When Zynga purchased developer studio OMGPOP for $200 million, we thought they were either crazy or were going to make something happen and we just weren't aware. Shortly after the big expense, however, the social game company put on an "Unleashed Event" to show the media the new games they were coming out with in order to save the company. Unfortunately, the thought of new games like Elite Slots and Matching with Friends has not been enough for the company, who has seen a sharp downturn in the amount of people actually playing Zynga games in the past two months.
This week, things are worse for Zynga and during the after-hours trading on the 25th, Zynga's stock value went down by 35 percent. Investors and stockholders alike were obviously not pleased with the company's monumentally awful earnings call and spoke with their dollars about losing a lot of faith in the social game giant.
How much money was lost and what happens now? We have the details after the break.
As Netflix continues to reign supreme after some of its detractors found their way back to the streaming service, competitors like Amazon Prime Instant Video are looking for new ways to bring subscribers to their content. Recently, Amazon inked a deal with MGM Studios for some classic movies and now the company has locked up deal, including a brief exclusivity, on a couple of popular shows. Amazon announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with Warner Bros to bring West Wing, Dark Blue, Fringe, Alcatraz and The Whole Truth to the Amazon Prime's Instant Video streaming service.
Amazon also said that both West Wing and Fringe will be accessible only to Prime subscribers for the summer and will not be available to any other competitor until the leaves start changing color. The fun part is that these shows will also be available for non-Prime viewers after the summer, something which is usually reserved for less-recent titles on Instant Video. Of course, also after the summer we will see these shows end up on Netflix and possibly Hulu but it is refreshing to see Amazon act in a proactive manner and provide the content for the first time through a legal streaming service.
Brad Beale, Amazon's digital video and content director, said,
Since launching Prime Instant Video, we've continued to expand both the quantity and quality of video content for our Prime members. Bringing Fringe and The West Wing - two shows with a devoted fan base - to Prime Instant Video first, is another way for us to add value for Prime members and to continue to give customers content they love.
While this isn't necessarily a ground-breaking thing for those who are for or against Amazon, this is another deal that the company has made to keep pushing their catalog of 18,000 videos into the 20,000-and-beyond range. So the question remains: is $79 a year for both free two-day shipping on Amazon.com and 18,000 videos worth it? Or are you still on a Netflix account paying $7.99 a month (for streaming) for 60,000 shows and movies? Let us know in the comments section and tell us if you will be making the switch for these shows.
Just a year after HTC acquired majority stake in Beats Electronics for $300 million, the company has decided to change its mind. Beats is buying back 25 percent of the shares sold to HTC for $150 million, the same price they initially sold them for. The decision has been marked as part of a "realignment" effort for Beats, which will now "provide Beats with more flexability for global expansion." How that will occur and why they didn't understand this concept a year ago is a bit confusing to me, however even with 25% stake in the company, HTC will be the largest outside shareholder in the company.
HTC will also be able to still have exlusivity to the Beats Audio technology found in their devices. However, things won't turn out so good for them as they are planning to post a $4.8 million loss at the end of this deal. HTC has said that they are selling the shares back due to lack of consumer interest in the audio technology in their phones. Many critics have also said that even with Beats Audio in phones like the HTC Rezound, they were unable to tell a difference in audio quality. For me, using the Rezound and the HP TouchPad, I can attest that having the tech in a mobile device makes my music stand out, especially in high-end car stereo systems.
I suppose the good news out of all of this is that if HTC isn't fully bought into the deal they thought was great a year ago, they won't have to lose all of their $300 million when Beats becomes overtaken by other headphone companies like Monster and Soul by Ludacris. Both of these companies offer new, ground-breaking, affordable headphones of all shapes and styles, without compromising audio quality or over-emphasizing the bass of a song for absolutely no reason.
On top of Hulu's great moves as of recent, like bringing original foreign programming to the network and introducing a brand new video player with a 10-second rewind, Hulu is continuing their progress by adding more content this week. Larry King, who has been off the air since December 2010, has brought a half-hour interview series to Hulu and Hulu Plus, in a multi-year licensing and distribution agreement.
The new talk show, Larry King Now, will show up on Monday through Thursday, sometime in the early evening, according to reports, and we've seen the first couple of episodes pop up around 7PM Eastern Time. So far, the guests have been Seth MacFarlane, Meghan McCain and Matthe McConaughey. King has said that his series will continue the same style as that of his CNN show, Larry King Live, in that he will offer up a mixture of high-profile people from political figures to celebrities. The show also looks to incorporate both content and social media into his new show.
Check after the break for King's and Hulu's thoughts on the new deal.
Verizon has realized that small businesses are in desperate need of IT support and feel that they are in the right position to solve the problem. Actually, they feel they are in the right position to brand a solution from another company: Best Buy's ailing Geek Squad service. The two companies have teamed up to create IT Help Desk, a 24/7 computer solution service in which Geek Squad Agents will take phone questions and solve a myriad of computer problems.
Janet Schijns, vice president of vertical solutions and channels for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said,
Technology innovation continues to unlock value and create revenue opportunities for small and medium businesses, which are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. Our new offering allows business owners to tap into today's sophisticated wireless and advanced technologies with the peace of mind that trusted tech support is readily available anytime the need arises.
Verizon seems to think it is a partnership made in heaven. What does Best Buy think of someone wanting the aid of their Geek Squad service? Hit the break.
While Sony prepares the PlayStation 4, and Microsoft prepares the next Xbox, EA prepares for the PC. EA CEO John Riccitiello recently said in an interview with CNBC,
Just five years ago people said that the PC game business was in a radical state of decline because NPD said it was down 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent, year-in year-out... The fastest growing platform for video games today is the PC, but it's growing through subscriptions, through micro transactions and through downloads.
That is a little hard for me to believe - kind of. It all depends on what we consider PC gaming. If we are counting games like SimCity Social, then I can totally understand why he believes that. SimCity Social has seen huge growth over the past few weeks since launch. Riccitiello also believes there is huge growth in the full title business as well. In regards to FIFA 12,
We had five million players that first week and it's now july, and we've had no fewer than four and a half million players since then.
So, is it possible that PC is gaining traction? Hit the break for more.