We need to find a fairer way of providing Goods and Services to the rest of the people on Earth.Cryptocurrencies and/or Gold Standard of money....maybe the answer to fight hyperinflation caused by too much printing of paper/fiat currencies by Governments and Central Banks all over the World. (https://nomorefiatmoneyplease.blogspot.com)
2016 is nearly over, thus concluding the first big year for virtual reality headsets. The long-awaited Oculus Rift from Facebook arrived back in March, followed soon after by the HTC Vive in April, and several months later by PlayStation VR in October.
But are consumers actually buying these things? Is anyone using VR?
AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko
It's still early days, but the latest projections from gaming and VR analytics firm SuperData Research aren't reassuring. Here's the breakdown, from best to worst, for projected sales in 2016:
Sony's PlayStation VR — 745,434
HTC Vive — 450,083
Facebook's Oculus Rift 355,088
Sony's clearly got a major lead, and that's largely due to price.
All in, you're looking at about $800 for a PlayStation 4, the PlayStation Camera, PlayStation VR, and two PlayStation Move controllers.Sony
PlayStation VR starts at $400 and works with any PlayStation 4 — still the most popular game console, with over 40 million sold worldwide. Not one of those 40+ million people? The PlayStation 4 costs $300, and is often on sale for $249 this holiday season. Moreover, PlayStation VR a simple plug-and-play setup, making it more accessible to the average consumer.
Ben Gilbert, Senior Correspondent at Business Insider, describes lifelike memories from his favorite virtual reality video game on season 2 of Codebreaker, our podcast produced with Marketplace. Click for full episodes.
In the case of the Oculus Rift ($600) and the HTC Vive ($800), there's the added cost of a high-end gaming PC on top of the higher initial price. At minimum, you're spending $500 to power the Oculus Rift headset; more realistically, you need to spend more like $1,000 to use the Rift or Vive with all VR experiences. And if you're spending that much, you're likely looking for the "room-scale" VR experience that both headsets offer — the ability to walk around and interact in VR. That combination of high-price, technical prowess, and extra space is assuredly limiting the market potential for Facebook and HTC's headsets.
The Oculus Rift in action.Facebook/Oculus VR
On the flip side, Samsung's phone-powered Gear VR headsets are looking to surpass 2.3 million in sales in 2016. Though the headset offers a less immersive experience than the trio of high-end headsets from Sony, Facebook, and HTC, Gear VR costs just $100 and works with Samsung's Galaxy phones. Slap your phone in and you're off to the virtual races!
As prices come down across the next year, consumers could start migrating from entry-level headsets like the Gear VR to Sony's PlayStation VR. But it'll take a marketing push from Sony, which SuperData Research's director of research Stephanie Llamas says is still missing.
"Supply inconsistencies and lack of marketing have put [Sony] behind their potential. They did not offer any first-party deals this weekend [Black Friday/Cyber Monday], restock bundles or market the device, pushing instead for the PlayStation 4 Pro," Llamas says.
If 2016 is the first big year of VR, perhaps 2017 will be the year where it takes root.
Codebreaker, our podcast, asks: can alternate realities save us? Listen and subscribe:
The founder of Kase Capital, who bet against Lumber Liquidators on allegations that the hardwood-flooring retailer sold toxic products, revealed his new short Tuesday at the Robin Hood Conference.
Shares of the chicken-wing chain fell by as much as 3% in regular trading.
In a slide deck on his website, Tilson listed five reasons why he was short the stock, or betting that it would fall.
First, he found the valuation to be "absurd," and listed the stock as trading at 62 times its trailing earnings per share.
Also, Tilson cited a decline in sales at stores open for at least one year since the middle of 2014.
Third, Tilson said Wingstop was in a very competitive market, and there was nothing "proprietary or unique" about the business of chicken wings. Besides other chains like Buffalo Wild Wings, Wingstop is up against small grocery stores and anywhere else that sells chicken wings, according to Tilson.
Fourth, Tilson said he was skeptical that Wingstop can hit its goal of 2,500 units in the US. And finally, the 22-year-old company generated "a mere" $87 million in revenues and $15 million in net income over the last 12 months.
