1,000 and under, and other manufacturers are likely to unveil similarly low-cost models. Chinese UHD display manufacturers, that have had a strong presence at recent CES events, will continue their efforts to understand the U.S. consumer and break into the U.S. market at lower price points. Continue reading UHD Displays Expected to Take Center Stage at January’s CES

Nintendo Characters Come to Life with Interactive Gameplay

Nintendo recently released a Wii U version of the popular “Super Smash Bros.” in addition to a series of Amiibo toy figurines designed for interactive gameplay. While facing the growing popularity of less expensive games for mobile devices, Nintendo has also recently struggled to compete with other console manufacturers, leading to disappointing overall sales of its Wii U. Nintendo hopes that the Amiibo line can reignite interest in some of its most beloved characters such as Mario and Luigi. Continue reading Nintendo Characters Come to Life with Interactive Gameplay

Piracy Makes its Way to Smartphones, Industry Fights Back

Many smartphone owners use file-sharing apps or online storage sites to store their free music downloads and listen on their phones. According to a new study from researcher NPD Group, 21 million people in the United States downloaded at least one unauthorized song in the past year. Apps have made it even easier for people to access music for free, even though most of them provide users with the same free music that would be found through an Internet search. Continue reading Piracy Makes its Way to Smartphones, Industry Fights Back

Are Premium Channels Losing Customers to Streaming Sites?

As Netflix and similar online streaming services gain in popularity, premium channels like HBO and Showtime are seeing a decline in paying viewers. A new report from researcher NPD Group reveals that the number of household subscribers to pay TV channels has dropped by 6 percent over the past two years, while streaming subscription services have increased by 4 percent. Many see this change as part of the migration from the expensive bundled options of cable. Continue reading Are Premium Channels Losing Customers to Streaming Sites?

Microsoft Plans Event to Unveil Next-Gen Xbox Console

Microsoft announced this week that it has scheduled a special Xbox event to be held May 21 at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. The company is expected to unveil its next-generation Xbox videogame console during the event, and is believed to be prepping the new console for a holiday release to compete with Sony’s anticipated PlayStation 4. Continue reading Microsoft Plans Event to Unveil Next-Gen Xbox Console

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