Activision Blizzard lawsuit
Publisher Activision Blizzard is currently embroiled in ongoing litigation in regards to claims reporting a workplace culture that allegedly enabled acts of sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination. Read our Activision Blizzard lawsuit timeline of events for ongoing coverage of the events.
Microsoft has been on something of a buying spree lately, and its latest purchase – of the beleaguered developer Activision Blizzard – has been its most surprising, and controversial, acquisition yet.
It’s not just about the numbers involved, though the all-cash $68.7 billion price tag is certainly eye-catching, or what the implications are about buying a company that’s currently mired in scandal and facing several lawsuits. What’s got a lot of people talking is what the impact of an acquisition of this size will do to the gaming landscape.
Activision Blizzard has a huge library of some of the biggest titles in gaming, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Diablo, and the idea that these franchises could one day be exclusive to Microsoft platforms has got some people worried. The repercussions are already being felt, with Sony’s shares falling after the news.
I personally think that big acquisitions like this are bad for gaming. It reduces competition and consumer choice, especially if Sony and Nintendo follow suit. What we don’t want to end up with is one company owning most of the games developers.
There’s also a feeling that while Nintendo and Sony have grown and developed many of their first party studios organically (while also acquiring third party studios, of course), Microsoft is taking more of a ‘pay to win’ approach by buying up existing studios to help fill in gaps in its first party output, which was pretty dire during the Xbox One days.
While it’s still not clear what impact this move will have on PlayStation and Switch owners, what does this mean for PC gamers – especially those waiting for the Steam Deck handheld console?
What this means for PC gamers
Things are a little more straightforward for PC gamers. As Microsoft is also behind the Windows operating system that powers most of our rigs, it’s pretty likely that even if Microsoft made some of Activision Blizzard’s games exclusive, they would still come to PC.
After all, many of its franchises, like World of Warcraft and Diablo, are either PC-only or have long histories with PC gaming. It would be pretty inconceivable for either of those to stop coming to PC.
So, for many PC gamers, there may not be any immediate changes – barring any distaste for Microsoft’s growing dominance over game developers.
In fact, it may end up being quite positive for PC gamers. For a start, assuming that Activision Blizzard games will be coming to PC Game Pass (Microsoft’s subscription service that, as with Xbox Game Pass, gives you access to a library of games), then that will make the service an even better value for PC gamers who have subscribed.
It could also lead to fewer game launchers as well, as many Activision Blizzard games use the Battle.net launcher. If Microsoft brings those games to the Microsoft Store, and even Steam, it means one less piece of software to install – and that’s always good.
Microsoft has also been doing a commendable job of launching its games on Steam as well, and that could have some very exciting possibilities.
What this means for the Steam Deck
The Steam Deck is a hotly-anticipated handheld game console from Valve, the company behind the Steam store (and games like Half-Life). Essentially a handheld gaming PC, the Steam Deck will allow you to play (hopefully) the majority of your Steam library while on the go.
While Steam has a huge library of games, there are some noticeable absences – particularly many Activision Blizzard games, which are not on the service. So, people wanting to play World of Warcraft on the Steam Deck would have struggled to play the game.
It would be possible, as Valve has said you can replace the Linux-based SteamOS operating system with Windows, which would then allow you to install Battle.net and play World of Warcraft that way. However, if Microsoft does bring more Activision Blizzard games to Steam, it’ll make things even easier – and could potentially make the Steam Deck’s library even larger.
Of course, this may not happen. Microsoft may stick with Battle.net for some titles, or make them exclusive to the Microsoft Store. After all, Steam is a competitor.
Has the damage been done?
Perhaps the biggest concern about all of this is the controversies dogging Activision Blizzard. Some of the alleged accusations are extremely upsetting and troubling, and that has led to many people boycotting future games from the developer.
Now that Microsoft has acquired the company (pending the usual legal paperwork), there may be a chance to address concerns about Activision Blizzard. Microsoft will certainly have its work cut out, and until it can demonstrate that it has made sweeping positive changes, many PC gamers will continue to give Activision Blizzard games a wide berth.
China's Restrictions Delay iPhone 14 Development | by slashdotted | May, 2022 – DataDrivenInvestor
According to a source, iPhone 14 development is behind schedule owing to Chinese lockdowns
At least one iPhone 14 model is three weeks late
According to a fresh rumor today, the development of at least one iPhone 14 model is three weeks behind schedule owing to Chinese lockdowns, which might damage initial production levels in the worst-case scenario.
According to reports, Apple has instructed suppliers to accelerate product development efforts in order to make up for a lost time before the delay impacts the regular manufacturing schedule, which might impair the initial production numbers of the iPhone 14 series.
