Microsoft this week is rolling out Xbox Game Pass, which Engadget describes as “another take on the ‘Netflix for games’ concept.” Of note, “It’s not dissimilar to what Sony has been offering for a few years with its PlayStation Now service.” For $10 a month, Xbox Game Pass gives subscribes access to a library of about 100 games.
Wall Street Journal
Twitch is branching out into digitally-delivered videogames, The Wall Street Journal reports. The decision by Amazon.com ’s live-streaming business should give its most popular broadcasters the chance to earn a percentage of sales, according to The Journal. A ‘buy’ button will appear this spring on website broadcasts of computer games from 20 companies.
Later in the year, Comcast is preparing to add a YouTube video app to its Xfinity X1 set-top platform, Variety reports. The “move that will make internet video adjacent to TV programming, literally, on the U.S.’s biggest cable operator,” it writes. The agreement between Google and Comcast may include some kind of payment (or non-cash benefit) to the cable company based YouTube viewership.”
Roku is in advanced discussions to raise at least $200 million in new funding, but it is going about it in an unusual way. The OTT provider, competing with Google, Apple and Amazon, is making in-roads as the built in unit on smart TVs.
Starting this spring, Amazon-owned Twitch will let its 17,000 game-broadcasting partners sell games and in-game content directly from their pages on the platform, while they’re live-streaming gameplay, Variety reports. Publishers will earn 70% of the revenue and partnered Twitch streamers will earn 5% for sales originating from their channel pages; Twitch will keep the remaining 25%.
Los Angeles Times
The Walt Disney Co. is laying off about 80 employees in its digital media unit that includes Maker Studios, according to the Los Angeles Times. Disney bought Maker in 2014 for $500 million but its integration hasn't been smooth
In his film "Best of Luck With the Wall," director Josh Begley strings together 200,000 satellite images of the border, from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico to show the immensity--not to mention the stupidity--of building a 2,000 mile wall.
McClatchy this week debuted Video Lab West, which Poynter describers as “a 10,000-square-foot venture near the company's headquarters in Sacramento, California.” As Poynter explains: “At the heart of the project will be experiments in production, collaboration and distribution for types of storytelling that haven't quite hit the mainstream.”
Broadening its podcast offerings, Spotify just added three original series to its service. “The series, which are produced in partnership with other media partners like Slate spin-off Panoply Studios, Gimlet Media, and Loudspeaker Network, aim to help further differentiate Spotify’s service from other streaming music rivals,” TechCrunch writes. “The company had already hosted podcasts on its platform.”
Apparently hoping to put anti-Semite controversy behind him, PewDiePie's latest installment features him in a "SniperElite" gameplay scene in which he, or a mercenary he controls--it's not clear--shoots several Nazis in their genitals, including Hitler. (PewDiePie takes credit for the kill.)Included are some swipes at the Wall Street Journal, which most prominently skewered Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie, really) for some anti-Semitic videos. PewDiePie said those were taken out of context. But it cost him with Disney and YouTube