Grabbing Gearbox and stifling Stadia | PodcastLatest podcast available now, explores Embracer’s M&A strategy and the latest woes for Google’s cloud games serviceGamesIndustry StaffMonday 8th February 2021Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleEmbracerGearbox SoftwareGI PodcastGoogleOn our latest podcast, Matt, Brendan and James discuss two of the biggest games industry stories of the past two weeks.First up, we discuss Embracer Group’s acquisition of Gearbox Software — a deal potentially worth close to $1.4 billion, but with some very notable caveats.We use this as a jumping off point to explore Embracer’s overall mergers and acquisitions strategy, and ponder the wider trends in the M&A space — something further analysed in this article by GameDiscoverCo’s Simon Carless.Related JobsSenior Build Engineer – AAA Studio – Yorkshire UK & Europe Big Planet3D Artist – Mobile Studio – Midlands UK & Europe Big PlanetProducer Indie Game Studio France UK & Europe Big PlanetDiscover more jobs in games In the second half, we talk about Google’s decision to close its internal Stadia Games and Entertainment and the broader implications for the internet giant’s cloud streaming games service.You can listen to our latest episode below, subscribe to our directly here. It is also available via Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Overcast, Player FM, TuneIn and other widely-used podcast platforms.Don’t forget to check out the latest episodes of The Game Developers’ Playlist and The Five Games Of, all episodes of which are on the same podcast feed.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesPodcast: IO’s independence, with Hakan Abrak | GI Live OnlineHitman studio’s CEO on the journey to self-publishing and achieving the vision for the World of Assassination trilogyBy GamesIndustry Staff 4 days agoSix additional staff leave Stadia to join Haven StudiosFormer Stadia Games and Entertainment GM Sebastien Puel is a co-founder of Jade Raymond’s new ventureBy Danielle Partis 6 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
The ceasefire agreement in Karabakh collapsed again on Sunday (September 27), and full-scale fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces is now in full swing for the fifth straight day, with heavy casualties being reported. The international community, including the United Nations and the European Union, have been calling (so far unsuccessfully) on both sides to immediately end the fighting and resume negotiations. The presidents of France, Russia and the United States—as co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group, created in 1992 to resolve the Karabakh conflict—issued a joint statement condemning the latest bout of violence and calling for an immediate ceasefire and unconditional resumption of peace negotiations. This declaration is unlikely to have any effect on the fighting (Interfax, October 1).The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was an autonomous region of Soviet Azerbaijan, mostly populated by Armenians. In 1988, a popular movement began in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh for the latter to separate from Azerbaijan, resulting in sectarian violence and guerrilla-style warfare in Karabakh. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Karabakh conflict escalated into a full-scale Azerbaijani-Armenian war, though, officially, the Armenian national army was not involved. The international community legally considers the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which emerged out of the fighting, as part of Azerbaijan. Nonetheless, the Nagorno-Karabakh War ultimately ended with a decisive Armenian victory: Yerevan took control of Karabakh as well as occupied a neighboring buffer zone previously populated by Azerbaijanis. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled or were forcibly expelled: Armenians from Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis from Armenia, Mountainous Karabakh and the surrounding buffer zone. The May 1994 ceasefire agreement established a line of conflict (LoC) between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. All attempts over the years to broker a political solution by the Minsk Group states utterly failed. Skirmishes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces broke out regularly along the LoC. And in April 2016, a particularly acute escalation (the “Four-Day War”) erupted there, leaving hundreds of soldiers on both sides killed or wounded. But the ceasefire was quickly reestablished, with Moscow playing a key mediating role. In July 2020, a serious armed confrontation flared up on the internationally recognized Azerbaijani-Armenian border, north of occupied Karabakh. After some ten days of