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Call of Duty: Black Ops III’s Zombie Chronicles shuffles new players to a 2-year-old game

Activision Blizzard said that Zombies Chronicles drove monthly active user growth for Call of Duty: Black Ops III, a two-year old game. The boost in the second quarter ended June 30 showed the value of live operations, or launching new content that boosts existing games.

The company reported that news as part of its second quarter earnings, which beat Wall Street’s expectations. (Activision reported non-GAAP revenues of $1.63 billion and earnings per share of 55 cents, compared to expectations of $1.22 billion in revenues and 30 cents a share in non-GAAP earnings). During that quarter, the video game giant launched only one new game, Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, on the very last day of the quarter on June 30.

But the results were strong because of Zombies Chronicles, as well as growth for existing games such as Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Black Ops III. Black Ops III has a cult following among Call of Duty fans, who are still playing it faithfully. By contrast, last year’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare — which took the annual combat franchise into science fiction and space — wasn’t that popular by comparison.

Activision made the choice to cater to the fans by coming up with new content for the zombies co-op play in Black Ops III, and that led to an increase in monthly active users for that game. But overall, monthly active users for Activision were 47 million, down slightly from a year ago. That suggests that Black Ops III’s results couldn’t make up for Infinite Warfare’s weakness.

Activision is launching Call of Duty: WWII from Sledgehammer Games on November 3. Preorders for that title are high, said Coddy Johnson, chief operating officer at Activision Blizzard, in an earnings call. The Zombies mode for WWII is the “most-liked trailer ever,” he said.

The Zombies Chronicles content came in year two of Black Ops III’s life, the first time Activision has released such content so long after a Call of Duty launch. It drove purchases of that specific piece of content, as well as higher engagement and add-on revenues for Black Ops III.

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick