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Nintendo buys Canadian game studio in rare acquisition – TechCrunch

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While gaming giants Sony and Microsoft have made M&A a critical part of their strategic growth plans, Nintendo has always seemed to be more reluctant to bring outside talent into the fold of its video game empire. Today, the company announced that it will be acquiring the developer behind Luigi’s Mansion 3, Canada-based Next Level Games.

Nintendo’s announcement is the first studio acquisition for the company since their 2007 purchase of Xenoblade Chronicles developer Monolith Soft.

Next Level Games has been working on Nintendo-licensed IP exclusively for the better part of the last decade, crafting a number of titles across some of the company’s second tier of intellectual property including the Super Mario Strikers series as well as mobile iterations of Metroid Prime and Luigi’s Mansion.

The Vancouver-based studio’s recent Luigi’s Mansion 3 title for the Nintendo Switch has been a pretty huge success for the company which has had pretty light offerings of first-party IP since the system’s launch. In a recent earnings report, Nintendo shared that Luigi’s Mansion 3 had sold nearly 8 million copies, earning it a spot as one of the system’s top-selling titles.

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ICBC gets green light to slash car insurance by 15% starting in May – Chilliwack Progress

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The BC Utilities Commission has approved ICBC’s request for a 15 per cent decrease on basic insurance, marking welcomed news to drivers in the province.

The new rates are set to kick in on May 1.

The province submitted the application last month. At the time, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth called the drop one of the largest rate reductions at ICBC in four decades, stemming from savings at the public insurer as it adopts a no-fault model. The new system prohibits a driver from suing for financial compensation, with a few exceptions.

RELATED: ICBC applies for 15% rate decrease as lawyers pushed out

Instead, crash victims will have access to up to $7.5 million in medical benefits. Currently, the cap on funds is $300,000.

The regulator has also approved ICBC to provide rebates to B.C. drivers, based on the difference between the driver’s current coverage and the new model. The province has said premiums will drop by as much as 20 per cent, an average of $400 a year.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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Conversations That Matter: Does it make sense to focus on single-use plastics? – Vancouver Sun

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Article content

Chris DeArmitt figures we’d be better off focusing on paper rather than plastic if we are worried about single-use items.

The leading plastics scientist has written “Phantom Plastics,” a book in which he aims to debunk prevailing thoughts about plastics. He note both the banks of Canada and England chose to print money on plastic rather than paper because it was better for the environment.

How can that be?

“Life cycle analysis is the answer,” DeArmitt says. “Plastic money has seven times the lifespan of paper money.” He says the total carbon footprint and environmental cost of paper money far exceeds that of plastic banknotes,

Even the extra weight of the paper adds up, he says. “The extra fuel required to transport paper over plastic is just one element in the life cycle analysis of money. And then add in the impact of harvesting trees, mashing them into pulp and paper and the limited life span and it all adds up to plastic being the best choice.”

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With the Galaxy S21, Samsung has finally figured out the iPhone's secret: Value – Macworld

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Apple isn’t exactly known for its low prices. The iPhone X was the first handset to cost more than a thousand bucks, the wheels for the Mac Pro cost $699, and just last month it launched a $549 pair of AirPods. Heck, it sells a charger that isn’t even very good for $129.

But when it comes to its phones, Apple consistently gets it right. It’s true that the most expensive iPhone 12 tops out at $1,399, but for the most part, the iPhone 12 is very attainable, even with 5G and OLED displays across the board. When compared to the top flagship phones of 2020, in fact, the iPhone 12 slides in well under the average premium Android handset.

iphone note 20 bronze blue Michael Simon/IDG

At $829, the iPhone 12 isn’t cheap, but compared to a $1,300 phone like the Galaxy Note 20 it seems like a bargain.

But with the launch of the Galaxy S21 this week, it seems as though Samsung has finally caught on. After years of piling on features and specs in an effort to distance its flagship handsets from the iPhone, Samsung has fully embraced Apple’s strategy with the iPhone, not just cutting the price to match the iPhone 12’s price tag but also distilling the S21 down to its most essential parts in a sort of reboot of the lower end of the line.

Lowering the price and the parts

Last year’s “cheap” Galaxy S20 started at $1,000 and brought a bevy of ultra-high-end features you couldn’t get in the iPhone 11: 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 120Hz Quad HD+ screen, triple cameras, microSD storage, etc.

It’s not so much that the Galaxy S21 isn’t a high-end Android phone, but like the iPhone 12, it makes certain spec-sheet compromises that add value without degrading the experience. There’s a reason why Apple doesn’t list specs for RAM, battery capacity, or clock speed in the iPhone spec sheet—they’re unnecessary. Apple doesn’t need to wow its users with specs. Rather, it strives to deliver the best possible iPhone experience with the bare-minimum parts.

galaxy s21 colors Samsung

The S21’s back is made of plastic rather than glass this year.

And the S21 does something similar. Take a look at the specs compared to its predecessor, the S20:

Galaxy S21

Display: 6.2-inch Flat FHD+ Infinity-O Display (2400×1080), 421ppi, 120Hz
Processor: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,000mAh

Galaxy S20

Display: 6.2-inch Edge Quad HD+ Infinity-O Display (3200×1440), 563 ppi, 120Hz
Processor: Snapdragon 865
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,000mAh

Aside from the storage and the battery, the S21 is a seeming downgrade from the S20, with less RAM and lower resolution. It’s also made of plastic, versus the S20’s all-glass design.

But to judge the S21 on its specs is to miss the point. Samsung has finally realized that the spec battle is a losing one. They built a phone that delivers on value rather than numbers. Some people will grouse about losing out on the best features but most people won’t even realize their phone has fewer pixels or less RAM.

Quite frankly, they might not even notice that it’s made of plastic. What they will notice is that it’s $200 cheaper than last year, the first time prices have decreased in years. They’ll also notice that it looks the same as the S21+ and S21 Ultra, shares the same processor and software, and takes fantastic pictures.

That’s another way Samsung has followed Apple’s lead: the camera. Rather than increase megapixels or add lenses for the sake of it, Samsung has kept the same triple-camera hardware on the S21 as it had on the S20, instead working behind the scenes to deliver improvements in the most important areas: portraits and low-light photos.

Android iPhone 12 is here

For $800, the Galaxy S21 is truly Android’s answer to the iPhone 12. More than the Pixel 5, OnePlus 8T, or even the Galaxy S20 FE, the S21 delivers a purely distilled premium Galaxy experience in a surprisingly affordable package, trimming corners rather than cutting them, and sacrificing very little of what people need.

galaxy s21 series Samsung

Samsung still makes a family of phones, but the S21 is likely to be the most popular.

And like the iPhone 12 Pro Max, if you want the best of the best, the Galaxy S21 Ultra still exists, with a Quad HD+ 6.8-inch display, 12GB or 16GB of RAM, and S Pen support. But for the masses, the S21 will more than suffice, especially when the price inevitably drops to $700 or less.

Previous Samsung Galaxy S phones were always among the best phones of the year, but they haven’t seemed like a good value in years. The S21 changes that, hopefully for good. But mimicking what Apple does best with the iPhone 12, Samsung has created one of the best Android values in years, delivering premium looks and performance in an affordable package.

It’s no secret that Samsung has been trying to replicate Apple’s success for years, throwing all sorts of things at the wall to see what sticks. After 11 years, it might have finally found something that works.

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