fighting and shelling, a ceasefire was established. As long as these periodic clashes remained low-key and the violence contained, the outside world paid little attention, preoccupied with other problems and conflicts (see EDM, July 16).However, both sides have been preparing for a military showdown for years. Armenia and its proxy regime in Karabakh retained and kept operational large arsenals of Soviet-era heavy weapons: tanks, guns, armored personnel carriers (APC), multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), R-17 (Scud-B) tactical ballistic missiles, anti-aircraft batteries and so on. Armenia had little access or money to purchase modern, precision-guided weapons and targeting capabilities. Yerevan’s victory in the Nagorno-Karabakh War made the Armenians overconfident they could again best the “inferior” Azerbaijanis if enough heavy weapons and men could be swiftly mobilized and moved into the field. But during this same period, hydrocarbon-rich Azerbaijan, whose annual defense spending exceeded Armenia’s entire state budget, procured large amounts of weapons from Russia (which was simultaneously selling arms on credit to Armenia), Israel, South Korea and Turkey. Today, Azerbaijan wields modern Russian and Israeli air-defense missiles, Israeli and Turkish attack and reconnaissance drones, as well as modern Israeli Spike and South Korean AT-1K Raybolt self-guided anti-tank missiles that surpass anything in the Russian inventory. Furthermore, Azerbaijani forces have developed the capability to utilize drone and satellite imaging to correct their artillery and MRLS fire. Thus, even though the overall count of Armenian and Azerbaijani heavy weapons is now more or less equal, Azerbaijan’s military boasts a definite qualitative technological edge. Armenia has been trying to keep up, negotiating new arms deals with Russia and procuring Iskander ballistic missiles, Su-30 jet fighters and T-90 tanks. An Azerbaijani move to reclaim lost territory and avenge its national pride while their qualitative edge remained preserved looked inevitable (Novaya Gazeta, July 18).Other internal and external factors also pushed the two nations to war. Following the April 2016 and July 2020 clashes, public opinion in Azerbaijan (especially war refugee families) demanded action—not to stop but to “liberate” all of Karabakh. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s firm grip on power came under question as the domestic economy reeled from the COVID-19 pandemic and the fall in global oil and natural gas prices. At the same time, Turkey offered its full military, political and diplomatic support to Azerbaijan in reclaiming Karabakh, whereas Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan appeared isolated, his relations strained with Moscow, which considers him a pro-Western liberal revolutionary. On September 27, massive combat suddenly erupted up and down the entire length of the LoC, clearly taking most of the international community by surprise. In Baku, officials announced that Azerbaijani forces had begun a “counteroffensive operation in response to Armenian provocation.” Both sides, as usual, have been reporting inflated numbers of enemy losses and downplaying their own; but undoubtedly, both sides have suffered heavily—hundreds of men wounded or killed in action and lots of heavy equipment destroyed. The Azerbaijani offensive has achieved some success in capturing Armenian-controlled territory in Karabakh and adjoining Azerbaijani regions, but the strategic significance of these gains to date has been debatable (see EDM, September 28). In Armenia and Karabakh, the authorities declared martial law and full mobilization. Azerbaijan’s government did the same, though the mobilization there has been “partial.” Initial Armenian counterattacks failed to turn the tide of the slow but punishing Azerbaijani offensive. The conflict now looks to be developing into a war of attrition (Novaya Gazeta, September 29).In such a war, smaller Armenia, isolated politically and geographically, is unlikely to prevail despite the relative strength of its lobby in the United States. If Armenia is defeated and Baku reclaims Karabakh, Pashinyan will fall. And with the self-proclaimed Karabakh no longer a regional headache and Pashinyan replaced, the Kremlin may feel that its long-term strategic aim of making both Armenia and Azerbaijan Russian vassals could become easier to achieve. Of course this outcome will depend on ensuring Turkey is not allowed to move in force into the South Caucasus—Moscow’s true red line and one Yerevan understands and is desperately trying to exploit (Kommersant, October 1). At present, while the fighting is contained to Karabakh territory, Russia seems content to stay neutral.
