October 6, 2022
Photo: Lukas Bato/Unsplash
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your guide to the business of the gaming and media industries. This Thursday, we take a closer look at the new Matter standard and its impact on entertainment gadgets. Plus: Amazon discontinues Glow, and ILM celebrates StageCraft.
This week, the smart home industry passed a major milestone with the release of the Matter standard, which promises to simplify the setup and use of compatible smart home devices. In essence, Matter wants to bring some basic interoperability to devices like light bulbs, smart switches, and thermostats.
Matter is being introduced by the Connectivity Standards Alliance, which counts Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung among its members. The primary focus is on simplifying smart home gadgets themselves, but the standard could also have implications for the types of devices people use to control and monitor their smart homes. That in turn could have significant implications for TVs and other entertainment devices.
First, things will get a lot easier. Setting up a smart home can be hard. Trouble-shooting when things break down is even more frustrating. Matter aims to help with a lot of those issues, as Google Home Platform group product manager Anish Kattukaran explained during a recent media briefing.
Then, things start to get interesting. Google Nest GM Rishi Chandra predicted that the standard will unleash a new wave of innovation by helping vendors “actually build better optimization around your entertainment experience or your security experience.”
Ultimately, Matter could make it easier to build and share routines for the smart home, which could benefit the entertainment industry as well. Imagine Netflix sharing presets that change your light depending on the show you watch, or Spotify using sensors in your home to fine-tune your multiroom audio experience.
“There have been a couple of transformational moments that have unlocked new innovation in the smart home space,” Chandra said. “We are about to kick off a new phase.”
— Janko Roettgers
How can an organization design an ESG strategy that works for people, planet and profit? It's becoming increasingly appreciated among the broader business and NGO community that the planet and people elements of sustainability are mutually dependent, and as such a focus on one at the exclusion of the other will be fruitless. But balancing profit and sustainability progress remains a more thorny debate.
Amazon has pulled the plug on Glow, a video calling device for kids that was using a projector to extend play space beyond the screen. The decision to discontinue the device was a response to poor sales, as well as a general shift in consumer behavior, according to Bloomberg.
The Glow team set out to reinvent video chatting for children with grandparents and other caregivers, based on the observation that traditional Zoom calls simply didn’t work for many kids.
Amazon did explore using projection mapping for glasses-free AR in the past; I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the company incorporate some Glow-like technology into other devices in the future.
— Janko Roettgers
Inside Amazon’s free video strategy. Prime Video has long been at the heart of Amazon’s streaming efforts. So why did the company build a separate service called Freevee?
Overwatch’s sequel launch falls flat. Blizzard’s first major console and PC game since the release of the original Overwatch in 2016 had a disastrous launch on Tuesday, in part because of two separate DDoS attacks.
Netflix wanted to turn “Lord of the Rings” into the next MCU. Tolkien’s heirs were so freaked out by the idea that they accepted a lower Amazon bid, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Cyberpunk developers announce an ambitious release slate. CD Projekt Red said on Tuesday it had seven new games in the works across its Cyberpunk and Witcher franchises to be developed across numerous studios in Europe and North America.
NBCUniversal’s plans for a streaming bundle have gone nowhere. The Comcast subsidiary has approached competitors about reselling their services through a cable-like bundle, but HBO Max and Paramount+ have declined the offer, CNBC reports.
Sony eyes TV and film projects from Elden Ring creator. Sony’s investment in FromSoftware could yield “opportunities” with the newly formed PlayStation Productions media arm, PlayStation Studios chief Herman Hulst told Reuters this week.
Wells Fargo analyst predicts cord cutting will accelerate. Pay TV providers will only have 40 million subscribers a decade from now, according to Wells Fargo media analyst Steven Cahall.
TikTok wants to bring live shopping to the U.S. ByteDance reportedly plans to bring live shopping to North American audiences in time for the holidays.
I’ve written quite a bit about virtual production technologies, including LED walls and the way they change how and where movies and TV shows are made. But sometimes, you just have to see it to believe it — and thankfully, Industrial Light & Magic gave us a peek behind the curtain of its StageCraft virtual production technology this week, showing us how actors respond. In the words of O'Shea Jackson Jr., “This is nuts!”
— Janko Roettgers
How can an organization design an ESG strategy that works for people, planet and profit? Currently, much of the ‘E’ in ESG is focussed on climate only, and it is essential that companies also focus on biodiversity, recognizing nature-climate linkages in order to optimize mitigation and build resilience. ESG will prepare us for the necessary paradigm shift, driven by increasing external pressures forced upon us as a result of short-term profits.
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.