Amazon attempted to enter a marketplace which is saturated by established Smartphone makers which include juggernauts Apple and Samsung. The Fire phone was launched onto the market with its fair share of pomp and circumstance around 15 months ago, its hope was to piggyback onto the name of Amazon with the aim of enticing consumers with an alternative. Turns out this idea has ended in flames as Amazon has announced that it “has no plans” to replenish a product which is currently “Out Of Stock”
This follows a recent report which stated that there have been lay-offs at the US companies Silicon Valley research-and-development lab after the phone failed to resonate with consumers. So where did it all go wrong? Part of the reason was a lack of features which really failed to capture the imagination of consumers. The primary selling point of the Fire phone was the “Dynamic Perspective” camera which was able to track the movements of the user with the aim of offering an illusion of 3D. The problem lies with the trend of consumers which have been disinterested with this type of tech. This has been seen for example with broadcaster Sky and their failed 3D channel experiment and also lacklustre sales of television sets which offer the 3D experience.
In October 2014, the company revealed it had suffered a $170m (£110.5m) write-down which was attributed to below expectation sales for the gadget. Unless you wow consumers with an amazing product which offers a completely new experience to consumers, this product was always destined to self destruct. As a spectator it will be interesting to note the direction which Amazon decides to go after such a failure, I do envisage Amazon will think twice before attempting to challenge a market which has seen substantial growth from innovative companies which offers tech that is cutting edge.
Thank youbbc for providing us with this information.
Being an independent developer and creating your own game worthy of release is hard enough and getting it all out is even harder. Thanks to Kickstarter and similar crowdfunding pages the whole thing got a lot easier as you can sell your idea for funding – that is unless you get trolled at the last minute.
That is what happened to the indie developers 2Awesome Studios that are behind the game Dimension Drive, a comic book styled space adventure with a really interesting-sounding teleport mechanic, which has players battling in two worlds at once.
When the funding was about to close, 2Awesome Studios were short €7000 and that is when what appeared to be a hero stepped in and pledged the remaining funds by himself. Needless to say, the developers were excited and went onto Twitter to thank the person.
Who is Jonathan, Jonathan is our hero! We love you and we want to meet you in person!
7000k in a single pledge! #DimensionDrive
Mozilla officials have warned about a possible leak of email addresses and cryptographically protected passwords belonging to Mozilla developers last Friday. It is said that a database glitch occurred, which could have been the work of some hackers, and lead to some private information leaking online.
An estimated number of 76,000 email addresses and 4,000 password hashes are said to have been on a public server for about 30 days, starting from the 23rd of June. There appears to be no indication of the data being accessed, according to the officials, but they cannot rule out the possibility of the data being compromised.
“We are known for our commitment to privacy and security, and we are deeply sorry for any inconvenience or concern this incident may cause you,” director of developer relations, Stormy Peters, and operations security manager, Joe Stevensen, said in an official statement.
Although hackers who might have cracked the hashes cannot access the Mozilla Developer Network accounts, they might still be able to access other user accounts that are secured with the same password. The incident is said to have been caused when a data “sanitization” process failed, resulting in having the addresses and passwords dumped onto a publicly accessible server.
Have you ever backed a Kickstarter project and wondered – what if this all ends up falling to pieces? Unfortunately for the backers of YouTube sensations Yogscast, this nightmare has become a reality.
After receiving $567,665 of their $250,000 Kickstarter goal, Yogscast in conjunction with Winterkewl games were set out to make a sandbox RPG titled ‘Yogventures’ with claims of it being “The game you’ve always wanted”.
The Kickstarter was launched in April 2012, enticing 13,000 people to donate a large total of $567,665 which, as stated above, is over double what they were originally asking.
As we learned thanks to Kotaku, Yogscast haven’t exactly had a squeaky clean past:
“Yogscast ran into some controversy when they announced a revenue-sharing program in which their personalities would make videos about games like Space Engineers in exchange for a percentage of revenue from the game. Many saw this as a serious conflict of interest.” Kotaku
Their fans were however able to put this behind themselves and funded this project with full confidence. It all began well, with the Alpha release announced in March 2013 with some rather large, and possibly unrealistic, game release features including:
Beautiful, randomly-generated game worlds that are different every time you start a new Yogventure
Fully shapeable terrain – with the ability for players to raise a mountain range or create a vast ocean; you can effortlessly shape your world however you imagine it
A wealth of novel building materials, creatures, NPCs and items
A rich underground to mine and explore – bristling with rare outcroppings of gems and crystals, hidden tombs and dark underground terrors that drop rare weapons and loot
A fully-fleshed out crafting system
An in-game physics engine that will even effect the blocks you place in your creations
The ability to customise your own unique avatar or play as one of your favourite Yogscast characters
Easy-to-use in-game modding API including in-game scripting
Ability for modders to have a chance to get their work added to the game
Regularly released video updates from the developers including the latest feature additions
Soon after, the slippery slope started. On August 2013, they released a statement claiming financial issues:
“Unfortunately, that ate the majority of our budget while we worked in R&D so ever since December 2012 we have had to fund the development of Yogventures! ourselves. “What does that mean?” I can hear you ask. Well it means the team initially all took time off of our “day jobs” to dedicate to Yogventures, it turns out it was no where near enough time and we had to all go back to those day jobs and continue development on nights and weekends and lunch breaks and pretty much anywhere we can fit in a few hours to tackle the enormous amount of work needed. I’m proud of the team for sticking by the project despite our initial set backs and delays. It’s a testament to how much we all believe in this game and how much we really want to do a good job for all of you that helped Kickstart this company and get us off the ground and running! Hopefully in the near future, we will be able to expand even more and put even more time and effort into making Yogventures! what we all know it really can be, which is great fun!” Kickstarter
But never fear, the game was still being developed! Open BETA was released for the Kickstarters or for an optional buy-in of $30. The general consensus was quite positive and feedback was being accumulated – could this be the revival of a great project?
