Will the Plunge in Bitcoin Crush AMD and Nvidia?

A crackdown in cryptocurrencies in China and ICOs (initial coin offerings) has been weighing on bitcoin and other cryptocurrency markets. After nearing the $5,000 mark, bitcoin prices have been plunging, now trading near $3,875. Currently, it’s down 7% or almost $300 per bitcoin thanks to recent comments from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon. He called it a “fraud” and said he would fire any trader at the bank who touched it.

“You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart,” Dimon said at the Delivering Alpha conference Tuesday.

The fall in bitcoin has some wondering what other implications the drop could have. Specifically, could it hurt Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Nvidia Corporation (NVDA) going forward?

In a note earlier this week, Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis laid out just how much exposure NVDA stock and AMD stock have to cryptocurrencies. The stocks aren’t directly correlated, but because their graphics products are used to mine cryptocurrencies like ethereum, demand for the products are tied to demand for the currencies. The higher demand for crypto, the higher demand for the tools necessary to mine it. That’s good news for AMD and NVDA.

In the second quarter, Lipacis says about 3% of Advanced Micro Devices’ sales came from cryptocurrencies, while accounting for about 10% of Nvidia’s revenue. There are reasons to believe that risks are limited in the near term, Lipacis says, and that cryptocurrencies are not a fad.

But do price drops like the current one in bitcoin hurt AMD and Nvidia? The algorithms may say yes. AMD stock is down about 1% near the open Wednesday, while NVDA stock is down about 75 basis points. Both are underperforming the PowerShares Nasdaq ETF (QQQ) .

Even large near-term price fluctuations in bitcoin are unlikely to cause demand to drop significantly though, which should pad AMD and Nvidia’s cryptocurrency business. However, should demand taper off significantly in the future, it would have a negative impact on these two stocks.

More of What’s Trending on TheStreet:

Here’s Why Apple’s HomePod Will Crush the Amazon Echo and Google Home Over Time

Apple (AAPL)  is late to the smart speaker market — but it can still win. 

Apple’s $400 Siri-powred HomePod smart speaker is set to ship in December, three years after Amazon (AMZN) introduced the $179.99 Alexa-powered Echo and a year-and-a-half after the $129.99 Google Assistant-powered Google Home was released from Google, owned by Alphabet (GOOGL) . 

Apple and Alphabet are holdings in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL or GOOGL? Learn more now.

Alexa-enabled devices command over 70% of the smart speaker market — for now. Loup Ventures founder Gene Munster thinks Apple is set up to leap over Amazon as the market leader, according to a note he released on Friday. 

Apple can make up for the three years it sat out of the smart speaker sector because the long-term winner in the space will be the speaker that “provides its user with a heightened experience and improved efficiency,” he wrote. ” We believe Apple is uniquely positioned to do so, as Apple’s device ecosystem delivers a frictionless experience, which will only get better with the adoption of voice-first computing.”

Amazon may have a head start in the smart speaker market, but it’s playing at a disadvantage without an existing base of smartphone users that can integrate the technology, he noted. On the other hand, Google, which claims a 24% chunk of the market, doesn’t have the “exposure” that Alexa Skills or SiriKit has, he noted. 

Apple's HomePod.
Apple’s HomePod.

SiriKit is important for the success of the HomePod because it allows third-party developers to integrate iOS apps and watchOS apps with Siri. Soon, users will be able to ask Siri to carry out more complicated tasks than simply reporting the weather or setting a timer, Munster noted. While Siri has not managed to impress users overall, “the Siri we have come to know on our iPhones and the upcoming Siri that lives in HomePod with third-party integrations are two very different animals,” he wrote. 

Siri is setting the HomePod up to take the smart speaker market by storm because its strength is being able to handle questions that are more complex, Munster said. The voice assistant can understand multi-step commands, such as “make a note called Slide 4 in my Presentation Notes folder that says: change transition,” Munster pointed out. “These functionalities are not unique to Siri, but Apple’s seamlessly integrated ecosystem of devices puts them in a position to employ voice-first computing in ways their competitors can’t match,” he explained. 

