Archive for the ‘July’ Category

Research Group Comes Out With US Game Spending Stats For July 2021

August 14, 2021

According to NPD Group’s July 2021 results, US game spending continues to increase.
The industry-tracking firm found that at consumer spending at $4.6 billion up 10% year-over-year.
Content spending grew by 6% year-over-year to $4.1 billion across console, mobile, PC, cloud, and subscription services, while hardware spending grew by 98% to $323 million.
Nintendo’s Switch led in unit sales, while Sony’s PlayStation 5 topped dollar sales for the month of July.
The Switch remasters of The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD was the month’s chart-topper in the software category.
Other new releases included Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin by Capcom and Neo: The World Ends with You by Square Enix.
The second-ranked title of the month for both the PlayStation and Xbox systems was Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War.
The best-selling accessory for July was the HD edition Joy-Con from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
According to the NPD Group, here are the US Top 20 (based on dollar sales) for the period of July 4, 2021, to July 31, 2021:

Last Month   This Month        Title
NEW                  1              The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

2                         2              Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War
NEW                  3               Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
7                         4               Mario Kart 8
8                         5                Minecraft
3                         6                Mario Golf: Super Rush
4                         7                MLB: The Show 21^
9                         8                Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
12                       9                 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
13                      10                Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*

Infant Is The Latest Victim Of Myanmar Military

August 13, 2021

Local sources report a shooting in the fourth ward of Myingyan, Mandalay Region, which killed a one-year-old girl and injured her father and another passerby.
Although the perpetrators’ identities were not confirmed at the time of reporting, eyewitnesses said that armed guards stationed outside the home of local junta-appointed administrator Tun Tun Oo — just three doors down from the victims’ home — fired the shots.
Apparently, Tun Tun Oo carries a gun and has three armed guards standing outside his house at all times.
According to a resident of the neighborhood, two plainclothesmen arrived outside the home of 29-year-old Nyein Chan, the infant girl’s father – about whom little is known – and fired shots.
The men appeared to be members of the administrator’s security team, according to an eyewitness.
“I believe the guards in front of Tun Tun Oo’s house shot them. “They said that they had to shoot the men because they were acting suspiciously,” he told Myanmar Now, adding that the men fled on a motorbike.
Tun Tun Oo was returning from lunch at the time of the shooting when three young men on motorbikes were near the would-be shooting scene. The guards shot after accusing the men of being members of the anti-coup People’s Defence Force (PDF). It has been other local guerrilla groups, not the PDF, that have claimed responsibility for carrying out targeted assassinations of local junta officials.
Two shots were fired at Nyein Chan’s right arm, and shots were fired in both his head and stomach at his one-year-old daughter. The attacks were not planned, the resident said. He died on the spot.
A second passerby named Tin Tin Mar was shot in the leg as she screamed and attempted to flee, according to the first witness.
The bodies of Tin Tin Mar’s daughter Nyein Chan and Tin Tin Mar were brought to the local hospital on Thursday, according to an official with the Hands of Purity social services group in Myingyan.
In the days following the shooting, tensions remained high in the ward as junta troops arrived at Tun Tun Oo’s house and began interrogating passersby, even forcing some to kneel and put their hands behind their heads.
As of Thursday afternoon, no arrests had been made in relation to the shooting in Ward 4.
On July 16, 2921, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reported that 75 children had been killed in Myanmar since the February 1 coup. One of the youngest was a seven-year-old girl shot 2by junta soldiers while in her father’s lap in Mandalay in late March.

Thailand Did Well At First With COVID-19, But Now, It Is So Bad That Some Thais Want The Thai PM To Resign Over The Pandemic

August 6, 2021

Although Thailand reported the first Covid-19 case outside of China in January 2020, it kept its infection numbers low thanks to effective containment measures. However, it faces a much bigger challenge this year. Thailand is struggling to contain the third wave of infections that has pushed daily caseloads and death tolls to unprecedented levels. Thailand reported a record number of daily confirmed infections on Wednesday, with 20,920 cases, the second day reporting over 20,000, according to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). The death toll in Thailand also reached 160, bringing the total to 5,663.Bangkok’s hospitals have been overwhelmed by the surge in cases, and the demand for beds has far exceeded capacity. Health care authorities are racing to reduce the burden on the system. Dr. Supat Hasuwannakit, president of the Rural Doctor Society, says more than 400 physicians and nurses from provinces are being sent into Bangkok’s slums and densely populated areas in order to test and isolate 250,000 residents. Although we may not be able to reduce the infection rate just yet, we are hoping to ease the bed shortage in Bangkok and slow the death rate, Supat said.
Thailand extended its national lockdown until the end of the month to slow the rising number of cases. 29 provinces are now under the strictest protocol, meaning 40% of the country’s population will be under lockdown, according to CNN’s calculations based on CCSA data.At Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport, a warehouse has been converted into a 1,800-bed field hospital for Covid-19 patients with less severe symptoms, and 15 passenger trains have been converted into community isolation facilities for Covid-19 patients waiting for hospital beds. The prolonged economic downturn and the rise in Covid fatalities have taken a toll on Thai citizens. Several bodies were found on the streets of Bangkok and left lying on the road for hours before an ambulance could retrieve them. Many people have joined recent anti-government protests across the country, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, whose government has been heavily criticized for its handling of the pandemic. Thailand plans to vaccinate 50 million people by the end of the year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 23% of the country’s 70 million people have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 5% are fully vaccinated.


