Coronavirus Updates: Lockdowns Accelerate Activision Earnings; Tom Cruise Teams Up With Elon Musk
Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.
- Activision trounces earnings expectations as world turns to video games amid lockdown
- Tom Cruise, Elon Musk: There's no coronavirus restrictions filming in space
Activision trounces earnings expectations as world turns to video games amid lockdown
Activision Blizzard, the video game juggernaut behind the Call of Duty franchise, reported first-quarter earnings that sailed past expectations. It wasn't totally unexpected, given the effects the coronavirus lockdown has had on everything from video game publishers to streaming services. The Santa Monica-based company posted earnings of 65 cents a share on revenue of $1.8 billion. Shares soared 5% in after-hours trading.
"Our goal to connect the world through epic entertainment is more important to our players than ever before," said Chief Executive Bobby Kotick in a statement. "We delivered strong financial results for the first quarter, and are raising our full-year outlook. I have been awestruck by the strength of our employees and their families during this difficult time."
Kotick also raised the company's full-year outlook, pinning the robust earnings prediction on an increase in video game downloads and purchases. The surge in video gaming comes amid a dearth of options for Americans looking for entertainment with theaters shuttered and restaurants/bars still a long way off from re-opening.
Tom Cruise, Elon Musk: There's no coronavirus restrictions filming in space
Hollywood is having some issues with how to film blockbusters in the U.S. with the coronavirus shutting down productions. Tom Cruise, who has done most of his own stunts, has an idea. Go to space.
The actor is partnering with NASA to make his next action movie shot on board the National Space Station, according to Deadline Hollywood. The Hollywood trade reported that Cruise and Elon Musk's SpaceX were in the early stages of teaming up with the U.S. space agency for an action-adventure feature film that would be shot in outer space. No word on the plot yet. "NASA is excited to work with @TomCruise on a film aboard the @Space_Station," NASA administrator Jim Bridentsine tweeted on Tuesday. "We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make @NASA's ambitious plans a reality."
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The Los Angeles City Council capped service charges third-party delivery services like Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats can pass on to restaurants at 15% of the purchase price during the pandemic following similar moves in San Francisco, Seattle and other major cities.
Restaurants have long complained about charges from the popular apps as high as 30% are eating away at their business, and those worries have grown during the pandemic, as owners find themselves relying more heavily on the services.
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RealNetworks is releasing a browser extension that automatically identifies celebrities and other public figures in YouTube and Netflix videos, using the same facial recognition technology that the company originally developed for use with live surveillance video at schools, casinos and airports."StarSearch by Real" doubles as a video navigation tool, pinpointing the places the celebs appear in the videos, and letting users quickly jump to those spots.
Venture capital has fueled billions of dollars in wealth but it has largely excluded black Americans. Only 1% of venture-funded startup founders are black and more than 80% of venture firms don't have a single black investor.
Blck VC, a group of young black investors and entrepreneurs are calling on the venture capitalist community to diversify their ranks and support the black community. Declaring Thursday, June 4th, a day of action, the group launched a campaign called "We Won't Wait."