Where Is Mobile Gaming Going Now?


Mobile games are now dominating App Store and Google Play downloads. According to gaming research firm Newzoo, mobile gaming will generate more than $70 billion in 2018, which is over three-quarters of total app store revenue, and there will be over 2 billion global players.

Mobile attribution and data analytics company AppsFlyer’s report on The State of Gaming App Marketing 2018 takes a look at what is driving gaming use and sales.

Boom In Midcore And Strategy Games

The explosion in sophisticated smartphone adoption has driven play of mid-core and strategy games. These now account for a 60% share of overall gaming downloads. The use of what is known in the industry as, ‘pick and play’ hyper-casual games, became three times as popular in 2018, but despite this, these games still only made-up just over 5% of total gaming downloads this year.

Gaming Increasingly Supported By Ads

More than 50% of gaming revenue in several genres is now primarily supported by advertising, the AppsFlyer report found. In-app ad monetization is really taking off for hyper-casual games. For casual games, there is a nearly 60-40 split favoring ad monetization versus in-app purchases. When it comes to mid-core and strategy games, however, 70% of all revenue still comes from purchases and this isn’t expected to change.


Microsoft patents a wearable device that could help Parkinson’s patients

Ever since the Microsoft Band 2 came out back in 2015, old Redmond has mostly been out of the wearable game. That being said, that wearable did pack some truly impressive and ambitious tech, enabling things like maximum volume of oxygen (VO2 max) tracking. Microsoft is clearly no stranger to experimentation when it comes to such gadgets and if a recently acquired patent is to be believed, there could be plenty more in store.

The document in question, simply titled “WEARABLE DEVICE” was filed back in June 2017, but has now been officially published by USPTO. Like every patent request, it is long, broad and vague in most parts, but the gist of it does sound very impressive.

Apparently, at the heart of the device is an array of actuators, potentially mounted in a way that would allow for adjustments in their position. Working together with specialized sensors, their purpose would be to do their best in reducing or stabilizing involuntary movement in an adjacent joint or even entire limb. Below is a relevant excerpt from the document.

If implemented properly, this does sound like a major potential quality of life improvement tool for people suffering from Parkinson’s and many other conditions. Reading further into the text also reveals ambitions of making said device battery efficient enough to allow for a full day of operation on a single charge. Also, there are multiple mentions of communication protocols, like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as companion smartphone apps, so it is pretty clear the device will have some tracking and reporting capabilities. Likely general health features as well. Pretty neat indeed!

We’ll definitely keep and eye out for any further developments and hope that this patent actually turns into a marketable product at some point.


Adata XPG SX8200 Pro NVMe SSD review: Top-tier performance for a song

adata xpg sx8200 pro nvme ssd 1tb heat sink primary

Uber-fast NVMe storage for 20 cents per gigabyte? That’s what Adata’s XPG SX8200 Pro delivers. Of course, NAND prices have dropped recently, but until now that’s only been reflected in performance-challenged (on long writes) budget drives. The SX8200 Pro is an NVMe drive that rivals top-rated Samsung’s 970 Pro in performance but is significantly cheaper.

Table of Contents

  • Design and specs
  • Performance
  • Extraordinary value

Design and specs

The Adata SX8200 Pro is a 2280 (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) form factor M.2 drive using 3D (layered) TLC (Triple-Level Cell/3-bit) NAND marshalled by a Silicon Motion SM-2262EN controller. It’s a full four-lane PCIe 3.0 implementation, not two lanes like many other bargain-priced NVMe SSDs such as Kingston’s A1000.

There’s a DRAM cache on board (an unspecified amount, likely 512MB), secondary cache to the tune of approximately 1.2 percent of capacity, and a tertiary cache that can expand up to approximately 15 percent of capacity. That has a lot to do with the drive’s performance, though it’s no slouch when it runs out of cache either.

sx8200pro 1tb 300 Adata
The SX8200 Pro is by far the best performing drive in its price range. Samsung’s 970 EVO matches if for relatively small amounts of data, but slows down more quickly on long writes.

