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1. WinZo Games files case against Google
Google’s recent decision to allow fantasy games back into the Play Store has not sat well with many. One of the disgruntled parties, WinZo games, filed a lawsuit against Google because they believed this would hurt their reputation amongst users.
All this started with Google’s decision to commence a pilot program that allowed apps like Dream11, Mobile Premier League, etc. to rejoin the Play Store pending an application form. However, real-money game apps like WinZo were not extended an invitation even though they technically come under the same category.
This apparent discrimination led to WinZo’s lawsuit. Saumya Singh Rathore, co-founder of WinZo Games said in a statement, “The selective inclusion of games which have been challenged in court (as games of skill) will put the other players in a detrimental position and distort the market. This effectively sends out a message that all other real-money games are not legal, even though they are constitutionally protected by the Supreme Court as games of skill,”.
“Google Play, as a market leader, has a duty to act in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner. There does not seem to be a reason for selecting only DFS ( Daily Fantasy Sports) and Rummy,” Rathore added.
Google has not commented on this lawsuit. As things stand, the pilot program is set to go on for a year, beginning on September 28th, 2022.
2. Tier II cities driving demand for online fashion
The festive season shopping is projected to reach new highs, according to a report by Redseer. Interestingly yet unsurprisingly, customers from Tier II cities are driving the demand for online fashion.
Sanjay Kothari, Associate Partner at Redseer Strategy Consultants, said that “Online fashion has grown 4x in the last four years compared to 3x growth for overall e-tail. Fuelling this growth is the increasing shopper base from tier 2+ cities resulting in 2.5x growth in fashion shoppers in the last 4 years,”. Kothari also added that “The share of fashion in overall festive sale in festive week 1 is estimated to increase by 9pp from 2018-22”.
Sellers are also quite optimistic about the festive season. They expect at least a 20% growth, that’s 1.2x higher than last year. One seller said that they’ve “seen a surge in the fashion sales in the last few quarters and hoping the same for festive (season) as well,”. Furthermore, sellers are hoping for 2x to 4x growth in sales.
Overall, Redseer’s report revealed that 83% of respondents are looking to make purchases this festive season.
3. Snapchat Web now available for all users
Snapchat rolled out an update recently that brings many new features for its users. Included in the update was the opening of Snapchat Web to all users. Previously, Snapchat Web was an exclusive feature for Snapchat+ subscribers. With the web version, users can make video and voice calls, send messages, etc. straight from their PCs.
The other new features include Chat Shortcuts, a lock screen widget for iOS 16, and Question Stickers.
4. Spotify rolls out audiobooks for US users
Spotify is opening up its audiobook selection for American users with a catalog of more than 3 lakh titles.
The audiobooks will be available under a new section within the app with individual prices for each title. Spotify intends to use this pricing model as a key differentiator from its competitors. “We think that a more fluid pricing model would actually allow for both an audience that has never consumed this format to start consuming it on Spotify,” said Nir Zicherman, Spotify VP and Global Head of Audiobooks and Gated Content.
Spotify made its intentions clear about audiobooks several months ago with the acquisition of Findway and the subsequent announcement on Spotify’s Investor Day event.
Back then, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek dubbed the audiobook market as a $70 billion annual opportunity. He went on to say that the global book market is “estimated to be around $140 billion dollars”, with audiobooks “having only about a 6%-7% market share”. But Ek says that the most penetrated audiobook market is close to 50% which makes this opportunity tantalizing.
The other markets, like India, will have to wait for Spotify’s audiobooks, with no clear timeline.
5. Amazon Appstore via Windows 11 available in more countries, India excluded
The Microsoft Store has been hitting record highs, according to the company, since they redesigned its app store. According to Microsoft, they’ve seen 900 million unique users using the Microsoft Store globally and recorded a 122% year-on-year growth in app developer submissions.
Their partnership with the Amazon Appstore has also seen a positive response which led them to expand its availability in 31 more countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, etc. Earlier the Amazon Appstore on Windows 11 was available in only 5 countries. India, however, was conspicuously omitted from both these lists.
Additionally, Microsoft is piloting the Microsoft Store Ads for developers and adding more games and entertainment content for users.
6. Instagram to have uninterrupted Stories
Instagram is continuing its work to be a video-first platform with its latest tweak. Now Stories can be recorded and played for up to 60 seconds without any interruptions. That means it won’t break up into the usual 15-second clips.
“Now, you’ll be able to play and create Stories continuously for up to 60 seconds, instead of being automatically cut into 15 second clips,” said a Meta spokesperson.
The update to Stories comes after the many changes already introduced to Reels. Users can post Reels that are up to 90 seconds long, with the possibility of turning Reels into ads.
With the rise of short-form content, with the likes of TikTok and YouTube Shorts capturing a large user base, Instagram is doing everything it can to capitalize on this growing market.