News from the video game industry for the week of November 16
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN offer up a one-stop article for some of the happenings in the video game industry over the past week. In this week's edition of Weekly Game Replay, we look at Double Fine layoffs, Call of Duty reaching $10 billion in sales for the franchise, World of Warcraft recapturing 10 million active subscriptions, Sweden considering a sexism label for video games, Activision settling its shareholder lawsuit, and more.
'Development unit' has space for 10 workers
Apple has moved into a new office in Lund, Sweden, property firm Vasakronan has confirmed. News agency Rapidus describes Apple's presence there as a "development unit" that moved in a few weeks ago. The office is said to have space for just 10 or so workers, but it may be significant thanks to the local firms Apple has acquired in the past few years.
Countries include Netherlands, Spain, Russia, Italy
The second group of international iPhone 6/6 Plus launches will happen on September 26, checks at Apple's international storefronts indicate. Some countries discovered so far include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Taiwan, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The United Arab Emirates will get the new phones on September 27.
Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong among new places
Apple's Volume Purchase Program is coming to 16 more locations in the near future, according to pages on the company's Business and Education sites. Most of the new regions are in Europe, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Also joining in are Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
Model still not available in US
The 8GB iPhone 5c is now on sale in 14 more countries, checks show. When the 8GB option first became available last month, it launched in just a handful of regions. The model is newly available in the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Spain, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Switzerland.
Rapid Deployment Data Center concept features modular piece design
Facebook announced that it will be using its Rapid Deployment Data Center (RDDC) concept that was created through the Open Compute Project (OCP) for its latest build in as part of a second building at the existing LuleÃ¥, Sweden data center location. The design was displayed at the Open Compute Summit in January, showing the strides the company has made in data center construction and development since the official launch of their first center in Prineville, Oregon in 2011.
Recent episodes available for up to seven days for most users
Swedish Apple TV users have gained access to TV4 content through a new app, TV4 Play, according to an announcement by the TV network. Play lets people watch show episodes up to seven days after their original broadcast. TV4 Play Premium subscribers, though, have access to both recent and archive episodes.
Subsequent rollout phase set for November 1st
The iPhone 5s and 5c will launch in over 28 more countries on October 25th, Apple has announced. Italy, Russia, and Spain have been identified as the main launch regions that day, but the list also includes countries like Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, and Thailand. On November 1st, still another 12-plus countries will be added, including India, Mexico, and Turkey.
Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands seeing access
(Updated with complete list of countries) Access to movies and TV shows via iTunes in the Cloud is rolling out across several more European countries, reports say. The one confirmed country is France, where the feature has been tested with both iTunes and the Apple TV. Various people on Twitter, however, are claiming that the option is now also available in Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
New Jersey outlet moves to much larger space
Apple is set to open four new retail stores this Saturday, ifoAppleStore remarks. Two of these are in China, including the MixC outlet in Chengdu, and the Causeway Bay location in Hong Kong. Australia is getting a store in Fountain Gate in Narre Warren (outside Melbourne), while Sweden's second-ever store will be based in the Emporia in Malmö.
Car smashes through Temecula facade
Apple has confirmed plans to launch its first retail store in Sweden. As previously rumored, the outlet will open in Täby Centrum, a mall in the suburbs of Stockholm. The debut has been set for 10AM on September 15th; notably the Täby store will also be Apple's first in all of Scandinavia, despite the relative wealth of markets like Sweden and Norway.
Apple dips toes into Scandinavian retail
A Swedish site, Allt om Mac, says it has identified where Apple plans to open its first retail outlets in the country. One is expected to debut September 15th in the Stockholm suburb of Täby, specifically in the Täby Centrum mall. The second is said to be coming to Malmö as a part of the Emporia mall, which is still under construction. The Apple Store there is forecast to open on October 26th; in both cases, the shops should measure somewhere around 600 to 650 square meters, or between 6,458 and 6,997 square feet.
More openings, re-openings coming this weekend
Apple will be offering one new store opening and one re-opening this weekend, with a store opening its doors for the first time in Cologne, Germany on Saturday September 1 and the Bellevue, Washington store hosting a grand re-opening party. In addition, construction is underway on a second Apple retail store for Hong Kong and a larger refurbishment for the store in New York's Walt Whitman mall. There's also information on stores in Montreal, Canada, and a change in Sweden.
Move sees HQ travel from Sweden to Tokyo
Sony Mobile is to move its headquarters and cut its global headcount by 15 percent. As well as shifting its corporate headquarters and certain other functions from Lund, Sweden to Tokyo, Japan, the company also plans to cut loose around 1000 personnel during the 2012 to 2013 financial years, in an effort to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs.
