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Ubisoft suite for Switch

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Ubisoft has announced that Just Dance 2017, Rayman Legends Definitive Edition and Steep will be part of the line-up for Nintendo Switch which will be launched in March 2017.

Ubisoft has been constantly evolving, leading development of exciting games for each new platform launch. For years, Ubisoft and Nintendo have been partnering to deliver original, creative and memorable entertainment gaming experiences.

Nintendo Switch combines the best of two worlds: mobile handheld and traditional at-home console gaming. This new console brings Ubisoft and its teams new opportunities to express their creativity, develop fresh ways to play and push the industry boundaries once again.

“Ubisoft is bringing Just Dance 2017, Rayman Legends Definitive Edition and Steep to the Nintendo Switch. We’re proud to be working closely with Nintendo on this new console, making sure players can enjoy great games on a device that shares the same philosophy as these games: great accessibility and the ability to bring people together”, said Xavier Poix, Managing Director, Ubisoft’s French Studios. “These three games are just the beginning; we will share more about other exciting projects for Nintendo Switch at a later date.”

Just Dance 2017 – Dancing with anyone – anywhere, anytime

Just Dance 2017 will be the first Ubisoft game released for Nintendo Switch at launch. The chart-topping dance track, “How Deep Is Your Love” by Calvin Harris & Disciples, will be available as an exclusive track for Nintendo Switch owners via Just Dance Unlimited.* This hit song joins 40 tracks already available in the game, including “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Lean On” by Major Lazer Ft. MØ & DJ Snake, brand-new hits like “Don’t Wanna Know” by Maroon 5, party favourites like “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé and classics like “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. Nintendo Switch players will also have three months of free access to Just Dance Unlimited, the dance-on-demand subscription streaming service, which offers more than 200 additional songs and access to exclusive tracks, with new hit songs added all the time.

More accessible than ever, Just Dance 2017 can now be played anywhere, with up to six players at the same time using a Joy-Con controller, or by using the Just Dance Controller app (which turns your smartphone into a controller).

Rayman Legends Definitive Edition – Exploring Rayman’s legendary worlds

Players’ all-time favourite, Rayman, is back in the game thanks to Rayman Legends Definitive Edition, the ultimate version of the critically acclaimed Rayman Legends created by Michel Ancel. This edition includes all the game’s traditional features, such as Kung Foot, plus some brand-new surprises. Nintendo’s history has included the Rayman brand since the franchise’s beginning, with titles such as Rayman Advance for Game Boy Advance, Rayman 2 The Great Escape for Nintendo 64 and Rayman Raving Rabbids for the launch of Wii.

Rayman, Globox and the Teensies are off wandering through an enchanted forest when they discover a mysterious tent filled with a series of captivating paintings. As they look closer, they notice each painting seems to tell the story of a different mythical world. While focusing on a painting that shows a medieval land, they are suddenly sucked into the painting, entering the world, and the adventure begins. The gang must run, jump and fight their way through each world to save the day and discover the secrets of every legendary painting.

Steep – Experiencing action sports in the beautiful open-world of the Alps

In Steep, players drop in to the Alps and ski, snowboard, wingsuit and paraglide through the game’s massive open-world playground, filled with great activities and views. Developed by Ubisoft Annecy, Steep is designed for a culture that’s all about sharing experiences with the world. Steep features seamless multiplayer, populating the world with players as they naturally explore the Alps. Players and friends across the globe can take on challenges together or compete with each other to snag the top spot on the leaderboard. The open-world of Steep will be further enriched by the majestic slopes of Alaska in a free update available this year.

*“How Deep Is Your Love” by Calvin Harris & Disciples is available through Just Dance Unlimited and can be accessed either via the free trial or by subscribing. The track will be available for all platforms later this year.

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VoD cuts the cord in SA

Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.

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That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.

The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.

Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.

Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”

The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.

“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”

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New data rules raise business trust challenges

When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25th, financial services firms will face a new potential threat to their on-going challenges with building strong customer relationships, writes DARREL ORSMOND, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.

