Games Prices In Europe Set To Be Unified

Europe is looking towards a more technological environment, where companies and countries can operate knowing that there is a standard across the board for everything that may impact that their work. This could soon be the same for games as well thanks to the European Commission.

The Digital Single Market outlines a proposal for a fairer system when it comes to game pricing in the EU. Game prices fluctuate depending on where you buy them from, with companies like GoG trying to level this through their credit system.

Please note that this only applies to digital copies of games, but would be across the board. This means that be it from Xbox Live, PSN, Steam or another digital distributor, you would be asked to pay the same price throughout all EU territories.

The digital single market was first introduced in May 2015 and looks to bring about uniform pricing in 2016. This is alongside a broadband standard that would see 30MBPS internet standard for all citizens, with 50% of European households having 100MBPS internet by 2020.

With all these measures to help not only gamers but everyone in the European union, we could shortly see better internet connections and fairer prices for digital content. How can that be a bad thing?

Thank you European Commission for the information.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Amazon is Now Paying Full UK Taxes

The company that wants to bring us drone deliveries and deliveries to our cars has now changed its ways in terms of paying taxes. Up until recently, Amazon sifted sales through Luxembourg as to avoid profit Tax. In 2013, Amazon booked a huge £4.7 billion of UK sales through Luxembourg which resulted in a relatively miniscule £4.7 million to pay in UK taxes.

According to The New York Times, Amazon will be rolling this out across Germany, Italy and Spain. “Although potentially Amazon will pay more tax in each of those countries, there are still ways for it to minimise its tax bill, for example by setting the cost of “licences” to the main US company for the use of trademarks against profits—a common accounting technique among international companies with branches overseas. This means the tax paid by Amazon in the UK may still not be that significant.”

The most likely reason for this is to cut short an investigation into the company from the tax arrangements with Luxembourg. Although the investigation is still in early stages, formal action by the European Commission could lead to forced changes in its EU practices; voluntary changes would make a lot of sense.

How do you feel that global companies are essentially dodging tax? Should they all be made to pay or should some companies pay less or more? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information.

Norway Wants to Kill FM Radio by the End of 2017

Nordic countries are beginning to pick up the pace and keep up with times, more than ever before! According to Radio.no, Norway plans to make the step to full digital audio broadcasting in as little as 2 years.

Norway’s Ministry of Culture took the decision and announced that the change will start on the 11th of January and end on the 13th of December. Before you ask ‘why the heck are they rushing things?’ While you are still listening to your old-fashioned radio in the background, you should know that hard evidence is backing up the ministry’s decision.

The ministry based the decision on a Digitalradio survey made by TNS Gallup, a marketing research company. The survey revealed that 56 per cent of radio listeners use digital radio on a daily basis and 56 per cent of households own at least one digital audio broadcasting radio device.

Still, the change that led to half of Norway’s population having a DAB radio was not made overnight. Norway started embracing DAB technology back in 1995, having two national DAB networks, along with a few other local ones, cropping up in recent years.

But did you think Norway is the only one doing this? Of course not! A few European countries along with some from South Asia are doing the same thing. This would only help diversify the content broadcasted and bring better quality to radio listeners. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Thank you Radio.no for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of 123inspiration.com

Apple Investing $2 Billion in 100% Renewable European Data Centres

Apple has announced that it is to invest $2 Billion into two new data centres in Europe, that will be powered by 100% renewable energy. The company’s CEO, Tim Cook, says that the new centres will bring great benefits to the local communities surrounding the new buildings as well as to Europeans as a whole.

The centres will be built in Athenry in western Ireland and in Viborg in Denmark, and are planned to be up and running by 2017. It’s said that the new buildings will add capacity to Apple’s online services in Europe; including iMessage, iCloud, Siri, Photos, iTunes and more.

“We are grateful for Apple’s continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date. We’re thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs and introducing some of our most advanced green building designs yet.”

This marks Apple’s largest ever investment into a European project, and it’s clear that it will certainly be of great benefit to the local communities that surround these new centres.

Source: The Verge 

EU Votes In Favor Of Breaking Up Google

The Euopean Parliament has voted in favour of ‘breaking up’ Google.

MEPs (Member of European Parliament) voted 384 to 174. The Parliament itself can’t break up Google directly, but the vote will place pressure on EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager to take action.

