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Rivals arrives next month

Electronic Arts has announced that Command & Conquer will launch worldwide on December 4, 2018 for Android and iOS.

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This is a fast-paced, real-time strategy (RTS) action game built for players on phones and tablets. Command & Conquer: Rivals will become the next official EA competitive gaming franchise to roll out a complete competitive program, including community tournaments and a championship pro scene.

In Command & Conquer: Rivals, a real-time player versus player (PVP) game, players lead their faction to victory in the war for Tiberium. True to RTS classics, preparation and planning are as pivotal to matches as tactical execution. Unlike games with “drop-and-watch” mechanics, players in Rivals maintain 100% control of their units at all times, adding immense strategy and depth to a fun, frenetic and fair gameplay experience.

“We set out to build an RTS game for mobile players that thrives on head-to-head competition and where strategy and skill matter. With continuous unit control and intense battles where comebacks are possible, Command & Conquer: Rivals delivers this and more,” said Michael Martinez, Redwood Studios GM. “We’ve been thrilled to see the early response from players during soft launch. Player feedback has made the game stronger for our launch in December and we’ll continue to work with the community as we accelerate into esports next year.”

Rivals Champions, a new weekend mode available at launch, is a signature in-game competitive experience inspired by the immensely popular FIFA Ultimate Team Champions in FIFA and will serve as the first step in working with the community to launch a multi-continent esports program in 2019. In this mode, players will go on a run of battles, competing in a unique matchmaking pool – competition is segmented by rank to ensure players of all skill levels can thrive and win. The better they perform, the bigger the rewards. Players can also make a name for themselves atop the Rivals Champions leaderboards and distinguish themselves for higher levels of competition.

Rivals is competitive to its very core,” said Evan Denbaum, Command & Conquer: Rivals Competitive Gaming Commissioner. “We’ve been working non-stop to create the best-possible in-game experiences no matter what your skill level, and Rivals Champions is just the beginning. Most importantly, we’ll be listening to our players and their feedback as they jump in, and we’ll work together with the community to build a full-scale esports program.”

There’s still a chance to join in before launch. Pre-register on Google Play and get the chance to play by visiting https://www.ea.com/games/command-and-conquer/command-and-conquer-rivals. Players who pre-register will also receive a special, limited edition bundle to begin commanding their units, available at worldwide launch.

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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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