App Annie: Q1 mobile game downloads up 20% as players stay in

All of that social distancing is helping mobile gaming grow, according to mobile market data and analytics App Annie. Global mobile game downloads were up 20% in Q1 2020 compared to the same period last year.

To be precise, the recent quarter saw 13 billion new downloads. The current pandemic has many people stuck inside, often starved for entertainment or distraction. This is giving mobile gaming a boost.

For Google Play, India and Brazil were the largest markets. China and U.S. were tops for iOS.

Above: Top mobile games for Q1 2020.

The puzzle game Brain Out reached the top of the downloads charts. Game for Peace, the Chinese adaption of PUBG Mobile, was top for consumer spend. Regular old PUBG Mobile was No. 1 in terms of monthly active users.

Consumers spent over $16.7 billion on mobile gaming in the recent quarter, a 5% increase from the previous quarter. Games make up 65% of all spending on iOS and 85% on Google Play.

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Fortnite Skye’s coastal campsites map locations revealed for Week 7 challenge

Fortnite fans are working their way through the Skye’s Adventure challenges for Week 7.

In case you’ve missed it, challenges have been given a big overhaul this season. Tasks now revolve around different Agent characters introduced as part of the Season 2 Battle Pass.

The first two weeks of challenges revolved around special agent Brutus. TNTina took centre stage during Week 3 and Week 4, followed by Meowscles in Week 5 and Week 6.

Titled Skye’s Adventure, the Week 7 and 8 challenges reward players with either the Ghost or Shadow variation of the Skye skin.

To unlock either the Ghost or Shadow version of Skye, players must complete the Week 7 and Week 8 challenges to unlock the Classified  missions for the character.

Once you’ve picked a side and completed the associated mission, you’ll unlock that style for Skye. Players can only pick one style, so you’d better choose wisely. 

Before you even come close to unlocking the Ghost and Shadow skins for Skye, you’ll need to Search chests at Spy Bases, deal damage with SMGs or pistols, and escape a secret passage.

One of the more interesting challenges tasks players with visiting Skye’s Coastal Campsites.

Fortnite Shark, Rapid’s Rest, Gorgeous Gorge map locations for Week 7 Skye’s Adventure challenge

There are five coastal campsites in total, although you only need to visit three of them in order to complete the challenge.

They’re also spread pretty far apart, but thankfully you don’t have to finish the challenge in the same game.

As you can see from the map above, one of the coastal campsites can be found west of Sweaty Sands, while another is in the northern part of the map, above Pleasant Park.

A third coastal campsite can be found south-east of Steamy Stacks. Another is south-east of the snowy region of the map, while the fifth and final coastal campsite is south-west of Misty Meadows.

The remaining Week 7 Skye’s Adventure challenges can be seen below.

Fortnite Week 7 Skye’s Adventure Challenges in full…

• Search Chests at Spy Bases (7)

• Deal damage to players with SMGs or Pistols (400)

• Mark an Uncommon, Rare, and Epic item (1)

• Collect 75 of each material within 60 seconds after landing from the Battle Bus (3)

• Hide in a Creepin’ Cardboard at the Box Factory (1)

• Consume Foraged Items at Weeping Woods or The Orchard (10)

• Visit The Shark, Rapid’s Rest, and Gorgeous Gorge (1)

• Escape a Vault a Secret Passage (1)

• Visit Skye’s coastal campsites (3)

• Pull a player or Henchman with a Harpoon Gun (1)

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Kickstarter Begins for SteamVR Compatible etee Controller

Last week VRFocus reported on British startup TG0 and its upcoming Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for a pair of finger tracking controllers called etee. At the time only the 3 degrees of freedom (3DoF) versions had been revealed but today the campaign has gone live and the 6DoF, SteamVR compatible versions have been unveiled.

The wireless, buttonless controllers will offer virtual reality (VR) gamers a fully immersive range of gestures, from fully tracked fingers to touch and pressure.

