Tech Last Week Issue #005: Sony buys Bungie, iMessage reactions in Google Messages, and more
Welcome to the first week of February
Sony buys Bungie for 3.6 billion
Last week, Sony announced that they would be buying Bungie for 3.6 billion dollars. As part of the deal, Bungie will still operate separately from Sony. They will still publish their own games and those games will remain cross-platform for the foreseeable future. Sony has gone on to say that Bungie will operate as an “Independent subsidiary” of SIE. There are many speculations on why Sony decided to buy Bungie, especially given that there are no plans to make their games exclusive to Playstation. Some say it is a direct response to Microsoft purchasing Activision Blizzard. This is unlikely given how long it takes for these deals to take shape (we are talking quarters to years here). Another theory is that Sony is looking to extend beyond just video games with Bungie’s IPs. There are rumors of a movie or TV show that is set in the Destiny Universe. This one is more likely given that Sony has opted to film an Uncharted movie already. One final theory is that Sony’s purchase is a response to Fornite. Destiny 2 is a huge game with a large daily player base. By directly owning a piece of that, Sony is able to capitalize on such games and further push their limits. For me, as long as Sony isn’t planning to make Bungie’s games exclusives, I am less concerned about this deal. Time will tell if Bungie does better under Sony than Microsoft.
Google Messages begins displaying iMessage reactions as emoji
Moving on to our next headline, Google has managed to create a (hacky) workaround to get iMessage reactions to show up on Google Messages. Currently, the feature is only in the beta release of Google Messages. The way the workaround works is that Messages actively translates the reaction text that gets sent to non-iOS devices into an emoji and has it show up as a reaction on Google Messages. Although not the most elegant approach to this problem, it does work. I hope Google open sources their implementation or provides APIs for third-party messaging services to use this feature. It would be wonderful to see an app like Signal also support this workaround.
Craob X: Purported portless laptop pictured with a 13.3-inch 4K screen and 7 mm thick chassis
Here is a company that has taken the minimalistic design of laptops to a whole other level. Craob X is a portless laptop that is only 7mm thick. The laptop charges via a proprietary charging clip that clips onto the back of the screen. The charging itself does have some ports like Thunderbolt 4, Type-C, and Type-A ports. Aside from that, the device comes with a 12th generation Intel processor, 13.3-inch 4K screen, 32GB of RAM, and 2TB of storage. No announcements on availability or pricing.
Would you buy this laptop? Personally, I would be worried that I would accidentally bend it while it is in a backpack. There is such thing as too thin and too minimal.
Amazon is raising its prices for Amazon Prime membership
It felt not too long ago that Amazon raised prices on their Prime membership (apparently it’s been 4 years) but they are raising their rates again. The new price for Amazon Prime is $139 a year. Existing customers will not be charged the new price until their next renewal date. For new customers, if you sign up after March 25th you will be charged the new price. Amazon cites higher cost and their increasing investments in Prime video as a justification for higher prices. Their upcoming Lord of the Rings TV show is reported to cost a whopping $465 million for its first season.
Are you keeping your Prime membership? I am on the fence right now. But if you are someone that wants and has been putting off signing up for Prime, you might want to lock in the lower rate now.
Pokémon Legends Arceus becomes second fastest selling Switch game of all time
Game Freak’s open-world version of Pokémon has sold 6.5 million copies worldwide in seven days. That makes it the second fastest selling Switch game of all time (behind Animal Crossing: New Horizon). This bolds well for the new open-world action RPG format that Game Freak is trying to use for their Pokémon series. So far the reviews have been relatively positive.
I am rather excited about Game Freak switching up the formula and trying a different mechanic for the Pokémon series. If Game Freak continues down this line and develops a The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild quality open world Pokémon game, I can see it becoming a huge hit.
Have you tried Pokémon Legends Arceus, leave a comment below.