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Netmarble completes acquisition of Kabam’s Marvel Contest of Champions studio

Marvel Contest of Champions


South Korea’s Netmarble Games said today that it has completed the acquisition of Kabam‘s high-value assets.

As previously disclosed, the deal includes the Kabam Vancouver studio, which makes the Marvel Contest of Champions title. That team consists of 180 developers. Netmarble is also picking up around 20 people in the Kabam headquarters teams in San Francisco, and another 40 or so among the customer support teams based in Kabam Austin.

Tim Fields, the new CEO of Kabam Games, as the Vancouver studio will now be known, said in an interview with GamesBeat that Netmarble will operate Kabam Games as a wholly owned subsidiary.

“We are excited about taking this new incarnation of Kabam forward,” Fields said.

Through the acquisition, Netmarble grows its portfolio of games with the addition of Kabam’s Marvel Contest of Champions, a consistent performer on the App Store and Google Play’s Top 10 grossing charts with nearly $500 million in revenue, and the upcoming Transformers: Forged to Fight, scheduled to launch in second quarter.

Characters in Marvel: Contest of Champions

Above: Characters in Marvel: Contest of Champions

Image Credit: Kabam

“We’re excited to welcome Kabam to the Netmarble family and support their continued success in the competitive mobile games marketplace,” said Seungwon Lee, Chief Global Officer of Netmarble Games, in a statement. “The acquisition is a perfect fit. Kabam has a proven track record of developing games based on iconic entertainment brands, powered by state-of-the-art technology and managed by an incredibly talented team. It’s a winning combination, and together we’ll continue Netmarble’s expansion across Western markets.”

Kabam Games will focus on creating and operating free-to-play games, Fields said. Netmarble

BofA Merrill Lynch served as financial advisor and O’Melveny & Myers, LLP served as legal advisor to Kabam, Inc. Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal advisor to Netmarble Games.

Netmarble did not buy a large part of Kabam, including the company’s Los Angeles studio which is working on a massively multiplayer mobile game based on James Cameron’s Avatar film. The Los Angeles studio is also working on a new unannounced title.

That part of Kabam, which will be spun off as an independent company, will be known as Aftershock. Netmarble has about 3,500 employees, and one of its Marvel Future Fight title is one of its major games. Fields said that Netmarble’s title has a bigger audience in South Korea, while Kabam’s Marvel Contest of Champions is big in the rest of the world, Fields said.

Kabam Games has launched Marvel Contest of Champions in China, and it retired its earlier title, dubbed Manwe, that was a customized version for the Chinese market. But Kabam Games is not likely to launch its Marvel Contest of Champions title in South Korea, Fields said.

The amount of the Kabam Games purchased was not disclosed. As for Aftershock, Fields said, “There are ongoing discussions about spinning off the rest of Kabam as Aftershock.”

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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

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