NTSB Finds Tesla Autopilot Partly to Blame for Fatal Crash

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has concluded that the crash that killed the driver of a 2015 Tesla Model S electric sedan in Florida last year was at least partly due to the limitations of “system safeguards” on the vehicle’s Autopilot semiautonomous feature.

According to Reuters, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said: “Tesla allowed the driver to use the system outside of the environment for which it was designed and the system gave far too much leeway to the driver to divert his attention.”

Autopilot is designed to control the steering and speed of a vehicle driving on a highway with exit and entrance ramps, well-defined medians and clear lane markings. Since it’s not intended to have full self-driving capability, the system alerts the driver repeatedly with visual and audible warnings to pay attention and keep his or her hands on the steering wheel.

But in January, both the NTSB and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration determined that Joshua Brown, the driver of the Model S, had set the vehicle’s cruise control at 74 mph (higher than the 65-mph limit), was not driving on a controlled-access highway and ignored the system’s warnings to remain alert.

So when a semitruck turned left across the path of Brown’s vehicle, the Autopilot system failed to respond because it’s not designed to detect crossing traffic, and the driver did not apply the brakes or otherwise take control. As a result, the Model S crashed into the side of the truck, killing Brown instantly.

At the time, NHTSA concluded that the vehicle had no defects and that Autopilot had performed as designed. And NTSB attributed the crash to driver error.

Now, however, NTSB says that Autopilot’s “operational design” was at least a contributing factor to the crash because, as configured at the time, it allowed drivers to keep their hands off the steering wheel and otherwise let their attention wander from the road for extended periods of time. In other words, drivers can override or ignore warnings from the system, putting them at risk for collisions.

NTSB has devised a number of recommendations for automakers developing partially autonomous vehicles. These include going beyond simple alerts to ensure driver engagement, blocking the use of a self-driving system beyond the limits of its design, and making sure these systems are only used on specific types of roads.

Tesla responded that it would evaluate the agency’s recommendations and “will also continue to be extremely clear with current and potential customers that Autopilot is not a fully self-driving technology and drivers need to remain attentive at all times.”

Tesla has continuously updated Autopilot since its introduction. For example, the latest version doesn’t just give warnings; it will shut off completely if the driver doesn’t take control of the wheel.

Although the Tesla Autopilot crash prompted continued NTSB scrutiny, the agency stressed that its recommendations apply to other automakers as well. It specifically mentioned Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, suggesting that their semiautonomous systems should also receive upgraded warnings and features that prevent drivers from using them improperly.

Fatal Tesla Autopilot crash due to ‘over-reliance on automation, lack of safeguards’

The United States’ National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) has released its final findings on the fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S operating in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode.

The crash occurred in Flordia in May 2016 when Joshua Brown’s Tesla Model S collided with the underside of a tractor-trailer as the truck turned onto the non-controlled access highway.

Tesla Autopilot system is a level two semi-autonomous driving mode, which is designed to automatically steer and accelerate a car while it’s on a controlled access motorway or freeway with well defined entry and exit ramps.

According to the NTSB, Tesla’s Autopilot functioned as programmed because it was not designed to recognise a truck crossing into the car’s path from an intersecting road. As such, it did not warn the driver or engage the automated emergency braking system.

The report said the “driver’s pattern of use of the Autopilot system indicated an over-reliance on the automation and a lack of understanding of the system limitations”.

The NTSB’s team concluded “while evidence revealed the Tesla driver was not attentive to the driving task, investigators could not determine from available evidence the reason for his inattention”.

It also noted “the truck driver had used marijuana before the crash, his level of impairment, if any, at the time of the crash could not be determined from the available evidence”.

Tesla did not escape blame, with the NTSB calling out the electric car maker for its ineffective methods of ensuring driver engagement.

In issuing the report, Robert L. Sumwalt III, the NTSB’s chairman, said, “System safeguards, that should have prevented the Tesla’s driver from using the car’s automation system on certain roadways, were lacking and the combined effects of human error and the lack of sufficient system safeguards resulted in a fatal collision that should not have happened”.

The electric car maker has since made changes to its Autopilot system, including reducing the interval before it begins warning the driver that their hands are off the steering wheel.

As part of its findings, the NTSB also issued a number of recommendations to various government authorities and car makers with level two self-driving features.

These NTSB called for standardised data logging formats, safeguards to ensure autonomous driving systems are used only in the manner for which they were designed, and improved monitoring of driver engagement in vehicles fitted with autonomous and semi-autonomous safety systems.