With a price tag that’s significantly more than its two biggest competitors, the HomePod will need to impress customers. At Apple’s annual developer’s conference in June, the company introduced the HomePod as a smart speaker that would be particularly good for listening to music due to its high-quality speakers. However, Munster thinks that was just Apple’s way of setting its speaker apart from the Echo and Google Home devices since it needs to take market share from them to succeed. “Apple didn’t want a ‘me too’ product,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it’s the same thing.”

But even though the HomePod is $170 more than its nearest-in-price competitor, Apple fans are eager to get their hands on it. A Raymond James survey of 500 consumers in June showed that about 14% of iPhone owners intend to buy the HomePod, which is more than the 6% of respondents that indicated they wanted to buy an Apple Watch in a similar survey the firm conducted ahead of the wearable’s release in the spring of 2015. According to the same survey, 16% of respondents plan to buy an Echo, while just 2% plan to buy a Google Home.

Candy Crush, Call Of Duty Drive Top-Line Beat For Activision ATVI

'Candy Crush,' 'Call Of Duty' Drive Top-Line Beat For Activision

Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) ongoing to shock investors on Friday early morning, trading down 3 percent following publishing an unforeseen 2nd-quarter earnings conquer on Thursday.

The online video match maker noted EPS of 43 cents and $1.42 billion in income when compared to the 30-cent and $1.22 billion consensus estimates. Administration also raised its fiscal 2017 advice.

‘No New Items, No Problem’

The conquer was a shock given that Activision has not set out a new match lately. Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju said bookings growth was “incidentally reaccelerated” by microtransactions from “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush.”

Ju reiterated an Outperform score on the inventory and raised his selling price goal from $67 to $74. Ju also established an close-of-2018 goal at $80.

“We observe that the character of the outperformance ought to be sustained into pursuing quarters/many years,” said Ju in a observe. “Moreover these earnings streams get there at substantial incremental margins.”

Those margins are envisioned to extend as items with finite output fees carry on to gain earnings.

Ju now expects fiscal 2017 EPS to be $2.20 compared to the company’s $2.08 advice, and complete income of $7.1 billion, about $500 million previously mentioned advice.

Keep up with earnings season and analyst coverage in real-time with Benzinga Pro.

Associated One-way links:

Activision Blizzard Posts Q2 Earnings Defeat

Activision Blizzard Studies Q2 Earnings As E-Athletics Continue To Expand

Picture credit history: Enjoyment Oh, Flickr

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King brings Candy Crush TV show host Mario Lopez into mobile games | GamesBeat | Games

Activision Blizzard’s King mobile game division is launching a TV show based on the Candy Crush Saga mobile game this summer, and it is bringing TV show host Mario Lopez into the game.

King is also launching a series of in-game events within Candy Crush Saga to promote the live-action TV show on CBS. It’s an example of transmedia, or a single intellectual property spanning different media such as TV and games. And King wants the cross promotion to work in both directions. King has some built-in advantages as it launches the TV show, since the game has been played more than a trillion times, with an average of 20 billion game rounds being played every month across the Candy Crush franchise.

The in-game live events will extend across all of the Candy Crush family of games, and those events will emulate the challenges contestants face in the Candy Crush game show arena.

Mario Lopez, host of the new CBS show which airs weekly starting July 9, will be transformed into a ‘Candified’ in-game show host in Candy Crush Saga. Mobile game players will get a series of challenges to complete each week for their chance to win exclusive in-game rewards.

“The Candy Crush games continue to be loved and played by millions around the world every day on their mobiles, and it’s incredible now be breaking out into other areas of entertainment,” said Sebastian Knutsson, chief creative officer at King and executive producer of the Candy Crush TV show, in a statement. “It’s hugely exciting to see the Candy Crush mobile game adapted into a live action television game show and, what’s more, for the first time we’ve been able to blend the fun and action seen on the small screen with brand new in-game challenges. These special events in the Candy Crush app will be the perfect companion when you’re tuned into the game show fun.”

