Google will lose $50 million or more in 2018 from Fortnite bypassing the Play Store - Canadanewsmedia
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Google will lose $50 million or more in 2018 from Fortnite bypassing the Play Store

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When Fortnite Battle Royale launched on Android, it made an unusual choice: it bypassed Google Play in favor of offering the game directly from Epic Games’ own website. Most apps and games don’t have the luxury of making this choice – the built-in distribution Google Play offers is critical to their business. But Epic Games believes its game is popular enough and has a strong enough draw to bring players to its website for the Android download instead. In the process, it’s costing Google around $50 million this year in platform fees, according to a new report.

As of its Android launch date, Fortnite had grossed over $180 million on iOS devices, where it had been exclusively available since launching as an invite-only beta on March 15th, before later expanding to all App Store customers.

According to data from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the game has earned Apple more than $54 million thanks to its 30 percent cut of all the in-app spending that takes place on apps distributed in its store.

That’s money Epic Games isn’t apparently willing to give up to Google, when there’s another way.

Unlike Apple, which only allows apps to be downloaded from its own storefront, Google’s platform is more open. There’s a way to adjust an Android device’s settings to download apps and games from anywhere on the web. Of course, by doing so, users are exposed to more security risks, malware infections, and other malicious attacks.

For those reasons, security researchers are saying that Epic Games’ decision sets a dangerous precedent by encouraging people to remove the default security protections from their devices. They’re also concerned that users who look for the game on Google Play could be fooled into downloading suspicious copycat apps that may be trying to take advantage of Fortnite’s absence to scam mobile users.

Google seems to be worried about that, too.

For the first time ever, the company is informing Google Play users that a game is not available for download.

Now, when users search for things like “Fortnite” or “Fortnite Battle Royale,” Google Play will respond that the app is “not available on Google Play.” (One has to wonder if Google’s misspelling of “Royale” as “Royal” in its message was a little eff u to the gamemakers, or just a bit of incompetence.)

In any event, it’s an unusual response on Google’s part – and one it can believably claim was done to serve users as well as protect them from any potential scam apps.

However, the message could lead to some pressure on Epic Games, too. It could encourage consumer complaints from those who want to more easily (or more safely) download the game, as well as from those who don’t understand there’s an alternative method or are confused about how that method works.

In addition, Google is serving up the also hugely popular PUBG Mobile at the top of Fortnite search results followed by other games. In doing so, it’s sending users to another game that can easily eat up users’ time and attention.

For Google, the move by Epic Games is likely troubling, as it could prompt other large games to do the same. While one odd move by Epic Games won’t be a make or break situation for Google Play revenue (which always lags iOS), if it became the norm, Google’s losses could climb.

At present, Google is missing out on millions that will now go directly to the game publisher itself.

Over the rest of 2018, Sensor Tower believes Fortnite will have gained at least $50 million in revenues that would otherwise have been paid out to Google.

The firm expects that when Fortnite rolls out to all supported Android devices, its launch revenue on the platform will closely resemble the first several months of Apple App Store player spending.

It may even surpass it, given the game’s popularity continues growing and the standalone download allows it to reach players in countries where Google Play isn’t available.

Meanwhile, there have been concerns that the download makes it more difficult on users with older Android devices to access the game, because the process for sideloading apps isn’t as straightforward. But Sensor Tower says this will not have a large enough impact to affect Fortnite’s revenue potential in the long run.

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UK company to turn out 499 fully electric '67 Ford Mustangs

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A U.K. company plans to produce a limited-edition run of fully-electric sports cars, built using officially licensed body shells of Ford Mustang fastbacks and convertibles from the 1960s.

…yeah, this one’s unlikely to go down well…

Though each of the 499 Mustangs built by Charge Automotive will ‘preserve the classic design and styling’ of the ‘60s original, the rumbling V8 will make way for a 60-kWh battery pack that powers an as-of-yet unspecified electric motor (or motors), the combined power of which will be 300 kW – around 402-hp – and a sizeable 885-lb ft of torque.

That’s more than 130 hp more than even the V8-engined first-generation Shelby Mustang GT350 turned out, and enough to propel the Charge Car newboy from zero to 100 km/h in an eyelash over three seconds.

That’s pretty impressive, given the theoretical electric range is a solid 200 km.

Details on the interior are also fairly thin on the ground. Charge Cars has confirmed, though, that each Mustang will feature ‘state-of-the-art components and a personalised digital interface’, the latter of which, as suggested by the teaser video, seemingly controls everything.

In terms of the credentials, Charge Cars’ engineers, according to the London-based firm’s official website, have contributed to various projects with Williams F1, McLaren and Jaguar Land Rover, while the company has apparently developed close working relationships with Michelin, EV technology and Roborace.

So, let’s just get this straight: Charge Cars has collaborated with the developers of the world’s first driver-less motor racing series to create a ‘60s muscle car without internal combustion or any form of mechanical driving engagement, has replaced the Mustang badge on the grille with its own ‘cross’ emblem, and will be charging £200,000 (around $335,000) – about the same as a Tesla Roadster – for one of only 499 examples that, presumably, will not be able to replicate that stonking V8 soundtrack.

