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Intel Xe Graphics to Feature MCM-like Configurations, up to 512 EU on 500 W TDP

A reportedly leaked Intel slide via DigitalTrends has given us a load of information on Intel's upcoming take on the high performance graphics accelerators market - whether in its server or consumer iterations. Intel's Xe has already been cause for much discussion in a market that has only really seen two real competitors for ages now - the coming of a third player with muscles and brawl such as Intel against the already-established players NVIDIA and AMD would surely spark competition in the segment - and competition is the lifeblood of advancement, as we've recently seen with AMD's Ryzen CPU line.

The leaked slide reveals that Intel will be looking to employ a Multi-Chip-Module (MCM) approach to its high performance "Arctic Sound" graphics architecture. The GPUs will be available in up to 4-tile configuration (the name Intel is giving each module), which will then be joined via Foveros 3D stacking (first employed in Intel Lakefield. This leaked slide shows Intel's approach starting with a 1-tile GPU (with only 96 of its 128 total EUs active) for the entry level market (at 75 W TDP) a-la DG1 SDV (Software Development Vehicle).

ASRock Revenue Soars Due to the Ryzen Effect

ASRock, a Taiwanese manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, had an amazing 2019 when it comes to the revenue. Surging around 31% on a Year-over-Year (YoY) basis and delivering revenue of 443.16 million US Dollars, ASRock is expecting to deliver even better results in 2020. When it comes to the underlying reasons for this notable increase, ASRock attributes it to the recent success of AMD's Ryzen family of processors and strong demand for the platform surrounding it. Adopting the AMD Ryzen processors in Mini-PCs, motherboards and server boards, ASRocks see strong demand for these products that should carry over in 2020.

Another reason for strong profits and even better chapters ahead is the developments in the US and European markets. Having previously been focused on the Asian market and marketing its products to that part, ASRock changed the strategy and started advertising its brand more to other regions like the US and Europe. This new strategy is progressing well and is expected to continue in the coming years. Additionally, it is worth noting that ASRock's graphics card sales started to turn profitable in 2019, and now that part of ASRock is attributing to profits as well.

Intel Reportedly Looking Into Further Reduction in CPU Pricing for 2020

Intel's policy on CPU pricing has been a strong, definite one for years: no price reductions. Faced with less than admirable competition from a struggling AMD back in its Phenom and especially Bulldozer days, Intel enforced a heavy hand on the market and on CPU pricing. However, a much revitalized AMD and difficulties in the transition to the 10 nm process have left Intel with no other recourse than to cut pricing on its CPUs in order to remain competitive. No uptake of new I/O technologies such as PCIe 4.0 has also taken its toll on Intel's position in the server and HEDT market, which has led to recent price-cuts and tightening of Intel's Xeon line of CPUs - as well as price-cuts in the order of 50% in their Cascade Lake-X processors compared to the previous generation.

DigiTimes, citing industry PC makers, says that Intel is gearing up to keep fighting in the only front it actually can, besides puny core count increases on their heavily-iterated Skylake architecture - pricing. This move comes in a bid to keep its market dominance, which Intel themselves have said - after Zen 2, that is - isn't a priority for the consumer market. You can rest assured that Intel is very, very likely already practicing hefty price reductions for tray-quantity purchases for partners. However, it seems that the company might bring some price cuts on to its upcoming Comet Lake CPUs. The company has always been loathe to reduce pricing on existing inventory, rather choosing to reduce the price on new launches (see the Cascade Lake-X example above), which, arguably, saves Intel's face on claims of only being able to compete on pricing - which lurks dangerously close to Intel being painted as the budget, price-cut alternative to AMD.

EPIC Announces 100M Subscribed Users to EPIC Games Store in Just One Year of Operation

Cut from the digital storefront cloth as you will, the EPIC Games Store has come to stay. EPIC has just announce that its digital distribution platform has achieved over 100 M subscribed users (which is different from active users, so mind the gap). That is still a success by any metric, since the digital games storefront was such a one-sided market before EPIC entered the fray - you'd be forgiven for describing the PC games distribution platform network as being composed of "Steam and the others".

