Takeovers and Twitter headaches � TechCrunch

Hello friends!
I'm filling in for Lucas for this week's Week In Review. I'm Greg. When deciding who to add to your MySpace Top 8 was a serious matter, starting at TC meant that being able summon an Uber using a button press made everyone think I was a futurist wizard.

A heads up before we get into the news this week. Brian Heaters beloved robotics recap will be turning into a weekly newsletter, Actuator. Although the official launch date is yet to be determined, you can sign up right now.

Here's the news that you may have missed this week.

The Big Thing

You've probably interacted with Unity-based games, regardless of whether you have ever used Unity. Unity is the 2D/3D engine behind so many video games, regardless of platform or console. It is used by studios to create animated movies. It is used by automakers to design cars.

Unity announced this week its intention to make its largest acquisition to date with the $320M Parsec purchase. While one company buying another is not uncommon news in these parts, a senior vice president at Unity suggests that this could mark the beginning of a larger shift for the company.

What is a Parsec? A unit of measurement, which Star Wars fans love to debate about.

Parsec was originally created to allow you to stream games from your PC to less powerful devices and to your friends far away. This allows for long-distance multiplayer in game that doesn't support it. It still works!

The company discovered that many of its features for playing games from home (such as low latency streaming and support for input devices other than keyboard/mouse) were no longer available to them after the pandemic. These features were crucial to those who built games remotely. They were open to this new audience and quickly developed plans and features for creative teams. They were able to raise $25M and be acquired for almost 13x the amount in less than one year.

This is Unity's first step towards deeper integration into the cloud, according to Marc Whitten, Unity SVP.

He says that Parsec is a solid foundation for the broad cloud ambitions we have as a company. You'll see more of us in this particular regard.

There are many paths to the cloud, even if you only consider what Parsec brings to the table. They could use Parsec to help Unity developers more easily add multiplayer to their games; they could use it to build a Stadia/Amazon Luna-style game streaming service that showcases Unity-powered games sans downloads; they could use it to offer up beefier hardware-in-the-cloud rentals to help smaller studios iterate more quickly or test on a wider range of devices.

Parsec is free to use with friends far away.

Extra Crunch members can check Eric Peckham's deep dive on Unity's rise here.

Other Items

Ariana Grande takes over Fortnite

Fortnite's evolution will be the subject of a book. Fortnite began as a popular tower defense game. It became a free-to play Battle Royale game and quickly became one of the most popular games in the world. Now its a remarkable example of how a game can be a place, and what can be when a developer has absolute control over their game engine and might-as-well-be-endless money to throw into content creation. Example #2,138.413: This in-game Ariana Grande concert, in which players can dogfight a demon and ride rainbows while dancing alongside a skyscraper-sized Ariana. Millions have already seen the YouTube replay.

Twitter redesign

Twitter revamped its website this week. There was user backlash, as is the case when you change the look/feel for a popular thing. It went beyond the normal complaints about the radius of the rounded corners. Some users complained that the new font Twitter chose caused them headaches.

Apple clarifies how its new child safety features work

Apple announced last week that it will be rolling out a number of features to protect children. One alerts parents if a minor sends or receives explicit images via iMessage. Another compares generated hashes of iCloud photos to flag users who are storing child abuse images. Security researchers are concerned about the possibility of governments scanning for other than abuse images, while protecting children is undeniably and universally a good idea. The incident caused some friction within Apple with over 800 messages being exchanged by employees via the company's internal Slack. Apple's Craig Federighi admitted that the company spent the last few days trying clarify the features. You can read our interview with Apple's Privacy chief here.

Xiaomis Robodog

Boston Dynamics Spot is not the only creepy dystopian robot-dog in town. CyberDog is a four-legged robot that Xiaomi has announced. It will help the company's robotic knowledge and provide a platform for developers. They will sell them for $1,500 initially. However, there is a catch. Only a few thousand will be made and sold to select engineers and fans of Xiaomi.

Lowercarbon raises $800M in order to save the planet

Lowercarbon Capital, a climate-focused fund managed by Chris and Crystal Sacca raised $800M for companies working to address the climate crisis. Sacca writes that it was probably not a good idea to raise funds for a climate fund during an unprecedented heatwave or behind thick clouds of smoke. Is tech the solution to saving the planet? TBD. Continue doing nothing is a sure way to fail.

FEMA tests the U.S. Emergency Alert System

Don't panic if your phone shouted about the National Wireless Emergency System test earlier in the week. It was actually a test. Didnt get it? Do not panic, the test system can be opted-in. Everyone will pass if there is an actual test. Hopefully.

Additional Items

Employers should be more open to working from home.

Are you trying to get everyone back in the office faster than you would like? Perhaps you could send this article by Karl Laughton (Insightly COO), outlining some of their data-driven upsides since moving remote.

Dear Sophie, Can you hire an engineer whose greencard is being sponsored in another company?

The perfect job candidate has been found and you want to offer. But there is a catch. They need an EB-2 greencard and another company has started the sponsorship process. Is it possible? It depends. Dear Sophie's latest issue features Sophie Alcorn, an immigration attorney who explains the EB-2 process.


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