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Opposition Forces Attacked Myanmar Military Bases

August 1, 2021

Local sources report that the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) attacked three military bases in the Kachin State towns of Mogaung and Waingmaw recently.
KIA’s Battalion 3 under Brigade 5 launched an attack on the junta’s Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 58 in Waingmaw.
Around midnight, gunfire could be heard across Waingmaw town and subsided, a man who lives near the LIB base said.
Two civilians were wounded -one mortally – when the junta’s Northern Regional Command in Myitkyina fired artillery shells at the area of the fighting.
Heavy artillery shells hit the bus station and the former company compound of the Kachin Entrepreneurs Association on Waingmaw-Washawng Road, injuring two people. “One of them died later,” the man said.
Aung Le, 36, lived in the compound where the artillery shells exploded. At the time of reporting, it was not known who the other injured person was.
Around 3 a.m., KIA ambushed the junta’s military checkpoint at Maran Kahtaung between Mogaung and Kamine in Mohnyin District. It was destroyed recently.
Early in the morning, the KIA also fired about 30 artillery shells at Base 3 of the Military Operations Command – known as Sa Ka Kha in Burmese – in Mogaung, according to a local resident.
“I don’t know where they fired during the night. Only the sound was audible to me. Only in the morning did I learn that they had attacked those areas. Now, the town is a bit quiet,” the resident said.
On Friday, he did confirm to Kachin state-based media outlets that fighting had taken place and civilians had been killed.
According to local news reports, the junta’s military bases west of the KIA headquarters in Laiza fired artillery shells around the Kachin stronghold an hour after the attack on LIB 58 in Waingmaw.
The military’s information ministry had not released any information about the KIA strikes at the time of publication.
Recently, the KIA also attacked two of the junta’s bases between Kutkai and Muse townships in northern Shan State.
Following the February 1 military coup, heavy fighting broke out between the KIA and the junta’s army in northern Shan State, and the fighting has also spread to Kachin State.
The KIA, in cooperation with local People’s Defence Forces, has also fought the junta’s troops in Kawlin, Katha, and Htigyaing townships in the upper Sagaing Region.
Recently, the KIA intercepted and attacked seven naval vessels belonging to the junta on the Irrawaddy River near Shwegu in Kachin State.
The KIA was not among the ethnic armed organizations that signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military before the coup but had engaged in preliminary peace talks with the National League for Democracy administration.
Following the military’s attempt to seize power in Myanmar in February 2021, the KIA announced that they would protect anti-coup protesters in Kachin State and welcome the resistance movement.

Prime Matter and Dark Crystal Will Put Game on PC Instead of Early Access

August 1, 2021

Encased, an isometric dystopian sci-fi RPG from publisher Prime Matter and developer Dark Crystal Games will leave Early Access on September 7, 2021, for PC. Two years ago, in September 2019, the game entered Early Access.
The following is the press release for the game:

Dark Crystal Games and Prime Matter are pleased to announce that Encased – the upcoming isometric sci-fi RPG – will launch on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, for PC. Seven new screenshots accompany today’s announcement. They depict areas in the game’s later stages.
In Encased, players explore a hostile area called The Dome, a sealed wasteland filled with amazing technology, but also deadly enemies.
Each player starts off in one of five disciplines – science, engineering, security, management, or convict – affecting their initial stats, specializations, and opening up (or blocking) unique dialogue options within the game.
You will explore the environment crafting supplies and weapons while trying to ensure each day is not your last as you journey across the environment.
As you level up, you’ll encounter six different factions that have sprung up in The Dome. Whether they become your friends or enemies is entirely up to you.
The game draws inspiration from classics like Roadside Picnic as well as several post-apocalyptic RPGs, creating a familiar but unique environment that will appeal to both RPG aficionados and newcomers.

