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Xbox Series X Pre-Orders Also Out of Stock; Xbox One X Sales Skyrocket

In the latest episode of "next-generation gaming issues", the Xbox Series X console pre-order has also seen its stock depleted from all online merchants. Following issues with both the RTX 3080 and PS5 supplies, now it's the time for Microsoft to be in the spotlight, as the question of low stock or fundamentally impressive demand arises once again. This is likely an answer we won't ever have; however, it also has to be said that there is plenty of time for stocks to be replenished for both Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Sony's PlayStation 5 before their respective launches. I wouldn't worry too much for now.

At the same time as Xbox Series X pre-orders made stock go the way of the dodo, the usual scalpers have already surfaced on the common secondhand marketplaces, looking to sell their "pre-order" confirmed consoles for prices that usually sit around at double the MSRP (set at $499 by Microsoft). Remember to not let yourself be a part of this chain; save yourself money, and be part of the solution to scalpers by not engaging with their offerings. You still have time to secure your console.

NVIDIA Responds to Criticism Surrounding the RTX 3080 Launch

NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card went on sale last week, and practically its entire inventory was gone in sixty seconds. The NVIDIA GeForce store exclusively selling the Jewelry-like Founders Edition card was hit by sophisticated scalper bots originally designed for limited-edition apparel sales, and one scalper gloated on the web having picked up over three dozen cards to auction off on e-bay for tens of thousands in profit. Frustrated genuine buyers were left disenchanted with NVIDIA over the handling of the launch.

NVIDIA posted an FAQ on its GeForce blog attempting to explain much of the criticism surrounding its handling of the RTX 3080 launch. NVIDIA's main explanation appears to be an unprecedented market demand for its RTX 3080. The company claims that "The demand for the GeForce RTX 3080 was truly unprecedented. We and our partners underestimated it," NVIDIA says. On scalping, NVIDIA explained that while its store had certain anti-bot measures in place, they underestimated the sophistication of scalping bots this time around. NVIDIA also claims to have manually cancelled hundreds of orders suspected to have been placed using bots. "While individuals using bots may have shown images of email inboxes filled with confirmed orders, NVIDIA has cancelled hundreds of orders manually before they were able to ship."
Find other interesting answers by NVIDIA to FAQs below.

NVIDIA RTX 3080 Release Availability Could be a Novel

Scour the Internet's most likely tech-related places in forums such as TechPowerUp's own and Reddit, and a picture begins to form regarding NVIDIA's RTX 3080 launch. It's a bit like a Dali painting, with surrealist expectations, a whispered "NVIDIA's Ultimate Play" through virtual hallways, blink-and-you-missed-it details materialized in stock availability, and science-fiction-worthy bots scouring all available stores for their deployment overlords. Wherever you turn, there are would-be buyers complaining of furious F5 attempts (we heard F5 key replacements are also out of stock these days), with store availability going from "available soon" to "out of stock" faster than a single DOOM Eternal frame can be rendered. Most webstores crashed in one way or another, multiple buyers got attributed the same card from a webstore stock, and even NVIDIA's own store (you know, the one powered by the company who actually drives some of the world's fastest supercomputers) faltered under the pressure.

In other corners of the Internet, however, expectations were met and attempts flourished. These seem to have been mostly met by scalpers, though, so there is nothing idyllic in this particular painting - it's more akin to Edvard Munch's The Scream than it is Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night. On eBay, an RTX 3080 card was allegedly sold for 70,000$ - a particularly criminal act, if I've ever seen one. It's also common, right now, to see some of these going for prices ranging between $1,300 and $5,000 - and at this point, this writer feels he's almost out of metaphors for this particular situation. Apparently, a service named Bounce Alerts was used - it appears that most RTX 3080 orders were done through this service, which automatically bought as much RTX 3080 stock as it could from wherever they were sold. A user reported having acquired some 42 RTX 3080's from the NVIDIA store before stock ran out. There are even bots designed to bid on eBay sales so as to waste scalpers' time and make orders that will never be fulfilled - a sort of poetic justice, if you may, though I don't believe the kind Shakespeare himself would have conceived of.

NVIDIA to Acquire Arm for $40 Billion, Creating World's Premier Computing Company for the Age of AI

NVIDIA and SoftBank Group Corp. (SBG) today announced a definitive agreement under which NVIDIA will acquire Arm Limited from SBG and the SoftBank Vision Fund (together, "SoftBank") in a transaction valued at $40 billion. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to NVIDIA's non-GAAP gross margin and non-GAAP earnings per share.

