Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius is ‘on the right path’ in mobile gaming

Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius is ‘on the right path’ in mobile gaming.
Though Square Enix is known for its console blockbusters such as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, it’s been making big push in mobile.
This includes a Final Fantasy XV massively multiplayer online game for mobile or with developer MZ (Game of War, Mobile Strike) as well as Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius with A-lim and Gumi (Brave Frontier).
110 in the U.S. Apple App Store for adventure games and No.
“Brave Exvius is doing comparatively well, with just under 5 million monthly active user, or roughly double [Final Fantasy] Record Keeper,” says Joost van Dreunen, CEO of the market research firm SuperData.
“It is a bit too early to determine whether Square Enix has successfully claimed its share of the mobile market, but the company is on the right path.” Brave Exvius incorporates elements from both the Final Fantasy franchise as well as mobile role-playing game Brave Frontier.
Characters from both Final Fantasy and Brave Frontier also make cameos and can be summoned in battle.
Events will feature a developer talk as well as a chance to win prizes and gameplay challenges.
To get a ticket, fans will need to register with their player ID.
It’s unclear whether those who get to attend will also get a sip from the infamous $950 Final Fantasy wine set.

Top Gear mobile game dev Motorious Entertainment raises $894,000

Top Gear mobile game dev Motorious Entertainment raises $894,000.
Helsinki mobile game developer Motorious Entertainment said it has raised $894,000 (€800,000) in a new round of funding.
That will help the company gear up for its debut mobile title, Top Gear Road Trip.
All told, the company has now raised $1.4 million (€1.3 million).
“We are excited to have Finnvera Venture Capital, Nordea’s Startup and Growth Services in the driving seat, to help grow our team and look forward to launching Top Gear Road Trip, in partnership with BBC Worldwide this summer.” Top Gear Road Trip will be a casual free-to-play, match-3 game based on challenges from the Top Gear TV show.
You progress on a map from England to Italy and onwards in the road trip.
You have to tune your car as you progress.
Players can build a car collection and compete against other players.
Motorious was founded in 2015 by games, media, and entertainment veterans Jari Pauna and Timo Poijärvi.
It has seven employees.

How eastern European tech entrepreneurs are drawing global interest

How eastern European tech entrepreneurs are drawing global interest.
(Reuters) — Tech entrepreneurs in central and southeastern European, many of whom already have experience of launching their own businesses, are now having more success at enticing global investors the second time around.
“It’s still a small market but it’s growing fast.
First time founders have gained experience and are now starting their second and third companies with higher ambitions.” Take Warsaw-based medical appointment booking platform DocPlanner, founded by serial Polish entrepreneur Mariusz Gralewski.
The new funding underlines how entrepreneurs such as Gralewski are attracting global investment.
DocPlanner has raised $46 million to date with international investor Target Global, Germany’s ENERN Investments and London-based One Peak Partners leading the latest round.
“We have a first generation of entrepreneurs who quickly sold their companies and then were able to start new ones after building up trust and experience,” Gralewski said.
Last year, central and eastern Europe start-ups raised a total of 177 million euros ($199 million), up from just 15 million euros four years before, according to data from funding research firm
But the growth is evidence of an increasing number of global investors looking at the region.
Luciana Lixandru of Accel, which led UiPath’s latest funding round, said seed money was scarce in the region five to seven years ago but now companies can find both start-up capital and bigger funding batches needed to grow globally.

Guardian Kingdoms aims more for Age of Empires or StarCraft than Clash of Clans

Phoenix One Games hopes to build their realm with their first fantasy mobile strategy game, Guardian Kingdoms.
Since these games launched in 2012 and 2013 respectively, competing studios have attempted to cash in on the popularity of mobile strategy.
According to market research firm Verto Analytics, action/strategy games are the fourth most popular genre on mobile, with a comparatively high number of user sessions per month.
However, Phoenix One claims that Guardian Kingdoms offers something different from the other mobile strategy games on the market.
It also emphasizes timing in a way that the studio hopes will attract fans of the overall RTS genre.
“At the core, [Guardian Kingdoms] is still a base builder type game similar to [Clash of Clans] but with gameplay/battles more geared towards RTS players,” said Kevin Zhang, vice president of Phoenix One, describing Guardian Kingdoms as more of a “blend of StarCraft/Age of Empires and Clash of Clans.” Mobile games is a tough market to stand out in.
Even five years after Supercell released Clash of Clans, it still ranks high in downloads.
And, according to Pocket Gamer, over 2,500 games are submitted per month to the Apple App Store, making it that much harder to draw attention to new titles.
This is something Zhang is familiar with; before Phoenix One, he was previously at Kabam, a mobile game studio that released such titles as Marvel Contest of Champions.
“On a high level, our primary differentiator is the real-time tech we’ve built,” said Zhang.