The motion, which was raised by Andreas Schwab, a German Christian Democrat, and Ramon Tremosa, a Spanish liberal, says that Google is operating unfairly, by using its estimated 90% share of the search engine market to promote its own products and services.

Select European countries, most notably Germany, have also shown displeasure with the way Google aggregates news content, without passing on revenues to the publisher.

While it’s believed the EU won’t exactly break up Google, they may receive a hefty fine. The BBC says that the previous EU competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, suggested that the only way to solve this problem, was to fine the company $5 Billion.

Source: The Telegraph, BBC News

Google Facing Possible $6bn Fine by the EU

$6 billion isn’t exactly pocket change, even for a company that apparently owns 25% of all internet traffic. Google’s recent fight with the European Union may end up costing them quite a large amount of coin, in total equal to 10% of their global revenue. Microsoft had a run in recently, but got off rather lightly in comparison with a $731 million debt owed.

The Guardian reported the ultimatum given to google on Tuesday:

“In a dramatic change of position, Joaquín Almunia, the EC’s competition commissioner, told the European parliament that unless Google altered its offer to settle complaints, it could face a “statement of objections”, the formal path towards a fine that could equate to 10% of the company’s global revenue, or about $6bn (£3.7bn).”

Almunia also stated:

“Microsoft was investigated [by the EC] for 16 years, which is four times as much as the Google investigation has taken, and there are more problems with Google than there were with Microsoft”

Controlling over 90% of search traffic that travels through Europe, it’s obvious that Google is a rather big deal globally. Alongside the fact that Google have been fighting this case since its opening in November 2010, the statements above by Almunia are vastly different to the position he took before summer. Originally Almunia was set to take Google’s third set of proposals and settle the case – however its been said that thanks to the recent change of light, companies who are part of the complaint are pleased with this progress.

Almunia informed MEP’s that this change in position is due to “new factual evidence” about the impact on rivals of the proposals. In response Google stated “we continue to work with the European commission to resolve their concerns”.

For any updates on progress or settlement of this case, keep checking eTeknix.

Image courtesy of The Telegraph

The Elder Scrolls Online European Megaserver Migration Happening Tomorrow

The long-awaited migration of the European Megaserver in Elder Scrolls Online is happening tomorrow the 30th of July and will begin at 8:00AM EDT (1:00PM BST) and is expected to last until 5:00PM EDT (10:00PM BST). So if you’re a player on that server you better plan something else to do during that time frame. Only the European server will be unavailable during the time; if you got your character on the North American server you won’t be affected and can game on as usual.

There won’t be any change to any characters or progress nor any patch to download. It is purely a physical location change of the servers to Frankfurt, Germany. Bethesda also said that it won’t be possible to move a character created on the North American Megaserver to the new European server, but the phrasing could hint a possibility for this in the future.

Moving everything to a new data center is a complex operation and is the reasoning for them to do the move during prime-time. “A server move like this involves a large amount of engineers and support staff in both Europe and North America that need to be awake and ready.”

Thank you Elder Scrolls Online for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Elder Scrolls Online.

Sharp Gives Up On Consumer Appliance Market in Europe, Reports Indicate

Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp plans to license companies in Taiwan and Turkey to create home appliances for its customers in Europe, according to reports.

Sharp is speaking with Turkish company Vestel Elektronik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS about selling consumer goods, trying to stimulate sales.  Meanwhile, the company also is negotiating with TPV Technology in Taiwan to manufacture LCD TVs for European consumers, but it’s unknown when announcements will be made.

There have not been any official announcements just yet, as Sharp and its potential partners are in early stages to get a deal done.  Similar to other Japanese electronics companies, it has seen stocks drop and wants to shed unprofitable business sectors to counter this problem.

As Chinese and Korean electronics companies prosper, Japanese companies have struggled to keep up with rivals – Sony has had to shed unprofitable business while other Asian companies are going on buying sprees.

Thank you to Reuters for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Sharp DK

Apple Recalls European iPhone Chargers Due to Overheating Issues

A new announcement from Apple has come to light informing user with European 5W iPhone chargers to check to model number of their charger in and in a large number of case to then to a replacement program that has been setup after it was discovered that a number of chargers with the model number A1300 were overheating, posing a huge safety risk to its user(s).

