Friday, August 17, 2018


With Blizzard Entertainment, the highly-regarded PC videogame developer and subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, you can pretty much tell which of their game franchises they love most from the gap between releases of sequels or expansions. There is no doubt that “World of Warcraft” the MMO spinoff of the once-iconic RTS series “Warcraft” is their cash cow. Left in the periphery are their other titles like the sci-fi version “Starcraft” and the dungeon crawler “Diablo”. It is therefore surprising that “Diablo III”, initially released in 2012, will be brought to the forefront again with a new port; then again, that port is for the Nintendo Switch.
The Verge has it that Blizzard Entertainment is planning a Nintendo Switch version of “Diablo III”, some six years after its original release on Mac and PC back in 2012. This was originally revealed in an online post from Forbes that was later taken down, but not before it was found and saved for posterity on Reddit. Even better, this Switch port of “Diablo III” will be released as a package with the two expansions already added to the base title, to be known as the “Diablo III: Eternal Collection”, worth $59.99 in a bundle.
A Nintendo Switch “Diablo III” also comes across as a momentous occasion in that it is the first videogame published by Blizzard to appear on a Nintendo console after 15 years. The earliest word of the port came from a poste by Blizzard Entertainment on their Twitter page, depicting a case of wordplay though a video clip of a “Diablo” themed nightlight being switched off. It is somewhat understandable that Blizzard would return to the most recent version of their dungeon crawl series due to the surprising endurance of “Diablo III”, which despite needing online connection and Blizzard account to play, remained popular with players.
It being released on a Nintendo platform, it is also no surprise that the iconic gaming company will seek to include exclusive Easter egg content to the “Diablo III: Eternal Collection” bundle. In addition to the original expansion packs “Reaper of Souls” and “Rise of the Necromancer”, there will be Nintendo-branded in-game items taking cues from the host console’s memorable game titles. Examples of this new stuff include an armor set copied from “Legend of Zelda” villain Ganondorf, a Cucco option for a player pet, and an avatar portrait frame patterned after the Tri-Force relic.
According to the Forbes post, “Diablo III” will boast features such as four-man multiplayer co-op on one Switch system (which can support four players by default), and compatible support with the Switch’s own online network service. It is expected to come out later in 2018.
Image courtesy of VGR


Nothing quite catches the interest of an engagement or marriage in show business than a noticeable age gap between the couple. This is perhaps why fans and the media are currently paying attention to the wedding plans of American pop star Nick Jonas, age 25, and international superstar from India Priyanka Chopra (ABC’s “Quantico”), 36. The two announced their engagement just last July, following only two months of dating. Now they are getting ready to take the next major step towards their union: returning to Chopra’s home country for Jonas to meet the parents, and go through the necessary traditional Indian practices for the soon-to-weds.
According to E! Online, Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas will be making a trip to India where the former’s family is hosting an engagement party for them. They will be accompanied by Nick’s own family for a formal meeting with the Chopras, according to a source close to the Jonases. It would be the first time the bride and groom’s families will meet, and it is also in keeping with how Chopra wants her and Nick’s wedding to play out.
“Priyanka wants everything to be traditional to respect her family’s values, and definitely an Indian wedding,” noted the source on the engaged couple’s upcoming marriage plans. “Priyanka and Nick are excited for everyone to meet and to celebrate. Everything is very secretive but guests are expected to head there starting tomorrow. All of the plans are moving quickly and Priyanka and Nick do not want to have a long engagement.”
In fact, before the official announcement of the Jonas-Chopra engagement, the two have already making preparations for that big day, which they did by taking turns spending time with the families on both sides. Back in June Priyanka and Nick took a vacation in India with the Chopras, and they joined in the pre-wedding preparations of Priyanka’s family friends, the groom being the son of India’s richest man. Then in the following month they spent the Fourth of July weekend in New York with the Jonases. It also doubled as a twin-engagement party as Joe Jonas was also present with his own fiancĂ©e, Sophie Turner of “Game of Thrones” fame.
While in India, it is expected that Nick and Priyanka will be taking part in a series of traditional events prior to their wedding. The engagement part is traditional, where they will exchange betrothal rings just as their respective family members exchange gifts in turn. Speaking of rings, Priyanka’s engagement ring from Nick Jonas is said to be worth a $200,000, being diamond and all.
Image courtesy of Hindustan Times

UBER Revenue RISES, PROFITS MADE, After Abandoning Some OVERSEAS Markets

Uber has been regarded as one of the major pioneers of the ride-hailing service. Through their meteoric rise it became a welcome option to call for transport on the dot by contacting contracted drivers on a smartphone app. The success of Uber in this regard helped it to establish an international presence years ago. However, maintaining operations overseas has not been entirely sweet for them, and in recent years they have shut down operations in several foreign markets to stay afloat. And that was the wise move; in cutting their losses, Uber has managed to hit the green this year.
CNN reports that Uber has managed to get its revenues up by 63% from its level the year before. Financial reports filed by the ride-hailing giant has it that their second quarter was now at $2.8 billion, with an $891 million loss. But that is much better already than the $1.1 billion losses they had from 2017 when several of their international offices were floundering in the face of formidable competition from local ride-hailing alternatives. It also helps that their customer gross bookings are now holding at $12 billion, a 41% jump from the last.
Ever since Uber began to divest itself of their failing international operations such as with Southeast Asia months ago, it has been slowly but steadily reversing its fortunes. That includes a rare profit reported from the company’s first quarter of 2018, released in May. All this information has been graciously made public by Uber, despite being under no obligation to be so open, seeing as they are still a private firm with no public listing.
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber since last year, when she took over during the company’s days of uncertainty, gave a public statement expressing her satisfaction at the positive quarterly report with signs of renewed growth. “Going forward, we’re deliberately investing in the future of our platform,” she said. That is not to say that tomorrow will be smooth sailing for Uber though. Some of its present-day issues to address include the fallout of their self-driving car development following an incident in Arizona where a pedestrian was struck and killed by an Uber autonomous SUV. Then there is the matter of New York City blazing a trail of sorts in setting limits for the number of ride-hail vehicles and the insistence of giving a flat minimum rate to drivers for services like Uber and rival Lyft.
Part of Uber’s strategy for diversifying its offered services includes inroads to sharing-schemes for bicycles and scooters. It is also looking into providing food delivery services for businesses, similar to some ride-hailing companies from other countries that have gone beyond their initial range of services.
Image courtesy of NewCo Shift