• X019 event: Rare and Obsidian announce new games and XCloud service expands
    The Guardian

    X019 event: Rare and Obsidian announce new games and XCloud service expands

    Everwild, a new title from the veteran studio Rare. Photograph: MicrosoftMicrosoft revealed a host of new Xbox and PC titles at its X019 fan event in London on Thursday night, including projects from Rare and Obsidian. The company also announced it would expand its xCloud game streaming service and its Xbox Game Pass subscription platform.The major game revelation was Everwild, a title from veteran studio Rare. With development being led by Louise O’Connor, known for her work on the cult favourite Conker’s Bad Fur Day, the project looks to be a mystical, woodland-set action adventure game, with a muted painterly art style reminiscent of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.Trailer for Everwild, the new game from Rare studio. “While Everwild is still early in development, we are very excited about the unique potential of the game we are creating,” said Rare studio’s head, Craig Duncan. “The Everwild team is focused on building an experience that allows for new ways to play in a natural and magical world.” No release date was given.The role-playing adventure specialist Obsidian Entertainment showed off its next project, Grounded, a first-person cooperative survival game in which players are shrunk to the size of insects and have to survive in a garden, building protective forts and seeing off attacks from ants and spiders. Survivors must hunt for resources and craft weapons and tools while exploring the open environment.Trailer for Grounded, from Obsidian Entertainment.The French studio Dontnod unveiled Tell Me Why, an adventure about identical twins reuniting in the Alaskan town in which they grew up and tackling their difficult past.Microsoft also announced a range of deals with Japanese studios and publishers. Sega’s acclaimed action titles Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2 are all coming to Xbox One and Game Pass in early 2020, as are all the Final Fantasy titles from VII onwards. Among the 50-plus other titles announced for the service were Witcher 3, Wastelands 3 and Minecraft Dungeons – all arriving at the same time as they release on Xbox.The xCloud game streaming service – which will allow users to play Xbox games on their Android phones and other devices – is set to be launched in 2020 after this year’s test phase. But there are still no details on how payment will work – whether a monthly subscription will be all that’s required, or if users will also have to pay for most games, as with Google’s Stadia.Fifty titles are being added to the xCloud roster, including Hitman, Just Cause 4 and Forza Horizon 4, and Windows 10 PCs will also be able to access the platform. Microsoft has a prototype of the service running on iPhone although there are no details on when it may arrive on Apple’s devices. A wider range of controllers will be supported next year, too, including the PlayStation Dualshock.West of Dead. Photograph: Raw FuryAn interesting range of independent games was also announced. Publisher Annapurna Interactive revealed Last Stop, a supernatural adventure set in modern London, and the Swedish publisher Raw Fury showed gothic twin-gun rogue-like shooter West of Dead, starring Ron Perlman with a story by Fable co-creator Dene Carter. The Molasses Flood, the developer of the acclaimed survival game The Flame in the Flood, showed Drake Hollow, billed as a village-building adventure.There was no talk of Microsoft’s forthcoming Scarlett console. The focus of the night, however, was very much on new projects from reliable Xbox studios and major boosts to the company’s digital gaming services. The xCloud announcements will certainly have been noticed by Google, which is launching its rival Stadia streaming service on 19 November, with just 12 games at launch and a lot of the promised features delayed until next year. With xCloud also launching in new territories including Canada, western Europe, Japan and India, the competition between the two tech giants will be global and fierce.

  • 3 REITs for Dividend Investors to Buy with Stock Market at New Highs
    Zacks

    3 REITs for Dividend Investors to Buy with Stock Market at New Highs

    Here are three highly-ranked REITs we found using our Zacks Stock Screener that dividend investors might want to buy with stock indexes at new highs...

  • Amazon challenges Pentagon's $10-billion cloud award to Microsoft
    Reuters

    Amazon challenges Pentagon's $10-billion cloud award to Microsoft

    Amazon.com Inc on Thursday said it is contesting the Pentagon's award of an up to $10 billion (£7.81 billion) cloud computing deal to Microsoft Corp , expressing concern that politics got in the way of a fair contracting process. The company filed notice last Friday that it will formally protest the decision on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud, known as JEDI. In a company-wide meeting on Thursday, Amazon Web Services' CEO Andy Jassy said it would be challenging for a U.S. agency to award a contract objectively when the president is disparaging one of the contestants, according to an Amazon spokesman.