Joshua Brown’s family issued a statement through its lawyers earlier this week in anticipation of the NTSB’s report.

“We heard numerous times that the car killed our son. That is simply not the case,” the family said. “There was a small window of time when neither Joshua nor the Tesla features noticed the truck making the left-hand turn in front of the car.

“People die every day in car accidents. Change always comes with risks, and zero tolerance for deaths would totally stop innovation and improvements.”

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Tesla shares blame for fatal Autopilot crash according to NTSB report

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation into a fatal crash involving a semi-truck and a Tesla Model S utilizing automated driving systems. The reasons for the crash are complex, but the report highlights issues with self-driving vehicles that should be of concern.

The incident happened in May of 2016 in Florida. It gained wide media attention because the fatality in the wreck was the driver of a Tesla Model S who was using the car’s “Autopilot” semi-automated driving system. Blame for the wreck has been bandied about, thrown at both the commercial vehicle’s driver and the Tesla driver. Based on evidence from the crash, the NTSB’s report blames both drivers and the way Tesla’s Autopilot handled the situation.

Tesla Motors has taken a lot of flak for the name of its system and for its reliance on small print to explain that it is not, in fact, a fully autonomous driving system as the name might imply. To the company’s credit, though, it has revised much of its marketing and has now changed the software that controls the Autopilot system, which the NTSB report noted.

Yet blame for the crash itself is not terribly important. What’s more important is what can be learned from it. Namely some of the inherent dangers in autonomous vehicles, our perception of them, and how they’ll function in a world with mixed human and computer drivers on the road. The near-future of vehicle automation is going to determine what the public’s perception of self-driving vehicles is for some time.

In the NTSB’s report on the fatal Tesla crash, the blame was placed on the driver of the semi-truck, the Tesla driver, and the car’s automated systems. All three drivers (truck driver, car driver, and computer) made serious mistakes that ultimately lead to the accident.

The semi-truck driver did not yield proper right of way, causing the big rig to move in front of the Tesla unexpectedly. The driver of the Model S was not paying attention to the road at all, relying solely on the automated driving systems in the car. The Autopilot system was not designed for fully automated driving and had no way of “seeing” the oncoming crash due to limitations in its sensor setup. Nor was the Tesla adequately engaging the driver with warnings about his inattention to the road or the task of driving.

So the crash proceeded as follows: the truck driver failed to yield right of way and entered the Tesla’s path as it proceeded forward. The only indication of possible impairment to the truck driver was a trace of marijuana in the driver’s blood, but no other distractions were found in the investigation.

Meanwhile, the Model S driver was not paying attention to the road at all, though what exactly the driver was doing is undetermined. The driver’s cause of death was definitely crash-related, however, indicating that the driver did not suffer a medical emergency or other problem that could have led to the incident. The driver had a history, according to the Tesla’s recording software, of misusing the Autopilot system in this way.

The Tesla Model S’ Autopilot system had alerted the driver several times to his inattention, but had not taken further lengths or, the NTSB found, done enough to adequately prevent the driver from relinquishing all control to the car. Furthermore, the sensors and systems on board the Model S were not capable of registering the truck or its potential (and eventual) crossing of the car’s path and thus did not engage emergency braking or avoidance maneuvers. That latter part attests to the often misunderstood nature of today’s semi-automated driving systems.

From these facts, the NTSB listed several recommendations for semi-automated vehicles to meet. In its own investigation into the crash and with early input from the NTSB, Tesla found problems with the Autopilot driver inattention warning system, and has since taken steps to remedy them. Tesla Motors has also revised most of its current marketing materials to further emphasize that the Autopilot system is not a fully-automated driving system capable of completely autonomous vehicle operation and that drivers are still required to be engaged in driving even when Autopilot is activated.

The NTSB is recommending that manufacturers put restrictions in place to keep semi-automated vehicle control systems working within the confines of their design conditions to prevent drivers from misusing them. This would mean that a semi-automated vehicle whose automation is designed for use during commutes at highway speeds would need to not operate at speeds lower than that and would not function in driving situations where the reading of road signs or compliance with pedestrian crossings and the like are required.

Today, most semi-automated driving systems being used at the consumer level are based around adaptive cruise control designs. These are made to watch traffic on a freeway or highway, where multiple lanes are available, but cross-traffic and pedestrians do not exist. These systems commonly require the driver to have hands on the steering wheel at all times and are often now augmented by “driver awareness” indicators that measure how attentive the driver is. Most work by gauging the driver’s ability to keep the vehicle within its lane without assistance. Some also work by noting the driver’s head position, input to the steering wheel, and position in the seat.

