UK Culture Secretary Compares Ad Blocking to Music Piracy

Ad blocking plugins have become a topic which polarized opinions and causes some friction between content creators and their readership. Websites like eTeknix rely on advertising revenue to pay staff wages, and help produce detailed content. On the other hand, we always want to make sure that the experience is user-friendly and display ads in a non-intrusive manner. This is why we don’t use adverts which take over your entire screen and become an instant annoyance. It’s a difficult balancing act though because websites are struggling to make money, and there’s various instances of major publications being closed due to financial problems. This includes CVG, Joystiq and more. Recently, Wired announced a new plan to block users with Ad blocking software and offer an ad-free website for a subscription fee.

As an internet user, I can understand why people use Adblock because many sites and services really make such an awful user-experience. If possible, it’s so important to white list those websites you want to support, because collectively it makes such a difference! The UK culture secretary, John Whittingdale recently weighed in on this very important debate during a speech at the Oxford Media Convention and said ad blocking software:

“..is depriving many websites and platforms of legitimate revenue,”

“It is having an impact across the value chain, and it presents a challenge that has to be overcome. Because, quite simply, if people don’t pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist.”

“And that’s as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the new album from Muse.”

“If we can avoid the intrusive ads that consumers dislike, then I believe there should be a decrease in the use of ad-blockers,”

“My natural political instinct is that self-regulation and co-operation is the key to resolving these challenges, and I know the digital sector prides itself on doing just that. But government stands ready to help in any way we can.”

Whittingdale even went onto compare ad blocking with illegal file sharing of films and music during the last decade. This is a very strong statement to make, and I believe it’s a little bit sensationalist. I personally see both sides of the arguments, and believe educating users about the importance of ads to help content creators is essential. At least Whittingdale did acknowledge that banning ad blocking software would be the incorrect approach.

Do you use ad blocking software?

Image courtesy of The Huffington Post.

TMZ Falls Victim to Malvertising Campaign

Malicious online activity in the form of hacks, malware and viruses have seen an exponential increase over the past 5 years, the rise in the number of consumers online coupled with a lax understanding concerning the dangers of the many cyber threats has led to more and more victims. Malvertising is one such example of how online advertisements could be hijacked and used to spread Malware through Malicious ads.

This technique has now found a new victim after online gossip site TMZ was found to be harbouring malicious online advertisements. For those who are unfamiliar with the site, TMZ is a hugely popular website that features expose, gossip and general breaking news concerning the world of celeb, the site pulls in over 30 million visitors a month and is a major attraction for online revenue, below is a summary of the attack.

It has been observed that the attack has the same ad chain pattern; this is from “ContextWeb (PulsePoint) to Smarty Ads and eventually various rogue advertisers”. The latter is leveraging CloudFlare’s infrastructure with the aim of hiding the servers location as well as encrypting the advertisement delivery to consumers via the website.

 

 

The malicious ad is pretty cheap to deliver when you consider it costs “$0.19 (£0.12) for one thousand user impressions (CPM)” 

These attacks are designed to be as cheap as possible with the aim of targeting high impact traffic targets, on a side note, many websites try to discourage users from using popular ad blockers when accessing their sites, perhaps malicious advertisements leading to exploit kits is not the best deterrent.

Images courtesy of malwarebytes and nickcannon

Top 10 PC Games Revenue Destroys Consoles During 2015

The demise of PC gaming and its impending doom is a common misnomer which doesn’t reflect how well the platform is doing financially and in terms of total players. For example, earlier this month Steam managed to hit an astonishing figure of 12 million concurrent users. According to a NeoGAF thread, the most played title during the peak period was Dota 2, with 940,373 concurrent players. New research from SuperData has tracked the total revenue by platform and makes for some very interesting reading. As you can see, the top 10 console revenue results pale in comparison to the PC and exemplifies how profitable the platform is. Unbelievably, League of Legends managed to amass $1,628 million during 2015, which is more than four times the amount from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Not only that, the top PC results actually outperformed the mobile sector, which is a surprise given the financial benefits via microtransactions. So what do these numbers actually mean? While the console market is still more popular, it’s not as financially successful and PC gaming revenues continue to rise at an impressive rate. The yearly research explains:

