September 29, 2022
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your guide to the business of the gaming and media industries. This Thursday, we’re taking a closer look at some of the announcements Amazon made at its fall hardware event. Also: Within is selling Wonderscope, and the surprising secret behind QR codes.
When Amazon executives unveiled the company’s fall hardware lineup during an online-only press event yesterday, they also showed off a number of new devices meant to help people stream their favorite movies and shows. And while devices like a 3rd-generation Fire TV Cube and a new Fire TV voice remote held few surprises, there was an interesting trend emerging across multiple device categories.
Your smart display is a TV now. Amazon revealed yesterday that through a software update it is bringing the Fire TV experience to its Echo Show 15 smart displays, which now effectively double as TV sets.
Amazon isn’t done blurring the lines between TVs and other devices. The company also announced a new line of flagship Fire TVs called the Omni QLED Series that comes with integrated sensors to detect your presence in the living room. Once you walk into the room, the TV turns on, displaying a new default ambient experience.
TVs are becoming smart displays, smart displays are becoming TVs, and cars are doubling as living rooms. All of this led me to ask Rausch whether it was time for Amazon to merge all of its smart and entertainment display platforms. Why not make all of it Fire TV, with an ambient mode for the moments when you don’t want to watch TV?
Rausch insisted that this wasn’t the right approach. “Each of those experiences is highly tuned to the device and the context we see customers using it in,” he told me. That may be true, but I suspect we’ll still see a lot of those devices and contexts merging over time.
— Janko Roettgers
Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.
Within, the immersive media startup best known for its VR fitness app Supernatural, is selling off a prior bet: Educational software maker Amira Learning has struck a deal with Within to acquire Wonderscope, an interactive AR storytelling app Within first released in 2018.
Meta’s acquisition of Within, meanwhile, remains on hold. Meta announced its intention to buy Within last year; Meta was reportedly willing to spend $500 million to get its hands on Supernatural. The FTC sued in July to stop the acquisition. Hearings for the case are scheduled for December.
— Janko Roettgers
The SEC sues former MoviePass execs for fraud. Mitch Lowe and Ted Farnsworth, the two execs that slashed the service’s cost to $10 a month, allegedly misrepresented the valuation and monetization potential of the service to investors.
Razer wants in on the handheld gaming boom. Razer on Wednesday announced an Android 5G gaming device in partnership with Verizon and Qualcomm. It’s part of a new wave of Switch and Steam Deck-like handhelds focused on cloud gaming.
OnlyFans launches a comedy competition for its porn-free offshoot. The jokes write themselves … and are worth a total of 100,000 pounds.
Cyberpunk’s comeback results in a big sales bump. CDPR’s revitalized Cyberpunk 2077 just crossed the 20 million sales milestone, up from 18 million in April, thanks to a Steam sale, the “Edgerunners” Netflix anime, and nearly two years’ worth of bug fixes and patches.
Netflix is testing more aggressive anti-sharing measures. The company has been logging out some users across Latin America, and is asking them to sign up for their own plans.
Epix is being rebranded as MGM+. The name change will go into effect in early 2023, according to MGM’s new owner Amazon.
Ubisoft’s pirate game hits another snag. Skull & Bones, a major new gaming property from Ubisoft, has been delayed from November to March of next year, Kotaku reported. The title has been stuck in development since 2013.
Only 50.5% of U.S. households subscribe to cable anymore. Pay TV penetration has reached the lowest level in more than 30 years according to MoffettNathanson, and services like YouTube TV and Sling aren’t able to stop the erosion.
Sometimes, we all just need a moment of Zen. Make sure to unmute the video and scroll down a bit to the responses if you want to learn how QR codes are actually made …
If we want our nation’s rich history of innovation to continue, experts say, we must create an IP protection ecosystem that helps ensure that tech innovation will thrive.
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