Futile Hunt for Pokémon Go Profits

Nintendo last week made it painfully clear that The Pokémon Co. and Niantic — the developer of the popular mobile app that takes players off the couch and into the real world — were far better positioned than it was to reap financial rewards.

Niantic, which is a spin-off of Google parent Alphabet, now has a net worth around US$3.65 billion, and is estimated to generate more than a million dollars a day from the game, according to Citibank analysts.

Much of that revenue potential lies in a wealth of in-app purchases designed to heighten excitement for Pokémon Go gamers.

“Unfortunately for Nintendo, this won’t move the needle much,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Nintendo’s stock price shooting up [following the launch] was in part an overdue market correction, and the Pokémon Go craze merely inflated the numbers.

Given Pokémon Go‘s revenue potential, it would seem that Nintendo, which long has developed Pokémon-themed video games, should be reaping the rewards — and passing them on to its investors. However, it’s far more complicated than that.

“Niantic and The Pokémon Co. are the driving

The Powerball Winner

The Powerball winner nabbed a $758.7 million jackpot, the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history and the largest payout ever awarded to a single ticket.

While the identity of whoever bought the ticket for Wednesday night’s drawing at a store in Chicopee, Massachusetts, is still unknown, a few things should top his or her to-do list:

1. Keep the ticket close

Make sure to sign the winning ticket and make several copies. If you are somehow separated from the ticket, your signature should help ensure you still get the prize. To avoid that separation in the first place, put the original in a protected place, like a safe deposit box.

 2. Remain anonymous if possible

It’s best not to announce to the world that you’ve won. An attorney can help create a legal entity — i.e., a revocable trust or a family limited partnership — that protects your identity. If you can’t avoid publicity (some states require publishing your identity), consider changing your phone number or living somewhere else

Video Games Can Teach Your Brain to Fight Depression

Video game play is literally the neurological opposite of depression.

In the past few years, multiple fMRIstudies, including a seminal one conducted at Stanford University, have peered into the brains of gamers. Their results show that when we play video games, two regions of the brain are continually hyperstimulated: the region most associated with motivation and goal-orientation (often referred to as “the reward pathways”) and the region most associated with learning and memory (the hippocampus). When you think about the experience of playing a video game, it makes perfect sense that these two regions of the brain would be hyperactivated. When we play games, we’re immediately and constantly focused on a goal. Whether it’s to solve a puzzle, find hidden objects, reach a finish line, or score more points than other players, the goal focuses our attention and creates a sense of motivation and determination. As we anticipate our potential success, our reward pathways light up.

Meanwhile, all video games—not just “educational” games—are designed to be learning experiences. Level 1 of any

Video Games You Should Play Before You Die

1.) Super Mario 64 (1996)
Why: Mario is one of the most known titles, but anyone can tell you this might be the best game in the franchise. The game is not like any of its predecessors because this was the first 3D platform game in the series. It is a bigger world than the ones before and the additional moves and jumps Mario can do makes the game fast-paced and more exciting. There are a total of 120 stars and the game has a ton of replay value. Mario platformers are still being made today and none of them still cannot come close to how good this game was.

2.) Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
Why: Everyone has their favorite Zelda game, but Ocarina of Time encompasses the best features from the glorified series. There is a huge world that you have the freedom to explore, a magnificent score, and a truly remarkable origin story. The dungeons are not too challenging, but intricate enough to not get too mad when you can’t figure a puzzle out.

3.) Pokémon X and Y (2013)
Why: Whether you are a kid or an adult, with this

The Last Guardian Down of Game

Much of the coverage of this Sony PlayStation 4 game, first announced at E3 in 2007, has focused on its long development process and delays.

The Last Guardian originally was to be a follow-up to Fumito Ueda’s Shadow of the Colossus, but after years of development twists and turns that resulted in nothing more than vaporware, it seemed possible the title never would be released. The creators slipped into silent mode about five years ago but reignited hope with an appearance at this year’s E3.

Although Sony once again pushed back the release of The Last Guardian — this time to Dec. 6 in North America and Japan, and Dec. 7 in Europe — it did offer a new trailer as a way to maintain buzz over the title.

In addition, SIE finally allowed a handful of reviewers to have some hands-on time with a 45-minute demo that highlights the gameplay in what could be one of the most ambitious video game titles to date.

The Waiting Game

Delays in video games are commonplace, but rarely do development setbacks wear on for as long as a decade. One notable exception is Duke Nukem Forever, which was announced in

The Game Battlefield

In other words, those seeking a game that approximates such films as All Quiet on the Western Front or Paths of Glory aren’t likely to find it in Battlefield 1, which is closer to what an Expendables film might look like if the characters had to rely on antiquated technology. This isn’t to say that it makes for a bad game.

