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The Verge

Apple is reportedly canceling some Arcade contracts to focus on ‘engagement’


Earlier this year, Apple reportedly canceled several contracts for games that were set to launch on Arcade, the company’s game subscription service known for its library of high-quality titles that don’t have ads or in-app purchases. It allegedly canceled each of them for the same reason: Apple wants new games that will keep players coming back to the service.

A report from Bloomberg notes that an Arcade executive told some developers who were on contract that Apple is seeking out games that have a high level of “engagement,” as it was put by one of the publication’s sources. For developers wondering where Apple’s bar for engagement currently lies, the report mentions that an Apple Arcade representative cited Grindstone, Capybara Games’ charming, multilevel puzzler, as a model example. Read More

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Engadget

Apple is reportedly canceling Arcade games that won’t keep players hooked


A move like this would make sense. Arcade’s business model revolves around people subscribing to get continuous access to (hopefully) quality games free of in-app purchases and ads. If games finish too soon or simply don’t keep people interested after the initial rush, they may not wait to see if there will be more interesting games in the pipeline. It’s not clear how well Arcade is doing at this point, although the addition of another trial month led some to speculate that demand wasn’t as strong as initially hoped. Read More

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The Next Web

Microsoft will reportedly reveal cheaper ‘Xbox Series S’ in August

For almost as long as we’ve known about the Xbox Series X – even back when it was called Project Scarlett — we’ve also heard rumors of a second next-gen console codenamed ‘Lockhart’. Those rumors seemed to die down when Microsoft unveiled the Series X, only to pick back up again the past few weeks as mounting evidence suggested the company does indeed have a cheaper alternative on the way.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the naming scheme for the company’s last few consoles, the cheaper alternative is expected to be called ‘Xbox Series S. According to Eurogamer, Microsoft plans on unveiling the console in August. The console was originally expected to be revealed at this year’s E3, but you know, coronavirus. Read More

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TechCrunch

After losing Grubhub, Uber reportedly hails Postmates – TechCrunch


Uber has reportedly made an offer to buy food delivery service Postmates, according to The New York Times.

According to the Times, the talks are still ongoing and the deal could fall through.

For those that have been paying attention to Uber, this appetite is not new, albeit consistent. A little over a month ago, the ride-hailing company was reportedly pursuing an acquisition of Grubhub,  another food delivery company. Grubhub was ultimately acquired by Just Eat Takeaway in a $7.3 billion deal, but only after the deal with Uber fell through over a variety of concerns. Read More

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Engadget

Uber is reportedly trying to buy Postmates


It’s no secret as to why Uber might want to buy Postmates. This would expand its food deliveries and help offset tanking demand for its core ridesharing business. It would also counter Just Eat’s acquisition of GrubHub. We’d add that the two companies are political allies — both are trying to thwart California’s gig worker law and keep their couriers as contractors rather than full employees.

For Postmates, a deal might be crucial. The company hasn’t fared as well against its heavyweight rivals, and Uber could either rejuvenate the brand or fold it into Uber Eats. While it wouldn’t be the independent success Postmates might have hoped for, it would be better than falling behind the better-financed competition. Read More

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The Verge

Mercedes-Benz reportedly pulls the plug on its subscription service after poor sales


Mercedes-Benz is suspending its two-year-old subscription service after mediocre sales, Automotive News reports.

Mercedes-Benz USA head of sales Adam Chamberlain described the service as a learning experience that would have been expanded if sales were better. “If the demand would have been unbelievable, then it could have gone further,” Chamberlain told Automotive News last week. “But demand was just OK, so we kept it.”

Mercedes-Benz first rolled out its Collection subscription service in Atlanta in 2018 with the goal of appealing to customers who want to have access to a fleet of fancy cars but don’t necessarily want to own one. The program offered subscribers access to 30 models for a monthly fee, which included insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance, and vehicle maintenance. Read More

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Engadget

Ubisoft reportedly places two VPs on leave as it investigates misconduct


A Twitter thread collecting many of the reports made both anonymously and publicly named many employees including those VPs and others, as well as stories from studios in Paris, Toronto and Montreal. They ranged from harassment and intimidation of women in the workplace, animal abuse, racism, assault and predatory behavior, as well as unwanted approaches followed by retaliation and blacklisting after a rejection.

Earlier in the week Assassin’s Creed creative director Ashraf Ismail announced he would take a leave of absence via a post to a now-deleted Twitter account, saying “I am stepping down from my beloved project to properly deal with the personal issues in my life.” Reports about Ismail centered on inappropriate behavior with fans of the games while misleading them about his marital status. Others named in reports included Dying Light 2 writer Chris Avellone, product and brand marketing manager Andrien Gbinigie, and Stone Chin. Read More

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Engadget

The affordable OnePlus Nord phone will reportedly feature dual selfie cameras


When OnePlus entered the smartphone scene back in 2014, it made a name for itself by building an affordable phone with top-of-the-line internal components. If you could put up with their lackluster cameras, OnePlus phones were some of the best value phones you could buy for a while. But that started to change slowly. Minus the OnePlus X, each subsequent OnePlus phone has cost more than its predecessor. We’re now at the point where the company’s latest flagship, the $899 OnePlus 8 Pro, is only $100 less than the iPhone 11 Pro and Galaxy S20. But that’s about to change as well.  Read More

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The Verge

Amazon is reportedly considering adding live TV to its Prime Video service 


Amazon could be planning to bolster its Prime Video service, which is mostly known for its on-demand video offerings, with live TV, according to a report from Protocol and publicly available job listings. Details are light about what the new live TV services might entail, though the efforts appear to be in their early stages.

One job listing says Amazon is looking for someone who can “redefine how customers watch 24/7 linear broadcast TV content.” That person will also be tasked with “designing the end-to-end customer experience for how customers discover and watch Linear TV content.” (Linear TV is another way to describe live TV, like what you might watch on a broadcast channel.) The Prime Video team is also apparently “building next gen linear catalog systems to provide best-in-class Linear TV experience to Prime Video customers,” says another job listing. Read More

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The Verge

Samsung Blu-ray players reportedly have stopped working but it’s not clear why


Samsung Blu-ray players appear to be malfunctioning for hundreds of users, and no one is sure what the issue is, ZDNet reported. Some users report their Blu-ray players get stuck in an endless reboot loop when they’re switched on, others reported hearing a buzzing noise as if the device is trying to read a disk, but in many cases there’s no disk in the machine.

Some machines are shutting down soon after turning on, and still other users report their devices have become unresponsive to commands and pressing buttons. The issues don’t appear to be confined to one particular model. Read More