About the only outstanding physical characteristic is the logo’s heat spreader, which the company includes in the package. It’s unattached, but thermal adhesive is already applied so it’s an easy mod to make. It’s not necessary to the long-term health of the drive, but a nice touch.

The SX8220 Pro is available in three capacities: 256GB (currently about $75 on Amazon), 512GB (currently about $120 on Amazon), and the 1TB we tested, currently about $215 on Amazon. Wow. Note that I tested only the 1TB version, the less capacious models will have less cache and garner lower numbers. Speaking of which…


I took Adata’s claim that the SX8200 Pro would perform on a ,par with, or better than the top-rated Samsung 970 Pro with several very large grains of salt. Well, dye my hair red and call me Harpo—Adata wasn’t kidding. It competes extremely well with the 970 Pro until you write a very large amount of data. Even when it runs out of secondary or tertiary cache, it writes at a crisp 1GBps. I’ve seen NVMe SSDs drop as low as 450MBps off of cache.

You’ll see the 1TB SX8200 Pro in the light blue bars compared to the aforementioned 1TB 970 Pro and Intel’s 960GB 905P, a fantastically long-lived and fast, but extremely expensive competitor. CrystalDiskMark 6 ranked the SX8200 Pro as performing roughly on a par overall with both those drives.

adata sx 8200 cdm


China Sets Up Online Games Review Panel, Raises Approval Resumption Hopes

China Sets Up Online Games Review Panel, Raises Approval Resumption Hopes

Chinese regulators have set up an online video games ethics committee that has already reviewed 20 titles, state media said, raising hopes the government was preparing to resume an approval process that has been frozen for most of this year.

China, the world’s biggest gaming market, stopped approving new titles from March amid a regulatory overhaul triggered by growing criticism of video games for being violent and leading to myopia as well as addiction among young users.

The freeze on new approvals has pressured gaming-related stocks and clouded the outlook for mobile games, with industry leader Tencent Holdings reporting its first profit decline in more than a decade in the June quarter.

But in a sign an end to the regulatory uncertainty could be near, state media Xinhua reported late on Friday that the new games ethics committee – under the guidance of Chinese Communist Party propaganda department – had already reviewed 20 games.

It has requested for a revamp of 11 titles to “eliminate moral hazard”, and rejected the remaining nine citing improper content, Xinhua added.

Industry insiders welcomed the move by the committee made up of experts on games and adolescence problems from universities, industry associations, research institutions and media outlets.

“We view this as a progressive step with more strategic directions likely to be given out by end of this month,” Jefferies said in a research note.

“This could potentially be followed by timetable announcement of approval resumption before mid-2019.”

Tencent declined to comment.

However an executive from the technology giant said on condition of anonymity: “I think the sign is, it’s almost the year end, the revamp should come to completion.”

Tencent has lost more than $100 billion (roughly Rs. 7.1 lakh crores) in market value since the start of the year amid regulatory uncertainty.

On Monday, the stock was down 1.2 percent, in line with the broader market.


NBA Games Are Longer This Year And The League Is OK With That, Stressing Game Flow As More Important

The length of an average game has become a massive issue in major American professional sports. Major League Baseball is discussing transformative rules changes to shorten their games and appeal to a younger, broader audience. Yet NBA games are quantifiably, marginally longer this year and the league said that it’s okay with that, more concerned with what it termed game flow than adding a little bit of time to its games so far this season.

Through games played on Dec. 6, non-overtime games are a little over two minutes longer this year, per numbers provided by the league, and just under three minutes longer on average if you factor in OT games.

Time of Game (through Dec. 6)

Season All Games Non-OT Games
2015-16 2:16:41 2:15:40
2016-17 2:18:19 2:16:28
2017-18 2:11:48 2:11:16
2018-19 2:14:39 2:13:26

A lot of that has to do with the new enforcement of the freedom of motion rules, which has led to more fouls being called this season. In games played through Dec. 5, there were 43.6 fouls being called per game. That’s up four fouls per game from last year and three fouls year to date, according to the NBA.


