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Mobile tech company, DeNA, just released a Nintend-based, free-to-play Pokemon game called Pokemon Masters for iOS and Android phones. The game involves players forming teams of trainers and fighters. The combat involves three teams of trainers and fighters in combat with each other on the artificial island of Pasio. This exciting new contribution to the Pokemon gaming series started with a popular first week debut. According to Sensor Tower estimates, Pokemon Masters had a great first week having earned about $26 million.  It may be free-to-play, but if you want to really compete you will need to increase your chances with expert coaching.  That costs money. The strong opening week – second in the series to Pokemon Go – means that players are willing to spend to enhance their chances. Sixty-two percent of the revenue came from Japan, Nintendo’s home market, which was followed by United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan and France to fill out the top five markets.  Seventy-two percent of the revenue came from iOS phones. Nintendo will also release Pokemon Sword and Shield on November 15th, as well as a special edition of the Nintendo Switch Lite.
Contemporary life is surrounded by technology. For most of us, we have gotten so used to computers, cell phones and electricity that we feel like we could never live without them. Despite how useful these machines are, the technologies that we use in our daily lives are not danger free. Here’s one quick story about a cell phone charger to highlight the point. A teenager from Colorado received an Anker PowerCore charger from Amazon, a gift from his grandmother.  How nice. The teen settled downstairs to do some homework when he heard a frightening noise.  He looked down to see that his backpack was on fire. Acting quickly, he grabbed the bag, ran upstairs and threw the bag outside while his mother grabbed the fire extinguisher. He later said he was alerted when “I heard a fuse for like a firecracker firework go off.” The only injury in this case was that the charger burned a hole in the backpack. For its part, Anker requested that the charger be returned and said it would reimburse the family. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has documented several complaints about these types of chargers.  We’ve also heard of similar spontaneous combustion fires started from lithium-ion batteries in cars and laptops.  Lesson: Be aware of your electronic products and act quickly if you see smoke or flame.

In the new world of media, content companies must make all their offerings available to their audience wherever and however they want it – broadcast, cable, PC or stream, mobile or wired, scheduled or on-demand.  In that regard, our friends at Apple Music will be launching a browser version of its music streaming service. Paid subscribers will be able to access the streaming service from any web browser by logging in using their Apple ID. The browser version of the application is currently in beta, offering listeners full access to their playlists and Beats 1 Radio. As part of the overall strategy, Apple confirmed that it is withdrawing iTunes and replacing it with a new package: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. Apple clearly has a strategy for matching every new trend in music technology with a clear and impactful response.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s happening with these new and exciting games.

  • Total Party Kill is a survival battle game based on the classic The Lost Vikings game. It involves leading three heroes safely through dangerous environments. Sacrificing one of the heroes is necessary for at least one hero to survive.
  • Learn to Walk is a hilarious stilt walking game featuring a goat on stilts.
  • Mighty Quest for Epic Loot has a user guide a knight to plunder by sliding a single finger or thumb.
  • Meridian 157 is a mystery problem-solving game in which the user must search for a solution to a power outage.
  • Tharsis is a iOS game about a disaster-prone research ship.
  • Minit is a throwback game filled with puzzles and combat.
  • Serial Cleaner is a 1970s-based crime investigation game.
  • Dr. Mario World is a health game involving killing viruses by releasing capsules.

Nintendo is close to delivering on last year’s promise to put Mario Kart on mobile devices.  The game is already being played on PCs, but it’s time for Nintendo to follow its audience to the phone where they increasingly live and breathe. Just how they adapt this well known game to the mobile medium will be interesting…what elements will they keep and what will they drop as they live within the phone’s restrictions.  The fun will be playing the new versions of Rainbow Road or Koopa Troopa Beach on your phone.

The beta version is said to be close to release, but in a break from the past, it will be available on Android devices first, which puts iOS users at the back of the line.  While nothing quite beats the classic N64 version of Mario Kart, having the ability to compete with this timeless title on your phone will be a fresh experience. Check back in for more updates on Mario Kart as the beta release unfolds.

Scientists are now using phone movements to predict personality traits. Many interesting correlations have been found between certain personality traits and phone usage style. Patterns of physical activity and social activities also predict a person’s personality type. Researchers have used tiny sensors on people’s phones to track their behavioral patterns. The speed and length we tend to walk often shows patterns about our personality types. Some of the patterns noticed from the study include the following. People with consistent movements on weekday evenings were generally more introverted. Agreeable people had more random activity patterns and were busier on weekends and weekday evenings. Friendly and compassionate females made more outgoing phone calls than any other group. Conscientious and organized people didn’t typically contact the same person frequently in a short amount of time. Sensitive and neurotic females checked their phones a lot during the night; in contrast, sensitive and neurotic males did the opposite. Inventive and curious people made and received less phone calls than others. Study leader Nan Gao said that the results of the study have exciting potential applications. Gao thinks the results of this study could be used to improve social media and online dating. He also thinks that we can use self-knowledge of our own personalities to improve our lives. It will be interesting to see how technology-based research might be able to improve our social lives in the future.