The Thai Skies Are Still Not So Friendly Due To COVID-19

August 1, 2021

Amid the rapidly spreading Covid-19 infection around the country, struggling airlines are scrambling to keep up with lockdowns, sealed provinces, travel restrictions, and ever-changing updates. AirAsia was the first airline to cancel all domestic flights this month, and other airlines quickly followed. Yesterday, Bangkok Airways suspended nearly all of its domestic flights until August 11. Other airlines canceling flights until the end of July are announcing their updated plans as August approaches.
Bangkok Airways said they would operate their flights in connection with the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus reopening programs, but weren’t sure about flights between Phuket and Samui. Cancellation of that route was announced today, effective August 3, to coincide with the province’s closing of its border to domestic travelers. There will still be flights between Singapore and Koh Samui despite outbreaks of Covid-19.
Nok Air has extended the cancellation of its flights until the end of August. Prior to the sealing of Phuket, they have also arranged flights between Pattaya’s U-Tapao airport and Phuket. The company added 3 extra flights for the next 3 days and will update their flight schedules following government restrictions during Phuket’s sealing period. Refunds reschedule, U-Tapao flight routes or a flight credit may be retained until March 2022 for the canceled flights.
Thai Lion has extended their cancellation policy until August 15, offering flexible options for ticketed passengers whose flights have been canceled. The airline is offering one free flight change or the option to extend the ticket value to the end of the year so passengers can continue to have credit for travel through December 31.
The changing rules and restrictions coming from the government will lead to more updates in the coming days, weeks, and months.

In Ubon Ratchathani, there was still some air traffic. As far as the weekend of August 1st, 2021, there was no air traffic at all.

Supercell Is Negotiating With Japanese Game Maker Gree To End Lawsuit

July 31, 2021

Attorney and IP litigation specialist Darius Gambino of Pennsylvania-based law firm Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP tells SBJ’s James Fudge that Supercell beginning the process of settling its ongoing patent lawsuits with Japanese game maker Gree recently was probably the result of losing two verdicts and facing an additional trial in August.
Recently, Gree and the Swedish mobile game developer Supercell (which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings) filed a joint notice of settlement and a request for a 30-day stay of all deadlines related to nine separate cases filed between February 2019 – April 2020. Those lawsuits related to Supercell’s popular game Clash of Clans played out in two different cases in the Eastern District of Texas and led to two losses for the developer to the tune of close to $100 million USD in judgments. Those lawsuits alleged that Supercell’s game infringed 27 patents, according to court filings. Clash of Clans gained popularity in the U.S. thanks to vigorous online and TV marketing campaigns and a notable Super Bowl XLIX Commercial in 2015 called “Clash of Clans Revenge,” starring actor Liam Neeson.
While Supercell managed to knock down some of Gree’s claims, the company ultimately faced verdicts of $92 million in May and another $8.5 million in September. The May verdict was of particular concern for Supercell because the jury found that the company “willfully infringed,” which gives Gree the ability to collect “treble damages,” or three-times the verdict amount.
“They were potentially on the hook for triple the amount, so $275 million just in that case,” Gambino said in a phone interview Monday. “And then they had the prior case, which was only about $8 million, and then they had this upcoming trial in August and I can’t really guess as to what the damages were going to be in that case, but I think they looked at all of that, and just thought, ‘We’ve taken this as far as we want to take it, we’d rather just focus on something else and put it to bed.'”
Gambino added that assuming the settlement is accepted by both sides, Supercell will sign a license agreement for Gree’s patents, or ” a combination of a release for past infringement and a license agreement” that would allow it to continue operating Clash of Clans and any other games without worry about patent infringement.
But the big takeaway from this latest development in the long string of ligation is that other companies that make mobile games had better be prepared to settle or go to court: “I think that’s the one intangible of this settlement is that once you have a patent assertion and you have a settlement like this, which is over $100 million it allows the patent holder to go to other companies who have these games that might be implicated by these patents and say, ‘Supercell settled with us and you should too,'” Gambino said. “I think it gives them a little bit more leverage to settle without going to litigation. I do think that they will probably start to pursue other entities now that they’ve achieved this big settlement.”
Supercell makes a number of games that are popular esports including Brawl Stars, Clash Royale, and Clash of Clans. Tribe Gaming, one of the most prominent mobile esports organizations in the U.S., competes in all three games.