LTE tech advertised but not supported locally
The Swedish Consumer Agency is also contemplating an investigation into the marketing of the 4G support on the third-generation iPad, a lawyer with the agency tells the Wall Street Journal. Marek Andersson says that the SCA has received several complaints about Apple marketing, specifically about it promising 4G support even though Swedish iPad buyers can't activate LTE. While Sweden does have extensive LTE coverage, the 700MHz and 2,100MHz bands the iPad uses are already occupied by TV and 3G traffic in the country.
Italy, Spain, Sweden among prominent regions
The third-generation iPad is now on sale in an additional 25 countries. The emphasis is mostly on Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden are included. The only non-European countries are in fact Macau, Mexico, and New Zealand.
Goes beyond web, iPad, set-tops
Global iPlayer will make it to the iPhone and iPod touch on December 8th, the BBC has announced. The paid video-on-demand service has been available on the iPad for about five months. A list of countries getting the iPhone app on the 8th includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Would put Apple in rich shopping district
Apple has narrowed down a location for its first Swedish store, sources claim. The address is believed to be Hamngatan 15, located within a rich shopping district in downtown Stockholm. The seven-story building dates back to 1881 but was recently renovated by a new owner following its use as a department store.
Prada outbids for Galleria del Duomo site
Apple has lost a bid for an additional store location in Milan, Italy, says Macitynet.it. The company is noted to have been after a former McDonald's in the Galleria del Duomo, situated in the heart of the city. It has been outbid however by fashion vendor Prada, despite the latter already having a two-story outlet on the other side of the Galleria.
Shipping times still averaging 1-2 weeks
The iPhone 4S is now formally on sale in 22 more countries, following an expansion of preorders exactly a week ago. For the time being Apple has adopted a European focus; new regions include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. More regions should be added over the course of the next several months.
Ireland, Spain, Sweden among major regions
Apple has opened up iPhone 4S preorders to 22 previously unserved countries. The phone is now available in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Shipping times are typically listed at one to two weeks, a delay consistent with the US online store.
Parallels expanding video sales
Apple will finally bring the Apple TV to seven more European countries on Tuesday, a MacRumors report says. The company has allegedly informed resellers of the plan, which should specifically see the set-top come to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. In Finland, at least, pricing is expected to be €119, or about $160. In the US the hardware sells for just $99 before tax.
Apple adds bulletpoints for upcoming iPhone event
Apple has dramatically expanded the presence of iTunes in Europe, reports say. In addition to Poland, the iTunes Music Store is now accessible in 11 more European countries. The remainder of the list includes Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Could signify wider Apple TV sales to match
(Updated with Swedish info) Ten more European Union countries should soon be getting access to the iTunes Music Store, according to a music industry source in touch with Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita. Only Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are mentioned by name. Apple though is said to be essentially ready to go with the expansion; a separate source suggests an October launch, which could in theory coincide with the company's October 4th press event or follow sometime thereafter.
Total value less than unlocked US 3GS hardware
3 Sweden has announced a "half-price" sale on the iPhone 3GS while stock lasts. The carrier is in fact giving away the phone; the discount applies to a two-year contract, which costs only 99 kronor per month, or about $15.42. The total cost of the phone and plan bundle is therefore only $370, which also includes unlimited data. Reduced speeds apply after 1GB though, and users pay for each voice minute or SMS message.
Finland pricing starts at 549 Euros
Samsung has confirmed pricing and launch details for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 in select European countries, including Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Customers in Sweden will be the first with a chance to buy the larger tablet, which is scheduled to arrive at the local mobile carrier TeliaSonera on June 29.
Related hiring may be in progress
Apple is looking to expand its retail chain to Sweden, a local publication says. Market.se attributes the information to landlords, who say that the store will be built in the capital city of Stockholm. Apple retail operates in relatively few countries so far: regions so far include Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Everywhere else people must buy either from Apple's online store or a third-party vendor.
System returns a confirmation code
The Swedish postal service is considering a new service that will allow customers to pay for postage using text messages rather than traditional stamps. According to a report in The Local, the messaging system will respond with a coded number, which can be written on a letter as proof of postage payment.
Concentration stays on Europe, east Asia
Apple has formally debuted the iPad in 10 additional countries. In eastern Asia, the tablet is now available in Taiwan and South Korea, joining the likes of China and Japan. The remaining launches are all European, and include Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Third-party retailers onboard
Apple will finally launch the iPad in Sweden tomorrow, November 30th, several media outlets have confirmed. The tablet should be available from third-party vendors like Elgiganten and Media Markt, the latter of which is holding a midnight launch event. Prices are so far unpublished, but are rumored to be ranging from 5,000 SEK ($712) for a 16GB Wi-Fi model up to 8,300 SEK ($1,181) for a 64GB 3G tablet.
3G data plans will be available as well
The iPad, long awaited in the countries of northern Europe and already used by some of its leaders, is said to be launching soon in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Pages for the iPad mirroring those seen in the US have appeared on the country-specific sites and carriers for 3G service in those countries have announced their participation
Other stores unaffected
At least several of Apple's European online stores are offline, investigation shows. The UK, French, German, Spanish and Swedish stores are all down as of about noon Eastern time, with no indication of when they might return other than "soon." Countries in other continents, such as Canada and the United States, are notably unaffected.