  • PayPal halts payment support to PornHub models
    Reuters

    PayPal halts payment support to PornHub models

    PornHub, owned by Luxembourg-headquartered company MindGeek, said it was "devastated by PayPal's decision to stop payouts to over a hundred thousand performers who rely on them for their livelihoods". MindGeek did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

  • The 2 Biggest Stocks Canadian Media Investors Need to Watch
    The Motley Fool

    The 2 Biggest Stocks Canadian Media Investors Need to Watch

    Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has finally got some strong competition. But which stock should Canadian investors be most concerned about?

  • Walmart E-Commerce Growth, Economic Overview & Buy PLOW Stock - Free Lunch
    Zacks

    Walmart E-Commerce Growth, Economic Overview & Buy PLOW Stock - Free Lunch

    The latest U.S.-China trade war setback. Walmart's blowout quarterly earnings and early Disney+ success. Other quarterly results. And why Douglas Dynamics (PLOW) is a Zacks Rank 1 (Strong Buy) stock at the moment...

  • How Disney+ Is Already Reforming The Streaming Space
    Zacks

    How Disney+ Is Already Reforming The Streaming Space

    In the first 24 hours of its release, 10 million people had already signed up for this much anticipated streaming service.

  • Bloomberg

    Is Your TV Service a Streaming, Confusing Mess, Too?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- When I read my colleague Tara Lachapelle’s column on Wednesday about how the “great unbundling” of cable television could turn into the “great re-bundling,” I had to chuckle. It was inevitable that once consumers got a taste of what an unbundled world looked like, they would begin to appreciate some of the virtues of the once-despised cable bundle.Yet not many people realized that a decade or so ago, when talk about a-la-carte television (as unbundling was then called) was all the rage. Back then, it seemed so simple. As cable bills grew more expensive, consumers questioned why they were forced to take — and pay for — 300 channels when they only really watched 9 or 10. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just get the stations they cared about? More to the point, wouldn’t it be cheaper once they were rid of the 290 stations they didn’t want? Obviously, the bundle was the problem.In Washington, two successive Republican chairmen of the Federal Communications Commission, Michael Powell and Kevin Martin, were big advocates of a-la-carte television back in the 2000s. Gene Kimmelman, an executive with Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports,  told me in 2007 that a-la-carte television “would create marketplace pressure to reduce prices.”  I wrote about cable television frequently in the mid-2000s, and the reader feedback was almost unanimous. “What we really need is a la carte TV,” one reader wrote. “That way I can buy what I want rather than what someone forces into my TV.”The one person I knew who never bought the hype was a Wall Street analyst named Craig Moffett. Today, Moffett is a partner at MoffettNathanson LLC, a research boutique he co-founded in 2013. When I first got to know him, he was with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC(1) covering the telecom and cable industries. I recently went back and looked at his old research — not only because it has turned out to be prophetic, but because a-la-carte television is a good example of why we should be careful of what we wish for.What Moffett understood, and unbundling’s proponents didn’t, was that the economics of cable was, in one important sense, illusory. Cable companies paid stations based on the number of total subscribers — not on the number of people who actually watched. This system had two big benefits. It allowed niche stations without a lot of advertising to reap enough revenue to make a go of it. And it allowed the more popular stations to charge more for advertising than if they were unbundled.Without the cable bundle, Moffett said, many of the niche channels wouldn’t survive. And the bigger ones would have to charge so much that it wouldn’t be long before consumers were paying more for their 10 channels than they had for 300.One example he used in a note to clients in 2007 was Black Entertainment Television.  Without the cable bundle, Moffett estimated that BET would need to raise its subscription price by 588% to maintain its revenue at the time — and that would have only been possible if every African-American household in the U.S. subscribed. “If just half opted in — a wildly optimistic scenario — the price would rise by 1,200%,” he wrote.Moffett saw early on that streaming, barely a blip on the horizon, would disrupt the bundle. During this past decade, millions of American households have cut the cord. Perhaps more important, according to one survey, almost three-fourths of all U.S. households subscribe to at least one streaming service like Netflix or Hulu.Streaming obviously has a lot of upside. The quality of a typical, streamed TV show today is superior to the vast majority of shows the networks used to offer. Being able to watch on demand is a blessing. The fact that shows on Amazon Prime or Netflix have no ads, well, who doesn’t love that?But there have also been downsides, just as Moffett predicted. Let’s face it: you’re not really saving money. I pay $15.99 a month for a Netflix premium subscription, $11.99 for Hulu premium (which means no ads), $14.99 for HBO NOW, $11 for Showtime, and $4.99 for the new Apple TV service. If I decide to add Disney+ that’ll be another $6.99 a month.Because I’m a sports fan, I need a way to get ESPN and ESPN 2, which remain tethered to the bundle because their costs are so enormous they would simply be unaffordable as stand-alone streaming services. I’ve been using PlayStation Vue’s mini-bundle, which costs $54.99. Sony Corp. recently announced it will be ending the service at the end of January, so I’ll have to find a replacement. But they’re all in the same basic price range.When you add it all up — something I’d avoided doing until I wrote this column — it comes to $113.95. A month. Ouch. And that doesn’t include the $12.99 a month I pay to be an Amazon Prime member, which gives me access to shows like “Fleabag” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”Here’s another data point. Remember Moffett’s prediction about what would happen if BET left the bundle? We now have the proof.  Cable subscribers pay 27 cents a month for BET, according to research from Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence. A subscriber to its spanking new streaming app, BET Plus: Try $9.99. So much for all the money we were going to save.The other problem, as Tara noted in her column, is the frustration that has come with dealing with all these different services. It means “knowing which TV programs and movies reside where, having to toggle among those different apps — which isn’t as smooth as simply channel-surfing — and managing multiple monthly subscriptions,” Tara wrote.Wouldn’t you know it: Moffett saw this coming too. In 2006, he wrote a tongue-in-cheek note to clients from sometime in the future. Streaming, he predicted, had become a burden:The complexity was overwhelming. Forgotten passwords. Balky navigation. And lord, were the subscription fees astronomical, what with the average consumer having to sign up for six or seven different companies’ offerings in order to satisfy all the different members of the family.The solution, Moffett projected, would come from a clever entrepreneur with a once-in-a-lifetime idea:What if we could aggregate all the channels in one place? Disney, Fox, Turner, ABC, NBC, YouTube, CBS, MTV, the whole works, accessible from a single source. For one monthly subscription, we could bring viewers all of this amazing content, smoothly and easily! One navigation framework. A single interface. One bill. All the channels at your fingertips. And even huge libraries of content, available on demand!!!We’re not there yet. But we’re heading in that direction. It won’t be cheap. But I have my own prediction: This time around, nobody’s going to be complaining about the bundle.(1) The firm is now known as AllianceBernstein L.P.To contact the author of this story: Joe Nocera at jnocera3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at tobrien46@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Walmart (WMT) Q3 Earnings Top Estimates, E-commerce Sales Up
    Zacks

