Author: Lucas Matney

Athenascope nabs $2.5M seed led by First Round to bring gamers AI-edited highlight reels

As massive cross-platform gaming titles become even larger time-sucks for a lot of people, it’s probably worth reflecting on how to savor your in-game accomplishments. Streaming of eSports celebrities on sites like Twitch has taken off like no one imagined, but for the most part the toil-heavy editing processes has left this attention largely focused on those with the ambitions of making gaming their full-time gig. Athenascope is a small startup aiming to tap computer vision intelligence to record, review and recap what more novice gamers were able to pull off in their latest battle royale with a short, shareable highlight reel. The team is led by Chris Kirmse, who previously founded Xfire, a game messaging client that Viacom bought in 2006 for north of $100 million. The company announced this week that they’ve closed a $2.5 million seed round led by First Round Capital to grow its tools and its team. They’re also rolling out their AI highlight reel tool for gamers. The tool is pretty customized for individual titles; they’re launching with support for Fortnite, Rocket League and PUBG, but Kirmse hope to expand that list significantly in the future. Josh Kopelman, a partner at First Round Capital who is joining Athenascope’s board, highlighted that a lot of existing tools for gaming entertainment are “really skewed towards the high-end.” “They’re not democratized, they’re for professional gamers,” Kopelman told TechCrunch....

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References to next-gen Oculus ‘Rift S’ headset reportedly found in internal code

After we broke the news in November that Oculus’s former CEO had left the company partially due to disagreements on the company’s PC hardware direction, including the cancellation of a high-end “Rift 2” in favor of a more iterative “Rift S” headset, new details are emerging that confirm Facebook’s directional shift for its flagship headset. UploadVR found some supporting files that back up my November report that Oculus is releasing a new headset with inside-out tracking called the Rift S https://t.co/9wK02Pr80n — Lucas Matney (@lucasmtny) February 5, 2019 User interface code discovered by UploadVR seems to confirm that Oculus...

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Alphabet revenues are up 22% but the stock is still dropping

Despite delivering a Q4 earnings beat, Google parent company Alphabet’s stock is dropping. The company reported revenue of $39.3 billion, up 22 percent year-over-year with an EPS of $12.77. Alphabet stock dropped as much as 4 percent in after-hours trading. “Other” revenues (Cloud, hardware) were reported at $6.49 billion, up 31 percent year-over-year. “Other Bets,” which includes ventures like the Waymo self-driving car group and health services effort Verily,  saw losses climb to $1.3 billion with revenue sitting at $154 million, short of Wall Street estimates. A number that analysts were increasingly looking closely at, traffic acquisition costs, climbed to $7.4...

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Periscope’s latest feature turns your broadcast into a radio talk show

When it comes to live streaming, the viewer contributions are pretty light. In Periscope, you can drop a comment of leave a floating heart icon, but there isn’t a deep way to contribute to a stream. Today, Twitter is rolling out a change to Periscope that hands broadcast viewers the microphone, allowing a video stream to bring audio-only call-ins from the audience. To answer your first question, yes, Periscope is still around. To answer your second question, the streamer has to hand the microphone over to individual users, it’s not a free-for-all audio call, that would be unimaginably awful....

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Apple’s long-time Siri leader reportedly no longer in charge

The man who has headed up Siri at Apple since 2012 is no longer at the helm, according to The Information. Bill Stasior remains at the company in a different role, the report states. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment. Stasior joined Apple to take over Siri in 2012 after being poached from Amazon’s A9 retail search team. At this in time, most of the original Siri co-founders had already left Apple and Stasior was tasked with taking on the mantle of deciding where the digital assistant should move next. Siri has had a troubled history at Apple. Though...

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Apple’s global active install base of iPhones surpassed 900 million this quarter

It’s not surprising that Apple has a massive active install base of iPhones across the globe, but we now finally have an exact number to put behind it. During its Q1 earnings call, CFO Luca Maestri shared the install base for the first time. “Our global active install base of iPhone continues to grow and has reached an all-time-high at the end of December,” Maestri said. “We are disclosing that number now for the first time, it has surpassed 900 million devices.” Apple has previously detailed the total active install base of its products. They updated the number today to 1.4 billion devices worldwide at the end of December 2018, up from 1.3 billion at the end of January 2018. It’s interesting that Apple has decided to break out iPhone device numbers even as it shies away from releasing unit sales in its earning calls from this point moving forward. Maestri detailed that Apple would continue to offer updated on the iPhone install base and total install base on a “periodic basis.” Apple seems to be seeking out bright spots wherever they can find them, the Q1 2019 earning didn’t deliver great news for the company despite beating already-reduced market expectations. iPhone revenues were down 15...

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Apple posts Q1 revenue decline with iPhone sales down 15 percent

Apple met its already-lowered expectations for its first earnings report of 2019, but the outlook isn’t too rosy as the gadget maker sees a major year-over-year decline in its cash cow iPhone business. Apple reported revenue of $84.3 billion with $4.22 in basic earnings per share, falling largely in line with Wall Street expectations of $84 billion with an EPS of $4.17. The company’s revenue shrank 5 percent year-over-year from $88.3 billion one year ago. Apple shares popped 2 percent after-hours. Apple set guidance for Q2 revenue between $55 billion and $59 billion at the low-end of analysts expectations of $58.8 billion. While Apple’s revenue arrived closely in line with expectations, the number is a far cry from the guidance Apple offered in November. Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a letter to investors, slashing Q1 guidance from a range of between $89 billion and $93 billion to $84 billion. Apple’s stock price cratered nearly 10 percent when Cook’s letter was released, a drop that represented the worst single-day plunge for the company in more than five years. Apple’s wild stock fluctuations have been a cause for a lot of uneasiness amongst the broader market. A big focus in this release was on Apple’s revenues in emerging markets. While shifts among revenues in most regions were moderate, the company’s revenues in Greater China shrank nearly 27 percent to $13.2 billion...

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Slack now has more than 10 million daily active users

As Slack reportedly readies itself for an entry to the public markets, the high-flying startup is ready to brag a little bit about what it has accomplished in the past year. In a blog post, the company shared that it now has 10 million daily active users on the platform, up from 8 million DAUs in May. It’s not just tech companies in Silicon Valley using the service either, the company broke down the number a bit, clarifying that more than half of the DAUs are from outside the United States. User numbers via Slack We didn’t get an...

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