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Leveling the playing field

Williesha Morris
Contributor

Williesha Morris has been a journalist and freelancer off-and-on for over a decade. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, playing video games or chatting about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In 2011, a product developer named Fred Davison read an article about inventor Ken Yankelevitz and his QuadControl video game controller for quadriplegics. At the time, Yankelevitz was on the verge of retirement. Davison wasn’t a gamer, but he said his mother, who had the progressive neurodegenerative disease ALS, inspired him to pick up where Yankelevitz was about to leave off.
Launched in 2014, Davison’s QuadStick …

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Legionfarm, pairing pro gamers with amateurs, raises $6 million Series A

Legionfarm, the gaming platform that lets gamers play with pro players in their favorite games, has today announced the close of a $6 million Series A round. Investors in the round include SVB, Y Combinator, Scrum VC, Kevin Lin, Altair Capital, Ankur Nagpal and more.
Legionfarm launched out of Y Combinator at the beginning of last year with a mission to give pro players a way to generate income and amateur players the chance to get better by playing with a pro coach. It started out with an a la carte business model but has since added a subscription product.
It …

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Metafy adds $5.5M to its seed round as the market for games coaching grows

This morning Metafy, a distributed startup building a marketplace to match gamers with instructors, announced that it has closed an additional $5.5 million to its $3.15 million seed round. Call it a seed-2, seed-extension or merely a baby Series A; Forerunner Ventures, DCM and Seven Seven Six led the round as a trio.
Metafy’s model is catching on with its market. According to its CEO Josh Fabian, the company has grown from incorporation to gross merchandise volume (GMV) of $76,000 in around nine months. That’s quick.
The startup is building in public, so we have its raw data to share. Via …

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Sony announces investment and partnership with Discord to bring the chat app to PlayStation

Sony and Discord have announced a partnership that will integrate the latter’s popular gaming-focused chat app with PlayStation’s own built-in social tools. It’s a big move and a fairly surprising one given how recently acquisition talks were in the air — Sony appears to have offered a better deal than Microsoft, taking an undisclosed minority stake in the company ahead of a rumored IPO.
The exact nature of the partnership is not expressed in the brief announcement post. The closest we come to hearing what will actually happen is that the two companies plan to “bring the Discord …

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Epic Games buys artist community ArtStation, drops commissions to 12%

One the same day as Fortnite maker Epic Games goes to trial with one of the biggest legal challenges to the App Store’s business model to date, it has simultaneously announced the acquisition of the artist portfolio community ArtStation — and immediately lowered the commissions on sales. Now standard creators on ArtStation will see the same 12% commission rate found in Epic’s own Games Store for PCs, instead of the 30% it was before. This reduced rate is meant to serve as an example the wider community as to what a “reasonable” commission should look like. This could become a point …

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Cloud gaming service Shadow taken over by OVHcloud founder

Blade, the French startup behind cloud gaming service Shadow, has been acquired by Octave Klaba’s fund following a commercial court order. Klaba is better known as the founder of OVHcloud, a French cloud hosting company. He’s acquiring Blade (and Shadow) through his investment fund Jezby Ventures — not OVHcloud.
Shadow is a cloud computing service for gamers. People can pay a monthly subscription fee and gain access to a gaming PC in a data center. You can connect to this PC from your computer, a smartphone, a tablet or a smart TV. You can see a video stream of …

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Daily Crunch: Apple Arcade expands with classic games

Apple adds classic titles to Apple Arcade, Microsoft experiences an outage and Coinbase is going public. This is your Daily Crunch for April 2, 2021.
The big story: Apple Arcade expands with classic games
Until now, Apple’s game subscription service was limited to exclusive new titles, but today it’s introducing two new categories: App Store Greats (popular iPhone games like Monument Valley+, Fruit Ninja Classic+, Cut the Rope Remastered and Badland+) and Timeless Classics (board games and puzzle games, such as Backgammon+ and Chess Play and Learn+).
This is a major expansion to the Apple Arcade back catalog, but it’ …

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Apple expands Apple Arcade with classic App Store games

Apple has announced an expansion for its subscription gaming service Apple Arcade. In addition to exclusive game releases, the company is adding two new categories — Timeless Classics and App Store Greats.
In the ‘App Store Greats’ category, you can find some well-known iPhone games that have been released over the past decade, such as Threes+, Mini Metro+, Monument Valley+, Fruit Ninja Classic+, Cut the Rope Remastered and Badland+.
This is an interesting move as Apple has focused on exclusive titles so far. Arguably, some Apple Arcade games are sequels of popular App Store games — I’d put Mini Motorways and …

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Tim Cook and Tim Sweeney among potential witnesses for Apple/Epic trial

A proposed witness list filed by Apple for its upcoming trial against game-maker Epic reads like a who’s who of executives from the two companies. The drawn out battle could well prove a watershed moment from mobile app payments.
The two sides came to loggerheads when the Fortnite maker was kicked out of the App Store in August of last year after adding an in-game payment system designed to bypass Apple’s – along with Apple’s cut of the profiles.
Epic has accused Apple of monopolist practices pertaining to mobile payment. Apple, meanwhile, has argued that Epic broke the …

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Extra Crunch roundup: Coupang and Roblox debut, driving GPT-3 adoption, startup how-tos, more

Extra Crunch publishes a variety of article types, but how-tos are my favorite category.
For many entrepreneurs, the startup they are trying to get off the ground might be only the second entry on their resume. As a result, they don’t have much experience to draw from when it comes to basics like hiring, fundraising and growth marketing.
Last week, Natasha Mascarenhas interviewed experts who had some strategic advice for finding the right time to bring a product manager on board. This afternoon, we published a guest post by growth marketer Jessica Li with tips for “how nontechnical talent …

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