An avatar of Ariana Grande will appear in the popular video game Fortnite and perform some of the pop superstar’s greatest hits over the weekend, in an event highlighted by game maker Epic Games to showcase their new strategy.
In five different rounds, to target all time zones, players can choose an option that will let them go on an adventure with Grande.
The 28-year-old singer’s avatar is a human-fantasy creature hybrid dressed in either a silver skirt and top or a short outfit made of blue scales.
During the rounds, which last about half an hour, several of the Grammy winner’s songs will play, including “Be Alright” and “Positions.” Grande-themed merchandise will also be available in the game’s store.
The special appearance is part of a shift for Fortnite from a survival game to a general entertainment platform.
“That’s a big area where we want to innovate because Fortnite should always really exist in partnership with real world activities,” Phil Rampulla, head of brand at Epic Games, told AFP.
“We are not replacing concerts, we are not replacing movies, we are existing in harmony with those things and extending and enhancing those things.”
A juggernaut of the video game industry, Fortnite boasts about 350 million gamers throughout the world.
Netflix is facing a formidable challenge as it expands into video games to keep the attention of customers in the increasingly competitive world of streaming television.
The streaming television leader offered details of its plans to move into games in its latest update confirming cooling growth even as the Silicon Valley giant spins off hit shows.
Analysts said the Netflix move is not aimed at disrupting the expanding gaming market but keeping its own viewers interested by offering new kinds of content.
“Entertainment and tech brands are adding gaming because it is adjacent to their video products, which makes gaming a somewhat natural extension of what they already do,” said eMarketer analyst Ross Benes.
“Adding gaming allows them to suck up more of people’s time and become further embedded within their customers’ daily habits.”
Benes reasoned that Netflix games will give people impetus to stick with the service but are unlikely to significantly boost subscriptions.
Loup Ventures manager partner Gene Munster called Netflix’s action a “smart move to retain and inch up paid subscriptions” noting there are some two billion gamers worldwide.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter on Wednesday expected the Netflix move to have “zero” impact on the game world.
“We view the foray into games as an acknowledgement by management that the video content pipeline is flowing more slowly, with content costs continually on the rise,” Pachter said in a note to investors.
“We also view games as a ‘shiny new object’ that might distract investors from what we perceive to be Netflix’s slowing growth.”
Chief product officer Greg Peters said during an earnings call that getting into video games will be a multiyear effort with Netflix starting small in the mobile games arena.
“We really see this as an extension of the core entertainment offering that we’ve been focused on for the last 20 years,” Peters said.
“We’re going to try a bunch of different games through a variety of different mechanisms to see what’s really working for our members.”
Netflix executives said they would play to the strengths of shows to create interactive fantasy worlds for fans, and that they are talking with video game makers about licensing deals.
– Game gauntlet – Netflix said games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost, augmenting shows and films.
Netflix has dabbled with games before, releasing an interactive “Bandersnatch” episode of original series “Black Mirror” and also a free mobile game spinning off its hit show “Stranger Things.”
“They will attract few gamers, if any, and don’t have compelling (intellectual property) that will allow them to create compelling games,” Pachter said in the note.
“The business graveyard is littered with the corpses of content companies that have failed at making mobile games, with Disney the most prominent failure.”
Even video game industry veterans have missed the mark with mobile games.
Hit games spinning off of television shows are rarities, as are winning titles based on films, raising the question of why Netflix believes it can succeed where those with more experience have failed.
“The marriage of Hollywood video production and games based on that content has faced a troubled history,” said Third Bridge senior analyst Joe McCormack, noting that both Disney and NBCUniversal have shuttered video game units.
“Whether Netflix can change the script seems primarily driven by cultural differences between those Hollywood and video gaming studios.”
Competition in the mobile game industry is intense. If Netflix wants to field more sophisticated games, it faces technological hurdles.
Console quality games streamed from the cloud require high-speed internet connections to avoid lag and controllers players can use to command action.
And in that arena, Netflix would be up against cloud game services run by Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Sony.
“This is complex stuff, and we think that while Netflix has vast plans for succeeding in games, it has started its efforts with half-vast ideas,” Pachter said of cloud gaming.
Netflix’s push into video games plays to its strengths of storytelling and content creation, and is intended to help the core subscription service grow, according to executives.
“We are in the business of making these amazing worlds and great storylines and incredible characters,” Peters said.
“And we know the fans of those stories want to go deeper; they want to engage further.”
Google on Tuesday said it will launch its Stadia streaming game service on November 19, hoping to launch console-quality play into the cloud.
