Amazon took its biggest step yet into the video game market on Thursday with the surprise announcement of Amazon Luna at its device event. Luna will be a video game streaming service, similar to Google Stadia, save for key points that could lead the platform to success over its competitor. Powered by Amazon Web Services, Luna will be capable of playing games up to 4K and 60 frames-per-second over a high-speed internet connection and on certain titles. It will be usable through Fire TV, PC, Mac, Android, and iOS, with support for Bluetooth controllers, PS4 controllers, Xbox controllers, keyboard and mouse, and the specialized Luna controller launching with the service for the price of $49.99. What is sure to separate Luna from Stadia and potentially give it the edge is pricing.
Blizzard Entertainment made true to its promise to host an online version of BlizzCon after the company was forced to cancel its in-person convention due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19. BlizzCon 2020 was supposed to take place later this year, but with the events that caused a worldwide dilemma has urged organizers to think of ways to still push through the annual event while observing guidelines set by health agencies and the government to curb the spread of the virus. "We're talking about how we might be able to channel the BlizzCon spirit and connect with you in some way online, far less impacted by the state of health and safety protocols for mass in-person gatherings," said BlizzCon Executive Producer Saralyn Smith in a May 26, 2020 blog post. Blizzard Entertainment's eSports World Championship competitions for "Hearthstone," "Heroes of the Storm," "World of Warcraft" and "StarCraft 2" will be held over an entire week later this year. Windows 10 has come on board as an official BlizzCon 2015 sponsor, with the opening ceremony streaming on Xbox One for the first time.
Amazon Prime Day, previously postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, is now scheduled for Oct. 13-14, and Amazon just might compensate for the three month-long postponement with even better deals and lower prices. The new date was revealed in internal Amazon emails sent to employees, who were also told not to take any vacation leaves Oct. 13-20. One memo said the company will officially confirm Oct. 13-14 in an announcement on Sunday, according to The Verge. "Stay tuned for more details on Prime Day," said an Amazon spokesperson, who also said customers can ask Alexa devices to keep them updated about Prime Day. Prime Days have normally been held July 15, the anniversary Amazon's founding anniversary.
For years now, basketball fans have been clamoring for NBA great Charles Barkley to appear in the "NBA 2K" series of video games to no avail. Now, the first-ballot Basketball Hall of Fame forward explains why he has refused to lend his likeness to the popular video game franchise. In a video that has been circulating online, GameSpot points out that Barkley does not appear in the games because he is disappointed at how little they pay some of the legacy players who are featured in them. Barkley said he does not need the money himself, but he feels that older players could use the assistance. The video appears to be a recorded online fan Q&A session from July that was held with Barkley, and the significant question came from a boy identified only as Nick.
Chinese-owned video sharing app TikTok has selected a buyer for its U.S., New Zealand and Australian assets and may announce a deal on Tuesday, CNBC reported. However, the Chinese government has created a potential obstacle to efforts by TikTok's parent internet tech firm ByteDance to sell off these assets to overseas buyers. Beijing has asserted it can block any such deal to foreign companies by imposing tighter restrictions on certain technology exports. Specifically, the Chinese Commerce Ministry added speech and text recognition – key elements of TikTok's technology -- to a slew of products that will now need government approval prior to their sale to foreign entities. China had not made any changes to its technology export list since 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a Commerce Ministry statement.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Friday denied any political pressure to undermine mail-in voting for the November election by slowing mail delivery, calling any such suggestion "outrageous." Under questioning before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, DeJoy said he had never spoken to President Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff or any Trump campaign officials about operational changes he has ordered. DeJoy said at his first election mail meeting, he instructed his organization to redouble their efforts. "I was greatly concerned about all the political noise we were hearing," saying weekly reviews were underway before "all the excitement came out. Any insinuation [about undermining on-time delivery] is quite frankly outrageous."
Bitcoin mining and dating apps are now banned in government-issued mobile devices in the United States Marine Corps. Citing privacy and security concerns, marines are also not allowed to install gambling apps or jailbreak their phones, according to a memo signed July 20. The marines are advised to check the list of prohibited apps and delete them. Additionally, they are advised to watch out for any application that records video or voice, monitors GPS, or access the user's contacts or calendars. These are risks, the memo said, that could disclose location or any important security information that should always be private.
The Labor Department reported Friday unemployment fell to 10.2% as the economy added 1.8 million jobs, fewer than the number added in the two preceding months likely due to an upsurges in coronavirus cases. The Bureau of Labor statistics credited an improving economy as pandemic restrictions were eased. It was the lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic induced a recession in February. The Labor Department, however, admitted data collection may be flawed because of its classification methods, and some people marked as on temporary layoff should be classified as unemployed. The misclassification for June and July was believed smaller than those for previous months.
Chris Wallace, host of "Fox News Sunday," took the online cognitive test President Donald Trump said he aced and wasn't impressed with its difficulty. Wallace interviewed Trump on his show Sunday. The wide ranging discussion mostly covered COVID-19. It also touched on the bestselling book by his niece, Dr. Mary L. Trump; his late father, Fred; the economy; Joe Biden; Biden's alleged vow to defund the police; and Biden's alleged cognitive problems. During the interview, Trump said he wanted Joe Biden to take the "Montreal Cognitive Assessment" (MoCA) test he took in 2018 and which his doctors said he "aced."
Death rate among COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) across the world has reduced compared to the toll at the beginning of the pandemic, according to a new study. The result of the study offered a beacon of hope to the coronavirus patients in the ICUs by finding the fatality rate among those in intensive care has fallen by almost a third in Europe, America and Asia. While new cases continued to surge in some parts of the world, coronavirus-related fatalities were also showing signs of waning, according to a research team headed by Tim Cook, a consultant in anesthesia and intensive care medicine of England's Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust. Researchers said, overall, ICU deaths dropped from almost 60% in March to around 42% at the end of May. The difference in ratio meant thousands of lives were saved and reflected the rapid learning process that took place on a global scale as to what types of drugs work against the deadly virus, an article published on WebMD, stated.