Freemium Really Isn’t Free

South Park recently hit the nail on the head in their episode ‘Freemium Isn’t Free’, a satirical look at the state of mobile games and the rise of freemium/in-app purchases that populate mobile app stores. Matt Stone and Trey Parker take aim at the developers who willingly exploit the market of casual gamers. The developers in question are enticing gamers with a free game, only to hit them with pay walls strategically implemented to persuade players in parting with real cash just to continue playing.

Freemium - not freeThe shift from simply parting cash before playing a full game, to ‘free’ games with an option to pay at a later date, should be a good idea. An idea that has existed for years, going back to magazines with demo discs on the front to try a game before purchasing.
But with mobile gaming, this trend has been skewed slightly, to maximise the money taken from gamers.

In-App Purchases (IAP) should really be a good move for both the player and the developer. It is a way for anyone to simply try a game, and if its worthwhile, part cash for it. Unfortunately the market is mainly split into two camps; premium games that cost $10+ or free games; littered with intrusive paywalls.
It is a huge risk to release a mobile game with an initial cost as the average mobile gamer is of the casual variety, and with so many ‘free’ games available, the general consensus is ‘why pay?’.

→Read More

Amazon Denies Reports of Releasing Ad-Supported Free Version of Instant Video

In recent weeks, speculative reports have been circulating that Amazon is preparing to release an ad-supported free version of its Instant Video collection. Although the company has attempted to squash rumours by stating that it has not announced any such plans, it has neither denied the reports.

Amazon Instant VideoAmazon already offers free first episodes of selective serials with supporting ads, a spokesperson of the company reminded everyone. They also pointed out that Amazon uses ad-supported trailers, sticking to the fact that there has been no announcement of a free ad-supported online video collection.

“We’re often experimenting with new offers and experiences for customers, but we have not announced any plans to offer an ad-supported video-streaming service,” an Amazon spokesperson said.

Back in march, the e-commerce company stated that they had no plans on releasing any free version of their streaming services. But now, statements from Amazon representatives have a slight change in tone, to stating the obvious that nothing on the topic has been officially announced yet.

If free ad-supported streaming media services do become available , this could help bridge the gap between Amazon and Netflix in terms of peak internet traffic in the United States. Currently Amazon comes in second by attracting 2.58 perfect of internet traffic. This pales in comparison to Netflix’s 34.89 percent share of traffic during peak evening hours.

The New York Post is responsible for jet setting rumours of Amazon’s alleged plans as revealed by certain sources. These sources however did not state that the service would be free once supported by ads, as currently used by Hulu, but would be significantly lower than Netflix’s monthly subscription free of $9.99.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, predicts that Amazon will create a “Netflix killer” by spinning the $99 Prime service of its Instant Video collection through ad-supported and premium versions.

“It won’t be $99 a year,” said Patcher. Although later adding: “Who wouldn’t switch if you were poor or you’re a cord-cutter?”

Netflix Is Now More Than A Third Of Peak Internet Traffic

Research firm Sandvine’s bi-annual report has revealed that Netflix accounts for more than one-third of peak internet traffic in North America during evening hours.

Netflix takes a third of the internet capacityNetflix was reported to have a 34.21% share of traffic in the first half of 2014. This number has now risen to 34.89% in the second half of the year, according to Sandvine. This is the highest figure for Netflix.

Internet Service providers, like Comcast and Verizon, have long argued that Netflix pay for the dominating bandwidth it uses attributed to heavy internet usage.

Netflix is not the only tech company to see gains in internet usage share. Facebook had an increase from 1.99% to 2.98%. Netflix’s biggest competitor, Amazon Video, also increased their share from 1.9% to 2.58%. YouTube saw an gain of 13.19% to 14.09% in traffic share. iTunes and bitTorrent on the other hand saw both their shares lower to below 3%.

These figures don’t include Internet usage on mobile devices using cellular data networks. In that department, YouTube is in the lead with a 19.75% share, closely followed by Facebook having a 19.05% share.

A Good Black Friday Offer On HP Stream 13 From Microsoft

Both HP and Microsoft could very well have set the world on fire earlier this year, after they together launched the HP Stream 13, and yet still that reduced price is being overshadowed by an early Black Friday 2014 from Microsoft. Opening on Monday, the price tag was just $199 when customers purchase it through the Microsoft Store retail website.

HP stream 13Microsoft included the laptop to its Black Friday 2014 deals and at this moment their Black Friday 2014 deals page presents three active  offers: the HP Stream 13 for $199,  as well as the HP Stream 7 for $99, and the Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless In-Ear Headphones  for $179.99 which seems to be out of stock already.

The hardware sports a 13-inch hi-def screen, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The inside is running on a basic Intel Celeron processor. There’s a front-facing 720p cam web camera for online video communicating in the HP Stream 13’s notebook body. The body is available in light-blue, which includes a white keyboard.

The 13.3-inch display size is to be just more than suitable for the laptop, and the battery comes with a remarkable 7.5 hours on a charge, according to HP.

