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A Post-Mortem Look at Pokemon GO Fest

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So, I guess we have a new number 1 in terms of disastrous PR events that will forever be remembered in the history of gaming. Coming first to take the place of that hilariously bad Sonic 25th anniversary spectacle of bad. And that hilarious KONAMI press conference. We are going to look at this short “Post-mortem” of Pokemon GO Fest at Chicago Illinois. Quick shoutout to my friend Jess for giving me word of this, you can check her article Here.

Niantic’s One Year Anniversary Celebration – The Beginning

Around 20,000 Pokemon GO fans made their way to Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday with the promise of event exclusive legendary Pokemon and a great time. The event had its $20-dollar ticket events sold out very quickly and the hype behind it was basically a higher encounter rate, rewards for accomplishing challenges Special Pokestops, an in-app medal exclusive to the event amongst other sort of swag for the fans of the app.

And of course, like any other kind of event that has a ton of buildup and an incompetent team of developers (more on that in a bit). The event turns out to be a complete disaster, plagued by lines to even get into the event that were long and moved at a snails’ pace. Only rivaled by the amount of frustrated gamers when Ryu became a fighter in Smash 4.

Niantic

But what caused such a problem? Well, turns out that. In an ironic twist of fate, Niantic didn’t really learn their lesson when the app was launched to begin with. Since the servers crashed due to the overpopulation. Basically, when the servers are too cluttered with users. The servers crash and any and all activity is unavailable for the app. So, in essence. Pokemon GO was literally IMPOSSIBLE to play for any and all users in and outside Grant Park.

Pokemon GO Fest – The Backlash

The show wasn’t done yet because in a very hilarious display that had me sharing this with almost all of my peers and partners. Festival goers expressed their frustrations, shouting “we can’t play” when the Niantic CEO John Hanke went in to present his apology to the general public. This was one of the highest moments of the event and I was really laughing hard during the entire spectacle. Not because I was there, but because this event was being publicly broadcasted to Twitch.tv!

Hanke came clean and talked about the issues at the current time, stating: “I know that some of you guys have had trouble getting logged on this morning, and I wanted to let you know that we’re working with the cell companies—AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, trying to get that worked out, and we’re working on the game server to get that worked out. So, I want to ask you guys, please know, we’ve got the whole Niantic team working against this, so please be patient with us.”

The “Solution” that the players got was to stand close to a nearby cell-tower and use Wi-Fi… In a place without Wi-Fi connections. Also, considering the fact that these would be the first solutions people would think of. The advice came off as redundant and only painted more shade at Niantic and Nintendo for the people who didn’t know any better.

Angry Gamers and Wasted Time – Death

What happened was nothing short of amazing, Niantic turned out to be refunding ticket sales for the people who came by. But those were only Ticket sales, considering that people who wasted their money on Hotel expenses and Travelling from other countries to Chicago were only getting like 10% of the cahs they spent to be there to begin with, well. You can guess that the backlash was also more than impressive.

However, players also got to leave with $100 dollars’ worth of Pokecoins. You know, because in-game currency often makes up for the fact that you wasted a lot of money in going to the goddamned event in the first place. They were also rewarded with 20-minute-long lines just to get out of the event (Fun times) and generally. A miserable time to be alive for the people who attended the event.

Niantic’s Tomfoolery – The Autopsy

Now, this post-mortem has the purpose of showing what’s wrong and how the company can get better from it. Niantic must learn that partnerships with mobile companies are golden in such an app. They decided to release Lugia and Articuno to the general public (To quote Kotaku in a different article “Because that’ll help”). And now, everyone has effectively wasted their time in this event. So, Niantic. If you plan on doing something like this, you can expect a little more than 20,000 users are going to come to it.

What makes me chuckle about this whole situation is that this is a repeat that happened exactly one year ago. Yes! This is indeed a celebration of Pokemon GO’s first anniversary. And I guess old habits die hard for this company because it reminded people of the problems that came when the game was first released. What a poor performance by Niantic. Hopefully, they will learn from this.

I always wanted to be a journalist who listens. The Voice of the Unspoken and someone heavily involved in the gaming community. From playing as a leader of a competitive multi-branch team to organizing tournaments for the competitive scene to being involved in a lot of gaming communities. I want to keep moving forward as a journalist.

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Pixel 8 Pro runs Google’s generative AI models

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Rick Osterloh, Google’s SVP of devices and services, says the Pixel 8 Pro will be the first hardware to run Google’s generative AI models.