Above: Candy Crush Saga

Image Credit: King

Available to players on iOS, Google Android, Windows, and Amazon, the series of live in-game Candy Crush events will be running for a period of 48 hours every weekend for the duration of the 10-week television show, starting on July 7.

Each week, players of Candy Crush Saga will get four mini-challenges to complete, imitating the four King-sized challenges contestants will face in the TV Show. As players complete each mini-challenge, they can claim a prize. If players complete all four challenges, they’ll receive a treasure chest full of rewards.

And Candy Crush Soda Saga players can choose between four teams — these will feature the show’s contestants from that week. Each team is then set a target, such as collecting as many green candies as possible. Players continue with the game as normal, while an in-game tracker keeps track of how they’re doing. The winning team can then pick between a range of different prizes.

For Candy Crush Jelly Saga, players will face a time challenge to collect as many cupcakes as they can. If players reach the goal within the time limit, they are rewarded with a gift.

Each week, the Candy Crush television show will see four teams of two battle it out in the Candy Crush arena and compete on a supersized, interactive game board. Players will use their entire bodies to swing, slide and swipe to match candies. The top two scoring teams of the night progress to the ultimate candy clash, with the chance to win a $100,000. The first team to score 50 matches wins.

What’s on TV: ‘Castlevania,’ ‘Snowfall,’ ‘Candy Crush’

It’s a holiday week, but if you’re up from people setting off fireworks early, you can check out six new comedy specials on Netflix Tuesday morning as part of The Standups, with Deon Cole, Beth Stelling, Nate Bargatze, Dan Soder, Nikki Glaser, and Fortune Feimster. Then, later this week the service drops season one of its animated Castlevania series, as well as the most recent season of CW’s iZombie. FX is premiering Snowfall, its crack cocaine era drama from John Singleton, while Hulu drops season one of Pure. The most unusual debut, however, is probably the new Candy Crush game show on CBS. Look after the break to check out each day’s highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).

Blu-ray & Games & Streaming

  • The Boss Baby (VOD)
  • iZombie (S3), Netflix (7/5)
  • Song to Song (4K)
  • Drone
  • The Zookeeper’s Wife
  • Pompeii
  • The Comedian
  • An American Tail: Fievel Goes West
  • The Boy and the Beast
  • Windows
  • Lego Worlds: Classic Space Pack DLC (PC, Xbox One, PS4)
  • SpeedRunners (PS4)
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Absolution DLC (PS4)
  • ACA NeoGeo Metal Slug 2 (Switch)
  • Toby: The Secret Mine (PS4)
  • Shephy (Switch)
  • Save the Ninja Clan (PS4)
  • That’s You (PS4)

Tuesday

  • The Standups (S1), Netflix, 3AM
  • Casual, Hulu, 3AM
  • The Words that Built America, HBO, 7PM
  • Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, NBC, 8PM

Wednesday

  • Big Brother, CBS, 8PM
  • Little Big Shots, NBC, 8PM
  • Kingdom, DirecTV Audience, 8PM
  • Hood Adjacent with James Davis, Comedy Central, 9PM
  • The Carmichael Show, NBC, 9PM
  • Snowfall (series premiere), FX, 10PM
  • The Auto Firm with Alex Vega (series premiere), Velocity, 10PM
  • Blood Drive, Syfy, 10PM
  • To Tell the Truth, ABC, 10PM
  • Lip Sync Battle, Spike TV, 9:30 & 10PM
  • The Ultimate Fighter, FS1, 10PM
  • Catfish, MTV, 10PM
  • Younger, TV Land, 10PM
  • Cleverman, Sundance, 10PM
  • Broadchurch, BBC America, 10PM

Thursday

  • Boy Band, ABC, 8PM
  • Hollywood Game Night, NBC, 8PM
  • Battle of the Network Stars, ABC, 9PM
  • Big Brother, CBS, 9PM
  • The Wall, NBC, 9PM
  • The Tunnel, PBS, 9PM
  • The Ultimate Fighter: Finale weigh-in, Fox Sports 1, 10PM
  • Zoo, CBS, 10PM
  • The Mist, Spike TV, 10PM
  • The Night Shift, NBC, 10PM
  • The Gong Show, ABC, 10PM
  • Queen of the South, USA, 10PM
  • Party Legends, Viceland, 10:30PM
  • Comedy Knockout, TruTV, 11PM