Through platform exclusivity deals for new PC launches, a more enticing profit split between developers and games that are available through its store (with its headline and exclusive-grabbing 88-12 percent revenue split), monthly game giveaways and the power of Fortnite, EPIC has said that the EPIC Games Store alone generated $680 million in revenue thus far. Of that amount, Epic says $251 million represents sales of third-party games. part of that revenue has been channeled back at gamers - $23 million has been distributed in coupons and discounts toward game sales. According to EPIC, the nine most successful games in its platform are World War Z, Borderlands 3, Untitled Goose Game, Metro Exodus, Control, The Outer Worlds, The Division 2, Dauntless, and Satisfactory.

Traditional PC Volumes Close Out an Impressive 2019 with Fourth Quarter Growth of 4.8%, According to IDC

The worldwide market for traditional PCs, inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, finished an impressive 2019 with fourth quarter growth of 4.8% year over year, according to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Global shipments during the quarter beat forecast expectations at just under 71.8 million units, the highest single quarter shipment volume in four years (4Q15). Overall, global shipments grew 2.7% year over year in 2019, the first full year of PC growth since the market grew 1.7% in 2011.

"This past year was a wild one in the PC world, which resulted in impressive market growth that ultimately ended seven consecutive years of market contraction," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "The market will still have its challenges ahead, but this year was a clear sign that PC demand is still there despite the continued insurgence of emerging form factors and the demand for mobile computing."

AMD Stock Broke All-Time Record for the Company, Peaked at $49.10 per Share

AMD veterans yesterday must've sneakily left their respective offices yesterday for a well-deserved rest and a glass of champagne - and if they didn't, they deserved it. The company yesterday broke their previous all-time stock pricing record achieved way back in June 2000, at $47.50 per share, when it traded at $49.10 per share yesterday.

It's been a long time coming for AMD, and irrespective of any brand loyalty, it certainly pays, as a consumer and as an enthusiast, to see a company that nearly went bankrupt in 2016 - who had to sell and then lease back their own headquarters for a quick cash infusion, spin-off its manufacturing division in a change of strategy that couldn't have been easy on morale - achieve such a colossal feat. Even more impressive this is should you even be considering the blue behemoth the company actually has to contend with - a $260.35B Intel who, by both happenstance and poor CPU execution vision, is being fired upon on all markets by comparative David AMD, today valued at $51.07B. Here's hoping all AMD employees got their well-deserved party and standing ovation from each other. None of them - not even Lisa Su - achieved this alone.

TSMC Becomes Asia's Most Valuable Company

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Limited, also known as TSMC shortly became Asia's biggest and the most valuable company with a market cap of over 8.02 trillion New Taiwan Dollars, which roughly translates to 262.75 billion US Dollars. Becoming the biggest Asian company, TSMC's market capitalization has now surpassed Samsung for the first time in the history of company existence.

The underlying reasons for becoming a company that TSMC is today, are plenty. Firstly, they are providing customers with the flexibility of choosing any manufacturing node, whatever it is the latest 7 nm or the older ones like 180 nm. They have a choice whatever they want to use something older and less expensive or something newer for high-performance and lower power. Additionally, TSMC is re-investing a big part of its profits into research and development efforts to stay competitive and deliver only the best technology to its customers, on time.

Jon Peddie Research: Global Q3'19 add-in board market soars led by Nvidia

The add-in board market increased in Q3'19 by 42% from last quarter, with over $2.8 billion dollars of AIBs shipped. Nvidia increased its market share to 73% in Q3. The last fiscal quarter was transitional for Nvidia as older products made their way through the channel allowing the company to ramp up production and ship more new products at the end of the quarter. Nvidia not only boosted their market share but they raised the overall AIB market. Their channel inventory is now reported as healthy says the company. Nvidia's RTX line is doing well and represents 66% of its gaming revenue.

Quarter-to-quarter graphics add-in board shipments increased by 42.2% and increased by 6.2% year-to-year. The market shares for the desktop discrete GPU suppliers shifted in the quarter, Nvidia significantly increased market share from last quarter, while AMD increased share year-over-year.

Dell Calls Out Intel for CPU Shortages Affecting its 2019 Full Year Revenue Forecast

PC major Dell in its quarterly results call blamed Intel for cuts in its revenue forecast for 2019 (full year) sales. "Intel CPU shortages have worsened qtr-over-qtr, impacting our commercial PC and premium consumer PC Q4 forecasted shipments," said Dell COO Jeffrey Clarke. Intel's CPU shortages are caused due to demand in the PC and server markets significantly outpacing supply, and not because Intel is supplying below its capacity. The company increased its capex toward manufacturer by $1 billion YoY, retrofitting its manufacturing facilities to make 14 nm processors, all while juggling resources to execute its 10 nm rollout for high-volume mobile and high-margin server processors.