Far from it in fact, because Battlefield 1 does everything the series has done since it first stormed onto the PC with Battlefield 1942 15 years ago. It is big, bombastic, chaotic — and for gamers who prefer action-packed intensity over historical accuracy, this one delivers many times over.

Campaign for One

As with many first-person shooters, this is really two games in one — or one game with two very distinct modes. Battlefield 1 includes a single-player campaign that allows the player to take part in key engagements around Europe and the Middle East.

Unlike such titles as Medal of Honor or Call of Duty — which originally were set in World War II — the campaign isn’t presented in a linear order. Nor should players expect absolute victory.

World War I didn’t culminate with the defeat of one side, of course, but rather ended suddenly with

Linux Gamers at The Final Station

The indie game, which Do My Best Games and TinyBuild launched for PC, Mac, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this summer, became available for Linux last week.

Although the post-civilization genre is fairly crowded space, the zombie-killing horror ride has earned generally positive reviews from veteran games critics, who appreciated its narrative and level of detail.

There was no grand scheme to expand the title to Linux.

“Honestly, there wasn’t some specific reason for that — we just want to give access to our game [to] as many players as possible,” said Oleg Sergeev, game designer of The Final Station.

The ability to create a Linux port pretty easily on the Unity platform led the company to make the decision, he told LinuxInsider.

Open Source Demand

The Final Station is the first Linux port for the company, but it appears that the launch so far has been a successful one, with relatively few glitches, based on feedback on the site.

“You don’t typically see much priority on major gaming titles released for Linux, but there are some exceptions, and this is changing to some degree with software such as SteamOS,”

Graphical Chip

Power to the Gamer

With a price point of nearly $700, the GTX 1080 Ti is clearly aimed at the power gamer, and it will give those who invest in this hardware serious gaming power, according to the reviews.

“Nvidia’s new card offers over a thousand more CUDA cores than its cousin — 3,584 versus 2,560 — as well as 24 additional ROPs and 40 percent more texture units,” wrote Brad Chacos for PCWorld.

“The vanilla GTX 1080 was the most badass graphics card ever created when it launched less than a year ago and the GTX 1080 Ti blows it away on paper,” he added.

The card also delivers — mostly — in actual performance, but doesn’t quite meet the hype of the specs, reported GameSpot’s Jimmy Thang.

“The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti performs 30 percent better than the GTX 1080 in this synthetic DirectX 11 test,” Thang noted in his review.

“While this represents the largest lead that the Ti has over the GTX 1080 at 1080p, it falls short of Nvidia’s 35 percent improvement claim,” he pointed out.

The Gee-Whiz Factor

The reviews

Getting Real With a Virtual Do-Good Game

MarySue Hansell: We saw that there was a lack of kindness, a lack of empathy, and negative thinking, and we thought it would be nice if we could use technology to do something about it.

We thought Facebook offered a wonderful opportunity to use a large technical platform to create a virtual world that would have a big impact, with a game that emphasizes positive thinking and good habits.

Basically, we wanted to combine the popularity of video games and the Facebook platform, and we were all avid followers of positive psychology, which is a science that shows that you can increase your well-being by doing things like altruism and expressing gratitude. We wanted to use those basic scientific principles.

The activities in A Better World increase happiness and improve well-being. You might ask, why gaming? Studies show that games form habits, and they influence behavior. Unfortunately, a lot of the game offerings are negative, but games can support positive values — especially when they’re fun.

We wanted to put good habits — expressing gratitude, being charitable, saying positive things — at the center of our game. We wanted to harness gaming for good


The CES Spectacular Edition

CES is over for another year, and with so much to discuss from the event, I’ll get right to it.

As always, these are not reviews. The ratings reflect only how much I’d like to try each product, just as soon as I stop rolling around giggling at some of the more ridiculous items from this year’s show floor.

Razer Sharp

Trust Razer to come up with something completely ridiculous that I need in my life immediately. Trust Razer to bring along two such concepts in the same year.

The first is Project Ariana, a projector that incorporates Razer’s full-spectrum lighting system, Chroma (pictured above).

It uses a wide-angle lens to project images, but it seems there’s no lengthy setup process required here.

Ariana uses 3D depth-sensing cameras to detect objects in a room and adjusts for them accordingly so that it still projects a flat image.

You can use Ariana as a regular 4K projector when you’re not playing games.

It looks incredible, and as someone looking to make the switch from a hulking TV to a projector down the line, particularly for gaming, its feature set is impressive.

I love that it can connect with the Phillips Hue system to paint your entire room to match the onscreen colors.