The combination brings together NVIDIA's leading AI computing platform with Arm's vast ecosystem to create the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence, accelerating innovation while expanding into large, high-growth markets. SoftBank will remain committed to Arm's long-term success through its ownership stake in NVIDIA, expected to be under 10 percent.

US Government Could Blacklist Chinese Chipmaker SMIC

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering adding to Chinese chipmaker SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation) to the trade blacklist of Chinese companies, restricting the company of doing any business with the United States and/or with any of its affiliates. The original report comes from Reuters and it states that the move came from Pentagon after considering whatever SMIC should be placed on a blacklist. It is so far unclear if other US agencies support the decision, however, it should be public in the near future. The company has received the news on Saturday and it was "in complete shock" about the decision. Shortly after the news broke, SMIC stock has fallen as much as 15% amid the possible blacklist. If SMIC would like to continue working with American suppliers, it would need to seek a difficult-to-obtain license from the government.

Kioxia Prepares for Initial Public Offering in Japan

Kioxia, previously Toshiba Memory Holdings has recently announced plans for an initial public offering on the Tokyo stock exchange in October with a projected market capitalization of 19 billion USD. Kioxia is the world's second-largest manufacturer of NAND flash memory behind Samsung Electronics, the company has experienced heavy losses in recent years recording a loss of 1.6 billion USD in the previous financial year. The company is currently owned by Toshiba with a 40% stake with the rest being held by a consortium of US, Japanese, and South Korean investors. The funds raised will be directed towards growth investments and investor rewards.

Epic Games Announces $1.78 Billion Funding Round

Epic Games today announced a $1.78 billion round of funding consisting of primary capital and secondary purchases from employee equity holders. Epic's post-money equity valuation is now $17.3 billion.

This round includes a previously announced $250 million strategic investment from Sony Corporation. Additional investment partners include Baillie Gifford, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and David Tepper. Existing investors KKR and Smash Ventures also added to their 2018 investment. Following the closing of the funding round Epic will continue to have only a single class of common stock outstanding and will remain controlled by its founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney.

In Wake of Intel's 7nm Woes, AMD's Price per Stock Vaults Over the Blue Giant

Intel's announcement today that their 7 nm node is facing difficulties is being taken one of two ways: as an unmitigated disaster by some, and with a tentative carefulness (lest we see another 10 nm repeat) from others. However one looks at this setback, which means AMD will still enjoy a process lead over Intel for some extra time, this is good news for AMD in more ways than just that one.

Case in point: stock price. While AMD has a much lower market cap than Intel (calculated by multiplying the value of a single stock by the number of total issued stocks), today, for the first time since 2006, AMD's shares were more valuable than Intel's on a per-share basis. AMD's $70 billion market cap still pales in comparison to Intel's $215 billion. At time of writing, AMD's stock pricing is $18 higher than Intel, at $68.67 compared to Intel's $50.79. A first in many years for the green company.

NVIDIA Surpasses Intel in Market Cap Size

Yesterday after the stock market has closed, NVIDIA has officially reached a bigger market cap compared to Intel. After hours, the price of the NVIDIA (ticker: NVDA) stock is $411.20 with a market cap of 251.31B USD. It marks a historic day for NVIDIA as the company has historically been smaller than Intel (ticker: INTC), with some speculating that Intel could buy NVIDIA in the past while the company was much smaller. Intel's market cap now stands at 248.15B USD, which is a bit lower than NVIDIA's. However, the market cap is not an indication of everything. NVIDIA's stock is fueled by the hype generated around Machine Learning and AI, while Intel is not relying on any possible bubbles.

If we compare the revenues of both companies, Intel is having much better performance. It had a revenue of 71.9 billion USD in 2019, while NVIDIA has 11.72 billion USD of revenue. No doubt that NVIDIA has managed to do a good job and it managed to almost double revenue from 2017, where it went from $6.91 billion in 2017 to $11.72 billion in 2019. That is an amazing feat and market predictions are that it is not stopping to grow. With the recent acquisition of Mellanox, the company now has much bigger opportunities for expansion and growth.

AMD CEO Lisa Su Tops Earnings as Highest Paid CEO in The S&P 500

Lisa Su of Advanced Micro Devices has become the world's highest-paid CEO, according to a recent survey from The Associated Press on CEO compensation. Lisa Su's pay package was valued at $58.5 million after some extremely impressive company performance over her last five years as CEO on the back of the wild success of EPYC, Ryzen, and Radeon. This pay package comprised a base salary of $1 million, a performance bonus of $1.2 million, $56 million in stocks. This makes Lisa Su the first woman to become the highest-paid CEO and one of only 20 women on the list, versus 309 men.

