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LEGO Worlds on the way

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LEGO Worlds – a galaxy of imaginative worlds made entirely of digital LEGO bricks where players can explore, discover and create together,” – will launch next month for PlayStation4, Xbox One and Steam.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO Group have announced that Lego Worlds, “a galaxy of imaginative worlds made entirely of digital Lego bricks where players can explore, discover and create together,” will commercially launch on 21 February 2017 for PlayStation4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and STEAM.  Developed by TT Games and published by Warner Bros, LEGO Worlds has been in STEAM Early Access since last year, allowing players to provide feedback for continual improvements leading up to its official launch.

“In LEGO Worlds, players will go on an exciting journey to become a Master Builder, in an open-world made completely of LEGO-built environments,” said Jonathan Smith, Head of Production, TT Games. “Whether customising characters, exploring in vehicles, building structures, or discovering an expansive range of items, characters and creatures throughout the worlds, there’s the freedom to create anything imaginable.”

“LEGO Worlds expands our LEGO videogame franchise with a new experience that embodies all the fun of physical LEGO brick building,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “TT Games has created an expansive, digital universe that combines unlimited creativity with the LEGO humor that fans love.”

“LEGO Worlds brings the very essence of LEGO play – building – to the digital world, more than ever before,” said Niels Jørgensen, Vice President, Digital Games for The LEGO Group. “We are excited to bring our physical and digital play models closer together and know it will resonate with our core audience – and engage new ones. We believe LEGO Worlds has the potential to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through its experience of open-ended creative play.”

In LEGO Worlds, players uncover hidden treasures in environments that range from fun to the fantastical, where worlds come to life with a dizzying variety of vehicles and creatures – from cowboys riding giraffes to vampires scaring Yetis, to steamrollers, racing cars and colossal digging machines. Gamers can embark on a quest to become a Master Builder by helping other LEGO characters along the way – find a sword for a king, protect a farmer from a zombie invasion, or build a home for a caveman. Environments and creations are brought to life in any way fans can imagine, either by building brick by brick, placing down enormous prebuilt LEGO structures, or by using wondrous tools that let you paint and shape the landscape. LEGO Worlds’ online multiplayer functionality allows players to explore each other’s worlds together, create together, and engage in cooperative and competitive play experiences that players can build themselves.

A separate LEGO Agents DLC pack, featuring new characters, vehicles, weapons and more from the Agents range of play materials, will be available first on PlayStation 4 and exclusive for 90 days.

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Notre Dame, Scoop Makhathini, GoT, top week in search

From fire disaster to social media disaster, the top Google searches this week covered a wide gamut of themes.

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Paris and the whole world looked on in shock as the 856-year-old medieval Catholic cathedral crumbled into ash. The tragic infernal destruction of this tourist attraction of historical and religious significance led South Africans to generate more than 200 000 search queries for “Notre Dame Cathedral” on Monday. Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire that razed the architectural icon.

In other top trending searches on Google this week, radio presenter Siyabonga Ngwekazi, AKA Scoop Makhathini, went viral when it appeared he had taken to Twitter to expose his girlfriend, Akhona Carpede, for cheating on him. Scoop has since come out to say that he was not responsible for the bitter rant and that his account was hacked. “Scoop Makhathini” generated more than 20 000 search queries on Wednesday.

Fans generated more than 20 000 search queries for “Sam Smith” on Tuesday ahead of the the British superstar’s Cape Town performance at the Grand West Casino. Smith ended up cutting his performance short that night due to vocal strain.

Local Game of Thrones superfans were beside themselves on Sunday, searching the internet high and low for the first episode of the American fantasy drama’s eighth season. “Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 1” generated more than 100 000 queries on Google Search on the weekend.

As the festivities kicked off in California with headliners such as Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande, South Africans generated more than 2 000 search queries for “Coachella” on Saturday.

South Africans generated more than 5 000 search queries for “Wendy Williams” on Friday  as it emerged that the American talk show host had filed for divorce from her husband Kevin Hunter after 21 years of marriage. Hunter has long been rumored to have been cheating on Williams, which reportedly finally led to the divorce.

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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5G smartphones to hit 5M sales in 2019

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According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019. Early 5G smartphone models will be expensive and available in limited volumes. Samsung, LG and Huawei will be the early 5G smartphone leaders this year, followed by Apple next year.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “We forecast global 5G smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019. Less than 1 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide will be 5G-enabled this year. Global 5G smartphone shipments are tiny for now, due to expensive device pricing, component bottlenecks, and restricted availability of active 5G networks.”

Ville Petteri-Ukonaho, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, “Samsung will be the early 5G smartphone leader in the first half of 2019, due to initial launches across South Korea and the United States. We predict LG, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola and others will follow later in the year, followed by Apple iPhone with its first 5G model during the second half of 2020. The iPhone looks set to be at least a year behind Samsung in the 5G smartphone race and Apple must be careful not to fall too far behind.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The short-term outlook for 5G smartphones is weak, but the long-term opportunity remains huge. We forecast 1 billion 5G smartphones to ship worldwide per year by 2025. The introduction of 5G networks, by carriers like Verizon or China Mobile, opens up high-speed, ultra-low-latency services such as 8K video, streaming games, and augmented reality for business. The next big question for the mobile industry is how much extra consumers are really willing to pay, if anything, for those emerging 5G smartphones and services.”

Strategy Analytics provides a snapshot analyses for the outlook for 5G smartphone market in this Insight report: 5G Smartphones : From Zero to a Billion

Strategy Analytics provides a deep-dive into the air-interface technologies that will power phones through 2024 across 88 countries here: Global Handset Sales Forecast by 88 Countries and 19 Technologies : 2003 to 2024

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