Stuart MillerLennar Corp., seen as a bellwether for the U.S. housing market, is actually seeing some benefits from the pandemic.The Miami-based homebuilder’s executive chairman Stuart Miller said on its earnings call on Tuesday some buyers from the urban core are seeking out Lennar’s suburban homes.During a conversation with Lennar’s Southeast Florida division president, Carlos Gonzalez, Miller said “31 percent of his (Gonzalez’s) sales have come from the city of Miami to the suburban areas. We are hearing that kind of empirical data.”Yet, Lennar still reported that new home sales in the second quarter remained largely the same as in the previous year. New home deliveries totaled 12,653 homes in the second quarter, a slight decrease from 12,706 homes in the second quarter of 2019.The company’s home revenue decreased 5 percent in the second quarter, year-over-year, to $4.9 billion.Home revenue largely dropped due to the decline in the average sales price of homes. The average home sale price decreased to $389,000 in the second quarter of 2020, compared to $407,000 in the second quarter of 2019.Company executives said Lennar was able to continue to sell homes during the pandemic due to low mortgage rates and a shortage of reasonably priced single-family homes. Rick Beckwitt, the company’s CEO, said new home orders increased 20 percent during the first two weeks of June. The company also reissued its guidance for 2020 after it canceled guidance in the first quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic.“The market is strong and will remain strong as we go forward,” Miller said.Overall, Lennar reported earnings of $517.4 million in its second quarter, up from $421.5 million in the second quarter of 2019.Lennar’s stock was down 1.1 percent to $62.87 as of 1:56 p.m. on Tuesday.Lennar is known for its simple, no frills, affordably priced homes. The company has reported strong earnings in the past few years as a housing shortage has led to strong demand for new single-family homes.Lennar is seen by analysts as a bellwether for the broader U.S. housing market and for how the industry and the housing market will fare during the crisis.The single-family housing market hasn’t been impacted by coronavirus as much as some predicted. Nationally, home prices increased by 5.4 percent in April, compared with April 2019, according to CoreLogic. But in 2021, home prices are expected to decline for the first time in more than nine years, the data provider reported. This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now
Commissioner Melanie La Rocca and Brooklyn Council member Robert Cornegy (New York City Council)Just in time for the holidays, the City Council delivered a gift to developers and their contractors: fewer trips to the Department of Buildings.The Council on Thursday voted to approve a bill that creates an interim certificate of occupancy for parts of certain buildings where construction has already been completed. The interim measure would replace temporary certificates and would not have to be renewed every 90 days, as is currently required. Instead, it will expire once a permanent certificate of occupancy is issued.The aim of the measure is to cut down on paperwork and allow residents and businesses to move into buildings without fear of the TCO expiring. The bill garnered the support of the Real Estate Board of New York, the Building Trade Employers Association and the DOB itself.“There’s no time to waste when it comes to helping our neighbors safely move into new apartments or get their businesses up and running,” Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said in a statement.During Thursday’s City Council meeting, Brooklyn Council member Robert Cornegy, the bill’s prime sponsor, said the measure was a “common sense” way to make more housing available.Residential buildings with fewer than four units, non-residential properties shorter than five stories, mixed-use properties with fewer than four apartments and parking garages are not eligible for the interim certificate. The DOB inspects properties prior to issuing the certificate.Contact Kathryn Brenzel Full Name* Email Address* Message* This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now
The Lytx team revealed the benefits of its DriveCam video telematics programme, including improving driver safety, increasing fleet uptime, and lowering operating costs.Through a combination of video with predictive analytics, real-time driver feedback and coaching, the programme allows operators to identify and correct driving behaviours that could lead to a collision.Staff were also able to provide real-life cases on how investing in the programme has had a positive impact on a number of UK coach and bus operators.
Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) will release a compilation of songs through his label 30th Century later this week. Dubbed 30th Century Records Compilation Volume I, the record will include artists signed to Burton’s label, although there is one notable outlier who makes an appearance on the collection of songs, The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and his latest side-project, The Arcs.The Arcs will contribute a song called “Fools Gold.” Auerbach tells Rolling Stone, “Generally, fool’s gold is made of iron or copper pyrites that are often mistaken for gold. It has the same thrilling discovery, the same shiny luster and perceived weight as gold, but it isn’t gold and when all is said and done, it has the same value as a hunk of s—. It’s always been so easy to be a fool.”Take a listen to the new single below:
NEW ORLEANS, La. Grand opening ceremonies will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. for the $1 million, 4,000-square-foot emergency operations center and terminal building at the Slidell Municipal Airport at the end of Airport Drive north of Interstate 12. The design also allows certain sections of the building to shift along with the swirling gusts of a major tropical storm or hurricane, or in response to underground vibrations, and then slide back into place. Designed by Sizeler Architects of New Orleans and built by Mickey O’Connor General Contractor Inc. of Belle Chasse, the state-of-the-art glass and steel structure contains reinforcement crossbars, an angle-vaulted roof, and is designed to withstand the most severe weather conditions. The building includes offices for airport management and the fixed-base operator’s manager; facilities to accommodate visitors; pilot briefing and weather monitor sections; a full-service kitchen; restrooms with showers; and the “war room” for emergency planning, communications and operations. “Now we’ll be able to handle planning, logistics and coordinate major storm rescue and recovery operations from a true emergency operations center,” said Slidell chief of staff George Dunbar, former Slidell Municipal Airport manager. The unique design and structure of the new facility is intended to allow the building to withstand winds of up to 150 mph, as well as to take into account the reported seismic activity in the area.