By the end of June, all new iPhone models should have completed the EVT and moved on to the verification step.
As speculation grows regarding the characteristics of the next iPhone 14 models, such as an always-on display, a fresh source claims that the development of the line has been slowed by China’s coronavirus regulations.
All iPhone 14 versions are presently undergoing engineering verification testing (EVT), which involves Apple working with suppliers to optimize production processes and calculate manufacturing costs.
The unexpected lockdown shutdown of major Apple suppliers in Shanghai, as well as the effect on regional transportation, have caused the delay.
Apple is apparently working with its suppliers to expedite the process and get back on track.
The story seems to imply that, unlike the iPhone 12, the iPhone 14 will not be delayed and would instead come in the same September launch window as its current best iPhone, the iPhone 13.
Is the iPhone 14 going to be delayed?
According to this claim, it is doubtful that the iPhone 14 would be delayed.
The story does, however, raise the likelihood that one of the iPhone 14 versions may be substantially more difficult to get when it is introduced later this year.
The delay is claimed to be due to the internal development of the iPhone 14 series production process
. According to Nikkei, suppliers must adopt new manufacturing processes and adjust current production lines as part of a process known as New Product Introduction (NPI).
Last month, supposed real-world iPhone 14 display panels leaked online, revealing the suspected pill-shape and circular display cuts that would replace the conventional notch on this year’s new iPhone models to house the front-facing camera and Face ID technology.
In March, claimed iPhone 14 Pro 3D CAD renderings leaked, revealing the device’s reported redesigned pill-shape and circular display cutouts, which are likely to contain the iPhone’s Face ID components and front-facing camera module, eliminating the rectangular notch from the device’s display.
China’s restrictions stymie iPhone 14 development — Mobile World Live
According to the news agency, Apple’s iPhone 14 is being created by contract manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron, with full production expected to begin in late August.
Nikkei Asia reported that engineering verification tests must be finished by the end of June in order to fulfill the manufacturing timetable and that one of the four iPhone 14 variants is three weeks behind schedule.
Due to the limitations, Pegatron paused manufacturing in its Shanghai and Kunshan plants earlier this year, while Foxconn halted operations at its Shenzhen factory.
Apple officials warned last month that supply concerns in China might affect sales by much to $8 billion in the current fiscal quarter.
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Luxury carmaker Maserati introduces convertible sportscar MC20 Cielo – Economic Times
MODENA: Maserati‘s turnaround plan aims to liberate the Stellantis luxury brand from being a “slave to volumes” which has weighed on quality, its CEO Davide Grasso said on Wednesday, unveiling a convertible version of its MC20 sportscar.
Maserati, which returned to operating profit last year, delivered 24,200 cars in 2021 – 7,300 units more than in 2020. That still leaves it far from 2017’s peak, when it sold 51,500 cars.
“That was a success in terms of numbers, not necessarily for customers,” Grasso said, adding defect rates at Maserati were at that time higher than the average in luxury and premium markets.
“You enter a vicious circle of unsold cars and bigger and bigger discounts,” he said. “We were not good enough with quality, new powertrains, infotainment”.
Grasso said Maserati’s performance would keep improving this year and in 2023 in terms of market share, products, revenues and margins.
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The brand has recently unveiled its new Grecale SUV, which will be available in a full-electric (BEV) version in 2023. Next year Maserati will also introduce new versions of its Gran Turismo and Gran Cabrio models, and plans to make all its range electrified by 2025.
Chief Commercial Officer Bernard Loire said sales could potentially top 30,000 units this year though it was not a target.
“It’s a projection based on our current performance,” he said.
Loire said China, Maserati’s second largest market after the United States, was being hit by an ongoing lockdown, but feedback from initial orders for Grecale were very positive.
“We see a much better second half,” he added.
He said Grecale would allow Maserati to compete in a segment, worth around 40% of the luxury market, where the brand has not been present so far.
With deliveries expected to start in the first quarter of 2023, the new retractable hardtop MC20 Cielo – ‘Sky’ in Italian – will contribute to Maserati’s sales only in 2023.
Fitted with a six-cylinder, three litre, 630 horsepower engine, for a top speed of over 320 km per hour, it will cost 260,000 euros ($277,000), 30,000 euros more than its coupe sister MC20. That’s higher than entry level models of Ferrari and Aston Martin.
Combined capacity for MC20 and MC20 Cielo, both produced in Modena, northern Italy, amount to about 1,400 units a year, with flexibility to adapt output between the two models.
Their BEV versions are expected by 2025.
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