As Stock Markets Tank Near Double-Digits, Tech Stocks Tank With Them

Stock markets around the world are experiencing a spectacular crash riding on COVID-19 investor fears, wiping out trillions of Dollars in investor wealth worldwide. Prominent indices around the world report some of the highest intra-day falls since the 2008 financial crisis. Tech stocks are hardly immune, with AMD reporting a 14.64% fall in share price settling down at 39.01 (it was over 48 right after the company's 2020 Financial Analyst Day just last week). NVIDIA is another big loser at the markets, with a 12.24% fall and 216.31 share price. Intel is right behind, with a 11.85% fall down to 45.54, and Micron Technology down 11.23% at 38.81.

Valve Index VR back on Sale on Monday for $999

Valve's Index VR headset is expected to go back on sale on Monday, March 9th, when Valve will again re-fill its stock of Index VR headsets, according to Engadget. Just in time for the Half-Life: Alyx launch, Valve has decided to supply all of the gamers with a stock of the headsets so everyone can experience the new Half-Life game with Valve's Index VR. Considering that Half-Life: Alyx is dropping on March 23rd, Valve thought of everyone in need of a new VR headset and decided to offer it on Monday. Valve is expecting the headset to sell out completely, so its best to be early if you want to get one too, for $999. The sale will begin at 1PM eastern time.

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.

DigiTimes: GPU Price-Cut Campaigns to Increase in Duration, Discounts, as Manufacturers Digest Unsold Inventory

According to DigiTimes, NVIDIA and AMD partners are doing their best to digest unsold graphics card inventory via promotions and discounts. The idea here is that they can achieve increased amounts of revenue and move a lot of the graphics card stock they accumulated following (and counting on) the crypto craze. This move will certainly affect their bottom line when it comes to profits, but that's just what these companies have to do. Hardware sold at a tiny profit is always better than that which stays in the warehouse simply deprecating, and these companies know it best.

DigiTimes cites the example of AMD-partner TUL corporation which manages the PowerColor brand, saying that they achieved, via promotions, an increase of 115% in revenues on January (over their December values). This increase in revenue still compares negatively YoY, where it's still 85.7% lower compared to January 2018. And despite the increase revenue, profits declined to the red: the company had net losses of NT$10.31 million in January 2019 and EPS of negative NT$0.31. Some hard times could be coming for AIB partners, who will have to bite the bullet on pricing to move their stockpiles of older generation graphics cards.

EA Stocks Dive 13% With Disappointing Battlefield V Sales, Mobile Revenue

EA stocks today have taken a dive of 12.83% (17% at the worst case scenario, with a slight rebound in the meantime), at the moment of writing, compared to their opening hours. The descent, which represents a dip towards a $80.61 valuation per share compared to the $92.52 at the opening market, followed the release of the company's Q3 FY19 Financial Results, caused by lower than expected sales from Battlefield V and lower than expected revenue from EA's mobile efforts. This is capitalism at its finest - the 7.3 million sales of Battlefield V (an impressive number by any metric) fell close to a cool million short of projected sales by this time, and that is enough for the market to correct their expectations.

EA's mobile business saw a YoY fall of 22%, which did little to assuage investors and provide a positive note for the underperforming Battlefield V. It's interesting to note how interesting the markets can be: on the surprise announcement of the new, Respawn-developed Apex Legends, there was no significant change in EA's stock valuation, despite this launch meaning a new, hopefully rich, revenue source for the publisher. Although considering TechPowerUp's overall sentiment regarding that games' launch (not representative of the entire community), it seems that EA won't be banking much on our users.

NVIDIA Revises Financial Outlook for 2019 by $500 million, Immediately Hit Back by the Stock Market

NVIDIA's stock value has been falling precipitously in the last several months. We reported in December that the company lost some 48.8% in value between October and December, moving from an all-time peak of $289.36 on October 1st, to just under $149 on December 14th. At the time, excess inventories were the cause, alongside a less than glamorous reception to their new RTX series of graphics cards. Now? NVIDIA cites "deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly in China" as harming demand for their gaming GPUs. But this now comes alongside a its datacenter business also falling short of expectations - that's two of NVIDIA's most lucrative markets being put towards the red, or at least, with lower than expected income revenues.