The company hasn't launched 10 nm desktop or HEDT processors, yet, and is reportedly preparing yet another 14 nm line of processors for these platforms, codenamed "Comet Lake." This microarchitecture has also seen a mobile rollout for mainstream mobile form-factors, while Intel focused 10 nm "Ice Lake" for ultraportables and ultra low-power form-factors. Intel executive VP for sales Michelle Johnston Holthaus recently wrote a letter to its customers (primarily companies like Dell,) informing them that despite their best efforts, demand continues to beat supply, and that they hadn't managed to solve their supply issues.

Samsung Faces Factory Contamination

Today, Samsung's foundry division, dedicated to the manufacturing of DRAM chips, is facing challenges from mistakes that happened a few weeks ago. Those mistakes are in the form of contamination of the clean rooms, where all the tools necessary for the manufacturing of DRAM chips on 200 mm wafers got infected, and now Samsung is taking a multi-million dollar loss because the new wafers have to be scrapped.

Clean rooms are essential for the semiconductor manufacturing process, because they keep all the pollutants away from silicon, keeping silicon clean and ready for use. However, Samsung has not managed to keep a clean room for its DRAM manufacturing facility working with 200 mm wafers for 1x nm-class DRAM chips. The tools used for wafer processing have been contaminated and, therefore, the wafers themselves because of their interactions. Samsung has admitted that they have lost around "several billion South Korean won," resulting in millions of US dollars. The re-assuring thing that this will not significantly impact the DRAM market is that production is now going as planned, and the issue is sorted out, so we can hope this doesn't have any big impact on the DRAM prices.

TSMC Starts Shipping its 7nm+ Node Based on EUV Technology

TSMC today announced that its seven-nanometer plus (N7+), the industry's first commercially available Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology, is delivering customer products to market in high volume. The N7+ process with EUV technology is built on TSMC's successful 7 nm node and paves the way for 6 nm and more advanced technologies.

The N7+ volume production is one of the fastest on record. N7+, which began volume production in the second quarter of 2019, is matching yields similar to the original N7 process that has been in volume production for more than one year.

Kingston Technology Takes Top Spot as DRAM Module Supplier

Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today announced it has been ranked the top DRAM module supplier in the world, according to the latest rankings by DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce. Kingston retains its number 1 position with an estimated 72.17 percent market share, according to TrendForce. Their findings reinforce Kingston's position in the marketplace as the leading third-party supplier of DRAM modules. The rankings for 2018 mark the 16th consecutive year that TrendForce has placed Kingston in the top spot.

TrendForce states that spot prices stayed high in 1H18, even surpassing contract prices by over 20 percent. Despite rising inventory levels and price decreases in 2H18, the report indicates module manufacturers were still able to generate plenty of revenue and profit. Some of the prominent trends and growth drivers the market is witnessing include the growing popularity of online media streaming, recent technological developments in IoT, and the shift to data center and Cloud computing services.

Japan-Korea Trade Spat and Toshiba Blackout Hike DRAM Prices by 20 Percent

Prices of DRAM shot up by 20 percent as Japan put in place export curbs that restrict high-technology exports to South Korea, and as Toshiba recovers from a power blackout that temporarily halted production. This could impact prices of end-user products such as PC memory modules, or consumer electronics, such as smartphones, in the coming weeks, as inventories either dry up, or are marked-up at various stages of the supply-chain. The memory industry is inter-dependent between fabrication and packaging units spread across South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

Memory and flash industry observer DRAMeXchange reported that spot-pricing of 8-gigabit DDR4 DRAM chips, which is used as a benchmark for DRAM pricing as a whole, closed at USD $3.74 at the end of trading on Friday (19/07). It's up 14.6 percent week-over-week, and 23 percent up pricing as on 5th July. An industry observer who spoke with KBS World notes that the recent hikes are not directly infuenced by the trade-spat between Japan and Korea, but rather a power blackout experienced at a Toshiba DRAM manufacturing facility last month. The observer noted that if the trade-spat affects production at Samsung Electronics or SK Hynix, DRAM prices could "skyrocket."