89% of CIOs are investing more heavily in innovation due to uncertainty

Two-thirds (64 percent) of organizations are adapting their technology strategies in the midst of unprecedented global political and economic uncertainty, the survey found.
More than half of the respondents (52 percent) said they are investing in more nimble technology platforms.
The proportion of organizations surveyed that now have enterprise-wide digital strategies increased 52 percent in just two years, and organizations with a chief digital officer have increased 39 percent over last year.
“Digital is without question the CIO’s priority, but especially for legacy organizations, leading this change to a complete, unified digital strategy is top of mind.
Cybersecurity vulnerability — as demonstrated by the latest ransomware case — is at an all-time high, with a third of IT leaders (32 percent) reporting their organization had been subject to a major cyberattack in the past 24 months — a 45 percent increase from 2013.
Only one in five (21 percent) say they are “very well” prepared to respond to these attacks, down from 29 percent in 2014.
Almost one in five CIOs (18 percent) report their organizations have “very effective” digital strategies.
CIOs at these digitally enabled organizations are almost twice as likely to be leading innovation across the business (41 percent versus 23 percent), and are investing at four times the rate of non-leaders in cognitive automation (25 percent versus 7 percent).
Overall, the survey found almost two-thirds (61 percent) of CIOs from larger organizations are already investing or planning to invest in digital labor.
For the first time in a decade, more than seven in 10 CIOs (71 percent) believe the CIO role is becoming more strategic.

Apple and Nokia end legal spat by signing multi-year patent agreement

Apple and Nokia end legal spat by signing multi-year patent agreement.
Nokia and Apple have announced that they have settled an ongoing intellectual property (IP) spat, with the duo signing a “multi-year” patent license.
Nokia and Apple settled a two-year legal battle back in 2011 over license fees for patents that Nokia owned, however late last year Nokia claimed that Apple had “declined subsequent offers” that Nokia had made for Apple to license additional “patented inventions” used in Apple products.
Not one to accept such action lying down, Apple responded immediately by pulling Withings’ health products — a company acquired by Nokia earlier that year — from the Apple Store.
Now, it seems, Nokia and Apple have kissed and made up, with a “patent license and business collaboration” agreement that ends all remaining litigation between the two firms.
In real terms, this means that Nokia will provide “certain network infrastructure products and services” to Apple, while the Cupertino company will now begin selling Nokia’s digital health products in its online and brick-and-mortar stores.
“This is a meaningful agreement between Nokia and Apple,” said Nokia’s chief legal officer Maria Varsellona, in a statement.
“It moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners working for the benefit of our customers.” Additionally, Apple and Nokia also revealed that they are now “exploring future collaboration” in digital health initiatives, with Nokia and Apple executives meeting up regularly.
“We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia,” added Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams.
While full details of the deal between Nokia and Apple are being withheld, Nokia noted that it does involve an up-front cash payment from Apple, with additional payments being made during the course of the agreement.

Zombie Badges Take Over Security Con

Zombie Badges Take Over Security Con.
We can’t get enough of hacker-con badges.
BSides Cape Town, held Last December, featured an IR-equipped badge that immersed attendees in a game while they chatted.
A group led by [Andrew MacPherson] and [Mike Davis] designed the badge around an ESP8266 and 128×64 OLED display, with eight buttons, an IR receiver and transmitter, five “level” LEDs, an RGB LED, and a 600 mAh LiPo that charged over USB.
The hardware was designed specifically to play an organic game so that the organizers could watch the interaction between the badges in real time.
Each badge was randomly sorted into a faction, either red, blue, or green—identifiable by an RGB LED glowing on the badge.
There was also a series of five LEDs signifying your level in the game.
When two or more badges got close to each other, enough for the IR to link, the badge with the lowest level was converted to the faction of the winner.
Of course, the badge displayed attendees’ handles and contained a list of convention programming.
It also presented attendees with a series of challenges, which could be unlocked to play Pong or Rock/Paper/Scissors/Lizard/Spock, scan for wireless networks, and run animations.

Microsoft is helping restaurants cook up their own bots

Microsoft is helping restaurants cook up their own bots.
Microsoft has launched a service for businesses to quickly and easily create a FAQ bot customers can chat with inside Bing search results.
The Bing Business Bot service begins by asking a business owner a series of basic questions about their business, like where parking is, how to make reservations, and handicap accessibility details.
The service then creates a bot that draws on your answers as well as Bing Places business listing data.
If the bot doesn’t know the answer to a question, it will reach out to the restaurant owner — and remember the answer to the question for future customers.
The simple creation of a bot based on Bing Places information provides businesses with a less technical way to enhance their online presence.
The Microsoft Bot Framework is currently used by 130,000 developers to create and publish bots for more than half a dozen chat apps, ranging from Skype to Facebook Messenger.
The new bots-for-businesses service is currently only available to restaurants; however, Microsoft expressed an interest in bringing bots to other sectors at Build, the annual developer conference that took place earlier this month in Seattle.
In another recent addition, the search engine is also being used to help people discover more bots.
Search Bing for “entertainment bots” or “sports bots” for example, and a series of bots from Microsoft — but also Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik, and Telegram — will come up in search results.

Blacksmith’s Junkyard Power Hammer Packs a Punch

Blacksmith’s Junkyard Power Hammer Packs a Punch.
Any way you look at it, blacksmithing is a punishing trade.
After proper safety equipment and good training, a blacksmith may want to invest is power hammer to replace at least some of the heavy hammer work needed to shape hot metal.
Power hammers aren’t cheap, though, which is why [70kirkster] built one from an old engine block.
An electric motor spins the crankshaft and moves the hammer against the anvil through connecting rods and a trip arm fashioned from a trailer leaf spring.
Everything looks super solid and the hammer hits hard; the videos below tell the tale of the build and show the hammer in action.
Not bad for $100 out-of-pocket.
Blacksmithing is one of those dark arts that really deserves to have more adherents.
The barriers to entry can be high, but the rewards are great.
Then check out [Bil Herd]’s guide hacking together a backyard smithy.

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