Friday

  • Castlevania (S1), Netflix, 3AM
  • Degrassi: Next Class (S4), Netflix, 3AM
  • Pure (S1), Hulu, 3AM
  • Cirque Du Soleil: Luna Petunia (S2), Netflix, 3AM
  • Killjoys, Syfy, 8PM
  • Masters of Illusion, CW, 8PM
  • The Ultimate Fighter (season finale), Fox sports 1,9PM
  • Erik Griffin: The Ugly Truth, Showtime 9PM
  • Dark Matter, Syfy, 9PM
  • Wynonna Earp, Syfy, 10PM
  • Playing House, USA, 11 & 11:30PM

Saturday

  • Doubt, CBS, 8 & 9PM
  • Turn, AMC, 9PM
  • In an Instant, ABC, 9PM
  • Orphan Black, BBC America, 10PM
  • Tour de Pharmacy, HBO, 10PM

Sunday

  • F1 Austrian GP, CNBC, 7:30AM
  • SW17 – Sharktacular 2017, Discover, 8PM
  • Big Brother, CBS, 8PM
  • Celebrity Family Feud, ABC, 8PM
  • Sunday Night Baseball, ESPN, 8PM
  • Candy Crush (series premiere), CBS, 9PM
  • The Defiant Ones (series premiere), HBO, 9PM
  • Power, Starz, 9PM
  • Claws, TNT, 9PM
  • Grantchester, PBS, 9PM
  • American Grit, Fox, 9PM
  • Fear the Walking Dead (summer finale), AMC, 9PM
  • The Nineties (series premiere), CNN, 9PM
  • One Night Only: Alec Baldwin, Spike TV, 9PM
  • Unsung: Wyclef (season premiere), TV One, 9PM
  • Talking Dead, AMC, 10PM
  • Prime Suspect (season finale), PBS, 10PM
  • Kevin Hart Presents, Comedy Central, 11PM
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, HBO, 11PM
  • Talking Dead: Fear Edition (summer finale), AMC, 11PM
  • Legends of Chamberlain Heights, Comedy Central, 11:30PM

(All times listed are ET)

NASA picks 12 new astronauts from crush of applicants

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA chose 12 new astronauts Wednesday from its biggest pool of applicants ever, hand-picking seven men and five women who could one day fly aboard the nation’s next generation of spacecraft.

The astronaut class of 2017 includes doctors, scientists, engineers, pilots and military officers from Anchorage to Miami and points in between. They’ve worked in submarines, emergency rooms, university lecture halls, jet cockpits and battleships. They range in age from 29 to 42, and they typically have led the pack.

“It makes me personally feel very inadequate when you read what these folks have done,” said NASA’s acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot.

Vice President Mike Pence welcomed the group during a televised ceremony at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. He offered President Donald Trump’s congratulations and noted that the president is “firmly committed to NASA’s noble mission, leading America in space.”

Pence assured the crowd that NASA will have the resources and support necessary to continue to make history. He said he would lead a resurrected National Space Council to help set the direction of the program.

Under Trump, “America will lead in space once again, and the world will marvel,” Pence said.

More than 18,300 people threw their hats into the space ring during a brief application period 1 ½ years ago. That’s more than double the previous record of 8,000 set in 1978, when the space shuttles were close to launching.

The 12 selected Wednesday will join 44 astronauts already in the NASA corps. U.S. astronauts have not launched from home soil since 2011, when the space shuttles were retired, thus the low head count. Americans have been hitching rides aboard Russian spacecraft in the meantime, but that could change next year.

After two years of training, the newbies may end up riding commercial rockets to the International Space Station or flying beyond the moon in NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Their ultimate destination could be Mars.

