The Game Industry Is Suffering from A Battle Royale ‘Hangover’

As 2019 nearly comes to a close, the gaming industry this year has been, frankly, boring. Between the ground-breaking releases seen in 2018 and the next-generation consoles to come in 2020, it’s felt like we’re living in a forgotten middle-child period.

Fans have noticed and are pouring less money into the industry. Software sales, both physical and digital for PC and consoles, were down 37% last month, according to a report from NPD Group. But accessories took the hardest hit, down 41% in October year-over-year.

But experts say it’s not worth panicking over when you look at the market as a whole. when looking where the market is. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are at the end of their lifecycles, leaving many to hold out until shiny, new gadgets are released next year, and no game has captured attention like last year’s impressive slate of releases. But there’s also another reason for the lower numbers: a battle royale “hangover.”

2018 saw a battle royale frenzy, inciting sales of gotta-have-it consoles and accessories. Battle royale games place players on a map that they can explore and compete to take out other players before just one person is left standing. There’s a strong social factor: players can meet up on the map and talk, which is part of why the genre took off. The phenomenon was led by Fornite and PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, which were primarily thought of as console games, especially at launch (although both were playable on PC as well).

The console demographic was starting to age by 2018, catering more to millennials than Gen Z. But when school-age children kicked off the battle royale movement, it brought the console audience’s average age down quite a bit, according to NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella. The games’ popularity skyrocketed as children took to them as social meeting grounds. Players didn’t just buy new consoles—they also needed headsets to chat with friends.

A year later, the gaming industry is nursing a battle royale “hangover,” as Piscatella put it. Even mobile platforms, which Fortnite and PUBG eventually expanded to, are no longer seeing growth in the battle royale genre, according to Randy Nelson of Sensor Tower.

The same audience that made Fortnite a cultural juggernaut is quick to move on. Piscatella says Minecraft, an old gaming favorite, is seeing an increase in engagement. However, Minecraft and Fortnite have very different monetization models. The fr

Read more: https://fortune.com/2019/11/20/gaming-industry-sales-2019-fortnite/

How to Deal With Political Talk at Work

What’s the buzz in the break room or nearby cubicle these days, while you’re trying to concentrate on doing your job? If you’re like almost half (42%) of American employees, you’ve gotten embroiled in a fractious discussion about what’s going on in Washington, what should happen next, and why someone else’s opinions about these things is just plain wrong.

That’s according to a new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which found that 56% of workers think political chatter at work has been increasing —and becoming more polarizing— for the past four years. With the 2020 elections coming up, “we should expect to see even more disagreements in the months ahead,” notes Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM’s president and CEO, adding that most of the noise is “about hot button issues that fire people up.” Perhaps you’ve noticed.

It used to be expected that people would leave their political views at the door when they came to work, but apparently no longer. It seems we’re ambivalent about that: While 66% of employees said they’re hearing more political talk at work than a few years ago, says a separate poll by staffing firm Robert Half, only 22% think these conversations are “appropriate”, but 49% admit to being “interested” anyway.

Let’s suppose you find yourself sucked into an argy-bargy with a colleague whose views strike you as wrongheaded (not to say downright nuts)? How can you handle it without alienating the people you have to work with every day, or damaging professional relationships you’ll need later on?

Benjamin Cook is a law professor at Brigham Young University and Harvard-trained mediator who is director of the nonprofit (and non-partisan) Center for Conflict Resolution. He recommends these four strategies:

1. Try to see where the other person is coming from

No matter how misguided you might think someone is, he or she has reasons for approaching a political topic (or any other topic, for that matter) in a certain way. Forgetting that, in the heat of the moment, often means “the fundamental way we view someone ends up negatively affecting everything we hear and say,” Cook observes, and conversations that start out that way “will almost always end badly. The key is to see the other as a person with hopes, fears, and challenges. If you don’t know what those are, you might need to start by finding out.” Who knows, your coworker’s logic may make more sense

Read more: https://fortune.com/2019/11/20/politics-talk-at-work/

Microsoft’s Outlook.com Is Adding Gmail, Google Drive, and Calendar Integration

Microsoft and Google have been bitter rivals for years. But in a surprising move on Wednesday, Microsoft’s Outlook.com Web mail client appears to be warming up to Gmail and other Google services.

Twitter user Florian B tweeted screenshots on Wednesday that show a new feature in Outlook.com allowing users to integrate their Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar into their Outlook.com account. The feature, which appears to be rolling out slowly to Outlook.com members, means users can interact with, and share content between, their Outlook.com and Google accounts in the same pane.

The feature is only rolling out to Outlook.com Web mail client users. Outlook users who subscribe to Microsoft’s Office 365 service—commonly the case for workplaces who use Outlook as their email client—can already add e-mail accounts from other services to manage their messages in one spot.

You can now add your gmail account on https://t.co/qrV9WCmJyQ ! pic.twitter.com/KYvZe6wx7q

— Florian B (@flobo09) November 20, 2019

Neither Google nor Microsoft immediately responded to a Fortune request for comment on the integration.

According to Florian B and other users who have tweeted about the integration, adding Google services to Outlook takes just a few steps. After it’s set up, users can switch between their Outlook and Gmail accounts on the fly.

More importantly, the feature works across platforms. So, if users have a document stored in Google Drive, they can attach it to an e-mail they’re sending from their Outlook accounts. Similarly, users can add information from their Outlook e-mails to their Google Calendar events all within the same space.

It’s unclear why Microsoft is integrating Google services into Outlook.com. But it’s possible the feature could be used to combine work and personal e-mails. Those who use Outlook.com personal e-mail accounts, for instance, could integrate their work Google G Suite accounts into Outlook.com and cover both sides of their lives. Office 365 business users can already integrate Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive into their desktop Outlook app, although it’s not as simple to set up.

Google and Microsoft’s battle has been well documented. Over the years, Google has taken the fight to Microsoft on several fronts, including in the browser, where it unveiled Gmail as an alternative to Outlook in 2004. Google also operates

Read more: https://fortune.com/2019/11/20/microsoft-outlook-gmail-google-drive-calendar-integration/

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