Thai Media Associations Don’t Like New Fake News Law and Think It Is A Violation of Freedom Of Speech

July 31, 2021

It has been reported that the Thai government is cracking down on fake news. An order has been published in the Royal Gazette banning the distribution of false information that could lead to fear or misunderstanding. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says the measure is intended to ensure the spread of false content online does not undermine the government’s response to the pandemic. Thai media associations say the ban on fake news infringes upon freedom of expression.
According to the Thai government’s news bureau, according to the order, published in the Royal Gazette yesterday and issued in compliance with the Emergency Decree, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission is obligated to direct internet services to check IP addresses and immediately suspend services. Afterwards, the providers must report details to the commission, which will then file complaints with the police. A provider’s operating license will be revoked if it fails to follow the rules.
Six leading Thai professional media associations called on the government to abolish the provision of the Emergency Decree that infringes upon freedom of expression in a joint statement.
According to the statement, the media associations reached the following conclusions:

  1. The Prime Minister’s insistence on enforcing these new measures, along with the government’s recent attempts to intimidate and take legal action against members of the public who criticize the administration during COVID-19, clearly show an intent to suppress freedom of expression.
  2. The government’s insistence that the new measures are needed to combat fake news underlines the administration’s failure to communicate with the public.

Occasionally, a few media organizations did report inaccurate news, but their actions were not the result of an intentional plot to spread falsehoods or damage society, as alleged by the government and its information officers. Media industry errors can sometimes occur, but they can be corrected by presenting accurate information. A journalist who makes such an error already pays a high price in terms of credibility.

  1. The media and news agencies should stand together against the government’s new measures. In addition, we urge the media establishment to ensure that their news coverage is accurate and compliant with the highest journalistic standards – so as to deny the government any excuse to interfere with media operations, which will, in turn, affect the public’s right to information.

The Myanmar Military Captures About 60 Opposition Fighters

July 30, 2021

Recently, almost 60 civilian resistance fighters from the People Defense Force (PDF) in Mingin were arrested as they attempted to attack a village in the Sagaing Region.
According to the PDF, civilian resistance fighters recently attacked Pan Set and Taungbyu villages, which are strongholds of Pyu-Saw-Htee allies who are armed with automatic rifles by the junta.
Residents report that Pyu-Saw-Htee and junta troops raided their villages and attacked the resistance in the township over the past month.
Resistance fighters in Mingin told The Irrawaddy on Thursday they attacked villages on Wednesday to prevent junta attacks on villages in the south of the township with the Phyu-Saw-Htee.
According to the PDF, 57 resistance members were captured by Pyu-Saw-Htee during the firefight at Taungbyu village.
“Our fighters were caught by a trap after entering the village after the Pyu-Saw-Htee said they would surrender,” said a PDF member. Twelve more resistance fighters escaped outside the village.
The junta’s reinforcements forced the resistance fighters to retreat from saving the detainees. Residents report that the military regime used a helicopter to supply ammunition after the firefight.
According to the PDF member, some of our members were slain at the Taungbyu village while others were detained.
Former Mingin Township lawmaker U Maung Myint, a central executive committee member of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that PDF members had been captured as a result of military tactics.
During the fighting in Pan Set village, one villager was killed and three others were injured, according to a former military officer.
According to the PDF, five resistance fighters were injured during the firefight.
A PDF member said troops and Pyu-Saw-Htee members recently raided Konyin village and tortured villagers.
Three villages nearby have been evacuated because of junta raids.
Recent clashes between the resistance and junta have broken out in Mingin Township.
The junta has forced more than 10,000 residents of Twin, Linponeyi, and Zee Pin Twin villages in Kani Township, Sagaing Region, to flee their homes. Residents report finding the bodies of 12 villagers buried by junta troops on Monday near Zee Pin Twin recently.

Outer Wilds Game Gets Wilder With New Expansion

July 30, 2021

More than two years after it first launched, Outer Wilds is finally getting an expansion.
The publisher announced a brand new expansion to the critically acclaimed puzzle box at the Annapurna Showcase. Thanks to an updated Steam achievement list appearing last month, we already knew that more content would become. There was only placeholder text and numbers associated with the 12 new achievements, indicating that new content might be coming soon.
Recently, Annapurna released a trailer for the new content, confirming our hopes.
Since the original game’s secrets need to be kept secret, the trailer is extremely cryptic. We’ll have a ton of new planets to explore, and many new puzzles to solve. From the original game’s storyline, it will be titled “Echoes of the Eye”. Those of you who have played the original will know just what a big deal that is.
Echoes of the Eye is expected to release on all the platforms Outer Wilds is already available on 28th September 2021. Included are PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
In 2019, Mobius Digital’s space flight puzzler garnered critical acclaim. The game won a BAFTA award for Best Game. You’re right! It is one of the best puzzle and space exploration games ever made, as anyone who has played it will tell you.
In the original game, you explore a small solar system with a collapsing star located in the center. I shouldn’t say too much about what happens later in the game, but if you’ve never played it before you really should.
You were tasked with unraveling the mystery behind the universe’s bizarre state using a collection of gadgets and your own intellect. One of the most fulfilling gameplay experiences I’ve ever had was discovering the mysteries that lie within each of the planets and satellites. If you haven’t played it already, I strongly encourage you to do so.

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