October 27, 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 Amazon’s newest smart TV partner and what the match-up says about competition in the TV platform space. Also: new metaverse stats, and some musings about the way AI will change our understanding of history.
Amazon on Thursday announced a new hardware partnership with TCL, a longtime Google partner. The move marks an end to one of the ecommerce giant’s long-simmering feuds with a key rival in the smart TV space.
The Chinese consumer electronics company is introducing two new QLED smart TVs with screen sizes of 50” and 55”, powered by Amazon’s Fire TV OS in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
This partnership is a major win for Amazon, which had been looking to team up with TCL for years. The Chinese company was equally interested in making Fire TV devices, but it was prevented from doing so by Google.
TCL tried hard to overcome those restrictions, and the company even resorted to creative corporate shell games to do so.
Now, TCL is openly making Fire TVs, and it’s not the only major consumer electronics maker to do so. Amazon announced similar partnerships with Hisense and Xiaomi, which both also make a variety of devices based on Google’s Android operating system, earlier this year.
The agreement also comes at an opportune time for Amazon. Fire TV streaming adapters have been selling very well for years, but consumers are increasingly opting for smart TVs over dongles.
And with Google not blocking partnerships with Android device makers anymore, that number is only poised to grow.
— Janko Roettgers
In 2021, there were 236 million cyberattacks worldwide. If there’s an opportunity to enter a business’s premises undetected, cybercriminals will find it. In the digital age, no organization is safe from cyberthreats. Size doesn’t matter.
Investors may be taking issue with Meta’s freewheeling metaverse spending, but that doesn’t stop ordinary people from embracing metaverse-like platforms en masse. That’s the gist of a new report from Michael Wolf’s Activate Consulting this week.
— Janko Roettgers
Spotify says Apple is sabotaging its audiobook store. Spotify wants to avoid Apple’s 30% App Store fees, but says doing so is cumbersome and subject to arbitrarily changed rules.
Activision Blizzard is running out of legal options. The publisher failed for a second time in trying to get a California sexual harassment lawsuit thrown out on a technicality.
YouTube revenue dropped 2% in Q3. A decline in YouTube advertising resulted in slowing growth for YouTube and Google parent company Alphabet.
More of CD Projekt Red’s grand Witcher ambitions revealed. The Polish studio behind the hit RPG said Wednesday it would remake the first game in the series using Epic’s Unreal Engine 5.
Spotify will raise subscription prices next year. The price increase comes after Apple and Google raised prices for their respective music subscription services.
Gamers are more prone to racism and sexism, according to a new study from nonprofit Take This. Researchers say their findings provide a link between “extreme behaviors” and how strongly someone identifies with gaming culture.
HaptX introduces a new portable haptic glove. The G1 gloves, which use pneumatics and microfluidics to reproduce the sensation of touch in VR, will cost $5,500 a pair and come with a backpack for portability.
Microsoft has reportedly canceled plans for a consumer AR headset. The future of its HoloLens enterprise AR headset also looks uncertain, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A lot has been written recently about the future of AI and synthetic media. This week, filmmaker and archivist Rick Prelinger, who, among other things, is the founder of the Prelinger Archives, took to Twitter to tackle a different subject: What will AI do to our understanding of history?
“Generative AI will soon be everywhere, and will literally ‘make history’ by sampling existing images,” Prelinger wrote. “History will gain a certain glossiness. It will be expected to be in color, or colorized; to foreground individual faces; to be high-res and immersive.” This could lead to a backlash, he argued, with some seeking out the authenticity of original footage. “But by then the tacit rules of representation will have changed. Generative AI may be mocked, but its place will be firm, just as tabloid history has come to dominate historical TV docs.” The entire thread is well worth your time.
— Janko Roettgers
With the amount of our economy now dependent on technology, the lack of government regulation is resulting in major risk to companies, and in the end, our own citizens. In the absence of government action, insurance steps in.
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