The NTSB also called for vehicle event data to be captured in all semi-automated vehicles and made available in standard formats so investigators can more easily use them. They called for manufacturers to incorporate robust system safeguards to limit the automated control systems’ use, and they called for the development of applications to more effectively sense the driver’s level of engagement.

The NTSB also asked manufacturers to more closely report incidents involving semi-automated vehicle control systems. These recommendations were issued to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Global Automakers group, and to individual manufacturers designing and implementing autonomous vehicle technologies.

With the release of the NTSB’s summary report today, the U.S. Department of Transportation also released its own guidance on automated driving systems. These federal guidelines are given as suggestions that vehicle manufacturers are asked to voluntarily follow.

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Madden NFL 18 Pushes Crash Bandicoot Out of PlayStation Store’s No. 1 Spot

Madden

The list of top-selling games in the PlayStation Store include action, sports, and the dethroning of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for the month of August’s biggest hits.

In the United States, Madden NFL 18 unsurprisingly came in at the No. 1 spot with the game being downloaded plenty of times throughout the previous month. Coming in at second place behind Madden 18 was Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, an intense action game that was recently released and climbed its way past other titles such as Sonic Mania and Rainbow Six Siege.

Over in the European PlayStation Store, the new Hellblade game actually took first place, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy following close behind it. The two lists shared some similar titles while also having their own top-20 hits such as Friday the 13th: The Game staying in the rankings and Call of Duty: Black Ops III making its way onto the European charts at No. 16.

Regarding the game that previously dominated the No. 1 spot in both lists, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy fell to the eleventh and fourth spot on the U.S. and European lists, respectively. The game took the second spot in the U.S. back in June after being out for a few days during the month, and in July, it topped both charts.

Below are the full lists of the best-selling PlayStation 4 games during the month of August in both the U.S. and Europe:

U.S. Charts:

  1. Madden NFL 18
  2. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  3. Sonic Mania
  4. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
  5. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Friday the 13th: The Game
  8. Undertale
  9. Minecraft
  10. EA Sports UFC 2
  11. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  12. Rocket League
  13. Need for Speed
  14. LawBreakers
  15. Absolver
  16. For Honor
  17. Life Is Strange: Before the Storm
  18. The Evil Within
  19. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
  20. Overcooked

European Charts:

  1. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  2. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  3. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
  4. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  5. Horizon: Zero Dawn
  6. Wolfenstein: The New Order
  7. EA Sports UFC 2
  8. Sonic Mania
  9. Rocket League
  10. Minecraft
  11. FIFA 17
  12. Mortal Kombat XL
  13. The Last of Us Remastered
  14. Cities: Skylines
  15. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  16. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  17. Star Wars Battlefront
  18. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  19. Friday the 13th
  20. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection


Waymo and Uber Head for a Self-Driving Car Crash in Court

There’s a month to go before the trial starts, but in many ways Waymo can already count its trade-secrets lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. as a win. The unusually speedy pretrial discovery process has yielded a steady drip of embarrassing revelations for Uber. It’s forced the ride-hailing company to fire the head of its driverless car division. And it’s contributed to the ouster of Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, now the most highly anticipated witness in a case that could reshape the nascent market for self-driving car technology.

But Waymo, the company formed from the Google Inc. self-driving car project, hasn’t won yet. There are no more fact discovery hearings before the trial begins on Oct. 10, and Waymo is running out of time to locate the 14,000 computer files it claims engineer Anthony Levandowski stole while in its employ and transferred to Uber’s driverless program, which he took over last year. Without that smoking gun, Waymo, a unit of Alphabet Inc., may have a tough time directly tying Levandowski’s actions to Uber’s alleged trade-secret theft, forcing it to try to convince a jury using strong but circumstantial evidence.

“They didn’t sue the guy who supposedly committed this great theft,” says Arturo González, a lawyer for Uber, which has denied using Waymo’s trade secrets. “It’s like your neighbor steals your lawn mower, and instead of suing him, you sue the guy who bought it at the auction.”

Uber hasn’t exactly been upfront about the evidence in this case. U.S. District Judge William Alsup has repeatedly upbraided the company for misleading him about the trail of evidence and its often-clandestine early dealings with Levandowski, including the 2016 acquisition of his self-driving truck company, Otto, for $680 million in stock. Emails between Uber executives and lawyers show “they knew good and well what they were getting into with Mr. Levandowski,” the judge said during a hearing on July 26. “It’s a mess of your own making.”