“Despite a heavy industry focus on mobile gaming, the combined earnings of digital PC games for the top titles came in higher, totaling $6.3B in sales compared to $6.18B for mobile. PC-based gaming–consisting of free-to-play MMOs, subscription-based games like World of Warcraft, social games and PC downloadable games–earns over $32 billion annually, well above the $25.1 billion generated by mobile games. Three of the year’s top five digital PC games (Grand Theft Auto V, Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3) were released in 2015, indicating that PC gamers have made significant progress transitioning to purchasing games digitally.”

Clearly, the modern gaming scene has changed substantially and the PC is a very profitable platform. Furthermore, this is down to an increased player base which illustrates how promising the future is for PC gaming as a leading platform.

Mobile Gaming Revenue Will Exceed $25 Billion by The End of 2015

The rise of mobile gaming has been pretty dramatic in the last few years and attracted a casual audience to the industry. As a result, free-to-play mobile games like Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds have become a huge commercial success. This stems from the business model which entices micro-payments through regular gameplay. According to the research firm, EEDAR, the mobile gaming market is on track to reach a total revenue in excess of $25 billion by the end of this year.

Here we can see financial success and market size by geographical region. Mobile gaming is already massive in China, and Japan. There’s been a revolution in the Japanese gaming sector as the general population spends a huge amount of time playing mobile puzzle games. On another note, the USA just reaches the top revenue figure and this illustrates how mainstream mobile gaming is worldwide.

Other statistics provide information about the type of devices used. As expected, Android is way ahead in the Chinese market, where ultra-cheap handsets are required. Although, iOS continues to make up a substantial part of the gaming market in Japan. If you want to read the report in full, please visit this link to download the research. Please note, accessing the report requires you to set up a free account.

Hewlett-Packard To Cut Up To 30,000 Jobs As Part Of Restructuring

Rapid expansion can have one fatal flaw, if you do not match or beat revenue expectations then you will have to eventually downsize your company. HP have found this out, or the employees to put it more accurately, have taken the brunt of another round of expected job cuts with the figure being somewhere in the region of 25,000 – 30,000 positions to fall.

The technology stalwart has confirmed these roles will go from HP Enterprise; this is with the aim of bundling together its data analysis and software divisions which in turn separates them from the personal computer and printer operation. This brutal scythe cutting will be completed by the end of October 2015; this is on top of 55,000 jobs which have already been culled over the last 3 years. HP aim to save around $2 billion annually from its business by reducing costs which include wages.

Chief executive Meg Whitman, who will lead HP Enterprise, informed investors of the potential to profit to the tune of around $50bn in annual revenue from the business. HP insists the company will be nimbler and therefore able to meet the “evolving needs of our customers around the world”.  The New York Times Square Stock Exchange has reacted badly, as expected to news of both further layoffs and also uncertainty over the direction of HP, it has lost 33% of its value in the year to date

Unfortunately, HP lost touch of the ever-evolving trend of consumer tech over the last decade or so, gone are the bulky towers and a large staffed manufacturing base with which to churn out consumer tech. Computers are now associated with tablets and smartphones and the trend of lighter gadgets have propelled a new innovation onto the market. HP will need to adjust or face further uncertainty, it’s a shame that ordinary employees are facing the brunt and employment is very uncertain considering the intense competition for fewer jobs within the world of tech.

Thank you sky news for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of devicebox

Hearthstone Mobile Revenue Thrives as PC Version Profits Slump

Blizzard’s thoroughly addicting card caper has been an extraordinary success story and translated superbly onto mobile platforms. Figures released by SuperData Arcade illustrate a massive shift in the financial benefits from PC to mobile. The graph below charts Hearthstone’s revenue stream from 2013-2015 and clearly shows how sharply the PC profits have declined.