Tech could add face recognition to iOS, MobileMe
Apple has reportedly agreed to buy up all shares of Polar Rose, a company based in Malmö, Sweden. The small firm specializes in face recognition technology, said to similar to that used in iPhoto. It offers three different products, at least two of which may explain Apple's interest.
Prominent launches include Australia, Canada
Apple has confirmed plans to release the iPhone 4 in 17 more regions on Friday. In North America, Canada will finally get the device; the bulk of additional launches are in Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Elsewhere, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore will begin sales.
Mobispine iPhone MMS app
The identity of TeliaSonera's MMS application for the iPhone may have already been revealed, an announcement hints. Mobispine has announced the creation of what it calls the "world's first true MMS for the iPhone;" critically, the software relies on the actual MMS protocol instead of a substitute, such as a text message with an embedded URL. The company is also based in Sweden like Telia, and is marketing the app as "white label" code, with the aim of having cellular carriers impose their own branding on it.
TeliaSonera MMS for iPhone
Swedish telecom company TeliaSonera is working on an MMS workaround for the iPhone, a company spokesman says. MMS is used on many cellphones to send photos and videos, but despite its commonality as a format, the technology has been left off of the iPhone in favor of e-mail and third-party applications. Some form of MMS is slated to arrive within the next two months, says Telia's Bengt Olsson. It should be incorporated in the form of an application, possibly alongside software easing access to WLAN networks.
Mac SE ad artwork for sale
A buyer is being sought for the complete collection of artwork from the Swedish Mac SE ad campaign, according to myoldmac.net. The art was originally part of a poster campaign from 1987, painted by Swedish artist Erik Saxen, mostly in oil and some mixed media. The paintings reflect different artistic themes, all containing a Mac SE within the scene. The aim is to sell as much of the collection together as possible, but the site claims that if no buyer is found, the paintings will simply be auctioned off through houses like Christie's or Sotheby's.
Telia reworks iPhone plans
After hitting a steep wall of customer resistance, Telia Sweden is buckling to pressure and is offering an unlimited data plan for the iPhone, as well as allowing customers to choose between its existing voice plans. iLounge reveals that the company received an overwhelming amount of complaints after initially offering customers 100, 250, and 1000 minutes, SMS, and data on plans that ranged as high as 859 SEK per month, in addition to handsets costing as much as 3295 SEK.
Swedish iPhone prices
Scandinavian carrier TeliaSonera has published the complete list of Swedish prices for the iPhone 3G, an announcement reads. As previously confirmed, subscriptions will be divided into iMini, iMidi and iMaxi plans, in 100/100/100, 250/250/250 and 1,000/1,000/1,000 combinations of voice, SMS and data; new is that these will cost 299, 489 and 859 SEK a month, respectively. Telia hotspot access is free in all plans.
France, Sweden iPhone info
New details for the release of the iPhone 3G have been published in several European countries. French carrier Orange has announced that the 8GB model will cost €149 in tandem with an iPhone-specific contract and high-end options such as Origami, First and Jet. Under the same arrangement, a 16GB phone will cost €199. Owners of present 2.5G iPhones will be able to upgrade for €99 and €149, though only people who bought before June 12th will eligible, and the discount is through a €100 rebate and a renewed, two-year iPhone contract.
FT moves on TeliaSonera
France Telecom has entered negotiations to buy Sweden's TeliaSonera, writes the Wall Street Journal. Although no formal offer has been made, France Telecom says it has begun discussing the idea with TeliaSonera's board of directors, as well as its two biggest shareholders. A combination cash and share offer has been proposed, valued at 39 percent over TeliaSonera's share price on April 15th; when considered with its present stock value, this makes the deal worth approximately 252 billion kronor, or $42 billion.
Film studios v. Pirate Bay
Movie studios are the latest group to launch a legal assault on Swedish BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay, filings indicate. The Motion Picture Association, an international extension of the MPAA, has filed a 93kr million ($15.4 million) lawsuit against Pirate Bay, which it accuses of hosting illegal torrent trackers for movies such as The Pink Panther and Syriana, as well as 13 episodes of the TV show Prison Break. Damages are said to amount to between 222 and 261kr ($37 and $43) per movie, and 415kr ($68) for each Prison Break episode.
Pirate Bay access in EU
A recent Danish court decision against an ISP violates EU law, a Swedish judge has declared. Cecilia Renfors, a government investigator being asked to propose new file-sharing legislation, says that Denmark was in error when it told Tele2 to prevent customers from reaching The Pirate Bay, a site well-known for aiding piracy through hosting BitTorrent trackers. The site's owners are in fact facing copyright infringement accusations from a group including Fox, EMI, Sony BMG and Universal.