Huawei Turns on Humour in Campaign to Win Over Germany

Huawei Turns on Humour in Campaign to Win Over Germany

China’s Huawei has turned to humour to burnish its reputation in Germany, as the under-pressure networks group seeks to defend its leading position in Europe’s largest market against concerns it poses a national security threat.

Billboards posted around Berlin ask whether fifth-generation mobile services will soon be more widespread than dog poop in the capital, while as Germany’s ruling party elected a successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hamburg last week, Huawei’s stand was decked out with tongue-in-cheek slogans.

“Mutti – are we nearly in new land yet?” a sulking boy asks in one, an ironic reference to Merkel’s widely ridiculed comment in 2013 that the internet was “new land for all of us”.

Huawei is under increasing pressure outside China and its Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, daughter of the company’s founder, is being held in Canada as the United States seeks her extradition for allegedly misleading international banks about Huawei’s control of a company operating in Iran.

Meng denies wrongdoing and China has demanded her release.

Some US allies have barred Huawei from their markets citing national security concerns, and the Shenzhen-based global telecoms networks market leader can ill afford to lose its foothold in Germany, where it first set up operations in 2001.

“Our target group is very much decision makers,” Patrick Berger, head of media affairs at Huawei’s Berlin office, said of the campaign, launched a month ago as some German policy makers urged Berlin to consider excluding Huawei.

This followed US warnings that Huawei’s network gear could contain ‘back doors’ that would allow Chinese spies to hack into critical network infrastructure.

Germany’s interior ministry now says that it sees no legal grounds to exclude any vendor from supplying 5G gear, while the network regulator has included no security requirements in its blueprint for a forthcoming 5G spectrum auction.

Thinking ahead
The campaign is titled ‘Huaweiterdenken’ – a compound word translatable as “Thinking ahead with Huawei” – and seeks to highlight how its technology is helping people as lifestyles change.

Competitors say, however, that it smacks of desperation in an increasingly adverse political climate.

“The one stakeholder they feel they can still influence is the public,” one telecoms industry boss said.

To soothe concerns, Huawei, which sells services to Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland, has opened an information security lab in Bonn.

Germany’s information-security watchdog said this “significantly improved” its ability to scrutinise the information- and cyber-security of equipment.

Huawei is trialling a 5G project with Deutsche Telekom in Berlin ahead of the auction of licences in early 2019 that would unlock billions in network investments to enable connected factories, smart cities or self-driving cars.

Although some CDU leaders dropped by Huawei’s Hamburg stand, its public affairs team was not involved in any high-level meetings and the exhibition hall was separate from where Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was elected party leader.

“Our presence had nothing to do with the security debate,” Berger said. “And I can already tell you that we are going to be at the party conferences next year.”


eBay takes 15% off smartwatches, other gadgets in the UK and Ireland

Holiday shopping is upon us and eBay is thinking about PRESENTS – that’s the coupon code for 15% off certain categories. The deal lasts until midnight tomorrow and applies to customers from UK and Ireland. As usual, there are limitations: 1 redemption per customer, you need to spend at least £20 and you can get at most £50 off (T&C details here).

You can see all categories that are part of the deal over at eBay, but we’re interested in only a few of them: consoles and games, laptops, computer accessories and, of course, smart watches.

If you’re on a budget, you can skip straight to the Under £150 category. Otherwise, head over to the full listing that has Apple Watches (from Series 1 to 4), Samsung Gear (S2 and S3), Huawei Watches, Garmin watches, plus many others.

