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Global mobile gaming market re-energized by Pokémon Go

The phenomenon is a phenomenon all over again.


Niantic Labs’ John Hanke will be delivering a fireside chat for AR/VR day (augmented reality/virtual reality) at GamesBeat 2016. Get a ticket here!


The global gaming market was stuck in neutral with market saturation for apps and smartphones. But Pokémon Go has given it a new burst of energy, and opened up new opportunities in the augmented reality market, according to a new report by market researcher Frost & Sullivan.

The report showed plenty to worry about, with an impasse in mobile games due to saturation, heavy consolidation, and declining smartphone shipments. Strong game companies such as Supercell and Mixi came to dominate the industry, forcing smaller players out. And emerging markets were stalled by the lack of payment options on mobile.

In the U.S., Frost & Sullivan said the combined hardware and software overall game market reached $52 billion in revenues in 2015. Among the key findings: Mobile games will show significant growth by 2020.

“There will still be significant growth in the mobile gaming market,” said Marc Einstein, research director for Japan at Frost & Sullivan, in a statement.”The recent release of Pokémon Go has provided a proof of concept for augmented reality and location based gaming. The partnership with the game and McDonald’s in Japan also opens the door for new revenue streams for gaming companies. There are also many new interesting areas such as connected toys which will further bridge the gap between digital and physical products so we expect continued growth in the gaming market.”

Einstein also expects that it will be a matter of time before disruptive payment channels for digital services become popular in emerging markets.

“Countries like Indonesia and Brazil are showing increasing interest in Bitcoin and this will eventually lead to further growth in mobile gaming revenues,” he added.

On the other hand, the market for console hardware and software is expected to slowly decline from $23 billion in 2015 to $16 billion in 2020, at a negative compound annual growth rate of 6.6 percent. Among the key markets, the U.S., Japan and United Kingdom still accounted for more than 70 percent of global revenue in the segment in 2015.

Cris Duy Tran, consulting analyst at Frost & Sullivan, noted that the massive uptake of mobile games has limited prospects for the console market in emerging markets and impacted sales in developed markets.

“Moving forward, console makers will need to continue to explore new areas to drive business in such as augmented and virtual reality,” he added.

 

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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

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