Technology Roundup – Amazon’s ‘Crucible’ game goes back to closed beta, Netflix taps vet of Uber

Published on: July 1, 2020
Author: Amy Liu

Amazon’s ‘Crucible’ game goes back to closed beta

Tech giants have stepped into gaming through a cloud streaming service (Google Stadia), a subscription service (Apple Arcade), and Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) push into releasing games through its own development studio.

Amazon’s free-to-play shooter Crucible launched in May to a tepid response, and the title is now heading back into closed beta.

Game studio Relentless says Crucible was released before it was ready, and the focus is now on “providing the best possible experience for our players as we continue to make the game better.”

Earlier this month, Relentless extended Crucible‘s pre-season period indefinitely to add “features and polish” like voice chat. The studio also “retired” two out of the three game modes.

Netflix taps vet of Uber, Apple to lead marketing

Netflix (NFLX +2.2%) is naming Bozoma Saint John as its chief marketing officer, Deadline Hollywood reports.

She’s coming from the same position at Endeavor, and replacing Jackie Lee-Joe, who’s leaving Netflix for personal reasons.

Saint John was previously chief brand officer at Uber, and before that head of Global Consumer Marketing for Apple Music/iTunes.

“Bozoma Saint John is an exceptional marketer who understands how to drive conversations around popular culture better than almost anyone,” says Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.

Apple Arcade cancels games in strategy shift – Bloomberg

Bloomberg sources say Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) now wants Arcade games with high player engagement that will keep users on beyond the free trial.

Apple reportedly canceled development contracts with multiple game studios earlier this year as part of this shift.

Apple Arcade launched last September with a one-month trial and $4.99/month subscription price. The service now has a two-month trial and 120 titles but lacks a big hit.

The tech giant says it always planned to edit Arcade’s lineup based on subscriber feedback.

Apple has reportedly set aside tens of millions of dollars to support Arcade game creation and has spent $1-5M on several titles so far.

Arcade forms part of Apple’s Services revenue, which has become increasingly important as iPhone sales have slowed. In the fiscal Q2 report, Services accounted for $13.3B of the $58.31B in total revenue.

Intel shares could double on market dominance – analyst

Intel (INTC +1.8%) shares could double in the next two years, says New Street Research analyst Pierre Ferragu.

Ferragu sees a “stark contrast between Intel’s financial fundamentals” and the stock performance.

The analyst writes that Intel maintains an over 90% share in its core markets despite manufacturing setbacks, and the company has “no competition in the high-end PC and continually growing universal server markets.

New Street has a Buy rating and $100 price target on Intel. The company has a Neutral average Wall St. Analysts rating.

YouTube TV raises price again, with new ViacomCBS channels

A well-regarded cord-cutting option is starting to look more like the old bundle: YouTube (GOOG -0.2%, GOOGL) is again raising the price of its live-TV offering YouTube TV.

Just past its third birthday, YouTube TV is raising its monthly bill to $64.99 from $49.99, effective today.

“We don’t take these decisions lightly, and realize how hard this is for our members,” the company says. “That said, this new price reflects the rising cost of content and we also believe it reflects the complete value of YouTube TV, from our breadth of content to the features that are changing how we watch live TV.”

Along with the price hike, YouTube is touting today’s launch of added channels from ViacomCBS (VIAC +0.2%, VIACA +0.5%): BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land and VH1. (Smaller channels from ViacomCBS such as MTV2 and Nick Jr. are joining the service at a later date.)

The base plan on YouTube TV now numbers more than 85 channels.