Abrams Artists Agency Forms Gaming Division To Rep Jovenshire, Jesse Cox, More (Exclusive)

abrams-jovenshire

The division will live within Abrams’ larger digital department, and has already signed 15 top-tier gaming influencers from both YouTube and Twitch at launch — all of whom were signed under the direction of the agency’s senior vice president, Alec Shankman. Abrams agent Miles Lozano, who also oversaw the signings, will helm the new gaming vertical, which will handle content monetization, channel growth, and branding and marketing deals.

“We have been growing exponentially in various digital verticals with marquee talent,” said CEO Harry Abrams, who founded the agency 40 years ago. “Miles has brought significant signings to the table, and we are confident he will help these clients expand their businesses in the ever-growing gaming and esports verticals.”

Jesse Cox
Jesse Cox

A selection from the new roster, courtesy of Abrams, includes:

  • Jesse Cox: Cox has been in the online gaming world for nearly a decade, and most recently served as the executive producer of the YouTube Red esports comedy series Good Game. He counts 936,000 YouTube subscribers and more than 650,000 followers across other social platforms.
  • Brooke ‘Dodger’ Thorne: As one of the top female broadcasters on Twitch, Thorne — who counts 256,000 followers on Twitch and more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube across both her gaming and vlog channels — is also the host of a popular weekly gaming talk show called Saturday Morning Dooger.
  • Sam ‘Strippin’ Thorne: Thorne, a former model, initially rose to fame in the gaming community as part of the popular Yogscast YouTube franchise. Today, he counts over 230,000 Twitter followers and nearly half a million YouTube subscribers. He is also one of the top 100 Twitch channels, in terms of in-stream audience size, in the world.
  • Dave ‘Lasercorn’ Moss: One of the founding members and hosts of Smosh Games, Moss also operates an independent channel with over 700,000 subscribers. In addition to his digital following, he has appeared on a handful of linear television shows, including Nickelodeon’s Game Shakers and American Ninja Warrior (where he failed horribly).
Brooke ‘Dodger’ Thorne and Dave ‘Lasercorn’ Moss.
Brooke ‘Dodger’ Thorne and Dave ‘Lasercorn’ Moss.
  • Matt Sohinki: Sohinki, another founding member of Smosh Games, counts 400,000 subscribers on his own YouTube channel, as well as 900,000 followers, collectively, between Instagram and Twitter. He regularly hosts esports tournaments, and has created sponsored content alongside top industry brands like EAUbisoft, and ESL.
  • Joshua Ovenshire: The Streamy winner and Smosh Games founding member — best known to fans as Jovenshire — has appeared on TBS’s King Of The Nerds and Disney XD’s Gamer’s Guide To Pretty Much Everything. His YouTube channel, TheJovenshire, focuses on all things geek culture, and he also works as a voice actor.
  • [Source”indianexpress”]

Why people trust Apple with their health data more than Google or Amazon

Tim Cook was the second highest-paid executive of 2016, pulling in $150,036,907

Getty Images
Tim Cook was the second highest-paid executive of 2016, pulling in $150,036,907

Would you trust a technology company like Apple, Amazon or Google with your health data?

More than 1,000 people participated in my Twitter poll on the topic, and the majority of people responding that they would. Only 37 percent of people responded that they would not share their data.

Among those who opted to share their health data with a tech company, one clear winner emerged: Apple.

[Source”timesofindia”]

Apple Is Looking for More Tax Breaks in India

Story image for Apple from Fortune

Apple (AAPL, +0.30%) has asked the Indian government to extend tax breaksto its suppliers if India seeks to become a manufacturing hub for iPhones and its components.

Government officials say meeting this request would require a new policy that applies fairly to other device makers, too.

The U.S. tech giant has been in talks with Indian officials since May of last year, when CEO Tim Cook and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to set up a production base in the country that goes beyond just assembling the devices, as happens today.

The two sides have been discussing a list of “prerequisites” that Apple submitted in October, including duty exemption on raw materials for manufacturing components and capital equipment for 15 years for it to make iPhones from scratch in India.

