Finally, a way to justify my erstwhile Counter-Strike habit.
Video games are big business, and if you don’t believe it, look no further than yesterday’s news. In the span of a few hours Spotify launched a portal for music dedicated to gaming, Microsoft acquired the Seattle game-streaming service Beam, and GPU maker Nvidia posted its fastest-growing quarterly sales in years, driven by—you guessed it!—gaming applications, which represent more than half the Santa Clara, Calif., company’s total revenue.
And if that isn’t enough, two companies are currently hard at work developing a 1,000-seat facility in Oakland’s Jack London Square for the sole purpose of watching other people play video games, aka eSports, a $463 million global business this year.
As they say: FTW!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you need to go out tomorrow and buy a PlayStation 4, much as Sony CEO Kaz Hirai might like you to. But if you’ve been wondering what’s behind the hubbub about No Man’s Sky or why some people are excited about actor Michael Fassbender’s turn in the forthcoming action-fantasy flick Assassin’s Creed, well, follow the money.
Oh—and troll the respawn, Jeremy.
Have a great weekend.
BITS AND BYTES
Hewlett Packard Enterprise spends millions on supercomputer maker SGI. People of a certain age will remember Silicon Graphics, which made the systems used to animate Toy Story. HPE announced plans to buy what’s left of the company on Thursday. The $275 million deal should shore up its position in high-performance computing and data analytics. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal)
Facebook wants more human feedback on news feeds. The social network is polling visitors about which stories are most “informative.” It’s another initiative intended to evolve the algorithms that pick what people see—and what advertisers buy against. (Wall Street Journal)
Alibaba’s cloud business is growing like gangbusters. The Chinese e-commerce giant grew revenue by 59% last quarter to $4.8 billion, a return to its pre-IPO growth rates. For the first time, it disclosed its earnings in five broad categories—although cloud revenue is still relatively modest, it expanded 156% to $187 million. (Fortune, New York Times)
This startup will calculate your company’s cybersecurity risk score. Upguard, which just raised a $17 million Series B round, appraises the digital risk associated with external websites and internal systems. Its first 100 customers include ADP, Home Depot, Allianz, Williams-Sonoma, and the New York Stock Exchange. (Fortune)
SAP ditches employee reviews. Europe’s biggest software company is IBM and General Electric in eliminating annual performance appraisals in favor of ongoing feedback, made possible through a new breed of software apps. (Reuters)
Foxconn’s takeover of Sharp is now complete. Chinese antitrust regulators approved the $3.8 billion deal for Japanese tech conglomerate earlier this week. Sharp’s CEO has resigned and Tai Jeng-wu, hand-selected by Taiwanese billionaire Terry Gou, is now in charge. (Wall Street Journal)
South Korea joins list of countries scrutinizing Google for antitrust behavior. Reports suggest that the investigation is focused on how the company bundles apps with its Android mobile operating system for smartphones. (Wall Street Journal)
Birthplace of hard drives and relational databases turns 30. Happy birthday to IBM’s Almaden research group in San Jose, Calif. Its latest projects include cellular engineering, catalysts for biodegradable plastics, and scanners for investigating food-borne illnesses. (IBM)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Twitter Feuds With BuzzFeed Over Former CEO and User Safety, by Kia Kokalitcheva
Here Is Where Google Plans to Test Super-Fast Internet, by Aaron Pressman
ONE MORE THING
Snapchat seriously needs someone to filter its strategy for filters. The messaging service is well-known for lens animations that let people alter their faces. Most are just goofy, but some of its caricatures—including a now-deleted effect that mimics Asian features—perpetuate decades-old racial stereotypes. (New York Times)
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Gartner Catalyst: Takeaways for technical professionals. (Aug. 15-18; San Diego)
Intel Developer Forum: The bounds of technology. (Aug. 16-18; San Francisco)
VMworld: Software-defined data centers and cloud computing strategies. (Aug. 28-Sept. 1; Las Vegas)
SAP SuccessConnect: The evolution of HR software. (Aug. 29-31; Las Vegas)
Oktane 16: Explore the role identity plays in connecting people and technology. (Aug. 29-31; Las Vegas)
BoxWorks: Box’s annual customer conference. (Sept. 6-8; San Francisco)
The Exchange Community: Workiva’s training and development event. (Sept. 7-9; San Diego)
nginx.conf: Strategies for application development and delivery. (Sept. 7-9; Austin, Texas)
Women in Product: A gathering of experienced female product managers. (Sept. 13; Menlo Park, Calif.)
Oracle OpenWorld: The future of the cloud is now. (Sept. 18-22; San Francisco)
Gigaom Change: 7 transformational technologies. (Sept. 21-23; Austin)
Workday Rising: Talent management in the cloud. (Sept. 26-29; Chicago)
Microsoft Ignite: Product road maps and innovation. (Sept. 26-30; Atlanta)
Dreamforce: The Salesforce ecosystem meets. (Oct. 4-7; San Francisco)
Atlassian Summit: Tips and training for developers and project managers. (Oct. 10-13; San Jose, Calif.)
Virtuous Circle: The future of the Internet ecosystem. (Oct. 10-11; Menlo Park, Calif.)
Gartner Symposium/ITexpo: A gathering of CIOs and senior IT leaders. (Oct. 16-20; Orlando, Fla.)
DellWorld: Dell’s annual global customer conference. (Oct. 18-20; Austin, Texas)
Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: The world’s largest gathering of women technologists. (Oct. 19-21; Houston)
TBM Conference: Manage the business of IT. (Nov. 7-10; San Diego)
Drone World Expo: Commercial apps for unmanned aircraft. (Nov. 15-16; San Jose, Calif.)
AWS re:Invent: Amazon’s annual cloud conference. (Nov. 28-Dec. 2; Las Vegas)