A new supergroup called Dinner Party, featuring Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, and 9th Wonder, has released its first single, “Freeze Tag”. The cross-genre pairing of musicians will release a self-titled debut album on July 10th.While this grouping of musicians might seem random, they actually have an intertwined history dating back decades. Washington and Martin attended high school together and met Glasper at jazz camp. Martin and Glasper are both members of jazz fusion outfit R+R=Now, Washington was featured on Martin’s protest song “Pig Feet”, and Glasper, Washington, and Martin all contributed to Kendrick Lamar‘s 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly. The final piece of the equation was rapper 9th Wonder.Related: Fantastic Negrito And Tank From Tank And The Bangas Collaborate On “I’m So Happy I Cry” [Video]In the song, which also features singer Phoelix, a smooth R&B beat counts off to an idyllic guitar loop as the vocals come in. The mellow mood of “Freeze Tag” is conversely paired with lyrics that depict that harsh realities of racial inequality in the United States that led to the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement. Even as the horn section comes in for what would otherwise be considered just another chill groove, the lyrics paint the picture of a grim reality: “They told me put my hands up behind my head/I think they got the wrong one/I’m sick and tired of runnin’/I been searchin’ where the love went/I been lookin’ for a dove/Then they told me if I move, they gon’ shoot me dead.”Listen to “Freeze Tag”, the first single from Dinner Party. The group’s self-titled, debut album is available on July 10th, scroll down to see the full track listing.Dinner Party — “Freeze Tag”[Video: Sounds of Crenshaw]Dinner Party Track List:01. Sleepless Nights (feat. Phoelix)02. Love You Bad (feat. Phoelix)03. From My Heart and My Soul (feat. Phoelix)04. First Responders05. The Mighty Tree06. Freeze Tag (feat. Phoelix)07. LUV UView Track List[H/T Consequence of Sound]
Forsyth County, Georgia will be served by a new emergency medical services provider beginning Thursday, January 14. Central Emergency Medical Services, LLC will assume emergency medical services in Forsyth County effective at 9 a.m. on January 14. Headquartered in Roswell, Georgia, Central EMS is one of the largest privately-owned emergency medical services companies in the South, transporting approximately 50,000 patients annually with more than 100 emergency vehicles. Central EMS serves communities throughout the state of Georgia and currently employs more than 340 EMTs, paramedics, communication and billing specialists. “Ensuring that our citizens receive quality public safety and emergency medical services is without question the highest priority for Forsyth County government,” said Commission Chairman R.J. (Pete) Amos. “Our residents are, and will continue to be, protected. Please be assured that there will be absolutely no interruption to emergency medical services in Forsyth County.” “Central EMS is pleased to have the full staffing and emergency vehicles available to immediately provide uninterrupted ambulance coverage to Forsyth County,” said Central EMS President Gary Coker. “Central EMS’ exemplary staff of EMTs and paramedics are dedicated to patient care and work hard every day to raise the bar on medical transport for our patients. We are excited to provide that high caliber of emergency 9-1-1 service to our neighbors in Forsyth County.” Forsyth County is Georgia’s second fastest-growing county in the state with a population estimate of more than 204,000 residents in 2014. Central EMS will staff seven ambulances located throughout the county to respond to 9-1-1 calls for service.
Almost everyone knows Shykh Seraj in Bangladesh, where farming offers a lifeline to most of its 140 million people, half of whom live on less than one U.S. Dollar a day.He teaches impoverished farmers how to better work their fields and rise above grinding poverty.A decade ago the journalist, interested in agriculture, launched a TV show and YouTube channel, more recently, focusing on farmers and giving solutions for their problems.“Every day there is new reports, new techniques, and new crops.”