Hasbro, the company known for G.I. Joe and Battleship, will be taking their brand digital with a new acquisition announced late last night.
In a deal worth $112 million, Hasbro bought a 70% stake in Colorado based Backflip Studios, the mobile game maker behind popular games such as Dragonville, NinJump and Paper Toss. In addition to being Hasbro’s first venture into mobile, the buyout also marks the first time Backflip Studios has taken any outside funding since their founding.
With the deal, Backflip will continue to innovate and create their own games, but they will also begin publishing games based off Hasbro’s intellectual property, which includes Monopoly, Transformers, My Little Pony, and Magic The Gathering. In total, the deal values the Boulder-based game studio at around one-hundred-and-sixty million dollars.
Mobile gaming companies like King may find similar valuations as they launch their own IPOs, in the near future.
One Step Back, Two Steps Forward
A large restructuring is being blamed for a number of layoffs at San Francisco’s digital outsourcing market, TaskRabbit.
The company made an official announcement about the mass firings, saying, “We realigned the company to support our key business opportunities, namely mobile, geographic expansion, business services and our marketplace operations. We’re getting leaner in certain areas and expanding in others.”
Though it may be too early to tell, the layoffs could mean that the company is running low on some of the thirty-eight-million dollars in venture capital funds that they received at their founding in two-thousand-and-eight. TaskRabbit got its roots as a purely consumer-focused product to outsource jobs to others, but increasingly, the company has shifted with a focus towards enterprise. To account for that shift, earlier this year the company launched their TaskRabbit for Business service, and even tested the service by staffing this year’s South-by-SouthWest.
It’s believed that the recent layoffs may just be a cost of the businesses shift in focus.
Beats By A…T&T
The goal, according to company CEO Jimmy Iovine, is to bundle the upcoming Beats service, called Daisy, with AT&T’s data plan as a way to gather the biggest audience as quickly as possible. Striking a deal with a major carrier could give Beats enough of a market share to take on the overcrowded digital music business competition.
Iovine, along with co-founder Dr. Dre began this process about a year ago when they bought MOG, an impressive, but little used, on-demand music service. One way Daisy sets itself apart is with curation. They’ll combine music selections from recording artists and live DJ’s to produce playlists. Nine Inch Nails front-man Trent Reznor will serve as the company’s Chief Creative Officer.
When discussing the new service, co-founder Jimmy Iovine was quoted as saying, “Most tech companies never get curation right. It’s not in their culture. We will be miles ahead of them. If you are going to the gym five days a week, we know that, and when you wake up we will have a list for you.”
Maker’s Online Faire
Make magazine, the company behind Maker Faire, may have a solution that could help both educate and entertain children staying at home this summer.
Maker Camp is a 30 day long “do-it-yourself” event that runs using the Google-Plus platform, and connects followers to a number of activities and challenges throughout the Summer.
Last year, during their inaugural run, more than a million users followed along. During that time, campers were introduced to new projects, including field trips that took them on virtual tours through places including NASA, The Smithsonian, and even CERN Labs. This year, kids will be given a new theme each week, starting with Makers in Motion, and moving onto topics such as DIY Music, Games, and even Art and Design.
Curriculum will be based on science, technology, engineering and math, and will be tailored for students starting around the age of 13. Anyone in the world can participate, and best of all, the whole service is free.
Citrix Makes its Own Skype
The addition of a video chat to the platform enables users to speak with colleagues to solve issues in real time, and a new built-in file-sharing feature will help collaborators distribute work without having to rely on email.
The video feature is powered by GoToMeeting, which is another Citrix product, but its inclusion in Podio gives the platform a unique advantage over competing services like Yammer and Salesforce Chatter. This advantage for Podio is not likely to stay for very long, though. Now that Yammer is a Microsoft-owned company, analysts are speculating that the service could easily integrate with Skype, a service that already has millions of users.
This is Not Freedom
Personal security has been a hot topic lately, but one Texas teen found out the hard way just how powerful online conversations can be.
Justin Carter, aged 19, is being held under suicide watch in a Comal County Jail, just outside of San Antonio, Texas, for words he said during an argument on Facebook, over a disagreement with players from the online game League of Legends.
After one participant called him crazy, Justin replied, among other inflammatory language, “I think I’ll shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them.” Following up his statement with LOL and JK. After posting his comments, an anonymous caller tipped-off the police, who then arrested the teen for making terroristic threats.
Mr. Carter, who was 18 at the time of the arrest, spent the last 4 months in jail, and isn’t likely to get out anytime soon. His bail was placed at an unusually high fee of half-a-million dollars, and if found guilty, the young man could face a maximum of 8 years in prison.
According to his family, Justin has been assaulted in jail multiple times, and due to the resulting depression, is now being kept in isolation on suicide watch.
Google’s Response Time is Impressive…
Now, Google is reporting that the hole has been patched, and the fix has been passed onto all original equipment manufacturers. Warning about the seriousness of the issue, Bluebox Security CTO Jeff Forristal said this vulnerability has been “around at least since the release of Android one-point-six, and could affect any Android phone released in the last four years — or nearly 900 million devices.”
Now, it’s simply a matter of time until Android users receive the update from their hardware vendors, at which point the security issue should finally come to an end.
And that’s all we have for today. For more of this, join us every morning on NewsDesk With Kristin Feledy.