'Ghost Recon Wildlands' adds a hardcore permadeath mode

'Ghost Recon Wildlands' adds a hardcore permadeath mode
Ubisoft isn't just relying on cameos from aliens and iconic game characters to inject extra life into Ghost Recon Wildlands. When the Special Operation 2 pack arrives on July 24th, it'll include a Ghost Mode that adds some high-stakes realism. For…
Source: Engadget

NASA and the UAE will team up for human spaceflight

NASA and the UAE will team up for human spaceflight
The UAE is the latest country to sign a deal with NASA to cooperate on human spaceflight. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted about the joint letter of intent today, which was also signed by Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, the director general of the…
Source: Engadget

'Star Trek: Discovery' mini episodes arrive this fall

'Star Trek: Discovery' mini episodes arrive this fall
CBS All Access won't have the next season of Star Trek: Discovery ready for streaming until early 2019, but fans won't have to wait until then for new content. Today at Comic-Con executive producer and co-creator Alex Kurtzman revealed four "Short Tr…
Source: Engadget

Indie gem Stardew Valley will get multiplayer on August 1st

Indie gem Stardew Valley will get multiplayer on August 1st

Stardew Valley, the popular indie farming simulator (it’s more fun than “farming simulator” makes it sound, I promise) is quite possibly the chillest game of all time. But, without any multiplayer aspect, it can get … a bit lonely. From farming, to fishing, to exploring mines, it’s always felt like a game that would be better with friends.

We’ll soon find out if that’s true. After about year of work has been put into the feature, the game will get cooperative multiplayer starting on August 1st.

There’s a slight catch: multiplayer will be limited to PC/Mac/Linux, at first. The trailer (below) says support will roll out to Nintendo Switch/PS4/Xbox One “soon,” but doesn’t get into specifics.

Multiplayer Stardew Valley will support up to four (4) players on the same farm, with all players sharing the same money and farmland. According to this page on the Stardew Valley fan wiki, groups will be able to tweak the game a bit to their tastes (specifically, they can scale things like profit margins and in-game item costs) to account for the added ease of having four players doing the work that was previously designed for one.

Stardew Valley is surprisingly in-depth for a game built primarily by just one person; while it’s published by a company, the vast majority of the work — from the pixel art, to the musical composition, to the programming — is done by Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone. By the beginning of this year, it was reported that the game had sold more than 3.5 million copies. GQ did a profile on Barone and how he built the game.

Barone clarified a few things on Twitter shortly after the trailer went live:

  • If you’ve already found your way into the multiplayer beta, there won’t be any major changes in the public releases besides a “few last-minute bug fixes”
  • While work on the console builds is underway, he doesn’t have any release dates in mind yet
  • No split-screen or shared screen co-op — if you want multiplayer, you’ll need your own device to play on


Source: Tech Crunch

CowryWise micro-savings service opens high yield government bonds to everyday Nigerians

CowryWise micro-savings service opens high yield government bonds to everyday Nigerians

In emerging market countries where economic volatility is a way of life, there aren’t a lot of relatively safe options for members of the burgeoning middle class to park their money.

For instance, countries like Nigeria have experienced a tremendous growth in the number of citizens entering the middle class, which now accounts for about 23% of the population (it’s around 50% in the U.S.), according to a recent article citing the African Development Bank.

While Nigeria now faces some significant headwinds from a weak domestic currency (the naira), high interest rates and a manufacturing recession, there are ways that local investment can both protect the wealth that’s been created and encourage investment domestically to potentially spur development.

At least, that’s the conclusion that college friends Razaq Ahmed and Edward Popoola came to while they were thinking about opportunities for new financial services options in their home country of Nigeria.

The two men, Ahmed with a background in finance and Popoola in computer science, are launching a company called CowryWise that gives Nigerian investors a way to save their money by investing in high yield government bonds. The rates on those products are high enough to absorb the wild swings in value of the naira and still provide a healthy return for investors, according to Ahmed.

Set to present at this year’s demo day from Y Combinator, CowryWise is one of a number of startups that Y Combinator has backed coming from the African continent and an example of the wellspring of entrepreneurial talent that is flourishing in sub-Saharan Africa.

Using CowryWise a customer would just have to sign up with their email address and phone number and link their bank account up to the CowryWise platform.

There are already roughly 57 million savings accounts in Nigeria and 32 million unique bank users. By investing in the bonds, these savers gain access to interest rates that range between 10% and 17%, according to Ahmed.

“The bonds… are similar to the treasuries issued by the U.S. government, which is A rated,” says Ahmed. Even if there were foreign currency risk from investing in the Naira, the inflation rate is currently around 11%, according to Ahmed. Given that most of the bonds are yielding interest rates on the higher end, it’s just a better deal for consumers, he said.

“There’s more value in keeping the money in government treasury bills,” than in the bank, says Ahmed.

For Ahmed and Popoola, the decision to launch CowryWise was a way to bring investment opportunities to a retail investor that hadn’t been able to access the best that the financial system in Nigeria had to offer.

To target these retail investors, meant leveraging technology to scale quickly and cheaply across the country. The two men started developing their service in January and tested it in February and March with friends and family.

CowryWise isn’t without competitors. Another Nigerian company, Piggybank, recently raised $1.1 million for its own automated savings solution. Like CowryWise Piggybank also taps into government bonds to offer better rates to its investors.

That company already has 53,000 registered users — who have saved in excess of $5 million since 2016, according to a release.

There are subtle differences between the two. Piggybank touts its ability to save through bonds, but it is primarily working with banks to get Nigerians saving money. Cowrywise is using Meristem Financial (Ahmed’s old employer) as the asset manager for its investments into the bond market.

Another difference is the time customers’ funds are locked up. Piggybank has a three month savings period required before investors can withdraw funds, while CowryWise will let its customers withdraw cash immediately, according to this teardown of the two services.

Ultimately, there’s a large enough market for multiple players, and a need for better financial services, according to Ahmed.

“We kept having interest from retail investors on why they want to do micro-savings and micro-investment, but they didn’t have the required capital,” Ahmed says. “That was the major reason for staring the company. Why not democratize the assets? And make them available in investments and savings in this traditional instrument?”


Source: Tech Crunch

'GTA: Online' goes clubbin' next week with 'After Hours'

'GTA: Online' goes clubbin' next week with 'After Hours'
A little bit of Liberty City is coming to GTA: Online very, very soon. "Gay" Tony Prince, first seen in Grand Theft Auto IV's "The Ballad of Gay Tony" expansion from 2009, is opening up a nightclub in Los Santos and needs your help. "A perfect cover…
Source: Engadget