Tag Archives: Source
BENGALURU (Reuters) – What are a few hours playing videogames and a handful of tweets worth? $ 1 million if you are Tyler Blevins, known to millions as “Ninja,” the world’s most-followed computer gamer.
FILE PHOTO: An Electronic Arts (EA) video game logo is seen at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
Blevins was one of a few select professionals with huge followings pulled in by videogame giant Electronic Arts Inc to play and promote its latest title, “Apex Legends,” in the first hours of the launch last month, generating a buzz that notched 10 million signups in the first three days.
The 27-year-old, famous for his hair color changes – currently a bright, turquoise hue – tweeted about the free-to-play game early on Feb. 5 and streamed the action to his more than 13 million followers on game-streaming site Twitch. For this he was paid around $ 1 million, a source told Reuters.
The amount underlines the increasingly cut-throat fight for dominance of the free-to-play battle royale genre that, through Epic Games’ global smash hit “Fortnite”, has pushed major publishers like Electronic Arts to change how they do business.
Representatives for EA and Ninja declined to comment on how much he had been paid, but the amount named by the source is more than twice media reports of Ninja’s monthly earnings from streaming his regular appearances on Fortnite and way above what was speculated on a number of internet discussion boards.
EA also paid popular Polish-Canadian streamer “Shroud,” who has nearly six million Twitch followers, to play Apex Legends but declined to disclose the terms of the deal.
“They did a fairly comprehensive job at pulling together all of the relevant game influencers in this genre,” said Kevin Knocke, a vice president at esports infrastructure firm ReKTGlobal.
“This was a really well coordinated poaching of the top influencers the likes of which has not been seen so far in esports,” he said, suggesting that EA had also roped in streamers better-known for playing other blockbusters like “Call of Duty” or “PUBG”.
The Ninja deal also points to the growing possibilities for teenagers who grow up hooked in their bedrooms on the industry’s big titles, as well as a shift in promotional strategy, with the use of popular gamers replacing expensive TV ad campaigns.
EA’s stock price and market value rose 16 percent, or $ 4 billion, in the three days after Apex Legends launched and a month later the game has 50 million users, a quarter of Fortnite’s 200 million.
“We really wanted to create a day where you couldn’t escape Apex if you cared about games and we wanted it to feel like an event was happening everywhere around the globe on that day,” Drew McCoy, lead producer at the EA studio that created Apex Legends, said in an interview.
“We had streamers from all over Europe, LatAm, North America, Korea, Japan so that we could get our message out there and people would see the game,” he said.
Joost van Dreunen, co-founder of Nielsen-owned gaming research firm SuperData, estimated that in 2018 Fortnite raked in $ 2.4 billion in revenue, more than any other single title.
If each user registered so far bought the most basic Apex Coin package, with which kids and teenagers can buy character skins and other upgrades, EA would take in $ 500 million. Analysts’ estimates hover around that figure in revenue annually.
Ninja, who reportedly plays Fortnite for 12 hours a day from his basement studio outside Chicago, has been one of many to benefit from its massive success.
He has streamed himself playing alongside major celebrities like rappers Drake and Travis Scott, has sponsorship deals with Red Bull and Uber Eats, and often appears on Instagram and Twitter alongside soccer players Neymar Jr and Harry Kane.
Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru and additional reporting by Hilary Russ in New York; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar
(Reuters) – Chipmaker Nvidia Corp said on Tuesday it has suspended self-driving tests across the globe, a week after an Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] autonomous vehicle hit and killed a woman crossing the street in Arizona.
The company’s shares reversed course in afternoon trading after the news and were down 4 percent at $ 234.50, wiping out nearly $ 6 billion in market value.
“We are temporarily suspending the testing of our self-driving cars on public roads to learn from the Uber incident,” a company spokesman said.
“Our global fleet of manually driven data collection vehicles continue to operate.”
Uber suspended North American tests of its self-driving vehicles after the fatal collision on March 18 in Tempe, Arizona.
The incident has raised questions about the safety of autonomous technology in general, and of Uber’s system specifically.
Nvidia is testing its technology globally including in New Jersey, Santa Clara, Japan and Germany.
Reuters earlier on Tuesday reported about the test suspension, citing a source.
“Nvidia has no choice but to take steps in the context of the fear, uncertainty and outrage likely to be stimulated by a robot car killing a human being,” Roger Lanctot, an automotive technology analyst with Strategy Analytics, wrote in a blog post bit.ly/2GaIBCN on Tuesday.
“This is precisely the type of event that is capable of slaying a nascent industry in the crib,” Lanctot wrote.