The announcement came at a Google event in New York where the tech giant was unveiling an array of new hardware products.
Stadia allows video gameplay on any internet-connected device, eliminating the need for games consoles.
It will be priced at $9.99 per month and compete against Apple Arcade, which is being offered at half that price.
Streaming real-time gameplay from the cloud promised to shake up a mushrooming market worth an estimated $135 billion globally last year, according to analysts — with mobile platforms accounting for about half.
At just 9-years-old, Basil Okpara is making a name for himself in the area of coding and gaming.
Like many others his age, Basil loves to play games but his fascination with gaming does not end at playing, his curious mind has led him into coding, leading him to come with dozens of game ideas.
Basil says he derives great joy and a sense of pride when he plays his own games, and when asked in a recent interview how many games he has developed/created, the lad replies that he has made well over 30 games within a short while.
He creates his games using a free coding application called ‘Scratch 2’ which he learnt at a coding Bootcamp.
The 9-year-old has gotten a great grasp on coding that he not only creates his own games but also teaches other children in Lagos how to programme.
Basil has the full support of his parents who noticed the tech traits in him early enough and got him the necessary tools and gadgets to help him grow as a developer.
The young developer has won some awards for his gift and skills and is getting great attention even from celebrities like Naomi Campbell.
This Nigerian prodigy is currently working on having his first game on play store soon.
Technology and the internet are said to be the way forward into the future especially in Africa. Young geniuses like Basil will surely have a place in that future if they are nurtured continually. It is such brilliant minds that will birth the new dawn for the continent and the world at large.
Australian tycoon James Packer abruptly quit Wednesday as director of his gaming empire Crown Resorts for “mental health issues”, stepping back from all commitments indefinitely.
No further details were given although the billionaire mogul, the scion of a media dynasty, has previously spoken about his battles with depression and how movie star Tom Cruise helped him cope.
“James Packer today resigned from the board of Crown Resorts Ltd for personal reasons,” said a spokesperson for his private investment vehicle Consolidated Press Holdings, which is Crown’s largest shareholder.
“Mr Packer is suffering from mental health issues. At this time he intends to step back from all commitments.”
One of Australia’s richest people, with a personal fortune estimated at Aus$3.9 billion, Packer has long sat at the head of the media and gaming empire built up by his family over three generations.
The 50-year-old had returned to the Crown board last year after earlier moving aside to focus on international interests.
“We have appreciated James’ contribution to the board and respect his decision to step down from his role as a director at this time,” said Crown’s executive chairman John Alexander in a brief statement.
Packer has enjoyed a playboy lifestyle in recent years, hobnobbing with Hollywood royalty including Robert de Niro and Brad Pitt.
In a 2013 interview he detailed how Cruise help him through a tough period when he was “depressed and emotionally exhausted” over the collapse of his first marriage to bikini model Jodhi Meares.
Packer flirted with the Church of Scientology around the same time, but has since distanced himself from the group.
His high-profile engagement and subsequent split from American diva Mariah Carey in 2016 kept him in the public eye, a place he has admitted to finding uncomfortable.
“I have always been shy. I have never liked the publicity,” he told The Australian newspaper last year. “I get more publicity than anyone and have for 20 years. Most of it is negative. And you get gun-shy of getting hit.”
The son of late media baron Kerry Packer, James Packer never been far from the news.
In 2015 he found himself splashed on the front pages after an ugly public punch-up with his former best man David Gyngell, the head of Australia’s Nine Network.
A photographer, who had been hoping to see Packer with then rumoured new love interest, model Miranda Kerr, captured the two men trading punches and wrestling on the ground outside the magnate’s multi-million dollar Bondi Beach waterfront home.
Reports at the time said they fell out after Packer’s split with second wife Erica six months before.
He was also dragged into a corruption probe involving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is suspected of receiving luxury gifts from wealthy supporters, but the Australian is not accused of criminal conduct.
Packer has been married twice, and has three children.
Since his father’s death in 2005 Packer has moved the business away from its traditional media operations — the family company used to own the Nine Network — and focused on creating Crown, a worldwide gambling empire.
He returned to the Crown board last year to help oversee a revamp of the company during a tumultuous period after 19 current and former employees were held for 10 months in China on charges of luring rich Chinese to Australia.
They were released last August, but the case hurt Crown’s high roller revenues.
Crown has since been focusing on its casinos in Melbourne and Perth, and developing a Aus$2.4 billion (US$1.9 billion) gaming resort in Sydney.