The Nintendo Switch handheld gaming

 On Thursday announced the Nintendo Switch handheld gaming console, its long-awaited successor to the poorly received Wii 2.

The US$300 Switch will hit the streets March 3. Purchasers will get the console, two Joy-Con controllers, a Joy-Con Grip, a set of Joy-Con wrist straps, a Nintendo Switch dock, an HDMI cable and an AC adapter.

The Switch has a 6.2-inch capacitive multitouch screen and a kickstand.

The Switch can be used as an independent handheld player. Battery life ranges from 2.5 to 6 hours.

Up to eight Switches can be connected over a local WiFi network for multiplayer games.

However, Nintendo will need to sell a lot of Switches for this feature to be useful, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

Ready to Rumble

Both Joy-Con controllers include advanced HD Rumble technology, which gives players haptic feedback for increased realism.

The controllers can be used separately — one in each hand — or together as one game controller attached to the Joy-Con grip. Players can attach them to the main console for use in handheld mode, or share them with

Gaming’s New Virtual Reality Frontier

We’re looking at some of the gadgets that perhaps got a little lost in the noise after CES in January but caught our eye, for better or worse. Among them are a 4-D arcade machine and a robot designed to carry all the things you don’t want to.

As ever, dear readers, this is not a review column, in part because these products have yet to reach the public sphere, but mostly because the chances of my actually ever using said products are slim. The ratings relate only to how much I’d like to try them, should the stars align.

Regular readers will know that I’ve played games my entire life. I hold deep reverence for the care and attention that go into creating these experiences, and I’ve rarely met a game I didn’t want to conquer.

Yet I am nervous about virtual reality. I’ve tried it and found those disorientating worlds difficult to handle, though I suspect that over time I could grow more accustomed to it. I doubt I could say the same for an arcade machine that both locks me into a VR world and

Twitch For Gamers

The Amazon-owned live-streaming video platform, on Tuesday launched its highly anticipated online game store. It includes goodie bags and other incentives, both for gamers who take the plunge and streamers who provide the content.

Twitch earlier this year announced that it would be selling games and in-game content directly through the online store, competing directly with major gaming sites like Steam.

Twitch is starting out with about 50 titles, ranging from Ubisoft’s For Honor and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Room: Wildlands to Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead and Minecraft: Story Mode. Other titles include Digital Extremes’ Warframe and Campo Santo’s Firewatch.

Gamers can download their purchases using the Twitch App or through existing services like Uplay.

Streaming partners who participate in Twitch’s commerce program will earn a 5 percent commission when customers buy games or in-game items from their channel page.

Payments will be made to their Amazon accounts in U.S. dollars; Twitch will add support for other currencies in the coming months.

Candy for Everyone

Twitch has announced some incentives to encourage interest. Anyone who buys games or in-game items for US$4.99 or more gets a Twitch Crate, which includes

The Historic Gaming Laptop Problem

I didn’t attend Computex this year, and that was sad for everything but my budget, because there was a ton of cool stuff announced at the show. Dell, HP and Lenovo showed off new designs that were both attractive and compelling. Mixed-reality headsets hit; based on Intel and Microsoft technology, they were far more affordable than the strong virtual reality stuff already in market (andsome aren’t bad looking). New core wars broke out, as AMD’s 16 Core Threadripper was challenged by Intel’s 18 core i9.

It seems that gaming was huge at Computex this year. The product — or the concept really — that stood out most to me was Nvidia’s Max-Q gaming laptop concept, which promises a gaming laptop with dimensions that would rival a MacBook Air.

I’ll focus on that this week and close with my product of the week: the new smartphone that Apple is working furiously to kill before it can be launched (which is why I immediately ordered one).

The Historic Gaming Laptop Problem

Here is the deal — I love to play games both at home and when I travel, and I tend to

More Speed, More Muscle

The new Xbox One X, which goes on sale Nov. 7 for US$499, is slimmer than previous models and packed with power.

With a 6-teraflop Scorpio engine, the One X has 40 percent faster graphics performance than its chief rival, Sony’s PS4 Pro.

The custom Scorpio engine in the Microsoft box burns chrome at 1172 MHz — a 37 percent increase over its predecessor, Xbox One, and 28 percent faster than PS4 Pro.

Since the inside of a console can get hot running at those speeds, Xbox engineers kept things cool with a liquid-cooled vapor chamber, a technology used on high octane PC gaming cards.

“They went for the most performance they could possibly get out it,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Performance prowess, though, is just one factor contributing to success in the console market.

Traditionally, game content drives the purchase and upgrades of game consoles, explained Brett Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates. Sony leads the console market in exclusive game content, and nothing yet from E3 indicates that advantage to have changed.

