Atari buys the game studio behind the ‘System Shock’ remake

Atari is betting that an acquisition will bolster its classic game library. The company is buying Nightdive Studios, best known for its upcoming System Shock remake, for $10 million in cash and stock. The move will help Atari both expand its catalog and use Nightdive’s combination of technology and publishing to boost a “retro-focused” strategy. The deal is expected to close in April.

Apart from the System Shock re-do, Nightdive mainly thrives on the KEX engine it uses to make vintage games run on today’s PCs, in some cases with technical improvements. Its modernizations range from well-known hits like Quake and Blade Runner through to cult favorites like Darklands and Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri. Nightdive isn’t a large company, having racked up $3 million in revenue last year.

For Atari, this is part of a broader bid to refocus on gaming. The company has tried (and struggled with) multiple unusual ventures in recent years, including crypto, online casinos and even themed hotels. Nightdive lets Atari concentrate on making “premium” PC and console titles without relying solely on retreads of first-party games, and without spending as much time developing technology to port old software. Atari is nowhere near returning to its heyday, but it may become more relevant to gamers than it has been in a while.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Volkswagen vows to invest $193 billion in electrification

Volkswagen pinned its future on electric vehicles and announced its plans to put 30 new EVs on the road shortly after its $18.2 billion emissions scandal. Now, the automaker has revealed that it plans to spend $193 billion on different areas of its ele…

US regulators will protect all deposits at Silicon Valley Bank

US regulators have announced that they’re taking action to “fully” protect all deposits at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), CNBC has reported. The institution is home to a large number of startups and established companies like Roku and Etsy, which will have full access to their funds as of today. At the same time, officials said there will be “no bailouts” and that shareholders and unsecured creditors won’t be protected. 

“Today we are taking decisive actions to protect the U.S. economy by strengthening public confidence in our banking system,” the FDIC, Treasury Department and Federal Reserve said in a joint statement. “Depositors will have access to all of their money starting Monday, March 13. No losses associated with the resolution of Silicon Valley Bank will be borne by the taxpayer.”

In addition, HSBC UK agreed to purchase Silicon Valley Bank’s UK division for a symbolic £1 to prevent the company’s collapse in that region, the UK government announced. As in the US, both deposits and public funds are protected. “Today the government and the Bank of England have facilitated a private sale of Silicon Valley Bank UK,” the press release states. “This ensures customer deposits are protected and can bank as normal, with no taxpayer support.”

The FDIC took over SVB on Friday following the largest US bank collapse in nearly 15 years. There were concerns that numerous tech startups and companies wouldn’t be able to make their payrolls, and Etsy said yesterday that payments to merchants may be delayed. On Friday, Roku announced that it could lose as much as 26 percent of its cash reserves, or more than $487 million, due to the collapse.

On top of SVB, Signature Banks was closed by regulators on the weekend. It’s one of the largest banks used by cryptocurrency companies, as the Coinbase exchange, for one, had $240 million in deposits at the bank. In the same joint statement, federal regulators said that “all depositors of this institution will [also] be made whole.”

Silvergate, another institution popular with crypto exchanges (and known for purchasing Diem, the ambitious crypto project funded by Facebook), collapsed on March 8th. That marks a run of three key banks with ties to technology firms closing in the space of a week. 

To reassure depositors no doubt nervous over these events, the government said that it will make additional funding available to other eligible institutions. The new program will allow banks to put up treasuries and other safe government securities as collateral in return for central bank loans of up to one year. It’s designed to fix a key issue that led to SVB’s failure: unrealized losses on government securities caused by rapidly rising interest rates.

“The U.S. banking system remains resilient and on a solid foundation, in large part due to reforms that were made after the financial crisis that ensured better safeguards for the banking industry,” the joint statement reads. “Those reforms combined with today’s actions demonstrate our commitment to take the necessary steps to ensure that depositors’ savings remain safe.”

Update March 13, 2023 at 4:18 AM ET: The post has been updated to include news that HSBC UK has purchased Silicon Valley Bank UK and that UK deposits and taxpayers will be fully protected.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

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Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka pleads guilty to insider trading

Yuji Naka has pleaded guilty to insider trading charges filed last fall. The Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator has admitted to violating Japanese financial law by buying shares in the game studio Aiming before its team-up with Square Enix on Dragon Quest Tact became public. Naka admitted to making a profit over 20 million yen (about $150,000) after selling his investment. He hasn’t yet received a penalty for the illegal trade.

The veteran developer signed on with Square Enix in 2018, but abruptly left soon after his one project at the company (the mobile platformer Balan Wonderland) shipped to customers. He sued the company for removing him as director of Balan six months before launch. He was still with Square Enix when he heard about the Dragon Quest Tact work.