Unfortunately not. July 2013 saw the disbandment of Winterkewl games by their founder, Kris Vale who claims to have invested $25,000 and his marriage into this endeavour.
“I tried to cut all costs and continue the development even after the heavy losses of 2013 but the stress of trying to work full time and be full time on the game ultimately caused me to ruin my relationship with my wife, and she filed for divorce because I was so obsessed with finishing this game that she couldn’t take not seeing me anymore. When the divorce began I suffered a bit of a crisis personally and had to take a medical leave of absence from work. I almost lost my job too.
I’m deeply sorry that despite our best efforts we never reached a level of play-ability that inspired enough confidence from not only the community but even the Yogscast themselves. This is my fault, I agreed to every feature request we got because I didn’t want to lose the opportunity. I wanted so badly to make this project a reality I ignored the real-world risks to the point that I almost lost everything and worst of all I let you all down.” Reddit
With that heavy information in mind, Yogscast sent a letter to their funding group saying the game was no more. In this statement they said they will not be supplying refunds to backers and made this interesting statement:
“Although we’re under no obligation to do anything. Instead, we’re going to do our best to make this right, and make you really glad that you backed the project![sic]” Kotaku
Yogscast eased the pain by giving their backers each a copy to a game called TUG, which was developed by some of their friends. But can they just call it quits with no refunding or repercussions? As according to the Kickstarter FAQ, quite possibly not:
“Is a creator legally obligated to fulfil the promises of their project?
So where did the hard-earned money actually go? Yogscast claims:
$35,000.00 Concept Art / Sky boxes / Environment Textures (Senior matte painter / concept artist from PDI Dreamworks)
$35,000.00 Concept Art / Character Designs / UI Design (Senior Character Designer Treyarch)
$35,000.00 Modelling (Senior Modeler from Dreamworks)
$35,000.00 Textures / Surfacing / Shader development (Senior Surface Artist from Dreamworks)
$35,000.00 Animation (Senior Animator from Dreamworks)
$35,000.00 Programming / Unity Development (Myself Unity Developer)
$15,000.00 Unity Developer part time / intern
$100,000.00 Programming / Application Architecture / Back-end Server Code / Voxel Engine (TBD, we were courting several programmers with lots of game experience over the course of the Kickstarter)
$3500.00 Legal Fees Contracts
$1500.00 Accountant Fees
$15000.00 Hardware (PC computers)
$5000.00 Software Licenses
$15,000.00 Escrow for expenses related to development like buying Unity Assets etc.
$50,000.00 Physical Rewards creation and Shipping
Vale released a statement claiming:
“In the end we negotiated that $US150,000 would be transferred to the Yogscast with the understanding that they would use that money exclusively to create and ship all the physical rewards, AND they would help hire the main programmer that we still didn’t have on the project” Kotaku
Where did this $150,000 end up? We don’t know. The latest update from Yogscast reads:
We’re not ready to make a detailed statement about what happened with Yogventures. Winterkewl’s statement omits much and I would disagree with a number of points, but there’s no value in going into detail. Our only goal right now is to ensure that we provide the best possible experience for the backers that we can. I can honestly say this has been our goal throughout.
To keep things simple, the facts are:
Winterkewl failed to meet their promises with Yogventures
The Yogscast are doing their best to rectify this situation – TUG is only the first step
Any monies the Yogscast have received in connection with this project has been spent on this project
I would just like to say that this project was started when The Yogscast was just me and Simon making videos out of our bedrooms. We met Kris and trusted his qualifications and assertions that we could trust him with our brand and even more importantly, our audience. Needless to say, I’m upset and embarrassed, but strongly believe the backers will end up getting far more value and a far better result than they originally anticipated when they backed this project.