The company has told the government it would be bringing in a host of these ancillary units when it sets up operations to cater to India, one of the world’s fastest growing smartphone markets, a top government official said.

Related: Here’s What Apple’s iPhone 8 Could Offer According to a New Leak

“They want the same treatment to be given to the component manufacturers; the tax concessions, they want everything. But then some kind of policy will have to be evolved,” the official said.

Apple declined to comment.

The demand could further delay Apple’s plans to penetrate the Indian market, the world’s third largest for smartphones behind the United States and China, but where it has only a 2% share.

The company is looking to India after sales in the Greater China region, once a major growth driver, slid 14% year-on-year to $10.7 billion in the three months ended April 1.

In May, Apple, working with Taiwanese contract manufacturer Winstron, began assembling the iPhone SE in Bengaluru.

The plan that Modi and Cook ordered the two sides to work on, however, envisages manufacturing a full range of iPhones for the domestic market, as well as for export.

Ecosystem for Handsets

For India, which would only be the second iPhone production center after China, such an investment would be a big win for Modi’s Make-in-India campaign.

It would also spawn a vast network of suppliers, in the way that India’s auto ancillary sector took off to feed Maruti Suzuki India’s production line over three decades ago.

Another official, who has led efforts to secure foreign investment in the manufacturing sector, said Apple’s proposal to build its phones in India was being examined favorably by the government.

“My view is that India needs to support Apple to create an ecosystem, which was done for Maruti. This helped to build the automobile and auto component industry in India,” the official said, seeking anonymity in line with government policy.

Related: Foxconn Would Get These Huge Tax Breaks For Opening New U.S. Plant

“Initial support will pay rich dividends in the long run and facilitate innovation, design and manufacturing of electronics components in India,” the official added.

Apple competitors such as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and China’s Oppo could also benefit from a broader policy review as they, too, currently have predominantly assembly operations in India.

Another government official familiar with the matter said it would be difficult for India to agree to Apple’s request for a customs holiday for just its own operations in India.

Customs duties have already been slashed in order to make India a hub for handset assembly lines, the official said.

That move has encouraged phone makers to set up such facilities in India, and so the duty structure cannot be changed for one company, the official said.

[Source”indianexpress”]

Apple continues its trend of inclusive emoji with “woman in headscarf,” “breastfeeding,” and more

Apple is taking yet another leap toward making its emoji slate more inclusive with its latest release, which will feature “woman with headscarf” and “breastfeeding” icon options.

The update will also include a new “bearded person” emoji, more mythical creatures like “genie” and “zombie,” and expressive new smiley faces intended to convey such emotions and behaviors as “mind-blown” and “vomiting.”

The company previewed its new emoji on Monday in conjunction with World Emoji Day, which falls on July 17 because that’s the date depicted by the iOS calendar emoji. The newest additions will become available later this year.

Apple’s newest digital icons are in line with the company’s recent and largely praised moves to take emoji in a more universal direction.

Over the past half-decade, Apple has drastically expanded the diversity of its emoji palette in response to widespread requests for a more representative slate. After an update to include art for LGBTQ couples in 2012, African-American icons were added in 2014. An update in 2015 further expanded the skin tones on offer, and included five races all based on the Fitzpatrick scale, a skin color classification system developed in 1975.

Most recently, the 2016 update saw Apple equalizing its gender representation, adding gender options for single-parent families and new female athletes and professionals — leveling out the largely male representation among sports emojis.

Of the company’s shift toward more diverse digital representation, Apple’s vice president of worldwide corporate communications Katie Cotton told MTV back in 2014, “There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

Other noteworthy icons in Apple’s 2017 update include new food entries (sandwich, coconut), new animals (zebra, T. rex), and additional new smileys (“starstruck”).

 [Source”timesofindia”]

Apple continues its trend of inclusive emoji with “woman in headscarf,” “breastfeeding,” and more

Apple is taking yet another leap toward making its emoji slate more inclusive with its latest release, which will feature “woman with headscarf” and “breastfeeding” icon options.

The update will also include a new “bearded person” emoji, more mythical creatures like “genie” and “zombie,” and expressive new smiley faces intended to convey such emotions and behaviors as “mind-blown” and “vomiting.”

