Smartphones

Nintendo prioritizes its brand image over app revenue

In this image, a woman holds a phone to the camera that displays the Mario Run game logo.
Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Nintendo has asked its mobile app partners to lower the cost of special items and in-game upgrades, per the Wall Street Journal.

What's happening: In some Nintendo mobile games that are free to download, players are incentivized to spend cash on special items. Nintendo cares more using its reach via apps to encourage players to buy traditional game consoles in order to strengthen its brand image — a strategy that has forced some of its app developer partners to slash their revenue forecasts after disappointing returns.

Go deeper: The video game subscription wars are on

Bill Gates fund backs new California cobalt venture

In this image, a yellow battery drips yellow circles on top of a blue background.
Photo: David Santaolalla/EyeEm via Getty Images

Quartz reports Tuesday that a California startup called Kobold, which has developed advanced methods to chase down supplies of cobalt, has won backing from the Bill Gates' Breakthrough Energy Ventures and the VC powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz.

Why it matters: Cobalt is a critical component in batteries needed for smartphones and the growth of EVs, so demand is growing.

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