Keep in mind that this is not designed for powerhouse computing, but rather the basics: email, the Web, Netflix and home-level efficiency, the Stream contains a one-year membership to Microsoft Office365 Personal.
Ordinarily, 12 months membership would cost $69.99 and features Outlook, OneNote, Excel and Microsoft Word. After that initial year users will require to re-new the subscription at the regular price.
Users may likewise break that down into monthly $6.99 payments. There doesn’t seem to be any other agreements or some other conditions.

Besides the price cut, the laptop arrives together with Windows 8.1 and of course Bing pre-installed. That may be a long way of saying that Microsoft is putting in a key bonus.

Windows 8.1 features an app shop for getting your fix of music, apps, videos and games, and Microsoft is providing HP Stream 13 buyers a $25 in shop credit to use.

Sneak Peek – Jurassic World Official Trailer

Jurassic World is an upcoming Hollywood science fiction adventure movie. It is planned to be the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park movie series. The movie was in development and is coming, over a decade, after the release of Jurassic Park III back in 2001. The film was at the beginning set to be released on June 13, 2014, but production was temporarily stopped as a result of a disagreement amongst writers and the Universal Studios regarding the film’s script and direction. Currently, the movie is scheduled to be released on June 12th, 2015.

Jurassic World GateWith returning of Steven Spielberg as the executive producer there are no doubts that the long-awaited next instalment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, will be among best blockbusters shown in 2015, so we with great interest will for certain follow the news related to this project until the release date.

Now, it that direction we have the first Jurassic World Trailer Announcement and after first look it does not give us too much information about the story development.

Also, the teaser trailer does not seem too ominous, however, fans familiar along with the Jurassic Park sequence will realize that something big, bad and probably Tyrannosaurus Rex – designed will be in the role to scare the guests of the park.

Previously this year, the movie director, Colin Trevorrow spoke about the dinosaurs, and the way it had been “the natural evolution of the technology introduced in the first film.

“We were hoping audiences could discover this on their own, but yes, there will be one new dinosaur created by the park’s geneticists,” said Trevorrow. “The gaps in her sequence were filled with DNA from other species, much like the genome in the first film was completed with frog DNA. This creation exists to fulfill a corporate mandate- they want something bigger, louder, with more teeth. And that’s what they get.”

The director continued discussing: “I know the idea of a modified dinosaur puts a lot of fans on red alert, and I understand it. But we are not doing anything here that Michael Crichton did not suggest in his novels. This animal is not a mutant freak. It does not have a snake’s head or octopus tentacles. It’s a dinosaur, created in the same way the others were, but now the genetics have gone to the next level.”

The “Jurassic World”-director also said that their image of the dinosaurs “may sound crazy,” too.

Additionally, the rising star Chris Pratt, who is planned to be a main movie protagonist discharged some thoughts about the upcoming project earlier this year and his enthusiasm is only one more point that leads us to the conclusion that this is going to be a great project .

“For me, Jurassic Park was really kind of my Star Wars. I lined up at the theater to see it, I saw it opening night, I saw every sequel.
“I’ve seen it a whole bunch of times … for me that was my big movie, I think I was 13 or 14 when it came out,” he told QMI.
“It’s a big deal for me to be any part of that, let alone this part I’m going to be playing. I’m thrilled about it. Everybody around the world knows that franchise.

“When you say Jurassic Park, no-one is like, ‘What’s Jurassic Park?’ More people know Jurassic Park than just about anything. I’m thrilled.”

The announcement of the complete length movie trailer is scheduled for November 27th.

Police Is Getting More Capabilities To Monitor Your Internet Activities

The Anti-Terrorism and Security Bill will give the police more powers to help in the identification of terrorists and pedophiles. Internet firms will be forced to hand over details and keep information stored to link IP addresses to an individual user.

Big brother monitoringAccording to Home Secretary Theresa May, the move will help aid in tightening national security.

“Loss of the capabilities on which we have always relied is the great danger we face,” Mrs May said.

“The Bill provides the opportunity to resolve the very real problems that exist around IP resolution and is a step in the right direction towards bridging the overall communications data capability gap.”

“But I believe we need to make further changes to the law.”

“It is a matter of national security and we must keep on making the case for the Communications Data Bill until we get the changes we need.”

The Lib Dems opposed a previous attempt at giving security personnel more powers in monitoring of internet use, calling it a “snoopers’ charter”.

In April 2013, the Communications Data Bill was dropped due to the coalition split. The Bill would have forced internet companies to retain details for a year of every users’ online activity.

“It is perfectly reasonable that powers to provide the police with the ability to match an IP address to the person using that service is investigated.” Emma Carr, director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said.

“However, if such a power is required, then it should be subject to the widespread consultation and comprehensive scrutiny that has been sorely lacking to date with industry, civil society and the wider public when it comes to introducing new surveillance powers.”

“Before setting her sights on reviving the snooper’s charter, the Home Secretary should address the fact that one of the biggest challenges facing the police is making use of the huge volume of data that is already available, including data from social media and internet companies.”

“The snooper’s charter would not have addressed this, while diverting billions from investing in skills and training for the police.”