SpaceX and Boeing are building capsules capable of carrying astronauts to the space station and back as soon as next year. A launch engineer and senior manager for SpaceX, Robb Kulin, is among the new astronauts. He’s also worked as an ice driller in Antarctica and a commercial fisherman in Alaska.

“Hopefully, one day, I actually fly on a vehicle that … I got to design,” Kulin said.

Kulin and his classmates may be in for a long wait. Some members of the class of 2009 have yet to launch.

Dr. Jonny Kim, a former Navy SEAL and specialist in emergency medicine, told reporters it “may be a little unclear” what the future holds, at least regarding what spacecraft he and his fellow astronauts might fly.

“We’re just happy to be here,” he added.

Jack Fischer, who was in the 2009 group, just got to the space station in April, but he said he couldn’t be happier as he showed the latest hires their “new office” in a video.

“It’s a little bit cramped. The desk is kind of small. But the view. Oh, the view.”

Geologist Jessica Watkins already has experienced space — vicariously — as part of the team working with NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars.

“We intend to send her to Mars one day, folks,” NASA Flight Operations Director Brian Kelly said in introducing Watkins. She gave a thumbs-up.

This is NASA’s 22nd group of astronauts. The first group, the original Mercury 7 astronauts, was chosen in 1959.

Altogether, 350 Americans have now been selected to become astronauts. Requirements include U.S. citizenship; degrees in science, technology, engineering or math; and at least three years of experience or 1,000 hours of piloting jets.

A brief look at the elite 12:

— Navy Lt. Kayla Barron of Richland, Washington, a submarine-warfare officer and nuclear engineer who was among the first class of women commissioned into the submarine service and now works at the U.S. Naval Academy.

— Zena Cardman of Williamsburg, Virginia, a graduate research fellow at the National Science Foundation with a specialty in microorganisms in subsurface environments such as caves.

— Air Force Lt. Col. Raja Chari of Cedar Falls, Iowa, director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

— Navy Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, department head for Strike Fighter Squadron 115.

— Bob Hines of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a NASA research pilot at Johnson Space Center.

— Warren “Woody” Hoburg of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

— Dr. Jonny Kim of Los Angeles, a Navy lieutenant who trained as a SEAL and is completing his residency in emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

— Robb Kulin of Anchorage, Alaska, who leads the launch chief engineering group for SpaceX at Hawthorne, California.

— Marine Maj. Jasmin Moghbeli of Baldwin, New York, who tests H-1 helicopters and serves as a quality assurance and avionics officer for Marine Operational Test Evaluation Squadron 1 in Yuma, Arizona.

— Loral O’Hara of Sugar Land, Texas, a research engineer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

— Dr. Francisco “Frank” Rubio of Miami, an Army major who is serving as a surgeon in Fort Carson, Colorado.

— Jessica Watkins of Lafayette, Colorado, a postdoctoral fellow at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

___

Online:

NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/2017astronauts

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

E3 2017 NEWS – Call of Duty WW2 to crush Advance Warfare, as Sledgehammer posts new update | Gaming | Entertainment

E3 2017 is shaping up to be a huge event for Get in touch with of Obligation WW2 developer Sledgehammer Games.

Activision just lately introduced a November 3 launch date and announcement trailer for Get in touch with of Obligation WW2.

But what supporters are genuinely desperate for is gameplay footage, which should be on exhibit at E3 2017.

Sledgehammer Games has started off hyping the event, telling supporters that E3 2017 is not be missed.

Sledgehammer’s Michael Condrey claimed: “TBT to E3 2014. That was an amazing year for us. This year will crush 2014. See you in 3 weeks!”

Condrey adopted this tweet up by revealing some fascinating new information and facts about Get in touch with of Obligation WW2.

1 enthusiast requested if the endless dash skill would return in the impending game, to which Condrey replied: “Nope.”

Although E3 2017 will revolve all-around the PS4 and Xbox 1 variations of Get in touch with of Obligation WW2, there are rumours that a Nintendo Swap port will be introduced at the event.

