The Console War heats up as New study says The Sturgis Motorcycle rally was a super spreader event

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

The console war heats up as the Holiday season approaches. The Sturgis Motorcycle rally was a super spreader event that may have generated a public health cost of about $12.2 billion. Huawei makes its own operating system to compete with iOS and Android. Social Media companies try to persevere democracy as the 2020 US election approaches. Peloton sales surge as demanded for workout equipment increases. Here are this week's top stories.

1. The Console War

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft and Sony are getting ready for battle as the holiday season approaches. Both companies are preparing to launch a top-level console in November. Microsoft is doing everything in its power to gain an advantage in the console war. Microsoft has revealed the price of its consoles, $500 for Xbox Series X, and $300 for Xbox Series S. Sony is yet the price of the PS5, but it is expected to be around $500. During this financial crisis, Microsoft has created a more ‘budget-friendly’ console which will win over more players. The Series S has very few compromises that casual gamers are willing to make for the price point. The Series X is expected to be better than the PS5 in terms of specs and performance. One advantage that the PS5 has over Xbox is exclusives, games that you can only play on PS5 like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Gran Turismo 7, but Microsoft has also created their own lists of exclusives including Halo Infinite and Forza. Microsoft has also created Game Pass Ultimate, a monthly subscription that gives you access to hundreds of popular and top-rated games. They are also heavily investing in the new cloud gaming market which allows you to play games without needing a console. The main concern about the Xbox and PS5 has been price. With millions out of work, people are not willing to splurge on a new console. Microsoft is trying to resolve this issue by creating a subscription that includes one of the consoles and game pass ultimate for $25 or $35 a month for 24 months. The surprising thing is that you will actually save money by taking the subscription rather than buying the console and then paying for game pass ultimate for 2 years. Microsoft is doing everything in its power to get you to buy their console and their strategy might work.

2. The Sturgis Motorcycle may have generated a public health cost of about $12.2 billion

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota that lasts for 10 days. It was begun in 1938 by a group of Indian Motorcycle riders and was originally held for stunts and races. Since then, it has become an annual event attended by hundreds of thousands of bike lovers from all over the world. The only time the event has been canceled since 1938, was during World War II, from 1942 to 1944, due to gasoline rationing. The event generates around $800 million in annual revenue. But because of its huge size and limited social distancing, this year it was a huge cause of concern. Over 400,000 thousand bikers attended the event this year with no masks and little social distancing. A study by a California research suggests that this rally was a super spreader event that may have caused over 260,000 cases in August alone, potentially linked to people who attended the rally, traveled to other locations, and then spread the disease among their communities. That's 19% of all recorded cases in August in the USA! It boosted South Dakota's economy slightly but it cost the Health care system over $12 billion. The people that attended the rally were from all across the country which caused the virus to spread to small towns and rural areas. The governor of South Dakota supported the event because it was supposed to boost the economy and called the study ‘fiction’. While the study might have some flaws and the numbers might be lesser, but it’s a reminder that it takes collective action to contain the virus. As Sturgis revelers head back home, this South Dakota-centered outbreak has the potential to infect people who never went anywhere near Sturgis and thought they were doing everything right.

3. Huawei is making its own Operating System

Huawei P40 Pro+

Huawei announces to switch its smartphones from android to their own operating system, Harmony OS. Huawei is a Chinese multinational technology company known for its smartphones. Huawei is the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer after Samsung. Currently, there are two main operating systems- Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Google’s Android accounted for 85.4% of smartphones shipped last year and Apple’s iOS accounted for the remaining 14.6%. Harmony OS is good news for consumers as they will have a third operating system to pick from. Huawei is leaving Android and creating its own ecosystem like Apple. Since it’s being built from the ground up for Huawei phones, it is expected to be super-efficient. According to Huawei, one line of code in Harmony OS does the work of 100 lines of code in Android. It will also use less battery while being more powerful. Huawei has faced allegations from the US and its allies over threats of national security which has caused the company to exit the US market. Donald Trump has banned Google services, apps, and playstore from Huawei phones which made the phone almost unusable in the western world as most people rely on Google services. This has tanked sales and the reputation of the Company in the western world. This move did not affect the Chinese market as consumers in China are not reliant on Google services. Over 70% of its sales are from China. With this move, Huawei is trying to be as independent as possible so that it is least affected by political decisions.

4. Social Media and Democracy

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Social Media usage is at an all-time high. There is a constant switch in political campaigns were in parties are trying to reach the masses over social media instead of in-person rallies. The information on social media is influencing people's decisions. Hence it is extremely important to maintain the sanity of information in social media to maintain democracy. Social media apps like Google, Twitter, and Facebook are expecting a surge in misleading posts and false claims ahead of the US election. Twitter plans to label and remove more tweets that spreads misinformation. Google will screen more autocomplete results to avoid voters being misled, particularly over reports claiming an early victory. Twitter will focus on labeling and remove tweets claiming an early victory and misleading posts about ballot tampering. Facebook recently announced that it will not allow election-related ads one week prior to the election. Misinformation about mail-in ballots is spreading online and many companies have vowed to stop the spread. These firms have been under pressure to combat misinformation after Russia used their platforms to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. Even after stricter measures, misinformation is spreading thru social media and hackers are getting personal information. Microsoft warned that hackers with ties to Russia, China, and Iran are attempting to spy on people and groups involved with the US 2020 presidential election. That could mean a nightmare for democracy.

5. Peloton Sales surge

Source: Peloton

Peloton is an American exercise equipment company founded in 2012. It is known for its premium workout equipment like its bike and treadmill. The firm’s global membership base doubled this year to 3.1 million members. Its revenue increased by 172% to $607 million. Their members are also working out more. They are averaging 24 workouts per month compared to 12 last year. The Pandemic has caused a rise in demand for home workout equipment, which caused backlogs and long waits. Pelton saw this as an opportunity and cut prices on their existing bikes and added new models increasing demand. There is a shortage of workout equipment all around the world which has caused prices to surge. Stores are having a hard time keeping up with demand and customers are having to wait months to get their equipment.

Above were my top stories for the week ending September 12, 2020, hope you liked it. Please leave your feedback or point of view in the form of a comment.

Thanks, see you next week!

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Lakshya Jain

Lakshya Jain

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I share unique stories that are not widely reported in the media. Veritas! Email: lakshya5jain@gmail.com