“Though there are improvements in power, the Xbox One X does not offer any new differentiating features to drive purchases. Essentially,

A Chinese video game rakes in cash

More than 200 million people in China play Honor of Kings, the social media-focused app that has become the biggest moneymaking smartphone game in the world. On Wednesday, its creator, the Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent Holdings, said that Honor of Kings helped power a nearly 40 percent rise in its game revenue in the three months that ended in June.

But the game’s popularity among the young has alarmed Chinese officials. In response, Tencent has added restrictions that limit those under age 12 to an hour of play a day, and those between 12 and 18 to two hours a day.

As savvy Chinese internet users have done for years, many players have found workarounds.

One is Min Jingxi, a 17-year-old student. She plays the game as many as five or six hours a day during her summer vacation — often as a character named Wang Zhaojun, a famous beauty from Chinese history — thanks to a fake identity she has established online.

“If you don’t do real-name verification for your new accounts, the system has no way to know how old you are, so there won’t be any limits,” Ms. Min said. “I have two accounts, and most of my friends also

Joining the office Powerball pool

With winner pools, the process of claiming and splitting the money can get complicated. For starters, it’s harder to do what experts advise in big lottery wins: Stay anonymous while you figure out a plan for the money.

Ideally, you’d have time to hire experts, like a lawyer, financial advisor and accountant, to figure out the best way to claim and manage that jackpot before the media crush brings attention and outstretched hands to your doorstep.

But sharing the prize means more people know at the outset. Someone is likely to spill the beans.

It could take longer to get your money, too, with each participant consulting his or her own team of experts.

“The last thing you want is 20 lawyers involved in anything,” said Kurland.

Some states have limitations on how many checks can be cut, meaning a larger group could need to settle on a more complex solution, like forming a trust.

“If you’re going to take those crazy odds, you’re better off doing it on your own so you don’t have to split it.”-Jason Kurland, The Lottery Lawyer

Then there are the tax

The Hulk Thor Ragnarok Set

I visited the set of Thor: Ragnarok in Australia almost exactly a year ago, during which time I learned the following about the MCU’s seventeenth feature film. If you’re trying to avoid any and all spoilers, even the smallest details, then bookmark this page and come back to read it after you’ve seen the movie.

How Hulk Ended Up on Sakaar

As production designer Dan Hennah explained while I toured the set with other invited journalists, Hulk — who was last seen flying off in a Quinjet at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron — basically ends up on the alien world of Sakaar by chance not design.

“The sky in Sakaar has a number of wormholes that deposit space waste, basically, and if you’re flying though space, you can get caught in a wormhole and you can end up [on Sakaar],” said Hennah. He added later, “Well, he hit one of these wormholes and he ended up here and he became the Grandmaster’s, uh, special toy. He’s the lead punch-up guy.”

As it turns out, Sakaar is literally the crappiest place in the galaxy. Hennah described the

The series premiere of The Orville

The series premiere of The Orville, “Old Wounds,” quickly establishes a world that isn’t just an homage to Star Trek, and more specifically Star Trek: The Next Generation, but is very clearly an attempt to mimic the feel and look of that show. While The Orville is a comedy, it is not a parody of Star Trek and it does not lean as heavily into the humor as some may expect from a MacFarlane project. Indeed, the show can be as earnest, in its way, as TNG itself, and in fact former Star Trek producer Brannon Braga is an executive producer on The Orville. (David A. Goodman, who has written and/or produced for Family Guy, Futurama, and Star Trek: Enterprise, is also an EP.)

The War of Jokes and Riddles where Batman

This whole war started because Joker and Riddler couldn’t decide who should be the one to kill Batman. Things escalated quickly, with Gotham City supervillains big and small taking a side in what became a massive, city-wide turf war.

With the number of civilian casualties skyrocketing, most notably during an extended face-off between master assassins Deadshot and Deathstroke, Batman used the power and influence of Bruce Wayne to call a meeting between the two crime bosses. Over the course of what was the most tense and awkward dinner of all time, Bruce heard arguments from both sides as to why he should pledge his support, and therefore Batman’s

We learned his decision in Issue #30, which shows Batman sporting a green Riddler armband as he helps take out the villains on Joker’s side, including Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Scarface and the Ventriloquist, Man-Bat, Mr. Freeze, and, finally, Kite Man. Riddler and Batman purposely left Kite Man to be the last villain standing because they knew he’d be the easiest to break in order to learn the Joker’s whereabouts.

It’s no surprise to see Batman pick Riddler over Joker. While Riddler is a murderous manipulator, there’s at