Wingstop shares on 11/29/16MarketsInsider
Tilson said he was no longer short Lumber Liquidators, as the company had settled most of its investigations with regulators.
He reiterated his bet against Exact Sciences, the colorectal-cancer diagnostics company, which he first pitched in 2014. He said he was long shares of Berkshire Hathaway, as Warren Buffett's firm "provides more certainty than any other company" in an uncertain world.
Below are the slides from Tilson's presentation that explain his Wingstop short:
This was done in an attempt to reduce speculative forces that were responsible for most of the recent gains.
It’s clearly been effective, with the carnage seen today underlining just how much of a casino these markets have become.
A spike in short-dated Chinese interest rates could also have exacerbated the price declines with 14-day bond yields hitting the highest level seen since March.
“There’s a liquidity crunch in China so that’s not good for commodities in China,” Helen Lau, analyst at Argonaut Securities, told Reuters. “The speculators and retail investors have big (long commodity) positions, so the swings in prices are amplified.”
Dalian May 2017 Iron Ore Future. Source: Thomson Reuters Eikon
RBS had to submit plans to the regulator detailing how it would raise capital and boost resilience to financial shocks.
"While the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) Board judged that some capital inadequacies were revealed for three banks (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Barclays and Standard Chartered), these banks now have plans in place to build further resilience," the central bank said.
"The Financial Policy Committee (FPC) judged that, as a consequence of the stress test, the banking system is in aggregate capitalised to support the real economy in a severe, broad and synchronised stress scenario."
The tests examined how the UK's seven biggest banks would weather a domestic and global depression, and cope with high fines for misconduct.
The other four lenders – Santander, HSBC, Lloyds, and Nationwide – managed to pass the scenario with enough capital.
The scenario was the toughest yet for the Bank of England.
"The stress scenario is estimated to lead to system-wide losses of £44 billion over the first two years of the stress, around five times the net losses incurred by the same banks as a group over 2008–09," the regulator said.
The price of oil is surging on Wednesday after reports that the oil producers cartel OPEC has agreed a deal to cut output. Bloomberg News reports that an unnamed "delegate to the group"confirmed output will be cut be 1.2 million barrels per day to 32.5 million per day. Reuters also reports that a deal to cut output by the same margin has been agreed.
As of 2:50 p.m. GMT (10:50 a.m. ET), the price of Brent oil bounced by more than 7%, or more than $3 per barrel, after cratering on Tuesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, oil prices had increased more than 8%, but pulled back from those highs:
The price of US West Texas Intermediate crude has also followed suit:
A deal was reportedly struck after Saudi Arabia and Iran managed to reach a compromise after weeks of tensions. "It appears the Saudis accepted that Iran, as a special case, can raise production to about 3.9 million barrels a day," Bloomberg says.
Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia will now cut its output to 10.06 million barrels per day, adding that Indonesia has been suspended from the group, according to an OPEC source.
Reuters' source said OPEC's agreement was as a result of a proposal first tabled by Algeria's delegation.
As with most OPEC meetings, it is currently hard to tell if the information coming from the meeting is simply rumours. The cartel's gatherings are notorious for the sheer volume of chatter and leaked "news" that tends to emerge before members officially announce their decisions.
On Wednesday morning, Reuters reported that a delegate from the Iraqi contingent said that "there will be an agreement today," while the Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said "I'm optimistic."
OPEC delegates started a closed-door session at around 1000 GMT (5:00 a.m. ET) and are expected to give a press conference at around 3.00 p.m. GMT (10.00 a.m. ET).
Earlier, Reuters reported that Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said OPEC was close to clinching a deal to limit oil output, adding that OPEC is focusing on reducing output to a ceiling of 32.5 million barrels per day, or cutting by more than 1 million bpd, and hoped Russia and other non-OPEC members would contribute a cut of another 0.6 million bpd.
"It will mean that we (Saudi) take a big cut and a big hit from our current production and from our forecast for 2017. So we will not do it unless we make sure that there is consensus and an agreement to meet all of the principles," Falih said, according to Reuters.