Ouya’s ‘Free the Games’ Pledges $1 Million for Crowdfunded Ouya Titles

OUYA

Ouya has announced a new fund that will aid Kickstarter projects headed for the diminutive console. Called “Free the Games,” the $1 million fund will match Kickstarter funds ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 for eligible games. Naturally, Ouya expects something in return: Eligible games must agree to be exclusive to Ouya for six months. So long as the qualifying Kickstarter launches between August 9, 2013 and August 10, 2014, and achieves a minimum goal of $50,000, Ouya will match the total raised up to $250,000. Furthermore, the most successful Kickstarter project to take part in the Free the Games program will receive an additional $100,000. The fund will continue to support projects until the money runs out. Interested developers can find out more about the program on the Ouya website.

Read the full story at Joystiq.

Over 90% of iOS Apps are Free, Average Cost is 19 Cents

App Store

There’s an emerging view among iOS developers that both the amount of work involved and value created by app development merit higher prices for apps. But a new study shows that developers test pricing tend to lower the price of their apps – or even charge nothing at all. New research published Thursday from mobile analytics firm Flurry, which looked at app pricing over the past four years for 350,000 apps using Flurry’s mobile analytics service, found that developers are charging less for their apps over time, and many times, end up going completely free. (The results are weighted to account for number of users for each app.) The result is more ad-laden apps. But Flurry says purchase habits show that user demand is higher for apps that will cost them nothing, even if there are ads as a result.

Read the full story at Giga OM.

Verizon ‘Edge’ Gives Customers Early Upgrades on Mobile Phones

Verizon

Verizon has echoed the new pricing models of rivals T-Mobile and AT&T with its very own, called Edge. The plan will offer customers more frequent upgrades, and also ease the cost of smartphone subsidies on Verizon’s balance sheet. Verizon says the Edge device payment plan spreads the retail price of a smartphone over 24 months, and allows customers to upgrade their phone after just six months, if they’ve paid 50% of the retail price of the phone. The 24-month payment period then begins again. The program works with all of Verizon’s available smartphones, including the iPhone, and becomes available to its Share Everything customers on August 25. Shares of Verizon were down 1.7% to $49.87 on Thursday afternoon in New York. On a conference call Thursday Verizon’s chief financial officer Fran Shammo described Edge as “yet another choice” for Verizon customers, though he was light on details about how the plan would work.

Read the full story at Forbes.

Tech Giants Send US Government Letter Seeking Transparency Over Data Requests

PRISM

A letter signed by some of the most prolific US-based technology companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google has been sent to the Obama administration and Congress today asking for greater transparency over national security-related data requests. The alliance, rumored yesterday to be readying the document, is now urging the US government to give them permission to publish regular reports that would indicate at least some of the type and quantity of information being collected. This would include the number of requests for information – related to their users – submitted under specific legislation such as Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. It would also cover the number of individuals, accounts and devices that were requested by each authority, as well as the total amount of requests for data related to user messaging or calls.

Read the full story at The Next Web.

Nokia Chose Windows Phone Because it Feared Samsung Would Rule Android

Nokia

Nokia’s decision in 2011 to pin the future of its smartphone business on Windows Phone has been heavily scrutinized over the years, but the reasoning behind that choice is only becoming fully clear now. When asked last week if he regretted not choosing Android, CEO Stephen Elop told reporters that he’s “very happy with the decision we made.” He added, according to The Guardian, that “What we were worried about a couple of years ago was the very high risk that one hardware manufacturer could come to dominate Android.” At the time, Nokia “had a suspicion of who it might be, because of the resources available, the vertical integration.” That company, of course, is Samsung. Elop continued, “Now fast forward to today and examine the Android ecosystem, and there’s a lot of good devices from many different companies, but one company has essentially now become the dominant player.”

Read the full story at The Verge.

The Poverty of the Mainstream Media is Why It’s Crashing

Death of the Mainstream Media

They are far more servants to political power than adversarial watchdogs over it, and what provokes their rage most is not corruption on the part of those in power (they don’t care about that) but rather those who expose that corruption, especially when the ones bringing transparency are outside of, even hostile to, their incestuous media circles.

- Glenn Greenwald

Everywhere you turn, when the mainstream media is examined in terms of audience, we see a precipitous decline in the size of the audience. Newspapers, news magazines, cable news, broadcast news… you name it.

One wonders how the MSM is staying in business; it is not unreasonable to suggest that it is being secretly subsidized by the government. Advertising is not paying the bills – at least my understanding suggests that is the case.

But why would the government subsidize the MSM?

The answer leads us down the rabbit hole. The MSM serves those in power; Chris Hedges called the MSM “courtiers of power.” For an example, look at how the NSA story is being handled.

Rather than really digging in on the substance of the NSA snooping/spying/violations (and collusion with the private sector), the story that is covered endlessly is whether Snowden is a whistleblower or traitor. The real story has been diverted.

As long as the MSM serves political and economic powers, it will be subsidized. It is charged with framing the acceptable boundaries of discourse. Its function is to divert attention and define what we are supposed to talk about at the water cooler. But, by and large, it is not working!

A year ago, I wrote about how the MSM continues to decline. The pabulum served by the MSM is not sustainable. The NSA scandal and how the MSM – from Fox to MSNBC and everything in between – handles it insists on making Snowden the story. The real issues concerning the NSA are left to online, alternative media sources. And while they may not be subsidized and have questionable business models, alternative media is covering the real story unabated.