During early 2015, the PC edition posted a digital revenue of approximately $17 million, but this has plummeted to around $7 million in only a few months. In contrast, the mobile profits catapulted from an estimated $2 million during early 2015 to over $10 million before mid-2015. This doesn’t necessarily mean the PC player base is dwindling though. Arguably, mobile customers are more inclined to make micropayments because the free-to-play business model is widespread on that platform. PC gamers are accustomed to full price releases and find it hard to justify a constant revenue stream. On another note, tablets and mobile devices cater more to the casual market and provide a gaming experience without the need for expensive hardware. The portability of these devices also means it’s easier to pay for content whilst being distracted by other leisure activities.

There’s no simple reason explaining why the mobile market is so lucrative. Many traditional gamers are opposed to the mobile platform but it seems publishers are relishing the financial benefits from a business model relying on microtransactions.

Thank you MCV for providing us with this information.

AMD’s Revenue Expectations Reduced

AMD’s growth forecasts have been downgraded from 8% to 3% for the second quarter which ended on July 17th. The company attributes this scaling back of commercial expectations on:

“The sequential decrease is primarily due to weaker than expected consumer PC demand impacting the company’s Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) APU sales”

Growth in the mainstream PC market is a difficult task, and AMD’s fortunes aren’t helped by their dwindling GPU share which the new series of cards was meant to address. In Q4 2014, NVIDIA controlled a staggering 76% of the GPU market, and AMD had to make a profound impact with their new chips.

However, the 300 series were rebrands and didn’t evoke any major excitement. There’s no denying they are good value alternatives to NVIDIA though. On another note, the Fury X, while impressive, didn’t manage to blow away the 980Ti completely and didn’t leave the major impact AMD was hoping for, at least not in every respect some had hoped for. NVIDIA probably knew of the Fury X’s capabilities, and released the 980TI to counter their latest effort.

It’s also very unhealthy to hear speculation about AMD selling the company off to Samsung or even Microsoft! Competition is vital in the low-yield PC sector, and AMD needs to build on the Fury X with performance GPUs and CPUs which can match Intel’s single-threaded performance.

Do you think AMD will be purchased by a leading company any time soon?

Tidal CEO Today Gone Tomorrow

Upheaval continues as the new kid on the streaming block, Tidal have announced their interim CEO, Peter Tonstad has left the company. Although by labeling your new CEO who only joined in April 2015 “interim” it does not give you much confidence of staying with the company either,

Tidal released a statement to the Wall Street Journal, before I go on; I bet you’re wondering why I have used a source which differs from the original source? I do have a valid reason; see the Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corporation which is then owned by the dark lord himself, no not Peter Mandelson, Rupert Murdoch.  Who in turn has made news sites, which he owns, for example the Wall Street Journal subscription based, nothing wrong with that, it’s just I don’t particularly want to pay for two-thirds of a story which I can find somewhere else for free.

Where was I? Oh yes Tidal released a statement to state “We are thankful to Peter for stepping in as interim CEO and wish him the best for the future,” Tidal which is owned by Beats creator Dr Dre, purchased Tidal for $56 million in March. Since then the aspiring Spotify killer has garnered 770,000 paying subscribers, this compares to Spotify’s 20 million subscribers. While relating both market shares it’s important to take into consideration Tidal has only been operating since 2014, while Spotify has been streaming music since 2008. Spotify also has a free option while Tidal only has a free trial, these factors contribute in an extremely slow start for Tidal.

I also think Tidal is banking on a higher quality music sound which is combined with an ownership structure which places artists in the driving seat. The problem is how many consumers can tell the difference between Tidal’s music qualities and say for example YouTube, Deezer or Spotify. True connoisseurs of music will tell instantly while casual fans will not, if Tidal is to gain a bigger market share, it will need to be a bit more open to fans instead of marketing itself as the millionaires music elite.