Levandowski has refused to testify, asserting his constitutional right against self-incrimination. His lawyer, Miles Ehrlich, declined to comment for this story. In May, Alsup referred the lawsuit to federal prosecutors for possible investigation. So far, no criminal case has materialized.

Like Uber’s lawyer, Alsup has also warned Waymo that while it’s made a compelling case that Levandowski took the 14,000 files, it needs to prove more than that to sway a jury. “If you can’t prove that Uber got these trade secrets, then, you know, maybe you’re in a world of trouble,” he said during the July 26 hearing.

Absent an explicit trail of evidence, Waymo is betting it can persuade jurors that a comparison of its designs with Uber’s is sufficiently damning. “We have documentary, physical, and testimonial evidence showing the specific use of multiple Waymo trade secrets, specific pieces of technology, that can be found copied in Uber’s,” says Charles Verhoeven, Waymo’s lead trial lawyer. Most important: the laser-radar technology known as lidar, which helps driverless cars navigate obstacles and one another. “This is an intentional scheme to steal technology that goes to the top of the company,” Verhoeven says. “All Waymo wants is for its trade secrets not to be used.”

Kalanick’s testimony may prove pivotal because he and Levandowski were close, going on long walks together as they planned the future of Uber’s self-driving car program. The two met before Levandowski left Waymo, raising questions about whether they conspired to bring Waymo’s technology to Uber.

Google parent Alphabet doesn’t have a reputation for sore-loser litigiousness or even for particularly caring about much of its intellectual property; it paints itself more as a for-profit academy where knowledge is the priority. It’s been rare for the company to use its IP, which includes thousands of patents, to attack competitors. Driverless cars, however, seem to have hit a nerve.

Just before Christmas, Alphabet sued another former employee for allegedly taking trade secrets to driverless-technology company Drive.ai. A former Google employee who’s raising money for another autonomous driving startup says he’s had to field unusually pointed questions from investors worried about the possibility of a legal threat, even though he didn’t work on Google’s self-driving project. (He declined to speak publicly for fear of retribution from Alphabet.)

“If Waymo loses the lawsuit against Uber, it’s possible that folks will start to question whether Waymo has lost its competitive edge,” says Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law who focuses on internet and intellectual-property cases. And there’s a lot more competition than there used to be.

When Uber first began its self-driving effort in 2015, Google’s project “seemed to be the only game in town,” says Mike Ramsey, an auto analyst at researcher Gartner Inc. Ramsey estimates that some 50 companies are now working in autonomous driving. “A lot of things have changed since then,” he says. In those two years, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. have each paid hundreds of millions of dollars to buy self-driving companies. And since Waymo sued Uber, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Waymo’s initial car partner, has formed a self-driving partnership with BMW AG. Chris Urmson, Waymo’s former top executive, is also raising money for his own company, another likely competitor.

Whether or not Waymo wins its lawsuit, it’s fair to wonder if Uber will stay in the race. Incoming CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, the former head of travel site Expedia Inc., has a long list of business and cultural problems to resolve. While driverless cars were an obsession for Kalanick, Khosrowshahi may not have the same love for an unproven technology that has hall-of-fame liabilities attached. “It’s like Delta owning special jet-engine technology,” says Ramsey, who suggests Uber may stop trying to build its own lidar and other components, instead waiting for them to become cheap enough to be interchangeable.

In his first address to new employees, on Aug. 30, Khosrowshahi said he’s most interested in making the company a better ride-hailing company. “Especially in times of trouble, you really want to focus on the core,” he said, according to comments released by a spokesperson. “The core of this business is what’s going to pay the bills.”

Now that Kalanick, Waymo’s hostile star witness, isn’t running Uber, might the companies settle the suit and ignore a bruising trial? Maybe. That would, for example, remove the threat that the case could embarrass Alphabet executives on the witness stand. But Khosrowshahi, after all, was hired by the board of Uber, where Kalanick remains a force bigger than the director’s seat he continues to occupy. “I’m a fighter,” Khosrowshahi told his staff in that first address. “I am all in, and I’m going to fight for you with everything in my body.” —With Mark Bergen

BOTTOM LINE –
While Waymo has put Uber on the defensive during pretrial proceedings, it could fail to win over a jury, and it has a lot of fresh competition in driverless technology.