Toshiba, WD NAND Production in Yokkaichi Hit With Power Outage: 6 Exabytes of NAND Production Affected

In another episode of the "so timely considering market projections for NAND pricing" news, Toshiba and Western Digital have disclosed expected impacts following an unexpected, 13-minute power outage on June 15th, that affected the companies' joint manufacturing facilities in Yokkaichi, Japan. Western Digital announced a loss of almost 6 Exabytes of NAND production - Toshiba is expected to have lost anywhere between 6 Exabytes and 9 Exabytes themselves, since they usually have their factories working closer to full capacity. Return to standard manufacturing rates is expected to only occur by mid-July.

Damage includes impacted wafers that were being processed, the facilities, and production equipment, hence the need for an extended inoperability period to seriously assess damages and required reinvestment. 35% of the world's NAND supply is produced at this Yokkaichi Operation campus (which includes six factories and an R&D center), so this outage and NAND flash loss is likely to impact the global markets. Whether or not this is enough to move the needle from oversupply to undersupply is as of yet unknown, but it is unlikely so - although pricing changes are expected after Q3 and Q4 orders have been settled (whose pricing has already been settled and can't be subject to change). Loss of confidence in the Toshiba and Western Digital manufacturing venture, however, could help offset some of that pricing increase. Obviously, companies have insurance policies that cover them in case of such unexpected events - should they fall squarely out of the control of said companies.

MSI CEO: AMD Plans to Stop Being the Value Alternative, X570 Motherboards to be Expensive

MSI's CEO Charles Chiang, quoted by Tom's Hardware at COMPUTEX 2019, laid out what we were already seeing with motherboard designs from all vendors of AMD's X570-based motherboards: pricing is likely increasing across the board, and AMD's market positioning won't be of the alternative, lower-value brand.

As quoted, Chiang said that ""Lots of people ask me, what do you think about today's AMD? I say today's AMD is completely different company compared to two, three, five years ago. They have nice technology and they are there to put the higher spec with the reasonable pricing. But right now they say, "Hey Charles, let's push to marketing to the higher [end]. So let's sell higher-pricing motherboards, higher-spec motherboards, and let's see what will happen in the market. So I don't think that AMD is the company that wants to sell low cost here, low cost there." Which does make sense: AMD isn't in the position of the underdog anymore -at least technology and product-portfolio wise when it comes to consumer CPUs. With better products, comes a desire for higher margins, and a change in direction for a company that was basically forced to almost cut itself out of the market in terms of profits with its previous, non-competitive CPU designs.

The NPD Group: Developers Have Been taking More Risks With New IPs

An insight report from The NPD Group on console gaming paints interesting comparisons between the current (Xbox One and PS4) and past (Xbox 360 and PS3) console generations. For one, the fact that both generations started out their shelf-life with comparable new physical game releases and, among those releases, new IP, is interesting. The fact that physical releases new IP releases in current generation consoles tanked compared to their previous-gen counterparts on year three may be an indicator of either reduced trust in the market's capacity to absorb new releases and IP; a conservative approach on releasing games; or, more likely, the increase in development times, which means that games whose production began on or slightly after the new generation of consoles hit the market only went live, usually, three to four years later.

However, the rate of new releases and new IP among them in current generation consoles has increased as we hit their retirement time (which is expected to be between 2020 and 2021). It's interesting to note that it seems that new IP releases ar about on par with previous generation console,s which is a fact I think most of the readers will feel is against their own interpretation of the market - and a reason why NPD says developers "have been taking more risks). We are now seemingly bottoming out in new physical and new IP releases, as this generation comes to a close. But at least the games seem to be better than in the last generation: here, average score for current-generation games is two points higher than that of the last generation of consoles.

After a 4 Year Leave, AMD Rejoins the Fortune 500 List

The Fortune 500 lists the top 500 companies in the worold in terms of revenue. These are the most significant movers in the markets, be it of real estate, mining, hedge fund, or semiconductor nature (among others). AMD was "kicked" out of the Fortune 500 back in 2015, when the company was struggling with its Bulldozer-based processors and had an increasingly small marketshare - and thus revenue - that Zen came on to save. Now, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved in the company, they've been listed again on the #460 spot.

The company has been winning minds and wallets when it comes to their CPU solutions in both the mainstream and professional segments, with the company making very important forays into the HPC world mostly thanks to the strength of their CPU lineup - which, in some cases, like with the Frontier Supercomupter (expected to be the world's fastest), can bring wins in the GPU computing department as well. For comparison's sake, Intel stands at a commanding #43, while NVIDIA enjoys a comfortable #268 place.

