‘Hitman’ games have brighter future thanks to Warner Bros. deal

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The Hitman game franchise has seen some tumultuous times lately: Square Enix tried to offload its developer, IO Interactive, prompting the studio to buy its independence. While that gave IO more control, it also left the company more vulnerable if s…
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HQ Trivia’s first sponsored games roll out this week from Nike and Warner Bros.

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HQ Trivia, the TV-style game show in an app, is starting to make money. The company this week is rolling out its first sponsored games, including a $ 3 million deal which includes sponsored games from Warner Bros., as well as a sponsored game from Nike, arriving today.

AdAge was the first to report on HQ Trivia’s deal with Warner Bros., which is using the popular live trivia app to promote three movies, beginning with Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One.”

According to the report – which HQ Trivia declined to comment on at the time – the overall deal with Warner Bros. is worth $ 3 million, and will include a $ 250,000 jackpot on a sponsored game that promotes “Ready Player One,” airing on Wednesday.

The jackpot would be the largest ever seen on the HQ Trivia app, AdAge noted. (HQ Trivia confirmed this is the case, in an email to TechCrunch.) The biggest jackpot the app had seen until now was the $ 50,000 prize from the game that aired on March 4, 2018, the night of the Academy Awards. The game also saw its peak audience that night, with 2.18 million people logged on at the same time, the company said.

On Sunday evening, Warner Bros. confirmed its sponsorship of a Wednesday HQ Trivia game in a tweet from the “Ready Player One” Twitter account:

Today, HQ Trivia teased another big name sponsor, Nike, in another tweet.

“HQ x Nike Airing 3.26,” is all the tweet said.

Nike confirmed to TechCrunch it will be hosting a surprise game today, on Air Max Day – Nike’s made-up shoe-celebrating holiday.

Nike’s game will offer a $ 100,000 prize pot, along with some sort “prize that money can’t buy” for 100 winners. While neither HQ Trivia nor Nike would provide more information on what that prize may be, folks on Twitter are speculating it’s some sort of special edition shoe to tie-in to Air Max Day.

The Nike game will be a separate, surprise game that airs in addition to its regular games, HQ Trivia tells TechCrunch. Typically, HQ Trivia runs games at 3 PM EDT on weekdays and 9 PM EDT every day.

These sponsored game launches are notable because they represent HQ Trivia’s first serious attempts at generating revenue. But they don’t come as a surprise.

The company has said for some time that it would collaborate with brands as a means of making money. For example, it told Variety in December that the focus with its brand deals would be on enhancing gameplay. And when HQ Trivia recently announced its $ 15 million round of funding, it again reiterated how it would work with brands to sponsor questions or provide bigger jackpots in the future, instead of just running ads.

However, with bigger jackpots, there comes a bigger risk of cheating – something that’s been an increasing concern thanks to the numerous bots that have been built to help people answer questions accurately.

In fact, HQ Trivia recently kicked the remaining players out of a $ 25,000 game, which it followed up by tweeting that moderators kick people out who violate its terms and contest rules. The company never officially confirmed what the players did, but the general consensus is that they were caught cheating.

The HQ Trivia app is a free download on both iOS and Android.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Apple CEO Tim Cook visits Washington, D.C., meets with Sen. Mark Warner

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Apple CEO Tim Cook was on Tuesday spotted in Capitol Hill where he reportedly lunched with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee who has taken an interest in digital encryption and privacy.
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Pre-Registrations for the Westworld Mobile Game from Warner Brothers Have Begun on iOS and Android, Full Game Releases in April

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If you’ve been hyped to play the Westworld mobile game, the release date inches closer and Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment have begun pre-registrations for it today. Westworld is based on the HBO original series and is being produced by WB Games San Francisco and Kilter Films. Behaviour Interactive are the developers of the iOS and Android version that will release this year. You play as Delos Trainee who is a new hire with access to the Delos Park Training Simulation. You will be able to control everything at the Westworld park operations in a strategy simulation experience. Watch the teaser trailer for it below:

You can pre-register for it on iOS and Android. The iOS pre-registrations are live on the website and the Android ones can be done on Google Play. As of this writing, the first tier has been unlocked that grants players early access to Lawrence. The next tier that unlocks at 500k pre-registrations will include a coins and gems pack. At 750k pre-registrations, the Basic Host Code Pack unlocks and at the final milestone, a Crafting Pack is unlocked. If you do intend to pre-register and play it, you can claim all rewards until May 10th.

Westworld, based on the HBO original series, is scheduled to release across iOS and Android devices in April. It is currently in soft launch and you can read some impressions on the soft launch release in our forum thread here. It will release worldwide next month on iOS and Android devices.

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Warner Music Group latest to team up with Facebook to add music to memories and moments

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Warner Music Group is the latest to team up with Facebook to add music to its memories and moments feature. The deal will allow users to add licensed music to their videos.

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Judge rejects AT&T request for White House records on Time Warner merger

After the Department of Justice filed suit last November to block AT&T's intended $ 85 billion merger with Time Warner, the telecom giant wanted to find out how much the White House was involved. The company had good reason to wonder how much dire…
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Judge rules AT&T can’t see Trump White House communications about the Time Warner merger

In an important early decision in the case, the judge presiding over the Justice Department’s attempt to block the AT&T–Time Warner merger has ruled that the White House’s private communications on the merger will not be released.

When the department said in November that it would sue to block the mega-merger, thoughts immediately turned to the White House. President Trump has made no secret of his disdain for CNN, and some watchers questioned whether the White House’s hand was present, guiding the Justice Department as a way to exact revenge on the Time Warner-owned property.

The Justice Department has denied any wrongdoing, and said it is only looking to block the merger on the…

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Alphabet hires Time Warner Cable executive to lead Access and Google Fiber

Google parent company Alphabet has tapped Dinesh Jain, former chief operating officer at Time Warner Cable, to lead up its Access division, which includes the Google Fiber unit and internet service provider Webpass. Jain is replacing former Access CEO Greg McCray, who left last year amid turmoil at Access over the future of Google Fiber and Alphabet’s longer-term plans for providing low-cost, high-speed internet to both consumers and businesses.

“Dinesh “Dinni” Jain, an accomplished veteran of the US and European cable and telecommunications industries — most recently as chief operating officer at Time Warner Cable — starts as CEO of Access today,” reads a post published today on the official Google Fiber blog. “He will lead Access and…

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The U.S. suit against AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner likely won’t end until after May

The trial is set for March 19.

A federal judge has set a March 19 trial date for the U.S. government’s case challenging AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner.

In doing so, Judge Richard Leon also told the two companies on Thursday that it would be virtually impossible for them to close their deal before April 22. It’s a key deadline: Either side can walk away from the acquisition if it isn’t completed by then, and AT&T would have to pay Time Warner a $ 500 million breakup fee.

“This is not a normal case from many perspectives,” said Leon at the first status hearing in Washington, D.C.

The $ 85 billion merger is one of the largest media deals in recent years, signaling the start of more media consolidation as TV businesses have declined thanks to Facebook and Google. Disney is close to acquiring assets from 21st Century Fox, and Comcast* has looked at Fox assets as well.

But the Justice Department’s lawsuit against AT&T suggests media mergers might undergo more scrutiny in the future, or would at least have to wait until AT&T’s case has wrapped.

AT&T initially sought a February hearing; the Justice Department had angled for May.

* Comcast’s NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Recode parent company Vox Media.


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