Right. Well. Best of luck on Twitter, guys…

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First Look: 2020 Toyota Corolla

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CARMEL, Calif. — Come for the meal, stay for the show. That is literally what happened during the launch for Toyota’s new 2019 RAV4 — more on that next week — by surprising all in attendance and pulling the covers off the brand-new 2020 Corolla sedan.

This is “take two” for the 12th-generation Corolla; the new Hatchback arrived earlier this year and now comes the sedan, the Corolla’s best-selling body style. Both cars are based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform.

Far more dramatically styled, the new Corolla sedan has the same 2,700-millimetre wheelbase as its predecessor, yet any commonality ends there. The 2020 model brings with it a wider front and rear track by 11 and 22 millimetres, respectively. The front overhang is shortened by 33 millimetres and the rear extended by more than 15. Height is reduced by 20 millimetres and the hood is lowered another 35 for better forward visibility, made possible by a lower mounting of the engine. Those changes, plus others, reduce the car’s centre of gravity by 20 millimetres.

The sedan’s stronger front fascia varies by model grade, with the SE and XSE putting on the sportiest faces, including a body-colour chin spoiler and aero-stabilizing fins. The slim, J-shaped “bi-beam” LED headlamps wrap deeply into the front fenders. The SE and XSE trims also use triple J-shaped clearance lamps with LED light guides, along with LED turn signals. At the rear, narrow combination lamps that wrap deeply into the fenders.

For the first time, 18-inch wheels are on the menu, available on the SE and XSE. The LE rides on 16-inch steel wheels with covers. The XLE grade gets new 16-inch alloy wheels. A new multi-link independent rear suspension replaces the old torsion-beam setup used in the previous model.

L, LE, and XLE models will be powered by the same 1.8-litre four-cylinder found in the outgoing Corolla, yet with more horsepower and better fuel efficiency. XSE and SE models get the same 169-horsepower, 2.0-litre direct-injected four-cylinder engine found in the new Hatchback. A hybrid model is coming, set to debut at the L.A. Auto Show later this month.

The new Direct-Shift continuously variable transmission now comes with the more direct driving feel of a traditional geared automatic, thanks to a physical first gear used for start-off acceleration, before handing off to the CVT’s pulley system. Because the launch gear is handling the higher input load at launch, the size of the CVT’s belt and pulley components are reduced, yielding shifting speeds that are 20 percent faster than in a conventional CVT. The Direct-Shift CVT also has simulated 10-speed sequential steps, along with a sport mode. Dedicated followers of manual shifters will be pleased to find the 2020 Corolla sedan offers an all-new “intelligent” six-speed manual, complete with downshift rev-matching control. Standard hill-start assist — also on the CVT models — helps prevent rollback when starting off on an incline.

Inside the cabin, a new and slimmer instrument panel features a high-resolution eight-inch touchscreen for the standard Entune 3.0 infotainment on all trim levels — except the base L, which gets a seven-inch touchscreen. The centre stack screen provides access to vehicle settings, audio controls, navigation, and Entune 3.0 apps. Climate controls are located below the multimedia portal. Compared with the previous Corolla, the instrument panel, cowl, hood and beltline height are all lowered to increase visibility and create a more open feel.

2020 Toyota Corolla

2020 Toyota Corolla

The Corolla comes standard with a 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster, while a seven-inch display is available. With the larger display, the driver can switch between analogue and digital speedometer styles. The top-of-the-line Entune 3.0 Audio Premium package that’s optional on XSE and XLE trims includes a JBL nine-speaker, 800-watt system with Clari-Fi, Dynamic Voice Recognition, Dynamic Navigation, Dynamic Points of Interest Search and Destination Assist Connect.

Pricing information on the 2020 Corolla sedan will be announced closer to the car’s launch date next year.

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Facebook Suggests The Switch to Android From iPhones Was Purely on Merit, Not a Tiff With Tim Cook

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Facebook said Zuckerberg’s disagreement with Cook is only over the business model.

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Updated:November 16, 2018, 8:32 AM IST

Facebook Suggests The Switch to Android From iPhones Was Purely on Merit, Not a Tiff With Tim Cook

Facebook said Zuckerberg’s disagreement with Cook is only over the business model.

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Dismissing a media report that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ordered his management team to use only Android phones after his tiff with Apple CEO Tim Cook, the social media network on Thursday said the decision to use Android is because it is the most popular operating system in the world. The New York Times on Wednesday said that “after Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, quipped in an interview that his company did not traffic in personal data, Mr. Zuckerberg ordered his management team to use only Android phones”.

In a statement on Thursday, Facebook said Zuckerberg’s disagreement with Cook is only over the business model. “Tim Cook has consistently criticised our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So there’s been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us,” Facebook said.
“And we’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world,” the social networking giant added. In a Recode and MSNBC interview in March this year, Cook had called for increased regulation of social media, and questioned the practice of monetising user data on free platforms by selling ads that allow advertisers to target specific groups.
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The Apple CEO was asked how he would handle the crisis Facebook is facing. “I wouldn’t be in this situation,” he said.
“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetised our customer… If our customer was our product,… We’ve elected not to do that.” Reacting to Cook’s remarks, Zuckerberg had said his remarks about the social networking giant were “extremely glib”. Zuckerberg said that Facebook remains free to use because it’s focused on connecting people and many people can’t afford to pay, therefore, “having an advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people”.

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