Nvidia leads the autonomous industry with its artificial intelligence platform and has partnered with major global automakers such as Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), Tesla Inc and Audi AG.
Uber has been using Nvidia’s computing technology since its first test fleet of Volvo SC90 SUVS were deployed in 2016.
Around 320 firms involved in self-driving cars – from software developers, automakers and their suppliers, sensor and mapping companies – use Nvidia Drive platform, according to the company’s website.
Reporting by Alexandria Sage in San Fransisco and Sonam Rai in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila
(Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc shareholders on Friday re-elected 10 directors to the mobile chipmaker’s board with tepid support in the wake of an extraordinary turn of events that left shareholders with no other choices and at least one advisory firm urging a protest vote.
Some directors were elected with more than 50 percent of the vote while the rest received support in the 40-percent range, according to a source familiar with the preliminary results of the shareholder votes.
Company leaders said they believed Qualcomm’s $ 44-billion bid for chipmaker NXP Semiconductors remained on track for approval by Chinese regulators, but said that the business environment in the country was hard to predict amid escalating trade tensions.
The re-election at the annual meeting follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s move on March 12 to block Broadcom Ltd’s $ 117-billion hostile takeover bid for Qualcomm on national security grounds, and bar its nominated directors from joining its board.
Qualcomm last week said its board would shrink to 10 directors from 11 because former chairman Paul Jacobs, the son of Qualcomm’s co-founder, would not be renominated for the board after disclosing his intention to pursue an acquisition of the firm.
Qualcomm did not disclose on Friday how many votes its directors received at the annual meeting. Its shares were down 1.2 percent at $ 54.93 in midday trading.
There have been signs that some Qualcomm shareholders were in favor of Broadcom’s offer. Broadcom officials said that about 15 percent of Qualcomm shareholders had favored its bids in early vote counting.
Ahead of Friday’s meeting, Institutional Shareholder Services, a shareholder advisory firm, urged investors to lodge protest votes for Broadcom board nominees, even though they would not be counted under the company’s rules.
‘KIND OF QUESTIONABLE’
“Anything below 80 percent to 90 percent of votes cast is kind of questionable,” said Kevin McManus, vice president and director of proxy services for Egan-Jones Proxy Services.
“Forty percent is very questionable. The President has created some breathing room for Qualcomm. Hopefully, they will use it wisely and improve both their Board and company.”
At the meeting, Qualcomm Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf reiterated the company’s strategic plans, originally outlined in January, calling for the completion of its $ 44 billion bid for chipmaker NXP Semiconductors, resolution of its legal dispute with Apple Inc and a $ 1-billion reduction in costs. All of that, Qualcomm executives say, should allow the company to bring in earnings per share of $ 6.75 to $ 7.50 for fiscal 2019.
Qualcomm’s NXP acquisition still needs approval from Chinese regulators. In response to a shareholder question about those approvals, Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s legal chief, said that Qualcomm had been “actively engaged” with Chinese regulators “as recently as this week.”
CEO Steve Mollenkopf said he believed the company would close the NXP deal on schedule and noted he was headed to China for a conference immediately after the shareholder meeting. But in response to separate shareholder question about US-China relations, he said Qualcomm has little visibility into broader trends between the two nations.
“This is a little bit of uncharted territory for all of us,” Mollenkopf said. “We have developed a strong China-friendly, U.S.-friendly business model.”
One shareholder asked whether Qualcomm planned to return some or all of its offshore cash to shareholders “who have seen the shares go up to $ 80 and now is at $ 55” but “have been faithful. How about a little of that (cash)?”
Qualcomm CFO George Davis said the company’s offshore cash was already earmarked for use in the NXP deal.
“That doesn’t sound close to $ 80,” the shareholder replied after Davis spoke.
Davis pointed to the company’s earnings plans for 2019. “That probably sounds more like $ 80,” Davis said.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Bill Rigby and Nick Zieminski
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – Pyeongchang Winter Olympics organizers confirmed on Sunday that the Games had fallen victim to a cyber attack during Friday’s opening ceremony, but they refused to reveal the source.
The Games’ systems, including the internet and television services, were affected by the hack two days ago but organizers said it had not compromised any critical part of their operations.
“Maintaining secure operations is our purpose,” said International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams.
“We are not going to comment on the issue. It is one we are dealing with. We are making sure our systems are secure and they are secure.”
Asked if organizers knew who was behind the attack, Adams said: “I certainly don’t know. But best international practice says that you don’t talk about an attack.”
The Winter Games are being staged only 80km (50 miles) from the border with North Korea, which is technically still at war with the South since their 1950-1953 war ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.
The two teams marched together at an Olympics opening ceremony for the first time since 2006.