The company previewed its new emoji on Monday in conjunction with World Emoji Day, which falls on July 17 because that’s the date depicted by the iOS calendar emoji. The newest additions will become available later this year.

Apple’s newest digital icons are in line with the company’s recent and largely praised moves to take emoji in a more universal direction.

Over the past half-decade, Apple has drastically expanded the diversity of its emoji palette in response to widespread requests for a more representative slate. After an update to include art for LGBTQ couples in 2012, African-American icons were added in 2014. An update in 2015 further expanded the skin tones on offer, and included five races all based on the Fitzpatrick scale, a skin color classification system developed in 1975.

Most recently, the 2016 update saw Apple equalizing its gender representation, adding gender options for single-parent families and new female athletes and professionals — leveling out the largely male representation among sports emojis.

Of the company’s shift toward more diverse digital representation, Apple’s vice president of worldwide corporate communications Katie Cotton told MTV back in 2014, “There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

Other noteworthy icons in Apple’s 2017 update include new food entries (sandwich, coconut), new animals (zebra, T. rex), and additional new smileys (“starstruck”).

[Source:-VOX]

Your Company May Soon Pay More for This Key Software

Many Fortune 500 companies will probably pay more to use Atlassian software starting next month, but it’s sort of hard to tell given the complexity of the newprice model outlined in late June.

While these Atlassian (TEAM, +0.31%) products—like Jira for tracking bugs and Confluence collaboration software—may not be name brands to non-IT pros, they are a big deal to software developers. And because most companies now build and maintain at least some of their own custom software, this price change is worth noting.

An example: Right now, a team of 26 to 50 people pays $3,000 per year for a cloud version of Jira. Starting July 31, 2017, that same team will be on the hook for $3,500 per year. Under the current plan, once a team hits the 51-user mark, it paid $4,500 per year. Now that bill will be $7,000.

With these changes, Atlassian, which went public two years ago, will offer what tech news site The Register called a “mind-muddling” 17 tiers of annual pricing. It is hardly the only software company to offer a dizzying array of price points. As cynics often point out, there is often money to be made in complexity.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

For those paying on a monthly basis, Atlassian is moving to per-user pricing at least after the first 10 users which can use the product for $10 per month flat fee. But once an 11th person is aboard, the price will jump to $77 per month (at $7 per user per month).

In its post, Atlassian characterized that $10 flat fee for up to ten users as its introductory rate. The company’s Jira Service Desk price will still carry a $10 flat fee covering three agents, the people assigned to handle support tickets. Atlassian also offers versions of all these products that can run on a customer’s own servers.

Atlassian claims many name-brand customers including Cerner (CERN, -0.89%), DocuSign (DOCUSIGN), Rockwell Collins (COL, +1.49%), and NASA.

Related: Atlassian Goes All In With Amazon Cloud

Atlassian became a bit more familiar to workers outside software development early this year when it announced plans to purchase Trello, a popular workforce collaboration application, for $435 million. There were no price changes listed for that product.

Fortune contacted Atlassian for comment and will update this story as needed.

Note: (July 10, 2017 11:11 a.m. ET) This story was updated to note that the Atlassian blog outlining the price changes posted in late June and that the company also offers on-premises versions of these software products, the price of which was unaffected by these changes.

[Source”indianexpress”]

‘WHY AREN’T THERE MORE FEMALE DEVELOPERS?’

Andy Golpys says the gender gap in tech impacts every business so they must help take steps to close it

The co-founder and creative director of North West web design studio MadeByShape has called on other businesses to help encourage more women into tech careers.

Last year it was reported 50,000 girls were turning away from a STEM education each year. An extensive PwC survey showed that only three per cent of females expressed that a career in tech would be their first choice, with only five per cent of females holding leadership positions in the sector.

“I wanted to use my experience, alongside insights from some North West digital heavyweights, to ask the question ‘Why aren’t there more female web developers?’,” says Andy Golpys.

READ MORE: 101 FEMALE ROLE MODELS IN TECH

Golpys has worked as a university lecturer for eight years, focusing on web design and development alongside running successful web design studio, MadeByShape.