Intel Again Leader in Silicon Supply Race

Intel was the historic leader in silicon manufacturing and sales from 1993 through 2016, the year it lost its lead to Samsung. The issue wasn't so much to do with Intel, but more to do with market demands at the time - if you'll remember, it was the time of booming DRAM pricing alongside the smartphone demand increase that propagated stiff competition and manufacturers trying to outgun one another in the form of specs. The DRAM demand - and its ridiculous prices, at the time - propelled Samsung towards the top spot in terms of revenue, leaving Intel in the dust.

However, with the decrease in DRAM pricing following the reduce in smartphone demand and increased manufacturing capabilities of semiconductor manufacturers, which flooded the market with product that is being more slowly digested, has led to the drop of the previously-inflated Dram pricing, thus hitting Samsung's revenues enough for Intel to again become "top dog" in the silicon manufacturing world - even as the company struggles with its 10 nm rollout and faced supply issues of their own. As IC Insights puts it, "Intel replaced Samsung as the number one quarterly semiconductor supplier in 4Q18 after losing the lead spot to Samsung in 2Q17. (...) With the collapse of the DRAM and NAND flash markets over the past year, a complete switch has occurred, with Samsung having 23% more total semiconductor sales than Intel in 1Q18 but Intel having 23% more semiconductor sales than Samsung just one year later in 1Q19!".

Trendforce: SSD Price-per-GB Could Drop as Low as $0.1 by Year's End

A report from technology market analyst Trendforce places SSD's pricing in sharp decline, with price per GB being projected to hit as low as $0.1 by year's end. Citing oversupply in the NADN flash market and an impending price war to allow manufacturers to sell out accumulating inventory, this is one of those clear cases of a win for consumers - which, after the shenanigans in the DRAM market, is about time. Trendforce further states that the price reductions should render 128 GB SSDs obsolete, as they mostly are by now, with 512 GB capacities becoming the mainstream choice for system integrators and DIY.

Pricing evolution in the market also places premium NVMe solutions at an only 6% premium over SATA offerings, showcasing the increased cost savings that manufacturers have achieved with the reduction in price for NVMe controllers, and the lower amount of physical materials needed to put an NVMe SSD together compared to a SATA-based alternative. Furthermore, Trendforce says that value PCIe-based solutions have a 0% price difference compared to SATA-based ones, so the option for the older form factor should only fall upon how many NVMe/PCIe sockets users' motherboards have available to populate.

Hard Drive Shipments Expected to Drop Nearly 50 Percent YoY in 2019

With solid-state drives (SSDs) entering value and mainstream price segments, and the transition in consumers' data-storage behavior from local storage to the cloud, there is expected to be a dramatic fall in shipments of hard disk drives (HDDs) in 2019. Japanese company Nidec, which manufactures nearly 85% of all DC motors for use in HDDs across the industry, estimates a nearly 50 percent drop in HDD shipments for 2019. Since these motors are specifically designed for use in HDDs, it is directly proportional to new HDD shipments, thus presenting a reliable outlook of the HDD industry itself. The DC motor inside HDDs is a non user-replaceable component as detaching it involves opening the seal of the disk chamber, thereby contaminating it.

In 2010, Nidec shipped nearly 650 million motors, which dropped significantly down to 375 million motors in 2018, indicating the sharp decline in the HDD industry. While Nidec will ship as few as 290 million motors in 2019, it estimates shipments of HDDs to go down by nearly 50 percent year-over-year (YoY). Data centers are swallowing up large volumes of high-capacity (>10 TB) HDDs for warm- and cold-storage even as SSDs and DRAM are sought for hot-storage. The client-segment, however, is now firmly captivated with SSDs, with even mainstream laptops packing SSDs. Prominent HDD manufacturers Seagate, Western Digital, and Toshiba, have each invested heavily in building up SSD product lines, and specializing their HDD portfolio for enterprise and quasi-enterprise (eg: NAS, NVR, high-uptime client) markets.

Semiconductor Chip Sales Suffer Fourth Largest Decline in 35 Years

According to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization, the semiconductor manufacturing world has just seen one of the largest contractions in the last 35 years. The downturn on produced revenue for manufacturers for the month of March consolidated into a decline of 1.8% compared to February of this year, and a decline of 13% when compared to March 2018 - but quarter-reviewed revenues were even worse. In greenback terms, the semiconductor industry saw a decline from $114.7 billion in the previous quarter to "just" $96.8 billion.