Thank You ABC News for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of A Gambiarra

Grand Theft Auto V Sales Went Through The Roof

All this Grand Theft Auto V hype was bound to bring something like this sooner or later, so the recent sales figures won’t be a surprise to anyone. But before revealing them, let’s have a look at the sales technique used for the recent title and the Grand Theft Auto IV title.

First and most importantly, the Grand Theft Auto brand has been around for enough time to get players’ appreciation. Therefore, you mix something that players know, add some extra features and improve the graphics and you got yourself something to sell.

Secondly, the developer seems to have taken a unique platform approach. I mean GTA IV and GTA V were released on consoles first and then re-released on the PC one year later, so the hype won’t go away, but rather increase again a year later.

Given the above, we know that GTA V sales figures for PS3 and Xbox 360 brought over a billion in revenue, having the PS4 an Xbox One bring a sizeable amount too. Once the PC version launched, it sold about a million copies in just the first day.

Taking all that into account, can you guess the total number of copies sold? No? Well, let me tell you then. Grand Theft Auto V sold more than 52 million copies to date and I think the number will increase in the following months.

What this means is that Grand Theft Auto V is now the 4th best-selling title of all time, just below Wii Sports, Tetris and Minecraft. Pretty cool, eh?

Thank you GearNuke for providing us with this information

More than 70% of Facebook’s Revenue Is Mobile

Facebook has shown us a thing or two about itself in its first three years as a public company. It knows how to make serious amounts of money, is increasingly mobile and keeps attracting users even though it seems as if every person on the planet who has access to the internet already uses it.

The humongous company reported its first quarterly month earnings today. It has 1.44 billion monthly active users and another 1.25 billion on mobile devices, an increase of 13% and 24%. Facebook has an insane amount of users overall, coming in at a whopping 936 million active users every single day.

Their overall revenue rocketed up to $3.45 billion, up 42% than the same time frame last year. The shift to mobile is continuing with 73% of the company’s revenue coming from mobile adverts compared to 59% last year.

The company had net income of $1.19 billion, up 28 percent compared to $926 million for the first quarter of 2014. The company saw more than four billion daily video views. “Video is exploding on mobile,” said COO Sheryl Sandberg on the earnings call. Revenue was low compared to expectations, while profits were high, and the stock was largely flat in after-hours trading.” The Verge reported.

“Facebook’s costs were way up. It spent $2.61 billion, an increase of 83 percent year over year. Not surprisingly this shrunk its operating margin to 26 percent compared to 43 percent in the first quarter of 2014.The company’s biggest expense as a percentage of revenue was research and development, and on the earnings call the company indicated this was its biggest driver of new hiring as well.”

Sounds to us like Facebook are expanding into the market wherever they see an opportunity. Mark Zuckerberg has been adamant that the company will continue this approach and will invest in areas such as solar-powered drones and virtual reality to keep on the cutting edge of the forever changing market.

Thank you to The Verge for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of PerthGazette

4.9 Million New Netflix Members in the First Quarter

Netflix just reported its first quarter financial performance and shareholders sure have to be happy with the news that sent shares up more than 10%. The company reported that there were 2.3 million new domestic subscribers and 2.6 million non-domestic subscribers.

The company beat market expectations of $0.69 adjusted earnings per share on a revenue of $1.57 billion by having an adjusted earnings per share of $0.77, with GAAP profit per share of $0.38 on a revenue of $1.57 billion.

With streaming media becoming so prevalent, the huge gain in members is no surprise with more people finding the joys of on-demand entertainment. The fact that Netflix is producing some amazing high-quality original programming is probably responsible for some of the new subscribers, but really it is just icing on the cake. In case you forgot that Netflix still has a DVD and Blu-ray by mail option it is interesting to see that it only accounted for $85 million during the same time, showing the sheer dominance of streaming media. Netflix had negative cash flow in the same period due to its “growing original content investment” though they still have $3 billion in cash and equivalents. Worth noting is that the revenue is weaker thanks to the increasing power of the US dollar, reducing international revenue by $48 million using 2014 exchange rates.

