This Week In Digital
Candy Crush Bought For A Colossal $5.9 billion
Gaming publisher Activision Blizzard, better known for its console titles such as Call of Duty, Skylanders and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater consolidated social gaming company King Digital Entertainment this week for a massive $5.9 billion (£3.8 billion).
Research firm Newzoo predicts that 2015 will be the year that mobile games revenues will overtake those of consoles, regardless of the big difference in price between the two platforms. The takeover does come at a time where King Digital's revenues are actually declining and there's no obvious replacement for Candy Crush in the near future, so to many, the multi-billion dollar investment seems somewhat premature.
Activision's main reason for acquisition is King Digital's pull on the female gaming market. Of the 447 million monthly Candy Crush mobile users, 58% are girls or women and many of them are willing to pay for in-app purchases which is where the money is made in mobile gaming.
The gaming industry is currently very male dominated, evident by the majority of console titles appealing to men. In a study carried out by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK however, an estimated 52% of gamers are women. One possible reason for the short-sightedness of the games industry is that the majority of designers and developers are men who want to make games that they want to play.
For equality, it's a very positive move for the gaming industry. In time, we should start to see more blockbuster titles, both on console and mobile with females in mind and more jobs created for female designers and developers.
Here's an insightful video from world renowned gaming website GameSpot on the implications of the takeover.
More Than 1 Billion Users Are On Facebook Everyday
In reporting their Q3 earnings earlier this week, Mark Zuckerberg posted a community update on his page detailing Facebook's impressive current set of stats. With over 1 billion active users online every day, the global Facebook population is now at 1.55 billion, growing on average 17% year-on-year.
"We had a good quarter and got a lot done", Zuckerberg said in Facebook's earnings results press release. "We're focussed on innovating and investing for the long term to serve our community and connect the entire world."
Facebook's other platforms are expanding exponentially also. There are now 400 million active Instagram users and WhatsApp has surpassed the 900 million mark - Zuckerberg is confident WhatsApp will reach a billion users in the near future. He also expects that Instagram ad revenues will break $600m this year; eMarketer expects Instagram to surpass both Twitter and Google's net revenues by 2017.
More money was made on mobile advertising alone than the whole business took during the same period last year. Analytics firm eMarketer predicts Facebook's global market share will actually shrink from 38.4% to 33.7% even as its revenues sore. These statistics further emphasise the rate of growth in the mobile ad world.
Zuckerberg continued to back Facebook's virtual reality endeavours saying that the company was "committed to Oculus [Rift] and virtual reality for the long term", but admitted that it was going to take time to reap the full benefits of the $2 billion investment.
The final big news from the reports was that Facebook are to launch their new standalone app Notify within the next week as a direct competitor to Apple's News app. The app is designed to distribute stories and media to its users based on their interests. Official publishing partners confirmed so far include the BBC, the New York Times and NBC, according to the Financial Times.
Richard Branson To Rival Uber?
British business mogul Richard Branson may soon offer new Virgin services to compete with thriving businesses Airbnb and Uber. In an interview with Mashable this week, Branson reportedly said "We should be competing with Airbnb. We should be competing with Uber. We've got the brand", Branson said. "Maybe one day we'll set up an alternative."
Branson has been a follower of the app based cab-hailing market since its inception, making an early investment in Uber as well as Hailo and Sidecar. Virgin America also partnered with Airbnb for a lodging giveaway recently, tied to its new flight path between San Francisco and Oahu, Hawaii.
As speculative as it seems, Branson's admiration for both brands shows signs of competition. As an established business player, Branson is the first potential threat for both businesses.
And Finally... Viral News
It's all about the younger generation this week!
What happens when you give today's child a cassette player? When mum found her old Walkman from the 80s, she gave it to her two young sons and asked them to figure out how it worked. Feel old yet?
In an annual tradition by the ever-popular American TV host Jimmy Kimmel, on the night of Halloween / morning following, Jimmy asked his fans to record the reactions of their kids when told that they'd "eaten all their candy". In amongst the brats are some endearing little ones who take the news very well!