The decline was across all semiconductor product categories, as John Neuffer, president and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) trade group, said: "Sales in March decreased on a year-to-year basis across all major regional markets and semiconductor product categories, consistent with the cyclical trend the global market has experienced recently." Market analysis firm IC Insights says that the decline was more severe than the WSTS reports, and that it totaled a 17.1% reduction in revenue for the first quarter of this year, making it the fourth biggest decline since 1984. As IC Insights said in a statement, "The first quarter is usually the weakest quarter of the year for the IC market, averaging a sequential decline of 2.1% over the past 36 years, but the severity of the 1Q19/4Q18 IC market drop has started this year off at a very low level."

AMD Reports First Quarter 2019 Financial Results- Gross margin expands to 41%, up 5 percentage points year-over-year

AMD today announced revenue for the first quarter of 2019 of $1.27 billion, operating income of $38 million, net income of $16 million and diluted
earnings per share of $0.01. On a non-GAAP(*) basis, operating income was $84 million, net income was $62 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.06.

"We delivered solid first quarter results with significant gross margin expansion as Ryzen and EPYC processor and datacenter GPU revenue more than doubled year-over-year," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "We look forward to the upcoming launches of our next-generation 7nm PC, gaming
and datacenter products which we expect to drive further market share gains and financial growth."

Intel on Q1 FY 2019: Servers Down, PC Market Up, Revenue Flat

Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter 2019 financial results. In the first quarter, the company generated approximately $5.0 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.4 billion and used $2.5 billion to repurchase 49 million shares of stock.

"Results for the first quarter were slightly higher than our January expectations. We shipped a strong mix of high-performance products and continued spending discipline while ramping 10nm and managing a challenging NAND pricing environment. Looking ahead, we're taking a more cautious view of the year, although we expect market conditions to improve in the second half," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "Our team is focused on expanding our market opportunity, accelerating our innovation and improving execution while evolving our culture. We aim to capitalize on key technology inflections that set us up to play a larger role in our customers' success, while improving returns for our owners."

Jon Peddie Research: 20 Million Shift from PC Gaming to Console Gaming by 2022

Jon Peddie Research has released a new report on the state of gaming and its future, with the research firm estimating a total of 20 million PC gamers will make the shift to console gaming by 2022. It does make sense, as the no-frills architecture of consoles and highly specialized hardware and development - alongside the lower cost of entry) have been calling gamers from all ages and budgets. Add to this the fact that IQ considerations are becoming smaller and smaller between a high-end gaming PC and their console counterparts - at least when it comes to global, base IQ of settings - and it does make sense that makers make the shift.

Adding to this is the expectation of increased doubling-down on exclusives from games consoles, with the exception of Microsoft, which will be bringing all of its exclusives to the PC market as well. The increased attention to game streaming, with Google's Stadia and Microsoft's own xCloud will prompt change in the way gamers consume content - no dedicated hardware may mean no consoles, but it will also mean no need to purchase expensive, high-end PC gaming hardware to run the latest games with the latest graphics technologies - that will all be run in the cloud. Smart TVs, for instance, may be all the investment required for a premium, lag-free gaming experience with maximum details, should worldwide internet access improve as it has been. Of course, the ratio of high-end PC gamers making their way to consoles is lower than that of gamers with basic or entry-level PCs that are capable of gaming - those will make up the vast majority of the quoted 20 million shift.

China Deepens Ban on Certain Content in Gaming: Gambling, Blood, Bodies and Zombies

In a move that's certain to make forays into the Chinese gaming market (worth $30bn) for game developers and publishers, country regulators have launched a new wave requirements for game release approvals. Besides more and more information now being required to be submitted by developers for any game that they want to launch in China (which may include scripts, mechanisms to curb game addiction implemented into the code, and other).

While the Chinese gaming market is an extremely significant one, the previously existing (and now updated) regulations mandate that every single game be single-handedly inspected and curated before its approval into the Chinese domestic market. A freeze in the process of games approval that lasted for 8 months (from February 2018 through to December) has already created a backlog of thousands of games pending approval - not to mention all of those that have undoubtedly been submitted since. It's expected that fewer than 5,000 games will be greenlighted for launch this year, so a lot of companies will likely have to review their revenue forecast - depending on how heavily they banked on the Chinese market.
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