Thank you Tech Crunch for providing us with this information

YouTube Plans to Introduce a New Paid Subscription Service

There have been rumours of YouTube working on introducing a new paid subscription service for some time now, but there hasn’t been anything concrete until now. The streaming service looks to add a monthly subscription that would allow users to watch videos without ads, having the revenue split between YouTube and content creators.

The paid subscription service aims to boost revenue for both YouTube and content creators alike after CPM rates have dropped this year. Aside from the latter, a lot of people are using AdBlock nowadays and that significantly reduces the money income for those who are making a living from YouTube.

There have been no subscription fees detailed just yet, but notifications have been sent out to content creators regarding the upcoming changes. The move seems to come after it was revealed that while the streaming service has an enormous pool of users, it is not making any profit at all.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information

Apple Expects to Sell 1 Million Watches During Opening Weekend, 8 Million in its First Year

Gene Munster, an analyst from Piper Jaffray, has stated in his recent research that Apple Watch sales could reach over one million units in the opening weekend. The unit buyers are said to be all from pre-orders and launch sales and does not include customers who are just arriving at Apple Stores and buying the gadget after its release.

Therefore, the sales figure estimate is expected to be much higher than previously anticipated, having Muster’s numbers for his predictions coming from loyal customers who are keen to get their hands on a Watch on April 10th. He also is said to expect Apple to sell about 300,000 units in the first 24 hours, having it be a 6% attach rate on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders.

Muster is said to even predict that Apple is going to sell 8 million units during the first year, adding a $4.4 billion revenue to the company. Given the prediction, 40 to 50 million units should be sold by 2017, accounting for 10% of Apple’s revenue for the first year. This will also indicate that about 8-10% of iPhone users will be wearing a watch in the future.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information

Facebook Scammers Exploit Robin Williams’ Death

Not too long ago, we reported on the tragic and unfortunate death by suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams.

Some people have now decided to utilize this tragedy for their own personal gain. You may have seen a ‘video link’ (as above) on your news feed recently, either though posts from certain Facebook pages or it being shared directly from your friends – do not click!

Once clicked, a webpage will open which forces you to share the link on your own timeline then complete a survey, after which it claims this video will be available to you. When the survey is completed, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, no Robin Williams video displayed and you’ve only managed to do one thing – give these guys ad revenue.

Unfortunately, this is another case of “social engineering” which basically means manipulating people into clicking malicious links. Quite often you’ll see things like “Doctors hate him!”, “You’ll never know what happens next!” or even “Click here for this one secret!” – quite often the titles are too good to be true.

So how do you spot out  a malicious advertisement in your news feed? We understand that it’s not always easy. As we said before, usually the information is too good to be true. If it’s shared directly by a Facebook friend it might be worth you sending them a quick message just to ask the legitimacy of their shared link – quite often they might not even be aware of whats going on.

So far this scam has over 24 million shares on Facebook and is growing.

Security expert and blogger Graham Cluley shares similar thoughts on this news:

“The scammers have no qualms about exploiting the death of a famous actor and comedian to earn their cash, and give no thought whatsoever to the distressed family he must have left behind”

Have you seen a rise in this type of marketing scam recently? How do you combat the issue personally?

Image courtesy of Yahoo

Twitter Has User Growth for the Second Quarter in a Row

Twitter is looking like it’s on the up again for the second quarter in a row. The company posted figures that shows user growth  in Q2 of this year. The growth rate is helping the company get over concerns from its previous quarter that it had peaked for popularity. Twitter saw its shares surge in after hours trading to $49.62 each.

Twitter announced 16 million new users had signed up in the latest quarter, that number represents 6.3% more people around the world who logged in at least once a month. Twitter reported revenue of $312.2 million, more than double of what it took last quarter, unfortunately for Twitter, they still remain unprofitable with huge $144.6 million pound loss for the quarter. 