The adaptor in question was shipped predominantly between October 2009 and September 2012 with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S and additionally on its own as an accessory. Given the huge area the uses the European 2-pin plug, the number of chargers that Apple are referring to is in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

The replacement program which Apple have set up, asks users to look on the mains end of the plug and to check the details of the part they have. The faulty plugs are identified by a block grey ‘CE’ marking and above the right hand pin, the model number A1300 is printed. Users that have anything other than A1300 are not affected. Once confirmed, users should head to their nearest Apple store of authorised service center, where they can exchange their charger for free. Those who are unable to get to a store can contact technical support where a replacement can be arranged. In both instances the serial number of the corresponding iPhone is required for verification of the charger.

This latest discovery adds yet another part to the growing list of recalls and replacement programs that Apple have had to set up, so whilst it is all and well jumping on to the Apple bandwagon, on the greater scale, their track record for faulty products doesn’t quite sway in their favour.

Source: The Verge

Gadget Restrictions On European Flights To Be Removed This Year

Only last month the FAA announced that they would be allowing the use of gadgets during flight take off and landing, now it looks like the same rules will be put in place for those flying in and out of Europe.

It is no secret that many of us cannot go five minutes without the need to use our smartphones, tablets, iPad, gaming devices and more. Sitting and waiting for a flight to take off or having to stare at the back of the seat in front of you for 30 minutes while the flight lands can be tedious, especially on long flights where you just want to unwind and read your Kindle. These new rules will allow you to enjoy your gadgets pretty much as they were intended, with only a few limits remaining in place.

Your phones and other similar devices will still have to stay in flight mode, so texting, calls and other transmitters will still have to be turned off, but listening to music, watching videos and gaming should be absolutely fine.

“This is a major step in the process of expanding the freedom to use personal electronic devices on-board aircraft without compromise in safety” said Patrick Ky, EASA Executive Director.

Are you looking forward to being able to keep yourself entertained during take off and landing?

Thank you Geeky Gadgets for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Geeky Gadgets.

Battlefield 4 Tournaments Announced For ESL 2013 – 2014, €132,000 Up For Grabs

Electronic Sports League (ESL) announced this week that the brand new FPS from EA, Battlefield 4, will be joining their European gaming competition. With more than €132,000 on the line, players will compete in both amateur and professional tournaments for a chance at glory and bragging rights on the battlefield. Over the course of a year they will battle it out in leagues using ‘Domination’ mode, in the hopes of making it in front of thousands at offline events.

Ulrich Schulze, Managing Director Pro Gaming for Turtle Entertainment – “We are looking forward to hosting great competitions for what we believe to be an amazing game. With all its eSports features, Battlefield 4 will make a lasting impression on the scene and give us many moments to remember.”

Battlefield 4 will be featured in four ESL leagues including:

EMS One – Featuring the best professional Battlefield players on the scene, the EMS One tournaments showcase the highest level of competitive play provided by ESL. Consisting of four seasons spread across the course of a year, starting this December, the EMS One tournaments let Battlefield 4 teams wage all-out war online. Each season will then be culminating in live event finals with a total prize pool of €120,000.

Go4 Battlefield 4 – Geared towards serious teams that want to take it to the next level as well as professional teams, the Go4 Battlefield 4 will be players proving ground as they compete for cash prizes. The Go4 Battlefield 4 matches will happen every weekend with the first one taking place as soon as the 10th of November.

A-Series – Looking to get accustomed to the demands of professional play in Battlefield 4? Then the A-Series is for you and your team. The A-Series features the European A-Series, a pan-European online league, and the National A-Series that includes local level tournaments in countries including the UK and Ireland, France, Germany and Austria, Poland, Russia and Spain. The best teams from both series qualify for the highest level of competition, the EMS One.

Versus – Designed for teams and individual players to hone their competitive Battlefield 4 skills, Versus utilizes ESL’s matchmaking system and additional anti-cheat measures to provide a fair and level battlefield while giving you the tools to create your own team.

Battlefield 4 is already shaping up to be pretty epic and with launch pretty much upon us for both current gen and next gen consoles, as well as for PC, it couldn’t be a better time to get the game involved in eSports. One thing is for certain, with the Frostbite 3 engine powering the game it will make for some serious eye candy when watching the pro gaming matches.

Battlefield 4 will be available in Europe October 31 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation and PC. Battlefield 4 will be available November 22 for Xbox One, and November 29 for the PlayStation 4.

The official ESL portal for Battlefield 4 can be found at battlefield.esl.eu/.

Thank you ESL for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of ESL.