This led the company to revise its financial outlook for the year, lowering revenue estimates by $500 million, down to $2.2 billion from its initial $2.7 billion forecast. Gross margins have been lowered by some 7%, which means lowered earnings for investors. Since the December plunge, NVIDIA's stock had recovered up to around $160 per share, but has now dived 14.52%, down to $136.90 - even lower than before. The company has seen its market valuation shrink by more than 50% inside of four months - while the company is still well in the green side of the limbo, so to speak, these certainly don't serve to improve the company's spirit.

Intel Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2018 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 financial results. The company also announced that its board of directors has approved a five percent increase in its cash dividend to $1.26 per-share on an annual basis. The board declared a quarterly dividend of $0.315 per-share on the company's common stock, which will be payable on March 1 to shareholders of record on February 7.

"2018 was a truly remarkable year for Intel with record revenue in every business segment and record profits as we transform the company to pursue our biggest market opportunity ever," said Bob Swan, Intel CFO and Interim CEO. "In the fourth quarter, we grew revenue, expanded earnings and previewed new 10nm-based products that position Intel to compete and win going forward. Looking ahead, we are forecasting another record year and raising the dividend based on our view that the explosive growth of data will drive continued demand for Intel products."

Activision-Blizzard Stock Valuation Falls 10% in Wake of Bungie Split

Whether Activision-Blizzard's split from Destiny and Destiny 2 developer Bungie was caused by an overzealous grip on Bungie's creative vision or not is something that will likely never be clarified. But one thing is for certain: in the stock market, it doesn't really matter how something happened, but really what the effects are of it happening. And Bungie splitting from Activision-Blizzard means that the industry behemoth now finds itself with one less IP under its belt, thus constraining its revenue sources to a couple of high-profile IPs. Less sources of income = less versatility and resilience to market fluctuations, and that is something Activision-Blizzard was immediately hit back for from investors.

The company's stock decreased by as much as 11% in the wake of the Bungie split, from a high of $51.35 down to a low of $45.19, as investors reduced their trust in the company's profit volume and momentum. It has since recovered, but is still some 9% down. Whether Activision actually expected this much of a fall or not only the company knows. It'll be interesting to see the company's next financial report, though.

NVIDIA Faces New Class Action Lawsuit Over Cryptocurrency-related GPU Demand Drop

The new year does not seem to bring good tidings alone for NVIDIA, with yet another class action lawsuit promising to keep their legal team busy. When we first posted about NVIDIA stock prices falling 2.1% following the launch of their Turing microarchitecture cards, there was no warning that just a few days after that post things would get worse. Indeed, as of today, the NVIDIA stock price on the NASDAQ stock market has fallen nearly 54% from the 1-year high that was only this past calendar quarter. California-based Schall law firm believes this drop in price can be attributed to more than just the volatile trading that has been ongoing in general in the stock markets, and has decided to file a class action lawsuit against NVIDIA.

Schall Law believes, and we quote, "the Company made false and misleading statements to the market. NVIDIA touted its ability to monitor the cryptocurrency market and make rapid changes to its business as necessary. The Company claimed to be "masters at managing our channel, and we understand the channel very well." NVIDIA also claimed to the market that any drop off in demand for its GPUs amongst cryptocurrency miners would not negatively impact the Company's business because of strong demand for GPUs from the gaming market. Based on these facts, the Company's public statements were false and materially misleading throughout the class period. When the market learned the truth about NVIDIA, investors suffered damages." These are strong words indeed, as oft is the case with the launch of class action lawsuits, and they have put out a press statement to accompany a link for those wanting to join along which can be seen in the source below.

NVIDIA's Stock Has Been Plunging Since October; Softbank Reported to be Looking for a Way Out

The stock markets are the financial equivalent of a fickle mistress. Just ask NVIDIA. The company has, in recent months, introduced their Turing architecture and derived products - a move NVIDIA deemed such a significant leap over its previous generations that it prompted a change from the GTX of old to a new RTX moniker. The company's latest financial results also reported a 21% increase in revenue YoY, and a 2% increase relative to the last quarter. Despite this and increased cash dividends being delivered to the hands of investors, festive must not be NVIDIA's mind right now.

It's a Cryptic Fall: Discrete Desktop GPU Shipments Fall 16% YoY (Jon Peddie Research)

According to Jon Peddie Research, overall desktop GPU shipments have fallen by 16% YoY - a not unexpected turn of events considering the state of the crypto mining boom then and now (where it's virtually absent). The YoY change means that production volumes planned during the mining boom are now above and beyond the channel's capability to move them through user demand, hence the diminishing prices in graphics cards (aided by the dump of mining-bought graphics cards in the second-hand markets).