South Korea has been using the Pyeongchang Games to break the ice with the reclusive North, which has been trading nuclear threats with the United States recently.
“All issues were resolved and recovered yesterday morning,” Pyeongchang organizing committee spokesman Sung Baik-you told reporters.
“We know the cause of the problem but that kind of issues occurs frequently during the Games. We decided with the IOC we are not going to reveal the source (of the attack),” he told reporters.
Russia, which has been banned from the Games for doping, said days before the opening ceremony that any allegations linking Russian hackers to attacks on the infrastructure connected to the Pyeongchang Olympic Games were unfounded.
“We know that Western media are planning pseudo-investigations on the theme of ‘Russian fingerprints’ in hacking attacks on information resources related to the hosting of the Winter Olympic Games in the Republic of Korea,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.
“Of course, no evidence will be presented to the world.”
Cyber security researchers said in January they had found early indications that Russia-based hackers may be planning attacks against anti-doping and Olympic organizations in retaliation for Russia’s exclusion from the Pyeongchang Games.
Stakeholders of the Olympics have been wary of the threat from hacking and some sponsors have taken out insurance to protect themselves from a cyber attack. [nL4N1PX1HV]
Editing by Peter Rutherford
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Music streaming service Spotify has filed confidentially for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is moving ahead with a direct listing in the first half of the year, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
If Spotify, with was valued at as much as $ 19 billion last year, goes ahead with its plans, it would make it the first major company to carry out a direct listing, an unconventional way to pursue an IPO without raising new capital.
It also mainly eliminates the need for a Wall Street bank or broker to underwrite an IPO along with many associated fees and could change the way companies approach selling shares to the public.
The confidential filing was initially reported by news outlet Axios.
Spotify is the biggest global music streaming company and counts Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) as its main rivals. Reuters has previously reported Spotify was aiming to file for an IPO in late 2017 and list with the New York Stock Exchange early this year.
Spotify could not be reached for comment.
Spotify was sued by Wixen Music Publishing Inc last week for allegedly using thousands of songs, including those of Tom Petty, Neil Young and The Doors, without a license and compensation to the music publisher. It was unclear what the lawsuit’s effect would be on its IPO plans.
Wixen, an exclusive licensee of songs such as “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty, “Light My Fire” by the Doors, “(Girl We Got a) Good Thing” by Weezer and works of singers such as Stevie Nicks, is seeking damages worth at least $ 1.6 billion along with injunctive relief.
Spotify still intends to proceed with a U.S. direct listing in the first half of 2018, despite the lawsuit, according to a source familiar with the matter. It has filed for the listing confidentially with the SEC, with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Allen & Co helping arrange it, the source added.
Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York and Liana B. Baker in San Francisco; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc plans to join a government auction for wireless spectrum to be held in January, potentially becoming the country’s fourth major wireless carrier, a source briefed on the matter said on Thursday.
The source declined to be identified because the talks are private.
Japan’s mobile carrier market is currently dominated by NTT Docomo Inc, KDDI Corp and SoftBank Group.
The Nikkei business daily, which reported on the plan on Thursday, said Rakuten would raise 600 billion yen ($ 5.3 billion) by 2025 to invest in base stations and other infrastructure.
Rakuten said in a statement that while it was true it is weighing entry into the mobile carrier market, media reports on the matter were not something announced by the company.
Rakuten shares were down 1.7 percent in early trade. The benchmark Nikkei average was flat.
($ 1 = 112.6300 yen)
Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida and Thomas Wilson; Writing by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Stephen Coates
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is in talks to acquire Shazam Entertainment Ltd, whose software helps users identify songs by pointing their phone at an audio source, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Shazam’s smartphone app is already tightly integrated with Apple’s Siri digital assistant. Users of Apple’s iPhone with the Shazam app installed can say: “Hey Siri, what’s that song?” and the app will identify it. But Shazam has other features, such as the ability to identify television shows, that do not yet work with Siri.
Tech news website TechCrunch reported the talks earlier, writing that Apple could pay about $ 400 million for Shazam and that a deal could be signed as early as next week.
Shazam did not respond to a request for comment.
Privately-held, UK-based Shazam has raised $ 143 million from DN Capital Limited, Institutional Venture Partners, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, among others, over its 18-year history, according to PitchBook, a firm that tracks private venture investments.
The price TechCrunch reported would fall far below Shazam’s most recent $ 1 billion valuation reported by PitchBook.
An acquisition of Shazam could help bolster Apple’s music efforts by making it easier for users to find songs and add them to playlists in its Apple Music service. As of mid-2017, Apple Music had 27 million subscribers, behind rival music streaming service Spotify’s 60 million users.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien
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