Two other former employees, Taisuke Sasaki and Fumiaki Suzuki, were also arrested for buying Aiming shares using insider knowledge. Square Enix says it’s cooperating with investigators and has established a system that prevents insider trading. It’s not clear how well that protection will work in practice, but the guilty plea theoretically discourages developers from using industry secrets to manipulate the stock market.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard purchase will reportedly be approved by the EU

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Paramount+ prices are going up, whether you get Showtime or not

Paramount+ will get a bit more expensive later this year as it folds in Showtime’s streaming service. The Premium tier of Paramount+, which will be renamed to Paramount+ With Showtime, will soon cost $12 per month, up from the current $10, as Variety reports. The ad-supported tier, which will not include Showtime, is going up from $5 to $6 per month.

Paramount Global will increase the prices when it merges the two services, which is expected to happen early in the third quarter of this year (i.e., around July or August). The price hikes will be effective in the US and some other markets, according to The Verge. They’ll be the first price increases since CBS All Access became Paramount+ two years ago.

There are now almost 56 million Paramount+ subscribers. The service added 9.9 million members in the last quarter of 2022, with the likes of NFL games, Yellowstone and Top Gun: Maverick drawing new users in. Revenue also increased by 81 percent compared with the same quarter in 2021 to around $800 million. As for the ad-supported Pluto TV service, the number of global monthly active users increased by 6.5 million to just under 79 million.

However, Paramount Global executives warned investors on an earnings call the company ran into significant “headwinds” in 2022 and that this won’t be a “robust year” for profits. CEO Bob Bakish said that ,for Paramount+, “we are at peak investment in 2023.”

Paramount Global expects to take a writedown of between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion as an impairment charge as it merges Paramount+ and Showtime in the US. The writedown, according to chief financial officer Naveen Chopra, is “all about content, driven by the fact that when we combine Showtime and Paramount+, we don’t need the kind of content you would need if they were operating on an independent basis.” The company hopes that the move will save it as much as $700 million.

Apple’s record service revenue couldn’t make up for falling hardware sales

As many Apple watchers have predicted, the company’s financial results this quarter are a break from the last few years of nonstop growth. The iPhone maker reported a revenue of $117.2 billion for its first fiscal quarter (ended December 2022), which is five percent down year over year, marking the first time Apple’s revenue is down since 2019. 

There are a couple of bright spots in the company’s performance, namely in its setting a revenue record of $20.8 billion in its Services business and hitting more than 2 billion active devices in its installed base. All-time revenue records were also set in markets like Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, Turkey and Vietnam.

In a statement, CEO Tim Cook said “As we all continue to navigate a challenging environment, we are proud to have our best lineup of products and services ever, and as always, we remain focused on the long term and are leading with our values in everything we do.”

On its earnings call, Cook said there were three main things that impacted revenue: the “challenging macroeconomic environment”, foreign exchange issues and COVID-related supply constraints that led to delays in the ship times of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models. “Production is now back to where we want it to be,” he added.

Apple’s decline in revenue is in line with a general slump in the tech industry, with Meta having just reported revenues that are 4 percent down from the previous year. Alphabet is also seeing a slowdown in growth this quarter, and while Microsoft saw its revenue climb, its earnings missed expectations and profits fell by 12 percent. Amid the economic downturn, tech companies havebeenlaying off significant portions of their workforce, though Apple doesn’t appear to have made similar moves at the moment.

Alphabet’s revenues are still growing, but just barely

It’s no secret that the huge tech companies are still making money hand over fist, but there’s also a noticeable slowdown going on. Google’s parent company Alphabet is not immune — the company just reported its earnings results for Q4 of 2022, and just barely grew revenue year over year. The $76 billion the company pulled in during the quarter is up only one percent from Q4 of 2021. 

Google’s ad business is the backbone of the company, and revenue slipped there by about 3.5 percent compared to a year ago. But eight percent growth in the “other” category (which includes products like Google and Nest hardware and revenue from the Play Store) and 32 percent yearly growth in in Google Cloud made up for those ad losses. Overall profits, meanwhile, dropped significantly: Quarterly net income of $13.6 billion is down 34 percent year-over-year.

Of course, the backdrop for all this is that Google announced a few weeks ago that it is laying off about 12,000 employees; that makes up about six percent of the company’s overall workforce. At the time those layoffs were announced, we didn’t yet know what Google’s financials for last quarter looked like, but now we can see that things are slowing down. 

That’s all relatively speaking, though. Net income of $60 billion for 2022 as a whole was down significantly compared to the $76 billion in profit Alphabet made in 2021 — but it’s still far ahead of the $40 billion the company pulled in for 2020. It looks like the big numbers Alphabet posted in 2021 weren’t exactly sustainable, and obviously we don’t yet know what 2023 will bring. But we’ll be tuning into the company’s call with investors, which starts at 4:30PM ET, to see what additional details CEO Sundar Pichai can share about the state of Alphabet in the year to come.