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May 25, 2021

👋 Good morning! Back on deck and much to discuss, including some more Pixel 6 leaks... but first...

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Netflix Games
What to watch on Netflix
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Several reports over the past few days suggest that Netflix is expanding its focus into gaming, and has started hiring.

But the question is if Netflix is really heading towards gaming or expanding interactive content.

Let’s take a look at what we know:

  • On May 21, Reuters and The Information published separate reports highlighting that Netflix is hiring a game industry executive.
  • Reuters: “Netflix … is looking to hire an executive to oversee its expansion into videogames, a person familiar with the matter said.”
  • On May 21, Polygon received a statement from Netflix which confirmed nothing and referenced a range of things:
  • Our members value the variety and quality of our content. It’s why we’ve continually expanded our offering — from series to documentaries, film, local language originals and reality TV. Members also enjoy engaging more directly with stories they love — through interactive shows like Bandersnatch and You v. Wild, or games based on Stranger Things, La Casa de Papel and To All the Boys. So we’re excited to do more with interactive entertainment.
  • On Sunday, Axios added more detail, saying: “Netflix is planning to get into gaming, possibly with the launch of a suite of downloadable games.”
  • Other key points: “A source familiar with Netflix’s plans tells Axios to ‘think of it as a smaller Apple Arcade,’ a reference to Apple’s offering of high-quality, ad-free mobile games offered to paying subscribers.”
  • “The Netflix offering, two Axios sources say, would consist of a mix of licensed Netflix intellectual property and original work commissioned from independent studios, offered to existing Netflix subscribers.”
  • “The service is far off, possibly launching in 2022, and plans are all subject to change.”

What Netflix knows:

  • Years ago, Netflix said Fortnite was bigger competition than HBO or Hulu.
  • Videogames are enormous. Global videogame revenue last year was estimated at $180B, eclipsing the global movie industry ($100B), plus the sports industries in the US ($75B) combined.
  • Netflix wanting a piece of that, and being able to use its unique IP beyond subscriptions and merch, makes sense.
  • Netflix has usually read the script the other way, turning games like The Witcher and Resident Evil into TV.
  • That said, making high-level AAA games remains ridiculously difficult and expensive. Google entering and exiting the world of first-party studio made games, and Amazon’s struggles(Quartz) are reasons for caution. Throwing time and money at studios doesn’t necessarily work, but neither does ruthlessly demanding games produced to a schedule.
  • Will Netflix test the waters and find it’s all too hard? Would it do game streaming or downloads? Which platform makes the most sense?

🍿 Samsung airs two new ads taking aim at the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s camera (Android Authority)

👉 Leakers reveal what to expect from Google Pixel 6, 6 Pro display, and Whitechapel chip: 5nm chipset, performance around Snapdragon 870 level, focus is on perfecting machine learning and AI processes. Displays suggested as 120Hz panels (Android Authority)

🆕 This new stretchable micro-LED display from Royole could lead to twisty wearable devices, at higher transmittance than OLED, but only 120 PPI so don’t expect it in a new twistable smartphone… (Android Authority)

🔀 Huawei founder says company should dodge sanctions by pivoting to software: report (The Verge).

💻 Snapdragon 7C Gen 2 announced — faster CPU, mostly the same chip for education/entry-level laptops (Android Authority). 

🧱 Samsung’s first Fan Edition Galaxy Tab makes large tablets more accessible, dropping back to a 60Hz LCD (Android Authority).

🍎 Some 12.9″ iPad Pro reviewers are spotting an unfortunate blooming effect on its mini-LED screen (MacRumors).

🔋 Eternally five years away? No, batteries are improving under your nose(Ars Technica).

⚖ We now wait for the judge to decide the Epic v. Apple outcome, which could take months given 4,500 pages of testimony and more evidence. It may all hinge on the definition of the “marketplace”(Ars Technica).

📒 Terms & Conditions Apply is a little game that dares you to opt-out (Gizmodo).

🚗 Germany gives green light to driverless vehicles on public roads in 2022 (TechCrunch).

🤖 Elon Musk called lidar a “crutch,” but now Tesla is reportedly testing Luminar’s laser sensors, and that makes sense! (The Verge).

👈 Charlie Bit My Finger sold as an NFT for $761,000, could vanish from YouTube forever (Engadget).

🍞 “What’s good as a hobby but terrible as a profession?” (r/askreddit). (People saying baking bread are probably right!)

Chart Tuesday

There’s something not adding up about UFO sightings. The recent revelations via 60 Minutes around the FBI’s own dedicated investigations into military and navy video recordings of UFOs makes it more fun. The very latest sighting shows something that splashes into the water and disappears, with the Pentagon confirming it as leaked footage (CNN)

And adding to the legitimacy of the oddness are military specialists who don’t exactly use caution in their words.

Via Vice

  • Luis Elizondo, a 20-year military veteran who worked at the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). At AATIP, Elizondo worked with scientists and other experts to try to figure out what the hell everyone is seeing in the sky. 
  • “Imagine a technology that can do 6 to 700 g forces, that can fly at 13,000 miles an hour, it can evade radar, that can fly through air, water, and possibly space, and has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces, and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth’s gravity,” Elizondo said. “That’s exactly what we’re seeing.”

Anyway, nature is healing: UFO sightings are making a triumphant return as the pandemic quietens.

  • The standard sort of guide is that the vast, vast majority of UFO sightings can be easily explained, as a mix of fairly common weather balloons, blimps, planes, helicopters, military aircraft, satellites, or planets (Venus and Mars are identified as UFOs all the time). 
  • Then there are more exciting things like birds reflecting the sun, meteors or meteorites, space junk, ball lightning, ice crystals, and unusual rare clouds and reflections.
  • And, at some level, some tiny percent of things can’t be reasonably explained, with enough evidence that doesn’t make sense. But as CNET argues, UFOs are real, but that doesn’t mean we’ve been visited by aliens.

All the best,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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