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Dream Games raises $7.5M seed to develop ‘high-quality’ puzzle games

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Dream Games, a Turkish mobile gaming company founded by former Peak Games employees who worked together on hit puzzle games Toy Blast and Toon Blast, has raised $7.5 million in seed funding.

Leading the round is Makers Fund, with co-investment from London’s Balderton Capital. The funding will be used to increase headcount within the Dream Games team, targeting 20 employees in year one.

The company — which is yet to launch a product — is co-founded by CEO Soner Aydemir, the former Product Director at Peak Games. The rest of the Dream Games team are Ikbal Namli and Hakan Saglam (former Peak Games engineering leads), Eren Sengul (former Peak Games product manger), and Serdar Yilmaz (former Peak Games 3D artist).

“Most of the [mobile games] companies believe that the market is saturated, but we believe there are still huge opportunities in the casual puzzle market,” Aydemir tells TechCrunch. “There are too many mediocre mobile games, but players deserve better. We see that there are still millions of players waiting for new, well-designed and enjoyable puzzle games, and we are committed to creating great games to meet players’ expectations”.

Aydemir says Dream Games doesn’t believe in a “hit-or-miss approach” to game development. Instead, he frames the studio’s strategy as “evolution over innovation” and “execution over ideas”. This will see it develop a first flagship title that can be iterated over the long term.

“We plan to fix the pain points for players in existing games,” he says. “Our experience makes us confident we can build something truly global by focusing on a single high-quality, long-standing game instead of multiple flash-in-the-pan titles. We’d rather people were loyally playing our one game for 10 years than losing interest every six months when something new comes along”.

With regards to audience, Aydemir says Dream Games is targeting players over the age of 25 in U.S., Canada and Europe. He pegs gender distribution at 65% female and 35% male. “Our players can be from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, but they are mainly average people who have routine lives,” he says.

Aydemir is also keen to flag up the burgeoning gaming sector in Turkey, which he claims is positioned to be one of the world’s leading ecosystems for mobile games.

In 2017, Peak Games, based in Istanbul, sold its card and board games studio to mobile gaming giant Zynga for $100 million. Zynga later opened a studio in the city and made further acquisitions, paying $250 million for Gram Games, the Turkish developers behind a number of popular puzzle titles. Other casual gaming studios with a presence in the region include Good Job Games, Ruby Games, Alictus, Rollic Games and Bigger Games.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/19/dream-games/

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Microsoft acquires Smash.gg

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Microsoft has acquired esports tournament and event organization platform Smash.gg for an undisclosed amount.

The news was shared today by the Smash.gg Twitter account and confirmed by Microsoft via its MSN Esports socials.

“With this acquisition, the http://Smash.gg community and tournament organizers will continue to benefit from the http://Smash.gg platform, while our team will now benefit from additional resources and support as part of the Microsoft Content Services team,” reads a tweet from Smash.gg.

An additional notice on the Smash.gg website adds that the platform will continue “as a self-service esports platform available to tournament organizers from all game communities.”

Smash.gg launched in 2015 as an esports tournament and event organization platform, including brackets set-up and registration support for both online and live events.

It has previously raised capital from investors such as Spark Capital, Accel, and Horizon Ventures.

Source: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-12-02-microsoft-acquires-smash-gg

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Microsoft Teams will stop working for millions tomorrow

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Microsoft Teams is undergoing a big change, with the popular web conferencing service set to stop working on Internet Explorer 11. On Monday November 30 the web-based version of Microsoft Teams will stop working with IE11, so if you’re an Internet Explorer fan you’ll have to switch to Microsoft Edge to use Teams in a browser. The Windows 10 makers announced this big Microsoft Teams change earlier this year, and it appears to all be part of a push to move Internet Explorer 11 users onto Edge.

Besides IE11 losing Microsoft Teams support at the end of November, the veteran browser will also no longer be able to access Microsoft 365 services in the future.

On August 17 2021 the remaining Microsoft 365 services will stop working with Internet Explorer 11.