Personally, I don’t use Twitter all that often but others live on the site! I use it mostly to see what hardware manufactures are doing behind the scenes and enter comps, that kind of thing. I use it to get inside the industry, so to speak, not as a social platform. So what do you all use Twitter for these days?

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Permissionmachine.

Gowex Provides Free WiFi and a 90% False Report

Residents of San Francisco and New York are well aware of a free WiFi option offered in particular areas, with this service being run by a lesser known company named Gowex. Based out of Madrid, this provider has recently admitted in their reports to have doctored their accounts heavily over the last four years.

Previously Gowex had been praised as a major spanish success with top performances in Madrid’s Alternative Equity Market (a stock exchange for smaller companies). However, a few years ago Gotham City Research posted a report claiming that Gowex’s revenue was inflated by 90%.

These claims were denied at the time by Gowex:

“The information published today by Gotham City Research LLC has major factual inaccuracies and false statements which the Company considers defamatory.” European Equities

They then went on to claim that:

“The Company confirms that in 2013 it achieved revenues of 182.6 million euros, of which 25.4 million euros correspond to GOWEX Telecom and 157.2 correspond to GOWEX Wireless, equity of 94.4 million euros, net cash position of 54.8 million euros and having accrued 10.5 million euros
in income tax.”

On July the 6th Gowex’s president Jenaro Garcia acknowledged the allegations and resigned from his role. On Twitter, Garcia admitted:

“I made the deposition and confession. I want to collaborate with the justice. I face the consecuencies.” @jero_net

Since this announcement, the company has filed for bankruptcy which puts the free WiFi services of San Francisco and New York up in the air.

Image courtesy of Gowex on Google Plus

Freemium Apps Said to Generate 98% of Google Play’s Revenue in May

A study performed by App Annie is said to have revealed in a report that Google Play’s revenue in May was not made from paid applications. With over 1.5 million apps from the store platform, it appears that 98% of the revenue was generated from freemium applications.

The freemium applications, which are ‘free’ to download and play, but also provide ‘premium’ content which users can buy with real money, have proven to be the ‘gold mine’ for Google’s store platform. However, the reports also show that the majority of downloads from the store registered in May also indicated a decrease in freemium apps and an increase in free (no strings attached) applications.

App Annie apparently did not state the revenue spike from freemium apps in the given months, however downloads from previous months followed by content purchase later on might explain it since 90% of the revenue during the first quarter reportedly came from games.

The use of premium content inside games has been criticised for some time now, having gamers with more money be given an advantage over gamers who do not wish to invest in such applications. Nevertheless, data gathered by App Annie shows that while the jury decides whether or not freemium apps are unethical or not, the apps are currently deemed as commercially successful.

The study shows that the average application downloaded from Google Play earns roughly $1,150, while Apple’s App Store brings a figure of $4,000, followed by Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store bringing in only $625. Though there is a considerable gap between Apple and Google’s earnings, it is said that Google is quickly gaining some ground in markets from Asia, Russia, Mexico and Brazil.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Mashable

Can Bitcoin Be Taxed? The IRS Seems Clueless

How do we define Bitcoin? Is it a commodity, an asset, a currency? It seems that opinions are different everywhere you look. For example, a federal judge considers Bitcoin as a currency, while the Internal Revenue Service has not decided upon adopting it as an actual currency.

“The IRS is aware of the potential tax-compliance risks posed by virtual currencies,” the tax agency said in a statement to the National Journal . “The IRS continues to study virtual currencies and intends to provide some guidance on the tax consequences of virtual-currency transactions.”

Bitcoin is undoubtedly becoming more and more appreciated by retailers such as Tiger Direct and Overstock.com, and for good reasons too! Take Overstock.com for example and its $126,000 income on the first day of accepting Bitcoin as a payment method. Even hotels from Los Vegas started to embrace the well-known cryptocurrency.