He says he found that for graphic design students choosing between disciplines such as illustration, photography, web design or motion, only around 50 per cent of students choose web and of this small number very few are female.

“Do we need to look at why enough female students aren’t picking web as an option?,” he says.

“If so, does work need to be done to reinforce how big the industry is (and is likely to grow), how many opportunities there are for jobs, or how eye catching the pay salaries and company benefits are?

“The number of females choosing Graphic Design and similar courses is high, so what is the reason for them not to choosing web, with digital now emerging as a bigger industry than print design?

“Are they just not interested in coding all day every day? Would they rather be on the creative or client side of an agency? Or is it simply that a career in tech has not been previously mentioned to them and so it has never been considered?”

Women in Tech

Golpys adds that he has noticed movement in the area in the last couple of years with actions being taken to address the issues and figureheads in the sector engaging in activity to help make a change.

“At MadeByShape we have provided numerous opportunities to students and graduates, both male and female, to come and work with us on live briefs, with team members on hand to answer questions,” he says.

The company is also now working with local colleges to target a younger audience by offering work experience to those interested in the digital sector.

“During a three week placement, that individual will gain a great insight and have a good idea whether this is something that they enjoy; this is a valuable opinion to take away.”

He summarises: “We all know that there is a massive digital skills gap in this country; add to that the fact that women are hugely under-represented in the sector and you’re left with something of a problem.

“No matter who you are or where you work, the gender gap in tech already impacts you so what is important now are the steps we take to start closing this together.”

[Source”indianexpress”]

More :SAI Apple is preparing for the death of the iPhone

The iPhone may be the most successful product of all time, selling over 1 billion units and making Apple the most valuable publicly traded company in the world.Yet Apple already has to face the possibility of a world where new kinds of computers supplant the iPhone, just as the iPhone replaced iPods, and other computers, a decade ago.

The smartphone is the dominant computing platform today, but Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and now even Apple are already starting to invest heavily on augmented reality technology, which integrates computer graphics into the real world.

The thinking is that one day, this technology will end up in light and portable smart glasses, which will be able to replace all the screens in our lives – even the iPhone.

Apple sees what other tech companies are seeing: The smartphone market is not the growth engine it was a few years ago, and tech companies need something to replace it.

Apple CEO Tim Cook loves to talk about augmented reality. “I am so excited about it, I just want to yell out and scream,” Cook told Bloomberg earlier this month .

It’s not the first time he’s teased a big new product related to AR.

“AR is going to take a while, because there are some really hard technology challenges there. But it will happen, it will happen in a big way, and we will wonder when it does, how we ever lived without it. Like we wonder how we lived without our phone today,” Cook said last year.

[Source”indianexpress”]

Sony should do more to boost cross-platform gaming

Sony should do more to boost cross-platform gaming

Halfway through 2017, gamers have a new console from Nintendo to enjoy, a high-end option from Microsoft to look forward to, and increasing interest in VR titles. With these advances in hardware, it seems silly that Sony is pedaling backwards with its decision to keep PS4 gamers away from enjoying cross-platform titles.

Speaking to Eurogamer earlier this month, Jim Ryan, head of global sales and marketing for PlayStation, explained the company’s position:

We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe.

Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it’s something we have to think about very carefully.

Xbox chief Phil Spencer isn’t buying the argument. In an interview with Giant Bomb, he pointed out that Microsoft owns one of the most family-friendly games around, and noted:

The fact that somebody would kind of make an assertion that somehow we’re not keeping Minecraft players safe, I found — not only from a Microsoft perspective, but from a game industry perspective — like, I don’t know why that has to become the dialogue. Like, that doesn’t seem healthy for anyone.

It’s odd to see Sony avoiding participating in an important phenomenon in the future of multiplayer gaming. Heck, even Nintendo’s getting in on the action: earlier this month, American studio Psyonix announced that it’s bringing its beloved soccer-but-with-cars game, Rocket League, to the Switch this holiday season, with cross-platform support in tow.

The title works between PC and Xbox One, and between PC and PS4 – it’s just that the consoles currently can’t talk to each other, because Sony won’t allow it. According to Psyonix, if Sony gave the go-ahead, it could have Rocket Leaguerunning across platforms in “less than an hour.”

