Despite all the controversy surrounding CD Projekt Red’s latest title, Cyberpunk 2077 is a hit. In a disclosure spotted by analyst Daniel Ahmad, the studio said it had sold approximately 13 million copies of the game as of December 20th. The estimate factors in sales across every platform, including the PlayStation Network where you currently can’t buy the game, the more than 8 million in pre-orders it accrued before release, as well as refunds processed by both physical and digital retailers.
CD Projekt Red says that it has sold 13 million copies of Cyberpunk through digital and physical distribution channels as of December 20.
This number factors in refunds processed by this point at both retail / digital.
With 13 million units sold, Cyberpunk 2077 generated approximately more than $780 million in revenue in its first 10 days of availability. That puts the game in some exclusive company. Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 made $725 million over its first weekend of availability. As another example, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare grossed $600 million in its first three days.
Typically publishers aren’t candid about sharing sales unless a game is doing well. In Cyberpunk 2077’s case, there’s another motive at play. “The Management Board has decided to disclose the above information in the form of a current report due to its potential impact on investment-related decisions,” the company said. Shortly after Sony pulled the game from PSN, CD Projekt Red’s stock dropped by about 22 percent, tanking the company’s market cap by $1.8 billion. It has since recovered somewhat but that hasn’t stopped investors from considering potential lawsuits. Whether today’s announcement will be enough to mollify those investors, we’ll have to wait and see.
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“I’ve loved walking ever since I was a little girl in the Smoky Mountains,” Parton said in the official Apple press release. “I think it’s so important to be able to get out and walk if we can during this time. I do my best thinking when I walk. And while many of us feel confined during this time, I’m hopeful that people will take a walk down memory lane with me and we can all feel a little more freedom taking the time to walk together.”
“Taking a walk is a great way to clear your mind,” Mendes said in the release. “It’s the most simple thing you can do to calm the body and soul, reflect, and slow down. I hope people get to feel the same sense of calm I do while walking and can bring that to their own experiences.”
Fitness+ subscribers can enjoy Time to Walk episodes on their Apple Watch with AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones. New episodes will automatically appear on the Workout app on Apple Watch and on the Fitness+ tab in the Fitness app on the iPhone. Apple Watch users who use a wheelchair will have access to Time to Push, which automatically starts an Outdoor Wheelchair Walk Pace workout.
Dan Riccio, who has worked as Apple’s senior vice-president of engineering since 2012, is stepping back from leading Apple’s hardware division.
In a recent press release, Apple confirmed that Riccio is working on a mysterious “new project” and will continue to report directly to Tim Cook, its CEO. Riccio has worked on several notable projects, including Apple’s ARM-based M1 processor, the AirPods Max, the iPhone 12 and even the original iMac.
“Working at Apple has been the opportunity of a lifetime, spent making the world’s best products with the most talented people you could imagine,” said Riccio in a recent press release.
“After 23 years of leading our Product Design or Hardware Engineering teams — culminating with our biggest and most ambitious product year ever — it’s the right time for a change. Next up, I’m looking forward to doing what I love most — focusing all my time and energy at Apple on creating something new and wonderful that I couldn’t be more excited about.”
It’s unclear what this new initiative is, but there’s a possibility it could relate to recent rumours surrounding Apple’s long-rumoured AR/VR glasses or possibly its electric car project.
John Ternus will take on Riccio’s former role of senior vice-president of engineering. Ternus has served as Apple’s VP of hardware engineering since 2013 and played a significant role in the release of the first iPad and, more recently, the first-generation AirPods.
It was harder to start a workout on my Apple Watch this morning. Not much harder, maybe just 5% or so, but harder. And a bit more annoying.
Today Apple launched Time to Walk, a podcast series with famous people about walking. It’s included with Apple Fitness+, a subscription service that costs $80/year, and I learned that it launched by not being able to start a walking “workout” the ordinary way on my Apple Watch. Instead of a list of possible workouts in the Apple Watch workout app, there’s now a big “Time to Walk” image with musician Shawn Mendes at the top of the list. The Apple Fitness+ video podcast series will include episodes with Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green, country music legend Dolly Parton, and Emmy award-winning actor Uzo Aduba.
Somewhat disconcerting, when you don’t expect it.
To select the workout you want, of course, you simply have to scroll past it. As I did again at lunchtime for my strength training workout. And as I’ll have to do again this afternoon for another walk. And 10 or 12 more times this week.
Hopefully, if I don’t use it, Time to Walk will go away. But I have no idea if it will or won’t: there’s no option to remove it or delete it.
Big deal? Not really, to be honest.
Unless you’re a podcaster doing fitness-oriented episodes. Or a fitness app competitive to Apple’s Fitness+. Now you’re not only competing with the owner of the platform that you’re delivering your services to (which is hard enough) you are also competing with some aspects of that platform owner’s service mixed in with potential customers’ everyday experience of that service in places most wouldn’t expect.
(At least, I didn’t.)
I think I have Fitness+ for three months free due to purchasing a new Apple Watch. Or I’m on a free one-month trial. Or maybe I bought it. I honestly don’t really remember: I must have hit “Yes” somewhere. (That alone, of course, is another competitive challenge for anyone offering a non-Apple fitness subscription, app, or experience on iPhone: the ability for Apple to just start a service on an iPhone as a result of a hardware purchase, or offer it with a single-click assent.)
Apple says that Time to Walk is “an inspiring new audio walking experience on Apple Watch for Fitness+ subscribers, created to encourage users to walk more often and reap the benefits from one of the healthiest activities.”
That’s great. It really is. I absolutely 100% agree with Apple that walking is therapeutic and healthy. As my mother never fails to remind me, it’s “good for your body and good for your soul.”
For once, Apple agrees with mom.
“Walking is the most popular physical activity in the world, and one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies,” Jay Blahnik, Apple’s senior director of Fitness Technologies, said in a statement. “A walk can often be more than just exercise: It can help clear the mind, solve a problem, or welcome a new perspective.”
But I’d much rather experience it intentionally as the result of a choice.
The way to launch a new service like this is simple: a notification on my phone or watch that Apple has a new service, with details about what it does and where it lives, insight into why Apple is sending this to me (example: “you’re getting this notification because you have the Apple Fitness+ one month free trial”), and how I can ignore it, opt out, or delete it after trying it.
It should not just show up, unannounced, undeletable, unskippable, on my device.
Small detail? OK: you’re not wrong if you think so.
But sometimes the small details are important, especially when you want to maintain a level playing field on your platform, silence the growing monopoly chorus, and simply be user-focused rather than push-all-the-subscriptions focused.
Apple competes with Amazon Halo, Google’s Fitbit premium memberships, Peloton, and dozens if not hundreds of other fitness, wellness, and health services. All of them should compete, as much as possible, on a level playing field. That’s not always 100% possible, but in an ideal world, an Apple service on an iPhone should be as easy to access and use as an Apple service on an Android.
And vice versa.
Again, not totally realistic for plenty of software, hardware, and ecosystem reasons. But certainly an ideal to aim for.
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