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Engadget

PS4 game sales almost doubled during the pandemic


“Although factors such as constraints due to employees working from home and restrictions on international travel remain, necessary measures are being taken and preparations are underway with the launch of the console scheduled for the 2020 holiday season,” Sony told investors in its earnings report today.

Still, gaming was a bright spot for Sony this quarter. The division raked in sales of 606 billion yen (roughly $5.7 billion) during the quarter, up from 457 billion (roughly $4.3 billion) during the same period last year. Almost every other part of Sony’s business, including TVs, smartphones, cameras and movies saw a year-over-year decline. The quarter wasn’t abysmal for Sony, though. The company’s overall sales were 1.97 trillion (roughly $18.6 billion) for the quarter, up from 1.92 trillion (roughly $18.1 billion) last year. Operating income, however, was 228 billion (roughly $2.15 billion), down from 230 billion (roughly $2.18 billion) during the same quarter last year. Read More

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The Verge

PS4 software sales spike during the pandemic


The PlayStation 4 era may be winding down, but people are playing their consoles more than ever at home. Sony just announced as part of its first-quarter earnings that despite a 22 percent decrease in sales of hardware and packaged games, digital software sales are up 83 percent year-on-year, bringing in revenue of 395 trillion yen ($3.72 billion).

At 599 trillion yen ($5.65 billion), total PlayStation revenue was 36 percent higher than the same period last year and was the highest for any April-June quarter in PlayStation history. More than 112 million PS4 consoles have now been shipped worldwide, and Sony has nearly 45 million PlayStation Plus subscribers. Read More

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VentureBeat

Grand Theft Auto V hits 135 million sold as spending surges during pandemic


Take-Two announced today during its latest earnings report that Grand Theft Auto V has now sold over 135 million copies.

That number was at 130 million when Take-Two reported it in May during the previous earnings report. That means that GTAV has sold another 5 copies in the three months since then. Bored, quarantined gamers looking for something to do helped give the game a boost, as they have been doing for much of the industry during the pandemic.

In fact, GTAV sold more copies during this latest financial quarter than in that same period in any year since its 2013 launch. Read More

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Wired

What Poetry Means for Doctors and Patients During a Pandemic


When Rafael Campo took over as poetry editor at The Journal of the American Medical Association a little over a year ago, he wasn’t expecting to field quite so many submissions. (Yes, in between case reports and clinical trial results, JAMA publishes original poetry in every issue.) Some of the poems are charming and poignant, like this excerpt from one in a recent issue, about surviving quarantine with a significant other:

Even though a kiss carries more than we know

Even with this

Still will I wish Read More

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Wired

The Pandemic Put Amazon in a Prime Position


MC: That is charmingly esoteric.

LG: These are all really small items, though. And I had them delivered because we’re living in a pandemic. And should I feel weird about that?

MC: Well, we are going to talk about that very issue right now on Gadget Lab.

[Gadget Lab intro theme music]

MC: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I am Michael Calore, a senior editor at WIRED, and I am joined remotely by my cohost, WIRED senior writer Lauren Goode.

LG: Hello. I’m an orderer of esoteric things on Amazon.com. Read More

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Engadget

‘League of Legends’ championship will start in Shanghai despite pandemic


The company is clearly following the practices of conventional sports that have relied on limited travel and virtual fans to minimize the risk of infections, but that also means it shares some of the same issues. While a single city reduces travel, it doesn’t eliminate travel — teams will have to fly across the planet to participate. There are also no mentions of whether or not teams will live in a “bubble,” how often they’ll be tested for COVID-19, or what happens if players get sick. Read More

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VentureBeat

Niko Partners: Esports generated $519 million in Asia in 2019, growth continues in pandemic


Esports generated $519 million in revenue in 2019 in Asia, making it the No. 1 region in the world for such revenue, according to a report by market researcher Niko Partners. The growth continues in 2020 despite the pandemic, though Niko does not have a specific forecast for this year.

Overall, Niko found that Asia generated nearly half of all global esports revenue in 2019, hosting big events like Riot Games’ League of Legends Championships. Niko said that there are 510 million esports fans (defined as those who watch at least once a month) in Asia, with 595 million esports players. Mobile esports games in Asia generated $13.3 billion in 2019, 68% of global mobile esports games revenue. Read More

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The Verge

Amazon doubled its profit during a pandemic


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos warned investors earlier this year that they might want to take a seat and prepare for a possible loss in Q2, as the company planned to spend $4 billion — all of its expected Q2 operating profit — on COVID 19-related expenses. Amazon projected a potential loss of $1.5 billion this quarter. But with the end of Q2 now behind us, Amazon shared its quarterly results, and they’re quite the opposite of gloomy.

Despite the pandemic, Amazon doubled its net profit year over year to $5.2 billion, compared to $2.6 billion at this time in 2019. This impressive figure comes after the company spent over $4 billion on what Bezos describes as “incremental COVID-19 related costs in the quarter to help keep employees safe and deliver products to customers,” suggesting profit could have more than doubled if not for those expenses. Read More

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Engadget

Alphabet saw its revenue dip due to the pandemic


Though advertising money pretty much disappeared everywhere, Google still made money from its Cloud products. “Customers are choosing Google Cloud to either lower their costs by improving operating efficiency, or to drive innovation through digital transformation,” Pichai said. The shift to working from home also led to a growth in use of Google’s cloud services. The company saw a number of large customers come on to cloud, he said, pointing to “big telco deals and banking deals” and Deutsche Bank as a few examples. Read More

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The Verge

In the pandemic economy, tech companies are raking it in


From a pure entertainment perspective, I am genuinely sorry that the House’s antitrust hearing targeting the big four tech companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — took place Wednesday instead of next week. Because literally a day after a meeting attempting to determine if Big Tech was too big, three of the four companies in the hearing got bigger. (Google’s parent company, Alphabet, had a decline in revenue of about 2 percent, mostly due to a decline in search ads — but this was still better than analysts predicted.) Read More