Apr 4, 2019

Axios PM

Situational awareness: Preliminary findings were issued on the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash, Trump is expected to nominate Herman Cain to the Fed, the Mormon Church will accept children of LGBT parents, and Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced their divorce terms.

1 big thing: Cord-cutting hits video games

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Video games are the next entertainment industry undergoing a major disruption, all the way down to the consoles and controllers.

  • "In the past, you plunked down $60 at GameStop for a copy of Grand Theft Auto or Madden NFL and played it out — after which you could trade it in or let it gather dust," the AP reports.
  • "Now, you’ll increasingly have the choice of subscribing to games, playing for free or possibly just streaming them over the internet to your phone or TV."

Why it matters: New subscription streaming services represent a massive shift from gaming into the cloud, which will make it easier to access games on any device, including mobile, Axios' Sara Fischer emails.

  • Google's Stadia platform, for instance, "will store a game-playing session in the cloud and let players jump across phones, laptops and browsers with Google’s software," per the AP.
  • Apple Arcade "subscribers will get to play more than 100 games ... on the Apple-made iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV."
  • Snap Games will allow users to play real-time, multiplayer games with their friends, with new ad experience in games so all that "our (developer) partners can see monetization from day one."
  • And for Fortnite, "a key aspect of the game is being able to play it on anything from your phone to a decked-out gaming PC."

The big picture: Gamers wouldn't necessarily have to buy individual games anymore — they could buy them as part of a larger and potentially cheaper package — and it means that they wouldn't be limited to expensive hardware devices that only work for certain games. 

  • But all these gaming efforts are really contingent on technology partners' ability to broker deals with game developers to distribute their games.

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1 chart thing
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Data: U.S. State Department's Refugee Processing Center, 2019 projection by World Relief; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Go deeper: Axios Deep Dive: The refugee crisis

1 fun thing

Classic WSJ headline, "There Is Now Scientific Proof Your Cat Is Ignoring You... Researchers spent months getting to the bottom of an eternal question: Is my cat ignoring me? ... The answer is most likely, yes."

  • "Japanese researchers found most domestic cats (scientific name Felis catus) could distinguish their own names from other similar nouns. According to the study of 78 cats, that doesn’t mean they’ll come when they’re called."
  • "At the risk of dashing the hopes of owners who put their hearts into coming up with the perfect name, it is unlikely cats associate the call with a sense of self, researchers say."
  • "More likely, cats associate that specific sound with some sort of reward, like food or petting or playing, and come to learn that the reward will follow the sound. That is how most species, like dogs, learn how to assign meaning to specific sounds."