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Mobile gaming is huge. The ability to play games whenever you want on a device that’s always on your person has attracted millions of people to a market that was at one time propped up solely by consoles and PCs. Now the mobile market is on the verge of taking a majority stake in an industry that it’s only been a part of for less than a decade.
Digi-Capital predicts that the mobile games market will drive the games industry to $100 billion in revenue by 2017. Out of that $100 billion, it predicts 60 percent of it will be comprised of online and mobile game sales. That leaves 40 percent for dedicated gaming hardware, console software and PC.
So, what’s the biggest driver behind mobile and online gaming’s dominance? According to Digi-Capital, Asia is leading the charge with with over $20 billion in revenue last year alone. By 2017, it expects Asia to be pumping almost $40 billion into mobile and online games.
It doesn’t look like Asia will be slowing down anytime soon either with Digi-Capital pointing out that nine out of the top 10 mergers and acquisitions of 2013 had Asian buyers. It also points out that 13 of the 15 gaming IPOs of 2013 were filed by companies based in China, Japan and South Korea. With this kind of capital on its side, a lot of these companies may lead the charge in further acquisitions and mergers in the future.
Speaking of which, Digi-Capital put together a pyramid of “potential game consolidators.” What that means is that ranks companies based on their capital with the ones at the top more likely to purchase the ones at the bottom. For instance, Candy Crush Saga maker King is at the top and could be seen as a potential buyer for lesser mobile brands, like Angry Birds maker Rovio or Farmville maker Zynga.
Now, none of this is meant to imply that any one company is going to buy the other in 2014. It merely states that the companies at the top have the capital necessary to acquire companies at the bottom. That being said, it’s likely that we’ll see more mergers and acquisitions in 2014.[h/t: Gamasutra]
Image via King
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday announced that it will hear a closely-watched dispute between Aereo, a start-up that streams over-the-air TV for $8/month, and major broadcasters — including NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox — that say the service should be shut down for copyright infringement.
The news, noted on ScotusBlog, means the court will hear the case sometime in the coming months and issue a decision before early summer.
The case is important because Aereo, which is now live in New York and about a dozen other cities, poses the most serious threat in decades to the “bundle” model of TV where distributors require consumers large packages of channels even if they only watch a handful of them.
Aereo’s CEO Chet Kanojia hailed the Court’s decision to take the case in a statement:
We said from the beginning that it was our hope that this case would be decided on the merits and not through a wasteful war of attrition. We look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court and we have every confidence that the Court will validate and preserve a consumer’s right to access local over-the-air television with an individual antenna, make a personal recording with a DVR, and watch that recording on a device of their choice.
Aereo this week announced another major round of funding and says it will expand to another 15 markets by the end of March.
Copyright case turns on if Aereo is public or private transmission
The legal issue in the case turns on whether Aereo’s system of tiny antennas, which assigns a personal antenna to every subscriber, amounts to broadcasting to the public, which is illegal; or, if it is like a remote DVR, which is considered private and not a violation of copyright:
Aereo won a major victory last spring when an influential appeals court agreed with its interpretation of the law, giving the company the green light to expand in the Northeast. The broadcasters, however, also won an important victory when they persuaded a California judge to shut down a would-be rival to Aereo called FilmOn, which also offered TV-streamed over the internet. The judge issued an injunction that shut down FilmOn in nine Western states.
Aereo claims its technology is different than that of FilmOn and is urging the Supreme Court to view the case on the basis of the New York appeal and a related case in Boston in which a judge also found the service didn’t violate copyright.
Who should pay for over-the-air TV signals?
The TV broadcasters have received support from the NFL and Major League Baseball in their claim that Aereo can’t stream their signals without permission. They point out that both cable and satellite companies must pay so-called “retransmission” fees to include the channels in their packages, even though the signals can also be picked up over the air with an antenna. In New York, many signals are transmitted from the Empire State building:
The antenna option, however, is not practical for many urban dwellers that lack access to clear signals. This makes Aereo appealing, as does the DVR storage included in the start-up’s monthly subscription rate that lets viewers record shows for later. Aereo also permits viewers to watch programs on mobile devices, which is another contentious issue at a time when content producers are beginning to sell rights to their programming on a device-by-device basis.
If Aereo prevails at the Supreme Court, it will likely put pressure on Congress and the FCC to introduce a regime whereby Aereo pays retransmission fees like other distributors. Right now, content owners cannot refuse to sell their programming to distributors — like satellite and cable companies — that fall under the regulatory regime.
Aereo’s CEO has stated that he hopes the success of the service will lead to consumers being able to buy a “rational bundle” of channels.