However, the IRS has a massive incentive to create a proper tax regime for the Bitcoin. Without a system in place, the agency would be losing out on potentially millions in tax revenue. Until a proper tax system is put in place, one accountant recommends reporting the earnings of converting Bitcoin to cash as capital gains.

“If you made a best effort, added and documented your process, that if the IRS were to question it, it most likely would be allowable,” said Janet Lee Krochman, a chartered accountant in Southern California, to the National Journal.

As soon as there will be a clear decision on how the IRS will handle Bitcoin profit, other countries are said to be keen on following their decision. It appears that not too long ago, Canadian authorities have declared that Bitcoin is not a legal tender, complicating things for users in a country that is home to the world’s second-largest userbase of the cryptocurrency.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information

AMD’s Revenue Propels By 38% At The End Of Q4 2013, $1.59 Billion Recorded

AMD has related its financial situation today at the Q4 2013 Earnings Conference, where they have detailed their milestones, earnings and overview of their company’s financial situation. They have stated that they were successful in executing their “3 step strategic turnaround”, which ultimately lead to “transform” AMD.

According to AMD’s officials, they have accelerated their business growth during the 2013 year, leading to profit growth in the second half of 2013 by diversifying their product range from semi-custom SoCs, ARM and all the way to the PC component market.

In Q4, AMD reported a $1.59 billion revenue, a 9% sequential increase and 38% annual increase since 2012. They have also exceeded the goal for the semi-customed and embedded market with a 20% revenue growth in this sphere for the Q4 2013, ultimately leading to their expectations of reaching a 50% increase in revenue by 2015.

The embedded and semi-customed market propelled the business in Q4, where the demand for Sony and Microsoft had been met and both companies combined sold and estimate of 7 million next-gen consoles in less than 2 months (double than the previous number of consoles sold in their first quarter).

In terms of graphics solutions, AMD pointed to an excellent year in growth revenue, pointing to the dual FirePro graphics solution inside Apple’s Mac Pro. Though, the R7 and R9 chips have also been brought up, where they related a sequential increase in revenue from the chip demands, which they are expected to see in 2014 as well.

APUs and FX CPUs have also seen a steady increase during the third and all the way to the fourth quarter of 2013, having the launch of the Kaveri chipset market as a turning point and an exponential increase in revenue. AMD is aiming to provide a performance oriented solution at a reasonable price, having mentioned the A8 and A10 series of Kaveri CPUs as the best alternative to other competitors, which we mainly think is Intel’s Haswell.

The hardest part comes last, where AMD is aware of the 2013 decrease in the PC market, which they felt as well, and are continuing to cautiously approach it during 2014. They have predicted a slight decrease in 2014 as well and have stated to tackle the decrease quarter by quarter, while managing their expansion into other areas where AMD is not strongly represented to compensate their estimated loss in the PC sphere this year.

All in all, AMD has been keeping in on the green last year, and are going to do the same in 2014 by getting more involved in the semi-customed SoC, embedded and ARM markets.

Most Chinese Gamers Are Still Playing On PCs

A report points out that most Chinese gamers still play on PC and not consoles or mobile devices as most gamers all around the world do. China’s video game industry is worth around $13 billion, which represents a 40% increase over the past 12 months.

Breaking the figures down, we see that 64% of the total, $8.7 billion in revenue, was made through client-based PC games, taking up the majority of the gaming market. Aside from PC games, browser games also gained a fairly large amount, namely $2 billion, followed by mobile games with $1.8 billion, and on last place we see social games, with less than $1 billion in revenue. Though the mobile games industry is fairly small, a lot of focus has been placed on it, and investments are being made in developing mobile games.

Companies that received a considerable amount of money to expand its mobile development includes Tencent (for WeChat), Chukong, and Yodo1. But developers are still struggling to figure how to distribute and monetize mobile games, while more than 500 million iOS and Android devices roam the streets of China, and the number is expected to increase to 800 million this year. The top-grossing Android games on the market are reported to generate between $5 million to $10 million each month.