Overall, GPU shipments still increased by 10.64% compared to last quarter in the overall market, fueled mostly by Intel - AMD shipments increased 6.5% Nvidia increased 4.3% and Intel increased 13.1% compared to their own previous shipment quotas. Still, AMD's market share from last quarter decreased -0.6%, Intel's increased 1.5%, and Nvidia's market share decreased -0.97%. JPR also cites the US's additional tax on China imported goods, as well as descending stock market values as reasons for consumers (both singular and business) to be holding off on purchases.

AMD Share Price Falls ~28% via Weak GPU Sales; Revenue Share from GPUs Only 30%

Following the release of the Q3 financial results by AMD, the stock market was quick to respond to less-than-expected operating income and market share numbers with a ~9.2% drop in share price before the markets closed. This was then followed by fervent after-hours trading resulting an even bigger drop to a share price of $17.88 at the time of this post, compared to the starting value of $25.04 earlier today. The small hike and drop after-hours also indicates some enterprising parties made use of the lower share values to their profit.

AMD held a teleconference for their investors to go along with the report, and attempted to better explain what was going on. In particular, they attribute the decreased client GPU sales to a big decrease in the blockchain GPU sales market (read GPU mining) relative to the first half of 2018. The lack of competing products to take on NVIDIA Pascal-, and then Turing-based, GPU solutions also does not help. As it stands, AMD shared news that GPUs now contribute to only ~30% of their revenue with the other 70% coming from the Ryzen-based processor division instead. They hinted strongly at new products coming from both segments, including an on-track path for a 7 nm datacenter GPU later this year and new Ryzen+Vega-powered notebooks, but it appears that more needs to be done to appease their investors at this point.

Intel Stocks Jump 5% With First Piece of Good News on 10 nm

The tides at Intel have been blacker than they have been blue due to woes in silicon production - and the slow, sure steps of their rival AMD. It's been a rough, domino-powered ride: Intel has faced delay after delay of their 10 nm fabrication process technology. This, in turn, has constrained their production capacity, leading top shortages and increasing prices of Intel processors, and expensive chipset redesigns, moving them up from Intel's top-of-the-line 14 nm process back to 22 nm. So, yeah, after such a stream of lows, the first high note to be struck leaves a much lasting impact - and this has happened on Intel's stock pricing.

A research report from Steve Mullane, analyst at BlueFin Research Partners, says that Intel could be looking on sooner-than-expected ramp-up of their 10 nm process - slated for a June 2019 timeframe. "Intel's second-half production levels suggest upside to analyst revenue estimates for the fourth quarter and first quarter of 2019," further stating that suppliers believe production of new 10 nm silicon could be pulled forward from the June 2019 timeline by four to six weeks. This news brought about a jump in Intel share price up by 5%, while simultaneously reducing AMD's stock price by some 3.6%. At the end of trade day, these highs and lows converted to a 3.55% increase for Intel and a 7.65% drop for AMD.

AMD Short-Sellers Pwned, Lose $177.5 Million in a Day, $2.67 Billion Over the Year

Not long ago, droves of cybersecurity research-backed short-sellers wrote obituaries of AMD after buying themselves shorting positions against the AMD stock on the backs of "Spectre-rivaling" security vulnerabilities comically named "Ryzenfall," et al. With AMD stock closing at 12-year highs of above $25.26 on Monday, those short-sellers (who now have to cough up interest on their shorting positions), bled $177.5 million in a single day. On Monday's peak stock price, short-sellers were a staggering $370 million down in the gutters. AMD's gains throughout 2018 impoverished short-sellers by over $2.67 billion.

Worldwide Markets Feel Jolt of Tencent's Epic $143 Billion Stock Crash

Tencent Holdings, China's second most valuable tech firm after Alibaba, was mauled at the markets Tuesday (31/07), with its share value dropping 25 percent from its January peak. This translates to a stunning USD $143 billion (yes, billion) in investor wealth being wiped out. The crash has had a domino effect on tech stocks worldwide, as FANG block member Facebook lost an equally stunning $136 billion in market value, over the past three trading sessions. Apparently, buzzwords of the season such as AI and big-data aren't proving enough to keep investors interested in tech stocks as many are beginning to question the stability of the tech industry. All eyes are now on Tencent's August 15 release of its Q2-2018 financial results.
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