New stories have proposed that Activision has experienced 2nd views about a Get in touch with of Obligation WW2 Nintendo Swap port, and that Beenox would deal with enhancement.

Beenox just lately posted a tweet featuring members of the Canadian military, although a single member of the studio is seen sporting a Get in touch with of Obligation WW2 T-shirt.

Beenox previously handled Nintendo variations of more mature Activision online games, which has led to speculation that a Get in touch with of Obligation port is on the cards.

This is backed up by the actuality that Get in touch with of Obligation account holders can after all over again link to their Nintendo accounts on the formal internet site.

The Get in touch with of Obligation WW2 tale mode will observe Non-public Daniels as he fights via France, Belgium and other popular areas from the 2nd Planet War.

Multiplayer will be uncovered in comprehensive at the E3 Gaming Expo, though Activision has confirmed some new options forward of launch.

Multiplayer is claimed to feature a new social area for players, as nicely as revamped character creator tools and a narrative-driven Axis vs Allies staff mode.

Get in touch with of Obligation WW2 will also feature the return of the Zombies mode.

“Get in touch with of Obligation: WWII’s co-operative mode unleashes a new and initial tale,” reads a current Activision web site publish.

“Enjoy with your close friends in this following-level standalone game experience comprehensive of surprising, adrenaline-pumping times.”

Services Continues to Crush it — The Motley Fool

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on May 5, 2017.

Dylan Lewis: Services revenue jumped 18% to $7 billion, and it has been Apple’s second-largest revenue stream just behind the iPhone. That’s pretty awesome, and I think it’s been underappreciated for quite some time. I think the market is starting to wise up to this pretty significant and very high-margin part of Apple’s business.

Evan Niu: Right, I definitely think that’s what’s happening, in particularly if you think about the historical context of the services business. If you go back maybe five years, Apple’s whole approach to content, services, and things like that was to basically break even, and offer these things as a way to build its ecosystem and solidify retention period — it was more of a strategic piece than a profit piece. They used to operate all their storefronts — they don’t really break it out as far as exposures, but they used to very publicly say, “We’re really just trying to break even on this stuff. It helps people use the phones and buy the phones, but we’re not trying to make a whole bunch of money on it.” I think now, that’s very much swapped around, because now they are very much making quite a bit of money on these services, and it is becoming a big profit driver. I remember last quarter when we talked about earnings, we mentioned how their guidance had called for a small uptick sequentially in gross margin.

We talked about [how] that’s really hard when you’re coming off of a holiday quarter, when your revenue comes down from a seasonal factors, you lose a lot of operating leverage, all these things, and it’s like, how are they going to actually put up an increasing gross margin? Now we know why, the answer is services, because services are so profitable. CFO Luca Maestri very much said, the mix shifting toward services is really helping profitability. They did put up a sequential increase in gross margin, some 40-odd basis points. I think that’s really impressive. That’s really the services profitability shining right there. So, four out of the past six quarters, it’s been the second-largest business. But, greater than the Mac or the iPad, the iPhone is the only thing that’s bigger. So, this is really becoming a very big, large, meaningful business, both in terms of revenue as well as profitability. This is now a $26 billion business on a trailing-12-month basis, and it’s also much more profitable than the hardware operations. I think investors aren’t fully appreciating it, and I don’t think you’ll be able to ignore it for very much longer, because like they said last quarter, they’re going to try to double this business over the next four years. It’s only going to keep growing from here.

Lewis: And it’s something that really only continues to grow and get stronger the larger their installed base gets. As they continue to penetrate new markets, services is going to be another tailwind that follows all those iPhone unit sales. It’s kind of an add-on in some ways, but also, because it’s so profitable for them, certainly something to continue to watch. I think a lot of people are curious as to what’s going on with wearables in Apple. We hear so much about the Apple Watch and you see tons of people wearing them. Any updates on that product segment?

Niu: They dropped a few clues. Of course, they obfuscate Apple Watch sales within the “other products” segment. They did say that Apple sales were up roughly double, but without having any context, who knows what that means.

Lewis: It’s a meaningless number.