Crash Bandicoot’s Official Site Points At Possible Xbox One And PC Release

Crash

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has already made its way out for PlayStation 4, and it’s a lot of fun, despite posing certain challenges with its platforming sections. That said, there are some hints indicating that the game could be making its way to Xbox One as well, and today we got yet another big one.

The team at EGMNOW has learned of even more possible proof that the game could be making its way to Microsoft’s platform, even though Activision is staying mum on the subject. That said, this is the most solid proof yet, as it actually stems from the game’s official web page.

Those of you that use either Chrome or Firefox will be able to visit the site and scroll over to the “Buy Now” section of the page. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to see two secret options pop up. The first one is for the “country of residence,” which isn’t really a big shock. But the second one is, as you see an option for “desired platform,” indicating that the game could be available for more than one platform come later this year.

Right now, the game remains a PlayStation 4 exclusive, but we’ve seen bits and pieces indicating that the game is coming to other systems, including a hint from a representative at PAX East, an inadvertent item listing on a foreign web page, and now this. Again, Microsoft hasn’t said anything regarding the game, nor has Activision, so it could just be an error.

Still, that’s a whole lot of proof, and some hints suggest that the game could come in December for both Xbox One and PC – marking a decent exclusivity window for the PlayStation 4 and giving the game the opportunity to sell well on other platforms. For now, it does remain rumor at best, but give this a try and see what it does for you. We could very well see it pop up, and if we do, we’ll be more than happy to take in the challenges. Whoa!

For now, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is available for PlayStation 4.

Crash Bandicoot Trilogy Xbox One release date – Activision has good news for fans | Gaming | Entertainment

Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy seems almost certain to get an Xbox One release date.

The remastered Crash Bandicoot trilogy has just celebrated its fifth week atop the UK all-format games charts. This is despite the collection only appearing on PS4.

But this must surely change now that Activision has seen how popular the franchise is.

In fact, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg has hinted at similar remasters based on other classic franchises.

Admitting that the company had no idea how successful the N Sane Trilogy would be, Hirshberg said: “It’s hard to tell whether that’s a vocal minority or whether that’s a real mass audience until you put something out there.

“And Crash has surpassed all of our expectations by a pretty wide margin.”

Hirshberg also suggested that some classic characters might make an appearance on different formats, including mobile.

He continued: “So this is a strategy that clearly has our attention, and while there are no new announcements today, I think you can be confident that there will be more activity like this in the future with more great IP.

“The other opportunity beyond remaster is to look at some of our classic IP and ask whether or not it could be reborn on a new platform like what we’re going with Skylanders on mobile.”

A Crash Bandicoot Xbox One release would be the obvious place to start, as Activision cashes in on the popularity of Crash.

And there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that an Xbox One port isn’t far away.

A recent listing on the website of Hungarian retailer SuperGamer suggests that Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy will get an Xbox One release on December 8.

That’s roughly six months after the launch of the PS4 version, and means the N Sane Trilogy would be in shops for Christmas.

Interestingly, the listing also features Xbox One box art, which further suggests that it could be legitimate.

More recently, images were discovered that appeared to show the menu screen with Xbox One button commands.

Former Uber driver charged with reckless homicide after Northwest Side crash

A former Uber driver was charged with reckless homicide related to a multi-vehicle crash on the Northwest Side in June that killed a married father and injured his wife.

A Cook County judge on Saturday ordered Richard Massenburg held on $250,000 bail at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building on a count of reckless homicide and numerous traffic citations in connection to the June 11 crash in the Belmont-Cragin community.

Prosecutors said Massenburg had marijuana in his bloodstream and was driving his 2015 Nissan Altima 81 miles per hour when he sped through a red light at Diversey and Cicero avenues and struck the first of several cars in the intersection at about 9:50 a.m.

The first collision killed Javier Castrejon, 38, and injured his 42-year-old wife, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Kathryn Roy. The crash sent Castrejon’s car into the car ahead of them, injuring a 28-year-old woman. Despite the collisions, Massenburg continued north on Cicero until he struck another car stopped at the red light. 

Castrejon was rushed to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead from massive trauma to his head and torso, authorities said. The graduate of Schurz High School and father of two was a sales clerk for a tool retailer and worked as a security guard at a banquet hall, according to an obituary printed in the Tribune. His wife, who was knocked unconscious in the collision, was treated for multiple fractures and a concussion.

Massenburg, 52, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he tested positive for the active ingredient in marijuana, Roy said. In court, prosecutors identified Massenburg as a driver for the ride-sharing service and said the app was open at the time of the accident, though he had no passengers at the time.

