• Google’s Stadia game service is officially coming november: Everything you need to know
    Users want to experience games the same way they enjoy other kinds of entertainment, with instant access to a variety of options. That’s why console makers and game publishers are proactively shifting the way that games are sold via a monthly subscription to players. Google’s Stadia is not a Netflix for games but it’s having a big push into cloud-gaming, in which you can play big-budget games on any device at wherever you are.
    While PC gamers often invest over $1,000 for a high-end desktop capable of playing games in 4K, Stadia Pro will offer players the same level of visual quality for $10 per month. Services like Stadia will make it easier for more entry-level gamers to experience AAA gaming titles with premium settings.
    Google’s Stadia marketing seems to be looking to convert console users to use ChromeCast, and YouTube Gaming is probably Stadia’s best asset as discovery method there which can leverage to encourage experimenting with the platform. But it’s unclear whether Google can follow through with the resources to get enough developers to bring their titles to Stadia.
    With the technological breakthroughs of streaming services like Stadia and xCloud, hardcore gaming will gradually become less about how much money you invest in the hardware, it’s more about how much time you invest in the game. (Link)
  • Disney Projected to Top 130 Million Online Video Subscribers in 5 Years
    Disney could win the US streaming war in five years, Morgan Stanley estimates, at the same time predicting that Netflix will still dominate globally. It also projected Disney Plus could have 13 million subscribers by the end of 2020, and Disney could surpass 130 million worldwide subscribers across all its online video services including Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus by 2024, where the number is close to current-day Netflix worldwide subscriber base of 149 million.
    Several companies besides Netflix have jumped into the streaming and original content space in the last few years including Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. Disney is another one who is betting big on its streaming service - Disney Plus, a home base for all things Disney.
    Consumers are spending an estimated $15-20bn per year for movie and TV content which is ultimately headed to Disney Plus. Disney Plus, priced at $7 per month, which is half of Netflix’s standard plan at $13, is set to debut on Nov. 12 in the US to piggyback on the marketing of its big-budget movies for the holiday season. (Link)
  • Amazon sends Alexa developers on quest for ‘holy grail of voice science’
    Amazon introduced Alexa Conversations in developer preview, a deep learning-based way to make Alexa skills with multi-turn dialogue that can interconnect with other Alexa skills. This means Alexa will be able to handle daisy-chained conversations without users constantly having to say a wake word. A demo onstage showed somebody asking for movies that were playing nearby, settle on a film, find showtimes, buy the tickets, find a restaurant nearby and reserve a table, all without ever having to break the flow of her conversation with Alexa. (Link)
  • Fortnite maker Epic acquires social video app Houseparty
    Fortnite’s creator Epic Games has acquired social video-chat app Houseparty, integrating two companies seize on teenagers’ affinity for socializing in intimate groups online. The collaboration with Houseparty could yield a larger female demographic of Fortnite players, meanwhile it gives Houseparty a line into Epic’s expertise at building a massive user base.
    Houseparty could be a good addition for Epic to build social functionality for games that keeps users in the fold, doing away with the need for independent group chat services. Adding a chat component could help Epic compete with the likes of Discord and Steam.
    Social has been an integral piece of Fortnite’s success as a multiplayer battle royale title, and it’s believed the next decade of social media will be characterized not by sharing, but by participating. (Link)
  • Marvel is adapting a number of its iconic comic books into audiobooks
    Audiobook publisher Dreamscape Media has struck a deal with Marvel Entertainment to distribute a few dozen of the Marvel’s iconic comic books as read‐to‐me style audiobooks. Marvel has been increasingly dipping its toe into the waters of audio adaptations in recent years, and this may signal interest in more audio content as the podcast industry has shown consumer interest in the medium. (Link)
  • Spotify advertisers can now target listeners by which podcasts they stream
    Before, advertisers on Spotfy could mainly target Spotify’s free-tier listeners by the music they enjoy — by genre or playlist. Now advertisers will be able to target based on the category of podcast they consume, which is likely going to be much more specific and fruitful for the advertisers. Here, Spotify plans to eventually leverage its growing podcast features to make its ads more valuable and generate more revenue. (Link)
  • BlueStacks will let developers publish their mobile games on Steam
    BlueStacks makes it easy to launch mobile games on PC. The company has released a one-step SDK that lets mobile games developers publish their titles on PC platforms like Steam, and route all in-game transactions through the platform’s Steam Wallet with also access to Steam features such as the Community Hub.
    Mobile developers have been allocating huge budgets to game development. With titles like Lineage 2: Revolution, graphics and gameplay push the limits of what mobile device can do. Which also means mobile games can be competitive on Steam without a lot of modification. Large mobile developers like KOG are working with someone like BlueStacks instead of hiring its own PC-porting teams.
    Game publishers seeking better engagement and higher ARPU found PC gamers as the most loyal and hardcore of any gaming cohort. Now, for them, they can simply focus on their mobile development and BlueStacks SDK will turn it into desktop compatible to potentially reach over 40 million DAU PC gamers on Steam. For PC gamers, this will be a great help to bring bunch of exciting mobile games which not have been available on desktop. (Link)

Portfolio News
  • SpongeBob SquarePants Is The Newest Beauty Influencer
    The HipDot collaboration with SpongeBob line will offer premium beauty products inspired by characters and will feature a palette, blush bronzer, lip glosses, and face masks that play on the iconic colors of the show. (Link)
  • These Influencers Aren’t Flesh and Blood, Yet Millions Follow Them
    Fable Studio, which bills itself as “the virtual beings company,” created Lucy, a cartoonish character able to read and respond to viewers’ reactions in real time. The company says it makes digital creations with whom you can build a two-way emotional relationship. (Link)
  • Japan’s Akatsuki fund plans to invest in India’s vernacular segment
    The Akatsuki Entertainment Technology Fund (AET Fund), a Japanese venture capital fund, is planning five more early-stage investments in the vernacular segment in India with an average ticket size of $500,000, according to the fund’s top executive. The AET fund has made 10 early-stage investments in India since its launch in March. It has invested in startups such as Doubtnut, Planet Superheroes, LBB and Mech Mocha. The fund has a corpus of $50 million for investments in India and the US. (Link)

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