    Walmart (WMT) Q3 Earnings Top Estimates, E-commerce Sales Up

    Walmart (WMT) raises earnings guidance on solid third-quarter fiscal 2020 results. Continued strength in Walmart U.S. is a positive.

  • Disney, Apple Join Streaming War, Netflix Might Take a Backseat
    Zacks

    Disney, Apple Join Streaming War, Netflix Might Take a Backseat

    Video-streaming space gets increasingly intense as Disney and Apple join the bandwagon amid flaring up price war and content exclusivity.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nvidia, Intel, TSMC, Google and Microsoft
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nvidia, Intel, TSMC, Google and Microsoft

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nvidia, Intel, TSMC, Google and Microsoft

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AMETEK, Thermo Fisher Scientific, IQVIA, Lowe's Companies and Alexion Pharmaceuticals
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AMETEK, Thermo Fisher Scientific, IQVIA, Lowe's Companies and Alexion Pharmaceuticals

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AMETEK, Thermo Fisher Scientific, IQVIA, Lowe's Companies and Alexion Pharmaceuticals

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Tesla and General Dynamics
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Tesla and General Dynamics

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Tesla and General Dynamics

  • Ross Stores (ROST) Reports Next Week: Wall Street Expects Earnings Growth
    Zacks

    Ross Stores (ROST) Reports Next Week: Wall Street Expects Earnings Growth

    Ross Stores (ROST) possesses the right combination of the two key ingredients for a likely earnings beat in its upcoming report. Get prepared with the key expectations.

  • Will Urban Outfitters (URBN) Earnings Continue to Fall in Q3?
    Zacks

    Will Urban Outfitters (URBN) Earnings Continue to Fall in Q3?

    Urban Outfitters (URBN) has been witnessing dismal margins of late owing to higher markdowns in a bid to combat soft demand. This is likely to show on third-quarter fiscal 2020 bottom line.