An Uber spokesman said that Massenberg was fired as soon as the company became aware of the crash.

Two witnesses also identified Massenburg as the driver of the speeding car and red light cameras and surveillance cameras from a nearby gas station captured the crash, prosecutors said.

Massenburg, who was cited after the accident, was arrested Friday when he appeared for his Traffic Court hearing. He is scheduled to return to court next week.

wlee@chicagotribune.com

Twitter: @MidNoirCowboy

After Crash sells big, Activision gets bullish on nostalgia

Enlarge / Sweet hat, Crash.

Crash Bandicoot generally doesn’t get the same kind of love as classic gaming mascots like Mario and Sonic in gaming’s nostalgia-obsessed zeitgeist. So the success of the recent Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy re-release is taking even publisher Activision by surprise, and it has the company thinking about reviving other classic properties.

N.Sane Trilogy was the top-selling game globally for the month of June, Activision said during a recent conference call, despite being only available on one console for two days of the month. The game was also the most downloaded title on PSN for July, according to Sony, results that “outperform[ed] even our most optimistic expectations” as Activision put it. That success is even leading to what’s probably the first ever example of some popular Crash Bandicoot-themed memes.

“We knew that there was a passionate audience out there for Crash—full disclosure, myself among them—but we had no idea…” Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said in an earnings call yesterday. “It’s hard to tell if that’s a vocal minority or that’s a real mass audience until you put something out there. Crash has surpassed all of our expectations by a pretty wide margin.”

Hirshberg went on to point out that the re-release strategy isn’t exactly new, citing other recent and upcoming re-releases like Modern Warfare Remastered and Starcraft Remastered. “So this is a strategy that clearly has our attention, and while there are no new announcements today, I think you can be confident there will be more activity like this in the future with more great IP,” he said.

“We’ve lined up additional releases of that kind of beloved fan-favorite content going forward,” another Activision executive added on the call. “There’s a beloved IP out there that our community would love to engage in.”

Looking through Activision’s existing franchise lineup, the original Spyro series seems the most obvious candidate for a Crash follow-up, especially given the property’s more recent relevance through the Skylanders spin-off series. Activision also has some well-loved retro Spider-Man games that would probably go well alongside their upcoming movie-based title. We also wouldn’t mind seeing Tony Hawk make a comeback in a more polished way than the underwhelming Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD.

The unexpected level of success for the N. Sane Trilogy comes hot on the heels of Nintendo’s unexpected (and somewhat unfulfilled) success with the NES Classic Edition hardware, leading to a recently announced Super NES Classic follow-up for later this year. While nostalgia has always been a potent force in the world of video games, these latest blockbusters show that there’s plenty of room left for publishers to exploit their past catalogs for present profits. Up next, we turn our eyes to the upcoming and hotly anticipated Sonic Mania to see if the trend can continue.

Crash Bandicoot and StarCraft Remastered reboots could boost Activision Blizzard’s results this calendar year | GamesBeat | Video games

Activision Blizzard could reward from a potent response to its franchise reboots, together with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and the upcoming StarCraft Remastered.

The two online games — as well as past year’s reboot Call of Responsibility: Modern Warfare Remastered — demonstrate the desire for retro titles that make avid gamers feel nostalgic for bygone several years.

The Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is a remake of the initially 3 online games in the series, which has produced additional than 50 million copies marketed due to the fact 1996. Activision introduced the sport on June 30, the past working day of its second quarter. Eric Hirshberg, the CEO of Activision Publishing (a division of Activision Blizzard), said that it was the No. 1 sport in June, even while it experienced this kind of transient sales in that thirty day period. It is been given some terrific testimonials, together with from us.

This Crash assortment is also the No. 1 sport on Sony’s PlayStation on line keep in the thirty day period of July. It contributed significant results to Activision Blizzard’s earnings in the second quarter, and it is envisioned to proceed advertising in the 3rd quarter.

Above: StarCraft Remastered.

Picture Credit history: Blizzard

“Crash has surpassed all of our expectations,” Hirshberg said.

Meanwhile, Blizzard programs to launch StarCraft Remastered, a reboot of the 1998 sport with up to date Hd and 4K graphics, on August 14. That title will debut on the Windows Personal computer and the Mac on Blizzard’s on line services.

Equally titles experienced rather small progress cycles and smaller groups, at minimum in comparison to even larger titles this kind of as the newest Call of Responsibility and Future 2 online games. But they can assistance crank out additional revenues in addition to even larger releases coming this calendar year, this kind of as Call of Responsibility: WWII and Future 2.

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