February 2018

Going public pits Spotify’s suggestions versus everyone

The secret to Spotify’s public market debut is actually an acquisition it made in 2014. The Echo Nest was powering music recommendations for Beats Music, Rdio, Vevo and iHeartRadio before Spotify pulled it out from under them by buying it for a reported $100 million — 90 percent in Spotify equity. That deal paid off big time. Read More …read more

‘Part Time UFO’ Review – It Works Hard for Its Money

For many years, mobile gamers dreamed the impossible dream of having Nintendo games on their platform of choice. When that dream finally, improbably, came true, it didn’t come in the form that many of those players had hoped for. There are a lot of factors to consider when thinking about why Nintendo’s mobile efforts are what they are, but regardless of the why, the fact remains that they’re not quite the same as what the company puts out on its own hardware. Well, HAL Laboratory isn’t Nintendo, but they’re quite close in a lot of ways. If you were one of those people looking for a Nintendo-like experience on your mobile device, you may find that HAL’s latest release, Part Time UFO [$3.99], scratches the itch nicely.

HAL Laboratory did have a life before Nintendo, primarily making games for computers such as the Commodore VIC-20 and the MSX. But it’s best known for its work that came out of its partnership with the console giant. Games like Kirby’s Dream Land, EarthBound, Super Smash Bros., and Pokemon Snap were all developed hand-in-hand with Nintendo, and wunderkind programmer and once-head of HAL Laboratory, Satoru Iwata, eventually became Nintendo’s president. It’s a little …read more

From Pixel To Pen: 13 Great Comics Based On Video Games

We love getting lost into the mythos of a beloved video game franchise. While feature films and television shows typically falter in adapting stories from our favorite titles, comic books often deliver justice to expanding a video game world’s lore, further enriching the experience without holding a controller. Here are 13 great comic books that give due diligence to their namesakes.

Assassin’s Creed by Titan Comics
Current number of issues: 14 to 23
There are countless stories to tell through sundry eras in Assassin’s Creed’s macrocosm, which have successfully carried over into the comic medium. Titan Comics’ ongoing Assassin’s Creed series, along with the Templar issues, in particular stand out above other AC comics with quality writing and aesthetics that explore periods the games have yet to touch upon, including the California gold rush, Salem during the witch trials, and Spain in the early 1500s. Assassin’s Creed also manages to make the modern-day moments far more engaging than its video game counterpart, which is an accomplishment in its own right.

Dragon Age: Magekiller by Greg Rucka and Carmen Carnero
Number of issues: 5
BioWare might be known for its excellent storytelling in its games, but many …read more

New Gameplay Today – H1Z1’s Auto Royale

Daybreak’s zombie-filled survival game H1Z1 is out of early access, and it’s launched with a surprise. Auto Royale mode is a motorized take on the popular genre. But is it any good? Join Leo, Reiner, and me as we try to solve this mystery.

In Auto Royale, teams of four ride in a car together, picking up power-ups and trying to scour the ever-shrinking map for enemy teams. Reiner is on the sticks keyboard and mouse this episode, and he divides his time riding shotgun and taking the wheel. As you’ll see, it’s a lonely stretch of road.

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Spotify plays the long game with Family and Student Plans even as revenue per user drops

Spotify’s “Family Plan,” a variation of which launched in 2014, as well as its “Student Plan” appear to be driving a significant portion of the company’s growth and improving retention, as the company points to it multiple times in its filing for a direct listing on public markets today.
But that also comes at a cost of decreasing the amount of revenue it… Read More …read more

Here’s what Spotify shares will be worth when they start trading

Spotify has finally filed to go public. But unlike most tech offerings, Spotify won’t be raising any money by issuing new shares. Instead they’ll just allow existing shares owned by investors and employees to be traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. No IPO means there are no investment banks to underwrite and price the offering, meaning the public markets will essentially… Read More …read more

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Battlefield 1: Apocalypse DLC Review

Battlefield 1: Apocalypse should be thought of mostly as a map pack, with two especially strong and great-looking ground battles leading the charge back into the fray. The pair of simple air battles, on the other hand, aren’t much more than a distraction from the real war.

Apocalypse’s River Somme, Caporetto, and Passchendaele are standard Battlefield maps meant to be played in modes like Conquest. They all bring the brutality the same way: they’re relatively open and less directed, with limited cover options. That’s a contrast to Battlefield 1’s previous maps, which have emphasized high cover and defined flanking routes. It’s easy to make a beeline for the next objective, especially on Passchendaele, though this still leaves you vulnerable to sniper fire.

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Even with double the subscribers, Spotify says Apple will always have an edge owning the app store

Spotify just filed for a direct listing in the U.S., sidestepping the traditional IPO process, and now we’re starting to see some of the true financial guts of the company — and some of the significant risks it faces from challenging services from Apple and Google. Apple, for example, charges apps a percentage of revenue for subscriptions processed through the App Store. Apple… Read More …read more

The Virtual Life – Into The Breach And The Sanctity Of Life

The artillery is a smouldering heap, devastated by giant kaiju’s claw swipe. The pilot inside, a good soldier, is gone. But the loss wasn’t for nothing. I watch as the round timer at the top of the screen hits zero, and the giant bugs terrorizing humanity, known as the Vek, descend back into the earth once more, leaving these vulnerable cities untouched. A breeze of relief blows through my chest.

We did it. No civilians died.

The relief is my only celebration. I click the exit battle button and move onto the next mission, trying hard not to think about the loss of my pilot.

Into The Breach is a game that combines the mech vs kaiju battlegrounds of Pacific Rim and Neon Evangelion Genesis with chess. And like most strategy games, Into The Breach is constantly forcing you to weigh the scales when it comes to the tactical value of units around the map. Is it worthwhile for you to throw your mech and its pilot in harm’s way to protect a city (essentially a unit of health for you, the tactician) or a possible upgrade that’s just landed on the battlefield in the form of a pod, or should you preserve …read more