Niu: Yeah, two times? OK, thanks, Tim [Cook]? But, what they did say is, wearables — it’s kind of weird, I’m not sure why they do this, but Apple considers AirPods and wireless Beats headphones as wearable products. I know that technically, wireless headphones are wearables, because you wear them. I’m wearing wireless headphones right now. But, I don’t think headphones are what people think of, when you hear the term “wearable technology,” you don’t jump to headphones. You think about smartwatches and fitness trackers and things like that. He did say that the wearables business is now the size of a Fortune 500 company, which means it’s at least $5.1 billion over the past year. With AirPods only recently launching, and it’s not clear how much they’re bringing in from Beats wireless headphones, but I think it’s safe to say that the majority of that revenue is from Apple Watch. So, that’s kind of a hint. But, again, they’re not really giving away too much, as usual, which is really frustrating. But, maybe eventually, one day, they’ll start breaking that out. It’s weird, because they’ve always said, “We don’t want to give it away for competitive reasons,” but competition in smartwatches is actually declining. People are getting out of the smartwatch market. And there haven’t been a whole lot of really strong product introductions. So, competition is actually getting easier. So they should just share the numbers. [laughs]

Lewis: Yeah, it’s still tough to parse out what’s going on there. 

Candy Crush moves into fashion with swimwear, a phone case, and a $650 backpack | GamesBeat | Games

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the enormously popular Candy Crush Saga mobile game, King has partnered with Italian fashion house Moschino to create Candy Crush-themed swimwear, a phone case, and a backpack.

And because it bears the Moschino name, and it was designed by renowned fashion designer Jeremy Scott, this stuff ain’t cheap. The backpack with Candy Crush imagery costs $650. The phone case is a more reasonable $70, and the swimwear costs $250 for men and $300 for women.

It might seem a little like some at King has been eating too much candy. But King, which was acquired by Activision for $5.9 billion in 2015, has a vested interest in making the Candy Crush brand ubiquitous.

Above: Candy Crush backpack by Moschino.

Image Credit: King/Moschino

King has kept Candy Crush Saga in the top 10 grossing apps for nearly five years with a strategy of ubiquity. Just about everybody on the planet has tried it out. Yet a small percentage of people spend money in the game, which is a free-to-play title. So King has to constantly advertise and find new players who might spend some money. And that’s why it has to spend a lot of money on advertising.

Now the deal with Moschino will generate a little more merchandising money for King, but if it is successful, it will push the brand higher in awareness. And if that awareness leads to more users, it could also generate some high rollers for King.

It’s not so different from the merchandising strategy that drove Rovio to create Angry Birds plush dolls and The Angry Birds Movie, which generated $349 million in worldwide box office revenue.

You could also think of the Moschino deal as a reward for die-hard fans. The people who really spend a lot of money on Candy Crush Saga wouldn’t think twice about dropping a lot of money on some high-end fashion related to their favorite brand. It’s a limited edition product on Moschino.com, until the collection sells out. And so while it won’t make a ton of money, it could generate a ton of attention.

“As someone who is inspired by pop culture, it was only a matter of time ’til I’d play with the iconography of Candy Crush,” said Jeremy Scott, Creative Director for Moschino, in a statement. “The only thing I love more than playing the game is wearing it!”

Above: Candy Crush phone case by Moschino.

Image Credit: King/Moschino

The celebration of the launch will culminate at the exclusive star-studded Moschino Candy Crush Desert Party during the Coachella music festival, where the entire event space will be transformed into a Candy Kingdom. Key visuals and moments from the game will be brought to life with tangible props that will be as vibrant in-person as they are on screen.

“We couldn’t think of a better partner to transform Candy Crush into this fun and playful capsule collection that our players will have a chance to own and wear,” said Sebastian Knutsson, chief creative officer at King, in a statement. “Moschino and Jeremy Scott are known for their larger than life creations and bringing popular culture to the runway, so it’s the perfect partnership as we prepare to mark the five-year anniversary of Candy Crush Saga. The game has earned a firm position in the cultural zeitgeist and the collection is a celebration of this.”