  • Bloomberg

    How Amazon’s Klutzy Politicking Backfired in Seattle

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- For a company that is so good at so many things, Amazon is remarkably bad at politics.Exhibit A is the latest debacle in its hometown of Seattle, where the company’s push to seat a more politically moderate city council backfired. Campaign cash aimed at producing a less tax-happy council triggered the opposite result and turned a socialist headed for defeat into a martyr.Amazon has never been known for subtlety. The $1.45 million it spread around in political contributions to City Council candidates not only set a record, but also changed the trajectory of the election. Polls showed that voters who were poised to replace some leftist council members changed course. After Amazon’s donations became public, they elected five of seven candidates opposed by a business coalition. One of them was Councilmember Kshama Sawant of the Socialist Alternative party, who declared her come-from-behind re-election victory in front of a giant red sign that declared, “Tax Amazon.” Which the newly Amazon-unfriendly council almost certainly will do.Amazon employs 54,000 people in Seattle and owns or occupies 47 buildings there. That’s made the city seem like the biggest company town in the U.S., and has probably blinded Amazon’s leaders to the angst and tumult they’ve unleashed in a place that’s become both more prosperous and less livable.Sawant, who managed less than 40% of the vote in the August primary, went so far as to call Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, “our enemy,” and described her victory as a win for working people against the world’s richest man.“Amazon overplayed their hand,” said Egan Orion, the candidate who lost to Sawant. “I wasn’t able to make my closing arguments. There was so much noise.”Once Amazon donated in such a big way, the race became nationalized. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidates vying for the hearts of the Democratic Party’s left flank, chimed in via Twitter to trash the Amazon contributions.Here’s what Warren had to say:Here’s Sanders:Another winner, Tammy Morales, favors a bevy of local tax options to raise money for homeless services, housing and other needs. Her list includes revisiting an employee head tax similar to one Amazon successfully fought in 2018, plus a local estate tax and a tax on high salaries dubbed an “excess compensation tax.”Amazon has been trying to fine-tune its relationship with Seattle for years, and concern about relations with the City Council was among the reasons it announced in 2017 that it was looking for a second headquarters location — another endeavor that showcased the company’s limited political skills.That contest blew up in New York City when politicians and others protested the size of an Amazon enticement package — up to $3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives.In Seattle, Amazon had mostly maintained a quiet political presence until May 2018, when the City Council passed the Amazon Tax on larger companies, a head tax of $275 per employee.Amazon promptly announced that it would stop construction on one of its new buildings if the tax were imposed.The council then hastily repealed it when polls showed it could harm the council at the next election — the contest that ended so disastrously for the company this month.Starbucks, also headquartered in Seattle, took a different approach, donating a much smaller sum to the business campaign. A Starbucks executive also sent a letter to employees urging a vote for unspecified “change” and invited the public to have a cup of coffee. This was a subtle, defter move, in part because it was hard to tell exactly what the company was saying.At this juncture, perhaps after apologizing or remaining quiet a while, Amazon has a few choices. It could face probable new taxes gamely or think along the lines of Apple, which recently announced a $2.5 billion plan to ease the housing shortages and affordability crisis in California. Or take a page from Microsoft, the tech giant across Lake Washington from Amazon, which last winter offered a well received $500 million investment in affordable housing and homelessness relief across the region.To be fair, Amazon has invested in a homeless shelter in Seattle for families, Mary’s Place, which will eventually occupy eight floors in one of the new Amazon buildings. Mary’s Place does great work. But that answer to the enormous problem of homelessness and housing affordability now seems a trifle. The overall contribution to challenges facing the city is too small to those who believe Amazon needs to step up and invest in ways commensurate with its size and impact.To contact the author of this story: Joni Balter at jcbalter@gmail.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joni Balter is a longtime Seattle columnist and writer who contributes to local NPR and PBS affiliates.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Facebook Pay Takes the Digital Payment Game a Notch Higher
    Zacks

    Facebook Pay Takes the Digital Payment Game a Notch Higher

    Facebook (FB) launches Facebook Pay that is likely to stir-up competition in the digital payments space.

  • Oilprice.com

    Icahn: Occidental Won't Hit Target Without Asset Sale

    Activist investor Carl Icahn has urged the Occidental Petroleum management to immediately sell off some of its midstream assets following the $38 billion Anadarko takeover

  • Xcel Brands (XELB) Q3 Earnings Miss Estimates, Revenues Up Y/Y
    Zacks

    Xcel Brands (XELB) Q3 Earnings Miss Estimates, Revenues Up Y/Y

    Xcel Brands' (XELB) third-quarter 2019 earnings decline year over year. However, revenues improve on strength in apparel and jewelry wholesale categories as well as e-commerce.

  • Factors to Watch Ahead of Foot Locker's (FL) Q3 Earnings
    Zacks

    Factors to Watch Ahead of Foot Locker's (FL) Q3 Earnings

    Foot Locker's (FL) third-quarter fiscal 2019 results are expected to reflect benefits from focus on digital business, supply-chain efficiency and international expansion.