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The regulation – dubbed GDPR for short – is aimed at giving European citizens control back over their personal data. Any firm that creates, stores, manages or transfers personal information of an EU citizen can be held liable under the new regulation. Non-compliance is not an option: the fines are steep, with a maximum penalty of €20-million – or nearly R300-million – for transgressors.

GDPR marks a step toward improved individual rights over large corporates and states that prevents the latter from using and abusing personal information at their discretion. Considering the prevailing trust deficit – one global EY survey found that 60% of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 58% worry about the amount of personal and private data organisations have about them – the new regulation comes at an opportune time. But it is almost certain to cause disruption to normal business practices when implemented, and therein lies both a threat and an opportunity.

The fundamentals of trust

GDPR is set to tamper with two fundamental factors that can have a detrimental effect on the implicit trust between financial services providers and their customers: firstly, customers will suddenly be challenged to validate that what they thought companies were already doing – storing and managing their personal data in a manner that is respectful of their privacy – is actually happening. Secondly, the outbreak of stories relating to companies mistreating customer data or exposing customers due to security breaches will increase the chances that customers now seek tangible reassurance from their providers that their data is stored correctly.

The recent news of Facebook’s indiscriminate sharing of 50 million of its members’ personal data to an outside firm has not only led to public outcry but could cost the company $2-trillion in fines should the Federal Trade Commission choose to pursue the matter to its fullest extent. The matter of trust also extends beyond personal data: in EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, less than a third of respondents had complete trust that their banks were being transparent about fees and charges.

This is forcing companies to reconsider their role in building and maintaining trust with its customers. In any customer relationship, much is done based on implicit trust. A personal banking customer will enjoy a measure of familiarity that often provides them with some latitude – for example when applying for access to a new service or an overdraft facility – that can save them a lot of time and energy. Under GDPR and South Africa’s POPI act, this process is drastically complicated: banks may now be obliged to obtain permission to share customer data between different business units (for example because they are part of different legal entities and have not expressly received permission). A customer may now allow banks to use their personal data in risk scoring models, but prevent them from determining whether they qualify for private banking services.

What used to happen naturally within standard banking processes may be suddenly constrained by regulation, directly affecting the bank’s relationship with its customers, as well as its ability to upsell to existing customers.

The risk of compliance

Are we moving to an overly bureaucratic world where even the simplest action is subject to a string of onerous processes? Compliance officers are already embedded within every function in a typical financial services institution, as well as at management level. Often the reporting of risk processes sits outside formal line functions and end up going straight to the board. This can have a stifling effect on innovation, with potentially negative consequences for customer service.

A typical banking environment is already creaking under the weight of close to 100 acts, which makes it difficult to take the calculated risks needed to develop and launch innovative new banking products. Entire new industries could now emerge, focusing purely on the matter of compliance and associated litigation. GDPR already requires the services of Data Protection Officers, but the growing complexity of regulatory compliance could add a swathe of new job functions and disciplines. None of this points to the type of innovation that the modern titans of business are renowned for.

A three-step plan of action

So how must banks and other financial services firms respond? I would argue there are three main elements to successfully navigating the immediate impact of the new regulations:

Firstly, ensuring that the technologies you use to secure, manage and store personal data is sufficiently robust. Modern financial services providers have a wealth of customer data at their disposal, including unstructured data from non-traditional sources such as social media. The tools they use to process and safeguard this data needs to be able to withstand the threats posed by potential data breaches and malicious attacks.

Secondly, rethinking the core organisational processes governing their interactions with customers. This includes the internal measures for setting terms and conditions, how customers are informed of their intention to use their data, and how risk is assessed. A customer applying for medical insurance will disclose deeply personal information about themselves to the insurance provider: it is imperative the insurer provides reassurance that the customer’s data will be treated respectfully and with discretion and with their express permission.

Thirdly, financial services firms need to define a core set of principles for how they treat customers and what constitutes fair treatment. This should be an extension of a broader organisational focus on treating customers fairly, and can go some way to repairing the trust deficit between the financial services industry and the customers they serve.

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