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Hitman 3 surpasses its predecessor to claim No.1 | UK Boxed Charts –



The PS5 version accounted for nearly half of the sales

Hitman 3 has taken No.1 in the UK boxed charts, with launch sales up 17% over its predecessor.

Developed and owned by IO Interactive, Hitman 3’s boxed release was handled by Square Enix, the company that previously owned the franchise before letting it go. The last game, 2018’s Hitman 2, was published by Warner Bros.

The PS5 version of the game was by far the dominant edition, accounting for 49% of sales. The Xbox version accounted for 27%, while the PS4 version made up 25%. Of course, this is just physical games, the majority of Hitman 3’s sales will have taken place in the digital download space.

Hitman’s chart-topping debut means that Animal Crossing: New Horizons drops to No.2, although only 800 games separates the two titles. Animal Crossing’s sales dropped 8% week-on-week.

Some new PS5 consoles were released in the market last week, which had a positive impact on a few titles. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is up 161%, jumping from No.12 to No.5, Demon’s Souls re-enters the charts at No.27 with a 291% sales increase, and there were sales bumps for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (up 56% and driven by the PlayStation version) and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (up 7%, but with the PS5 version up 174%). In total, PS5 game sales increased 324% week-on-week.

Another big riser was Ring Fit Adventure. The Nintendo Switch fitness game has frequently jumped up the charts during the pandemic whenever new stock comes into the market. The game rises to No.7 with a 47% sales rise.

Here is the GfK Top Ten for the week ending January 23rd:

Last Week This Week Title
New Entry 1 Hitman 3
1 2 Animal Crossing: New Horizons
2 3 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
12 4 Spider-Man: Miles MoralesCall of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
7 5 Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
4 6 Grand Theft Auto 5
10 7 Ring Fit Adventure
3 8 Just Dance 2021
5 9 Minecraft (Switch)
6 10 FIFA 21

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Instagram Launches Live Rooms for Multiplayer Livestreams – Tatler Hong Kong



As social media platforms race forward to fill the physical gaps left behind in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and our year of quarantine and distancing, today Instagram announced the launch of Instagram Live Rooms—an enhanced and expanded Instagram Live where up to four guests can converse onscreen in a livestream, broadcast to their followers and the world.

“We hope that doubling up on Live will open up more creative opportunities—start a talk show, host a jam session or co-create with other artists, host more engaging Q&As or tutorials with your following, or just hang out with more of your friends,” the announcement reads.

Over the past few weeks, as audio group chat platform Clubhouse climbed towards and surpassed a US$1 billion valuation, other social media platforms have unleashed a spate of community-orientated features. Last week, Twitter unveiled its plans for both “Super Follows,” gated paid content, and communities, a to-be-clarified function that industry experts predict will be “a more private and more controlled way for communities to get together on Twitter outside the public view,” according to Recode

On Instagram, Live Rooms will allow a room initiator to invite up to three additional guests to share the stage, and livestream viewers will be able to buy “badges” for the hosts. Hosts will also have access to live shopping and fundraiser tools, and the platform promises to explore moderator controls (it works great on Clubhouse) and additional audio features.

Related: The Best Instagram Bakeries and Cake Shops in Hong Kong

“We want Instagram to be the best place for creators to have meaningful conversations with their audiences and each other, and we designed this new update with safety in mind,” the announcement reads.

As for the moderation tool: “People that are blocked by any of the active participants in the Live Room will not be able to join the Live. Guests who have had live access revoked because of violations of our Community Guidelines also won’t be able to join a Live Room. Features that are currently available to Live hosts, such as the ability to report and block comments, and apply comment filters will also be available to hosts of Live Rooms.”

To activate a live room with up to four participants, user should initiate lives and tap to add speakers and guests from their followers list. The app will notify all speakers’ followers, making multiplayer livestreams “a great way to increase your reach,” according to Instagram.

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New Reports Are Swirling About A Leaked ‘Elden Ring’ Trailer – Forbes



Elden Ring has become one of those games—a sort of temporary Half-Life 3, the game everyone wants to see at every show but that always seems to elude it. Just the other day, Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg shot down a rumor that we’d be seeing it at an upcoming show, but now there are once again reports circulating that we might see it soon, and these seem credible.

A recent report from Andy Robinson at VGC says that there is a trailer out there being circulated online, and that he has seen it. VGC couldn’t post the trailer due to legal reasons, but you can read a description at the link. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier echoed the legitimacy of the leak, saying that it was tangible evidence that we’d see something about the game soon.

I don’t expect this game to be Half-Life 3 by a long shot. It was first revealed in 2019, and while that is a long time ago from a certain perspective, we’ve all seen projects stuck in hell for much longer than that, and there’s no reason to think that this is going to be some decade-long project. From Software has historically had a remarkably quick cadence for a developer with an auteur reputation, which has led to this wait feeling exceptionally long. But we are far from despair territory, and my guess is that we’re going to see an update sometime around not-E3 in the summer, or maybe sooner.

With all this stuff—Elden Ring, Breath of the Wild 2, God of War Ragnarok or whatever, it’s important to keep one important thing in mind: we are in the middle of a crippling pandemic of historic, Earth-shattering proportions, and this does affect video games, as well. The transition to work-from-home has affected all studios differently, but it has likely affected large projects more. So it’s worth assuming that everything is delayed, even if we had never heard a release date in the past.

