Last week, Facebook and Apple announced another quarter of profits (while at each other's throats), and we start this week with Nintendo doing incredibly well. Despite lacking any major game launches in the last few months, the company’s Switch console had its best quarter ever. Nintendo has sold more of its hybrid console than the 3DS: just shy of 80 million.
Despite next-gen consoles from both Sony and Microsoft, the Switch’s versatility has shined through in lockdown. With lots of families indoors, perhaps sharing a single TV, the ability to play Nintendo’s console independently fits well with groups vying for control of the big screen.
Later this week, Sony, Spotify, Google’s parent company, Alphabet and more will be announcing how their businesses fared in the most recent quarter. Judging by previous results, expect most tech companies to have weathered, if not thrived during, the pandemic story.
— Mat Smith
The program is less likely to make its 2024 target.
NASA’s Artemis program might not bring people to the Moon on time. According to a report from The Verge, NASA quietly pushed back the award timeframe for two lunar lander contracts from late February to April 30th, including the lunar landing system contract involving companies such as Blue Origin and SpaceX. The space agency said it needed more time to evaluate proposals and maintain a “seamless transition” from the development phase. Continue reading.
Departments requested videos for over 22,335 incidents last year.
Ring’s police collaborations didn’t slow down in 2020 despite controversies — if anything, they ramped up. According to the Financial Times, the Amazon-owned smart home security brand now has 2,014 police and fire department partnerships in the US, with 1,189 of them added in 2020. Montana and Wyoming are the only two states where Ring doesn’t have some kind of alliance.
Those departments are making use of the team-ups, too. Ring said that departments requested videos for over 22,335 incidents in 2020. While users gained more control over Ring video sharing in 2020 and just recently got end-to-end encryption, some of the privacy issues with these partnerships remained the same. Just because you’re comfortable with sharing videos doesn’t mean you’re in the clear — the Electronic Frontier Foundation told FT that neighbors and passers-by might be caught on camera without granting consent. Continue reading.
It reportedly beat Amazon and Netflix.
Apple has bought Siân Heder’s coming-of-age tale CODA (“Children of Deaf Adults”) at the Sundance Film Festival for roughly $25 million — the largest-ever deal at the event. The previous record-setter was Hulu’s Palm Springs, which sold for $22.5 million in 2020. The purchase reportedly came about after a bidding war with Amazon — another company with lots of cash to burn. Meanwhile, Apple is also working on a series about WeWork's fall from grace, starring Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto. Continue reading.
Even if the games weren’t the greatest.
Nintendo sold 11.57 million Switch consoles last quarter, bringing lifetime sales to 79.87 million. That’s a seven percent increase on the same period last year. That said, Nintendo didn’t have many big game releases last quarter, beyond The Legend of Zelda spin-off Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Yes, there was Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit and Pikmin 3 Deluxe, but these only sold 1.08 million and 1.94 million units respectively. Hardly smash hits.
The next quarter should offer more temptation. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, an updated version of the critically acclaimed 3D platformer, comes out on February 12th. It’ll be followed by Persona 5 Strikers on February 23rd and Bravely Default II, a true successor to Square Enix’s RPG franchise. Continue reading.