Psyonix’s Jeremy Dunham told Engadget that while Microsoft and Nintendo were quick to work with Psyonix to support cross-platform play, Sony has been stalling the conversation.

Of course, it almost certainly has to do with money: Sony is hammering Microsoft in sales, with a global install base of 60 million PS4s as of June vs. 26 million Xbox Ones that were last reported in January. As the market leader, it may not want to risk losing out on any customers buying a PS4 so they can remain in the PlayStation universe.

But it’s hard to be sure that that’s just how things will go. Last October, the Xbox One outsold the PS4 for the third month in a row in the US. Sony probably knows something we don’t about the future of console sales. The trouble is, that doesn’t help players.

As Dunham explained, granting gamers access to each other across networks would translate into faster matchmaking, better matches and access to better opponents, and therefore, more time spent on consoles and more chances to sell them things like DLC and cosmetic items.

Instead of fighting to stay exclusive, Sony would do well to explore ways in which it can capitalize on the opportunities that cross-platform gaming will present – increased longevity for multiplayer titles, bigger audiences for niche games, and more word-of-mouth promotion of games between owners of various consoles.

[Source”GSmerena”]

Hands-on: Middle Earth: Shadow of War gets more creative with Tolkien’s universe

middleearthshadowofwar screenshot1 resized+

A lot of time and effort will be spent discussing Middle Earth: Shadow of War’s improved Nemesis System between now and probably about a month after release. And for good reason—the Nemesis System was the only thing that elevated predecessor Shadow of Mordor from another me-too Assassin’s Creed clone into a technical wunderkind.

Leaning into that aspect for the sequel is probably a good call, especially since we’ve failed to see similar tech make its way through the industry. The dynamic characters that made Shadow of Mordor such a joy are still, three years on, a novelty.

But I had 20 to 30 minutes of hands-on time with Shadow of War during E3 and to be honest, the Nemesis System was the least of my concerns. There was a bit of been-here-done-that to the proceedings, sure—but more problematic is the time investment required to see the Nemesis System in action. The entire concept only flourishes when it’s your cast of characters, when it’s your army of orcs following you into battle against another army of orcs you’ve come to systematically despise.

That’s the whole premise, right?

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

So I captured the fortress Monolith had prepared for the demo. I scaled walls, rode the backs of various beasts, hurled poison at foes, leapt hundreds of feet through the air to assassinate an unwary foe. I captured the courtyard, then the outer keep. Lost a few commanders along the way. Killed more than a few of the enemy’s commanders. I made it to the center of the fortress, fought a monstrous troll-enemy while poison spurted from the floor.

It was very similar to the Shadow of War demo we saw back at GDC. The impression I get is still just “Nemesis System, but expanded.” And that’s fine, and I’m sure it’ll be an interesting bit of tech to watch in action when the game releases in October.

Let’s talk about the story, though. Or, rather, the risks Monolith gets to take with the story this time around. That’s what got me really interested last week.

The original Shadow of Mordor’s story wasn’t anything to write home about—it seemed like a barebones scaffolding for an extensive Nemesis System tech demo, as if Monolith came up with this amazing idea and then slapped a license on it. Shadow of Mordor could’ve been an Arkham game, a Suicide Squad game, a Justice League game, another interminable Lego adventure, or any other WB license.

But it wasn’t. It was Lord of the Rings, sort of.

GAMING
Shadow of War gameplay

And so Gollum popped up at one point, there were various bits of fan service hidden in scraps of lore around the world, and what have you. It was ever-so-carefully crafted. Almost too carefully, as is the case with many “Extended Universe”-type stories. Like Tron: Legacy or Star Trek: Into Darkness, an insistence on too-obvious callbacks mixed with hesitance to deface what came before left Shadow of Mordor feeling like a very extensive fan-fiction.

This awkward reverence was everywhere, from our hero Talion acting as poor man’s Aragorn to Marwen’s life force being sucked away by Saruman the same as Theodin’s. Predictable, at best. Boring, most of the time.