At an event today, Osterloh said the Pixel 8 Pro’s custom-built Tensor G3 chip, which accelerates AI workloads, can run “distilled” versions of Google’s text- and image-generating models to power image editing and other apps.

Osterloh said, “We’ve worked closely with our research teams across Google to take advantage of their most advanced foundation models and distill them into a version efficient enough to run on our flagship Pixel.”

Google improved Magic Eraser, its photo-editing tool, to remove larger objects and people smudge-free using on-device models. Osterloh claims that this improved Magic Eraser creates new pixels to fill in shot gaps, producing a higher-quality image.

Osterloh says a new on-device model will “intelligently” sharpen and enhance photo details, improving zoom.

On-device processing benefits audio recording. The Pixel 8 Pro’s recording app will soon summarize meeting highlights.

Gboard will use a large language model on the Pixel 8 Pro to power smart replies. Osterloh claims that the upgraded Gboard will provide “higher-quality” reply suggestions and better conversational awareness.

Osterloh said an update in December will add on-device generative AI features except for Magic Eraser, which appears on the Pixel 8 Pro at launch.

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Telegram launches a global self-custodial crypto wallet, excluding the US

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Telegram, with 800 million monthly users, is launching a self-custodial crypto wallet. The move will solidify its presence in the vibrant crypto community that has grown from its chat platform and may attract more people to crypto.

Telegram and TON Foundation announced TON Space, a self-custodial wallet, on Wednesday at Singapore’s Token2049 crypto conference, which draws over 10,000 attendees.

Telegram has a complicated blockchain relationship. After the SEC sued Telegram over a massive initial coin offering, the chat app abandoned its Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain project in 2020. The Open Network Foundation (TON Foundation), founded by open-source developers and blockchain enthusiasts, supports the development of The Open Network (TON), the blockchain powering a growing number of Telegram applications, including the wallet.

The Open Platform (TOP) and TOP Labs, a venture-building division, created the TON-based wallet.

TON Space will be available to Telegram users worldwide without wallet registration in November. The U.S., which has cracked down on the crypto industry and promoted many crypto apps to geofence users, is currently excluded from the feature.

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Google’s massive antitrust trial begins, with bigger implications

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The Justice Department’s landmark antitrust case against Google began in court today, setting off a months-long trial that could upend the tech world.

At issue is Google’s search business. The Justice Department claims that Google has violated antitrust laws to maintain its search title, but the company claims that it does so by providing a superior product.

The Justice Department sued Google for civil antitrust in late 2020 after a year-long investigation.

“If the government does not enforce the antitrust laws to enable competition, we will lose the next wave of innovation,” said then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. “If that happens, Americans may never see the ‘next Google.’”

A large coalition of state attorneys general filed their own parallel suit against Google, but Judge Amit Mehta ruled that the states did not meet the bar to go to trial with their search ranking complaints.

The search business case against Google is separate from a federal antitrust lawsuit filed earlier this year. The Justice Department claims Google used “anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means” to neutralize threats to its digital advertising empire in that lawsuit.

Justice Department attorney Kenneth Dintzer set the stakes for the first major tech antitrust trial since Microsoft’s late 1990s reckoning on Tuesday. “This case is about the future of the internet, and whether Google’s search engine will ever face meaningful competition,” Dintzer said.

Beginning the trial, the government focused on Google’s deals with phone makers, most notably Apple, that give its search product top billing on new devices. Dintzer claimed that Google maintains and grows its search engine dominance by paying $10 billion annually for those arrangements.

“This feedback loop, this wheel, has been turning for more than 12 years,” he said. “And it always benefits Google.”

Google lawyer John Schmidtlein refuted that claim, hinting at the company’s legal defense in the coming weeks.

“Users today have more search options and more ways to access information online than ever before,” Schmidtlein said. Google will argue that it competes with Amazon, Expedia, and DoorDash, as well as Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Google planted the seeds for this defense. According to internal research, Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan said last year that more young people are using TikTok to search for information than Google Search.

In our studies, almost 40% of young people don’t use Google Maps or Search to find lunch, Raghavan said. “They use TikTok or Instagram.”

Google will be decided by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in the coming months. We’re far from that decision, but the company could be fined heavily or ordered to sell parts of its business.

The trial could change Google’s digital empire if the Justice Department wins. Other tech companies that dominated online markets in the last decade are also watching. If the government fails to hold an iconic Silicon Valley giant accountable, big tech will likely continue its aggressive growth trajectory.

If the Justice Department succeeds, the next decade could be different. The industry-wide reckoning could cripple incumbents and allow upstarts to define the next era of the internet, wresting the future from tech titans.

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