Many developers are focusing on HTML5 for mobile games due to it being supported on all mobile operating systems, and therefore grasping a wider audience. But although the list of top developers in China is still dominated by foreign companies such as Electronic Arts, Gameloft and Glu, Chinese developers are catching up, having a 30% (or $7.8 billion in revenue) increase each year.

Thank you Techcrunch for providing us with this information

Bitcoin Currency To Be Accepted By Overstock.com In 2014

The CEO stated for The Financial Times that Overstock.com is thinking of accepting Bitcoin as payment in 2014. Apparently the retailer has the ambition to become the first major online retailer to accept the digital currency. No other major retailer has announced a similar plan yet. However, the retailer doesn’t expect to start accepting Bitcoin until the second half of 2014.

This announcement comes just days after a major shakeup in the Bitcoin ecosystem as China’s largest BTC exchange stopped accepting deposits in Chinese yuan, causing Bitcoin’s monetary value to drop 50% in a few hours. Overstock had over $1 billion in revenue last year and the company trades on NASDAQ and its stock price is up 109.29% on the year. The news about accepting Bitcoin caused the shares to rise 7.77% on the day it was announced.

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne stated that a healthy monetary system isn’t based off of an upside pyramid or government official, therefore Bitcoin fits that bill. Byrne stated that when Overstock starts accepting Bitcoin, the retailer would bank the digital currency in the event derivatives are increasing in popularity. If offshoots fail to gain steam, Overstock would transfer the Bitcoins into dollars on a daily basis, essentially day trading the Bitcoin income.

Early 2013 saw a number of retailers have moved to accept Bitcoin as payment with OkCupid, Namecheap and Humble Bundle among the list. Charities are also latching onto the digital currency since it lacks fees usually associated with monetary donations. If Overstock follows through with its plan, it would be come the largest U.S.-based retailer to accept Bitcoins.

Thank you TechCruch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of businessinsider.com

Facebook Exceeds Expectations With 874 Million Monthly Mobile Users

Due to mobile advertising, Facebook’s growth in Q2 substantially increased and continued to climb up and over the 1 Billion target. Moreover, the social network’s Analysts had their expectations exceeded with over $2.02 Billion in revenue for the Q3, 2013.

The key things to point out in Facebook’s growth are:

  • September averaged 728 million, a 25% increase year-over-year, with monthly active users up to 1.19 Billion
  • Mobile check-ins grew to 874 million monthly, a 45% year-over-year increase, and 507 million daily users compared to 819 million and 469 million for those sectors during Q2
  • Ads on users’ daily drivers accounted for 49% of all ad revenue in Q3 2013 compared to 41% last quarter
  • Revenue from ads on the whole is up 66% from Q3 2012 totaling $1.8 billion
  • Net income is at $425 million in this year’s Q3 in comparison to the net loss of $59 million the outfit saw during Q3 2012

These numbers show that the gap between mobile and total active users continues to draw closer with each passing three-month period as Facebook continues the mobile push and social media increasingly becomes a chore for handsets and tablets on-the-go.

If the current pattern holds, the fourth quarter report could show that over half of the outfit’s revenue is coming from mobile advertising, especially with Instagram ads on the way shortly for its 150 million monthly active users.

“The strong results we achieved this quarter show that we’re prepared for the next phase of our company, as we work to bring the next five billion people online and into the knowledge economy,” said founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. He also stated that 48 percent of daily Facebook users log-in on mobile which lends a big hand to those mobile ad numbers.

Facebook also shifts dedication to improving ads as the company focuses on “making money to make better services”. COO Sheryl Sandberg mentioned that Facebook and Instagram users spend more of their time on those two social networks on mobile, more specifically one user in every five minutes, than other popular streams like YouTube, Tumblr, Pandora and others combined in the US.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information.