Nintendo Profits Soar 428 Percent

Nintendo has reported spectacular earnings, highlighting the truly amazing popularity of video games in difficult times such as these.

“Nintendo’s operating profits skyrocketed 428 percent in the fiscal first quarter, the company said Thursday, a wild jump that reflects just how much the video game industry has benefited from the coronavirus pandemic,” writes Ryan Browne of CNBC. “The numbers highlight the boom in demand for gaming during coronavirus lockdowns. Big game publishers like Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive have reported solid results this week. Nintendo in particular has gotten a boost from the pandemic. Its “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” title released in March quickly became a hit as players looked for a form of escapism while stuck indoors.”

Instagram Unveils ‘Reels’ to Compete with TikTok

Instagram aims to lure users from TikTok to its new offering, Reels, adding to TikTok’s troubles in the social media space. TikTok is under fire from U.S. regulators, and may be acquired by Microsoft.

“Similar to TikTok, Reels lets people create short-form videos set to music that can be shared with friends and followers and discovered while browsing the app. It’s the newest opportunity for Instagram to bring in users, increase the amount of time people spend in the app every day, and establish itself as a video entertainment platform,” write Julia Alexander of The Verge. “Reels allows people to record videos up to 15 seconds long and add popular music, as well as an array of filters and effects, over top of them. For creators looking to use Instagram Reels as a new way to build a following, Instagram has revamped its Explore page to create a specific landing spot for Reels at the top of the screen that people can vertically scroll through — similar to TikTok’s “For You Page.”

Major Merger in Digital Healthcare Space

The digital healthcare market is responding rapidly to the pandemic and to the new forms of demand it has created. Two of the largest publicly traded companies in digital health, Livongo and Teladoc, have agreed to an $18.5 billion merger, according to CNBC.

“The deal, announced Wednesday, brought together two complementary players in a fast-growing market. Teladoc, which offers virtual physician consults for acute medical needs, had long planned to offer more services for patients with chronic ailments like diabetes. Livongo, which specializes in remote coaching for diabetes among other chronic conditions, had been likewise mulling a move into telehealth,” writes Christina Farr of CNBC.

Both companies had “reported record growth in recent months, as consumers looked for alternatives to traditional brick and mortar medical care,” according to Farr’s report.

SpaceX Tests New Rocket Prototype

SpaceX is testing a new experimental rocket that it hopes will accelerate the progress of the Starship space vehicle designed for a mission to Mars.

“The brief straight-up-and-down test flight was carried out Tuesday evening at SpaceX's development site in south Texas, and it's meant to help SpaceX figure out how to launch and land a large spacecraft with extreme precision,” writes Jackie Wattles of CNN Business. “The prototype is the latest in a lineup of test vehicles SpaceX has constructed over the past year as the company races to develop a massive spaceship and rocket system called Starship, which CEO Elon Musk bills as the vehicle that will carry the first humans to Mars.”