While this comes just a few months after the Legacy version of Microsoft Edge reaches its end of support on March 9 2021.

These changes were announced over the summer in a Microsoft blog post where the Redmond-based tech giant said they “want to be clear that IE 11 isn’t going away”.

However, the amount of mileage you’ll get from Internet Explorer 11 is greatly reducing, and with Legacy Edge reaching its end of support it’s clear the Chromium-powered version of Edge is the basket Microsoft is putting all its eggs in.

Announcing the news previously, Microsoft said: “We’re announcing that Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11) by this time next year.

“Beginning November 30 2020, the Microsoft Teams web app will no longer support IE 11.

“Beginning August 17 2021, the remaining Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support IE 11.

“This means that after the above dates, customers will have a degraded experience or will be unable to connect to Microsoft 365 apps and services on IE 11. For degraded experiences, new Microsoft 365 features will not be available or certain features may cease to work when accessing the app or service via IE 11. While we know this change will be difficult for some customers, we believe that customers will get the most out of Microsoft 365 when using the new Microsoft Edge. We are committed to helping make this transition as smooth as possible.”

Internet Explorer has long been a staple of the Windows experience, with the first iteration of the browser launching back in 1995.

However, as Control Panel and Paint have shown, Microsoft are not afraid of deciding to make huge changes to long-running features or software that customers have grown to know and love.

Besides this major Teams change, there is another big difference that Internet Explorer 11 users will notice this month.

Some of the most popular websites in the world no longer open in Internet Explorer 11, with users being redirected to Microsoft Edge version 87 instead.

This change kicked into effect recently, and affects hugely popular websites such as YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

But that’s just scratching the surface, with Express.co.uk previously reporting that over 1,000 websites will stop working in IE11.

When IE11 users try to access a blocked website they will get redirected to Edge and see this message appear: “You’re now browsing in Microsoft Edge.

“This website doesn’t work with Internet Explorer. Microsoft recommends continuing in Microsoft Edge to experience better speed, performance, and security.”

For those that still are having difficulty saying goodbye to the veteran and popular browser, Microsoft will allow users to enable ‘Internet Explorer mode’ in Edge.

If this is all part of a push to try and move users onto the Chromium-powered version of Microsoft Edge, then it’s having the desired effect.

Stats from NetMarketShare have shown since the start of the year, Edge has grown its market share by over two percent and managed to leapfrog Mozilla’s Firefox and become the world’s second most popular web browser.

And with more and more great features getting added to Edge, such as vertical tabs and an autofill for money-off coupons on online retail stores, whose to say Edge won’t continue to slowly but surely close the gap on Google Chrome in 2021.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/1365641/Microsoft-Teams-will-stop-working-for-millions-Internet-Explorer-11-block

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Android might separate emoji from OS updates so you can get new ones faster

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Emoji are important. Heck, they were the biggest reason I wanted to write about the recent iOS 14.2 update. More emoji = better expression.

Whenever Unicode consortium, a non-profit organization that handles dissemination and approval of emoji, releases a new set, there’s palpable excitement to start using them in our favorite apps and devices as soon as possible. However, we often need to wait it out till Apple, Google, or your phone maker releases an OS update with the new set.

This process may change for Android users. Sleuths at XDA Developers a clue in Android code that suggests the Big G is thinking about separating emoji from the system update, so you can get them faster.

Here’s what’s happening: until now, font files containing emoji were stored under the /system/fonts directory. So refreshing them has been possible only through an over-the-air update.

The new code commit suggests that they are to be stored under a new /data/fonts/files directory, which allows for a server update to these files. That means Google or other manufacturers can push a font file update to push new emoji to users anytime.

The new code also indicates that this will help other apps read these files and import new emoji directly into their system.

As folks at XDA noted, this code hasn’t been merged to the Android open source project, so it’s not final yet. But we can hope that this update makes the cut and we get new emojis without waiting for an over-the-air update.

Source: https://thenextweb.com/plugged/2020/11/25/android-might-separate-emoji-from-os-updates-so-you-can-get-new-ones-faster/

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