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Game Insight invests over $5 million on Facebook Messenger Instant Games

The Tribez is one of Game Insight's big brands.

Big Viking isn’t the only company investing into Facebook’s new HTML5 Messenger Instant Games platform.

Game Insight announced it is putting over $5 million into a new division focused on making projects for Messenger. The Lithuanian company makes city sims, builders, and hidden-object casual games, and it already launched Tribez Rush (a match-3 game in Game Insight’s prehistoric The Tribez brand) for the chat platform. It says it has seven more releases in production, too.

Messenger-style apps are key to game distribution in Asian markets led by companies like Tencent and Line, but that business model hasn’t caught on in the West — and Line has even abandoned the United States. But with Facebook jumping into this space, it could make this gaming business work as long as the technology functions as promised. And that could benefit a company like Big Viking Games.

In addition to the investment in a division focused on Instant Games, Game Insight has also acquired Alis Games, creators of the critically-acclaimed Need a Hero game. The next game in the series, Need a Hero: Puzzle Rush, will be Game Insight’s second offering on Instant Games. Need a Hero: Puzzle Rush takes the series’ gem-busting action and evolves it with time-based play, hidden rows, and more.

The company says this new division will make casual, mid-core (these are more like traditional games, but they play in shorter spurts), and hardcore releases. It also hopes that bringing games to Messenger gets their brands like Tribez in front of new players, making discovery easier here than in traditional app stores.

“Game Insight has made sizable investments in new technologies and existing brands over the last year, which has helped us make an early entry onto Instant Games,” said CEO Anatoly Ropotov in a canned statement. “We have always been among the first to support new platforms so that we can offer the most enjoyable games on the most exciting platforms.

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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