The VGC report suggests that From has indeed struggled with COVID-19-relaed disruptions, just like we all have. So who knows: maybe it was once scheduled to come out in Holiday 2020, or maybe even earlier. That’s looking less likely at this point, just like it is for a lot of games. We didn’t really see the impact of COVID-19 as much last year, because we were seeing the release of projects primarily developed before the crisis settled in. This is the year when the chickens come home to roost, however, as we’ve already seen from a ton of delays. And we’re going to see more.

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Canada's executives flock to emerging audio app Clubhouse, but long-term appeal unclear – Business News –



When earnings season rolls around, Duncan Fulton spends days preparing for calls with media, analysts and investors, but hardly ever gets a chance to deliver his messages directly to the people who frequent his Tim Hortons coffee shops or Popeyes drive-thrus.

That changed in February when the chief corporate officer of Restaurant Brands International joined chief executive Jose Cil on Clubhouse — an emerging audio platform that gives anyone with an iPhone and an app the ability to host and access discussions on every topic imaginable.

“It’s like reimagined talk radio with calls, but we are the producer,” said Fulton, who hosted an “open kitchen” talk the day after RBI released its latest quarterly earnings.

“Our guests don’t care about our adjusted EBITDA. They care about real stuff, about our food, our brands, and so we said, ‘Why don’t we use Clubhouse?'”

Fulton and Cil are the latest Canadian executives to turn to the app started by San Francisco serial entrepreneurs Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth last spring as a new way to host public conversations.

As COVID-19 spread throughout the globe and lockdowns kept millions of people at home, executives from top venture capital and tech firms began to jockey for access to the invite-only audio platform.

By the start of 2021, hundreds of business leaders and other Canadians had joined Clubhouse, which has offered increasing numbers of invites since late last year.

Members have been able to hear SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discuss whether he believes in aliens, Shopify executives Tobi Lutke and Harley Finkelstein wax poetic about entrepreneurship and Wattpad founder Allen Lau talk about his recent decision to sell the company.

“It’s really democratizing corporate Canada and corporate America in a way,” says Fulton, “because normally consumers wouldn’t get this access to senior business leaders.”

He pitched a Clubhouse talk to Cil after being introduced to the platform by Ottawa restaurateur Stephen Beckta, who got his invite from Finkelstein.

After dipping into music conversations, Fulton found he liked the exploratory nature of the platform and that moderators have control over who can speak and when.

“If you’re a business leader that wants the safety of not taking questions, you can still go on there, share your views, and there’s lots of people that are happy to not participate, not ask questions and just listen,” he said.

Richard Lachman, a digital media professor at Ryerson University, agreed the platform can be helpful for executives wanting to manage their image, but said users will quickly drop out of conversations if a speaker is boring them or recognize when someone is too scripted.

Though executives go through media training, he said a few “embarrassments” will likely arise on the app if people don’t know how to respond to “aggressive” questions or can’t kick someone out of a discussion fast enough.

While the app doesn’t overtly market itself as private, its invite-only nature has built a casual atmosphere, even as its userbase grows.

Clubhouse did not respond to a request for comment, but has a “rule” banning transcribing, recording or sharing personal information heard on the app. The company recently removed a bot it found sneaking into discussions to restream them to people without the app.

Still, a quick search on social media reveals dozens of recordings and quotes from the app available online.

Prominent venture capitalists faced criticism last year when audio leaked of them ridiculing New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz and complaining that so-called cancel culture — sometimes described as withdrawing support for someone caught misbehaving or using outmoded language and expressions — had gone too far.

There have also been privacy complaints from users who opted not to give the app access to their contact lists, but say it is detecting their sign-ups and alerting friends whose numbers they have stored.

Once on the app, some users reported they stumbled upon misogyny and racism in discussions, despite rules against abuse and bullying and a feature to report problematic users.

“Some of the challenges (Clubhouse) is facing is that this content is very unmoderated and we are not in 2003 in (Facebook founder) Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room, pretending that anything we make we know where it’ll go and we’ll just let the market figure it out,” said Lachman.

“We know what might happen. Online spaces can be incredibly toxic, they can be harsh and we know that things can be taken out context very quickly and easily duplicated on other platforms.”

Despite the issues, Deepak Anand, chief executive of medical cannabis company Materia Ventures, joined the app. He hosts several pot discussions on it every week, but is careful in his approach.

He doesn’t share anything on Clubhouse he wouldn’t be comfortable with if it were leaked, but has seen several instances of people not realizing how public the app is.

“People generally like to share more than they normally would on the platform because it’s easy to get carried away and it almost seems like you’re having a conversation with friends,” he said.

Among the positives, Anand saysClubhouse has helped him discover new ways to network while stuck at home during the pandemic and increased his social media followers.

He’s unsure the app will continue to be his go-to because a competitor, Twitter Spaces, has caught his eye.

Tech Crunch reported that users who mined Twitter’s coding have found Spaces, which is still in pilot mode, experimenting with ways to embed tweets into discussions, offer transcription for users with disabilities and enhance blocking capabilities.

Facebook is said to be developing a similar platform, but hasn’t formally released any details.

The number of emerging audio apps and the flood of new Clubhouse users will make it even tougher for executives to stand out, Lachman predicted.

“This might have value right now, but in a year or two from now, that might get lost.”

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