15% off smartwatches and other gadgets at eBay 15% off smartwatches and other gadgets at eBay 15% off smartwatches and other gadgets at eBay
15% off smartwatches and other gadgets at eBay

For example, a new Samsung Gear Sport is £160, which works out to £136 post discount. A new Gear S3 frontier is £161. An Apple Watch Series 3 (38mm) is getting close to the max discount – it drops £42 for a price of £238.

Again, those are new units, but there are plenty of refurbished ones too (at a suitably lower price).


Japan also planning to stop using Huawei and ZTE equipment

Huawei and ZTE have been no strangers to security and espionage scandals in recent years. And while it is hard to fully grasp the whole picture and accurately judge on any of the official accusations, it is already pretty clear that the two Chinese corporations are under direct fire by the USA. In fact, things have been unraveling very rapidly on an international scale for the pair, with many other countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the UK taking preemptive steps of their own.

Considering all this, plus the recent arrest of Huawei CFO it really comes as no surprise to hear that Japan is considering protective measures of its own. To be fair, unlike the ongoing US scandals, Japan’s alleged measures won’t be targeting and calling out Huawei and ZTE in particular. Instead the country is rumored to put in place certain general strengthened information security measures that will affect the two Chinese entities’ operations, among others.

This particular news has traveled rather slow, since it was first reported by the Yomiuri newspaper and then picked up by Reuters. It does, however, bring about a different air of certainty in the source, as well as potential severity of the situation Huawei and ZTE find themselves in.

Besides a potential loss in Huawei’s end user smartphone business, the more severe consequence the two Chinese corporations could be facing is a major hit to their enterprise branches. Both are major mobile infrastructure players. Huawei supplies some network equipment to NTT Docomo and KDDI Corp. Then there is also Huawei’s long-standing partnership with SoftBank Group Corp (Current owners of the US Sprint Corp) with existing plans to partner on 5G trial, which might now be in limbo, given the new developments.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has already expressed serious concerns about the Huawei and ZTE situation. ZTE’s Shenzhen stock has been in trouble, recently sliding down 5.7 percent in a global stocks sell-off after the Huawei CFO arrest. All the while, Huawei is unlisted from trading, so things are looking rather serious overall.


OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition teaser hints at 50W Warp Charging

https://cdn.gsmarena.com/imgroot/news/18/12/oneplus-6t-mcl-50w-charging-teaser/-728x314/gsmarena_001.jpgA OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition teaser claims that “charging is about to hit warp speed”. This is most likely a hint at 50W charging, which was missing from the spec sheet of the regular 6T.

OnePlus trademarked Warp Charge earlier this year, not long after sibling company Oppo unveiled Super VOOC (50W) charging with another supercar-themed phone – the Oppo Find X Lamborghini Edition.

So, you’ll have one more reason to pick the McLaren Edition over the regular OnePlus 6T other than the 10GB of RAM and 256GB storage. The company’s current Dash Charge is no slouch at 20W, but with phones from Oppo charging at 50W and ones from Huawei at 40W, it was time for an upgrade.

PS. Did you notice that the cable is orange instead of the usual OnePlus red? And if you take a closer look at it, it looks like a braided cable.


+Nokia 8.1 promo video leaks ahead of the official unveiling

HMD Global’s event in Dubai on December 5 is expected to be the launchpad for up to three smartphones, including the Nokia 8.1 – for a while this has been rumored to be nothing but a rebranded international version of the Nokia X7 that has been available in China since October.

And now, mere hours before said event, a promo video for the Nokia 8.1 has been outed, which intriguingly shows us a much larger notch than the Nokia X7’s. The phones could still be identical on the inside, though, with only that visible differentiating feature.

As you can see, the video emphasizes the camera’s Zeiss optics with OIS, its prowess in shooting superior low-light images, its ability to make “AI” portraits, and beautiful bokeh. The screen supports HDR10, and that’s all we get from this presentation. It looks like the Nokia 8.1’s marketing will be very focused on the camera (excuse the pun), if this is anything to go by.

Anyway, stay tuned for all of the official details coming straight from the Dubai event in a few hours.