Taobao announced Buy+, a VR shopping technology, and says it will be launched in 4 months. With Buy+, the user can put on a VR headset, enter Taobao’s VR version of their store, and then choose to shop at either 5th Avenue in NYC or an antique market in Britain. According to Alibaba, the biggest challenge is how to copy the current 1 billion products on Taobao to the virtual environment. Alibaba thinks that VR storage will help reduce product return rates on Taobao, thus enhancing shopping efficiency.
Ragnarok Online had a tremendous impact on Asia and Southeast Asia’s game scene. It’s even credited with helping spur the government’s regulation of Internet cafes and games for children in Thailand. After 14 years of service in Thailand, at least, the game will officially come to a close at the end of June “because its contract with the Korean developer of the game will be terminated on that date.”
Alibaba has announced that they will be using their subsidiary, Alipay, to run a new Shanghai-based eSports tournament with the World Electronic Sports Games (WSEG). AliSports and YuuGames, subsidiary of YuuZoo, are planning to launch 1,200 eSports events this year in 15 cities across China.
Keywords is rapidly pushing into Asia with two acquisitions within ten days – buying Mindwalk Studios in Beijing (a video game art outsourcing company) and Ankama Asia in Manila (a studio that helps with outsourcing games). Mindwalk Studios has grown over the past 13 years into a large operation that has worked with many of the top international game developers for their mobile and console games for international markets. Ankama Asia currently supports Dofus, Wakfu and Tactile Wars.
According to Marbridge Daily, augmented reality (AR) game developer Tomorning has completed a RMB 13 million pre-Series A funding round led by Longlin Capital, with participating companies including Ultrapower Software and Initial Capital. Marbridge states that Tomorning’s main product is Wonderland, an AR role-playing game that scans the user’s physical environment for clues and information which are then incorporated into plot developments. The game’s real-environment recognition relies on core technology developed by Tomorning, which develops models for two- and three-dimensional objects and scenery that enable these objects to be correctly recognized when users encounter and scan them in the game. A representative for Tomorning said that its object-recognition technology has an accuracy rate of 97% and a false-positive rate as low as 0.1%. Other uses for the technology are envisioned for tourist sites, museums, and shopping locations, where VR technology could become an entry point for search services.
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