Shadow of Mordor spent so long lulling the player into a sense of complacency that when its story finally did go to some weird places—right at the end—it came as a sharp left turn. For 20-odd hours you’d been fed a generic tale of revenge, and then suddenly Monolith decided to upend Tolkien’s whole universe and create a (paradoxical) second One Ring.

Then the game ends.

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

The sequel sees Monolith picking up and fleshing out that story, as Talion and his ghost-elf buddy Celebrimbor struggle to take over Mordor as the “Bright Lord.” This plays into the whole Nemesis System of course, with Talion dominating orcs and forcing them to swear fealty to the Bright Lord, conquering entire regions in the name of the Bright Lord, and the like.

But it’s also indicative of a freer hand for Monolith’s writers, an impression that was reinforced when I played one of Shadow of War’s story missions. We followed some orcs into a swamp reminiscent of the book’s Dead Marshes, an eerie fog-filled nightmare full of brackish water. Normal enough for Mordor, and a typical set-up for Shadow of Mordor—take something familiar, then reskin it.

Some orcs imprisoned in elaborate vine growths came as a surprise though, as did the relative calm of the nearby wildlife—creatures that usually attacked Talion on sight simply watched us walk deeper into the swamp.

That’s when the forest spirit approached. Dryad, nymph, or some other Lord of the Rings-centric term I don’t know, what came out of the woods was a 20-foot tall woman made from vines. She then transformed into a warg made from cast-off bark, then into a wooden troll, and finally into a massive wooden dragon, each of which we had to defeat in battle.

Shadow of War

Daniel Masaoka

It’s far more audacious than pretty much anything I saw in Shadow of Mordor. This isn’t just some retread of the films. This is an entirely new creation, a whole new force at play in Middle Earth. Sure, you could draw some loose parallels to the Ents, but the correlation isn’t nearly as 1-to-1 as the various creatures and beings in Shadow of Mordor were.

And for good reason. A Monolith developer was observing as I went through the demo, and I asked about this forest entity, why she seemed so much more creative than what we saw in Shadow of Mordor. His answer was pretty simple—with the success of the first game, the writers were given considerably more freedom this time around. Expect a more daring story, or at least more daring moments as Monolith experiments more within the Lord of the Rings lore.

That’s an interesting prospect, at least to me. If it’s bad? Well, just write it off like the first game, or like any other fan-fiction.

I’d much rather Monolith try something new though. I want a reason to play Shadow of War that isn’t just “Well, the underlying technology is cool.” Especially with the game reportedly many times the size of Shadow of Mordor, the story hook needs to actually hook this time.

We haven’t seen much yet, and I doubt we’ll see much more before the game releases in October, but I came away from the E3 demo feeling more charitable than I did at GDC. Sure, the core of the game is still just “The Nemesis System, but bigger,” but maybe this time the surrounding framework won’t feel quite so skeletal.

That’s the hope, anyway.

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Related:

  • Gaming
  • E3
  • E3 2017
SHOP TECH PRODUCTS AT AMAZON
  1. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year [Online Game Code]

    $19.99
  2. Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War [Online Game Code]

    $59.99
  3. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year – PlayStation 4

    $19.99
Ads by Amazon

TODAY’S SPECIAL OFFERS

  • Building a cloud business case? Need data to back up your cloud strategy?Use our exclusive benchmarking tool to compare your cloud investment and deployment plans with your peers.
  • Make the jump to NVMe Solid State DrivesTOSHIBA OCZ RD400 provides a more responsive PC experience with shorter storage latency than that of today’s traditional hard disk drives and SATA SSDs.
  • Our Resolution is your ProtectionLet Bitdefender help you start this year safe and strong.
  • Don’t Break up With Your Car. Upgrade it.Get the latest technology for the car you already own with Pioneer Electronics. Pioneer offers in-vehicle smartphone technology, convenient safety packages and cutting-edge music sources for the ultimate entertainment experience.
  • Internet Outage Detection – Free TrialInternet Outage Detection clearly shows which of your services are impacted by ISP outages.
  • Enterprise WAN & LAN MonitoringDownload our free guide to learn how to intelligently monitor your WAN, LAN, Wi-Fi and SaaS apps.
[Source”pcworld”]