The Kickstarter aims to raise £45,900 GBP by its 11th May completion date, with backers able to select from the etee DevKit (3DoF) to the fully SteamVR compatible 6DoF versions. A pair of the etee DevKit controllers will set you back £199 while the Early Bird etee SteamVR version is £239 – limited to the first 100 customers. Or for those after something a little more special there’s always the etee SteamVR Ghost Edition with a translucent body for £349. If money is no object then the £3,000 tier offers a pair of etee SteamVR Ghost Edition controllers which will have your name etched onto the PCB’s as well as one custom-made commemorative poly-framed PCB.

“I’ve never seen someone pick up an etee controller and fail to be wowed,” said Jakub Kamecki, etee’s Head of Business Development, in a statement. “We want to share this technology and to build a community, not only of gamers but of developers, innovators and inventors. We’ve felt for a long time that etee is the future of VR control. Now we’re going to make it so.”

etee Controller Feature List:

  • etee Dev Kit is 75g / etee SteamVR will be 120g
  • Open palm gesture sensing for all fingers
  • Thumb trackpad to simulate a joystick
  • Free hand design
  • Sweat, dust and water-proof for improved hygiene and reliability
  • Long battery life (16 hours standby, up to 6h active)
  • Full Colour LED
  • Next-gen haptic feedback
  • USB port Type C
  • Bluetooth BLE and WiFi communication

Should the Kickstarter go well then TG0 estimates the etee controllers will be ready to ship to backers in December 2020. As the campaign progresses, VRFocus will report back with all the latest updates.

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Sutton wins Bathurst eSport Cup thriller

BTCC title winner Ash Sutton held off Dylan O’Keeffe to win a thrilling opening feature race of the ARG eSport Cup season on the Mount Panorama circuit.

Sutton spent the first half of the 30-minute race patiently parked behind pole-sitter O’Keeffe, as the pair swiftly gapped the remainder of the field.

Right on the half-way mark the Brit made his move, sliding up the inside of O’Keeffe at Griffins Bend.

Sutton couldn’t shake the TCR Australia race winner, though, the pair running-nose-to-tail until the final corner.

But despite the pressure O’Keeffe couldn’t find a way back through, Sutton holding on to take the first-ever eSport Cup feature race win by just 0.3s.

The battle for third was equally close, Nathan Herne holding off Harley Haber for the final spot on the virtual podium.

Nic Carroll had been in the mix for third early in the race, but had to settle for fifth after an off at Murray’s Corner 10 minutes in.

In the 15-minute reverse grid race it was comfortable win for Rowan Shepherd, who came home 2s clear of Brett Holdsworth – brother of Supercars star Lee – and TCR race winner Aaron Cameron.

Herne was the best of the feature race front-runners in sixth, which means he now holds a two-point series lead over O’Keeffe, who finished the second race 10th.

Sutton was just 25th in the reverse-grid race, leaving him sixth points behind Herne.

The second round will be held on the Zolder circuit, in Audi TCR cars, next Thursday.

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Synth Riders’ Fitness Update Rolls Out ‘Synth Sundays’ Live Workout Classes

With everyone having to stay at home at the moment due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), popping out only when absolutely necessary, finding ways to stay fit indoors has never been more important. Virtual reality (VR) has proven to be a fun way to keep active with a range of suitable titles available including Synth Riders. Developer Kluge Interactive recently announced the Fitness Tracker and will soon introduce another feature, Synth Sundays.

Synth Sundays are weekly workout classes with professionals, Carize and HeyFalcon, pro Twitch streamers and trainers.  They’ll lead training sessions via open rooms in Synth Riders’ multiplayer mode beginning this Sunday, 5th April at 1pm PST (9pm BST). Early bird players will be able to join the trainers, host their own workout sessions or watch the event live here.

In addition to Synth Sundays, the Fitness Update for Synth Riders will expand the multiplayer limit from 5 to 10 players per room, add a non-Stop play mode for a continuous workout, offer a larger play area modifier for more body movement, enable players to be represented by avatars in the lobby and gift players bonus song “Phoenix” by Raizer (FiXT Label).

Players will also be able to use the new feature, a virtual watch which makes it easier to monitor heart rate, squat count, calories burned and record progress.

“We are glad to be working with YUR on a solution that can help our players stay active during these uncertain times, when a lot of the traditional fitness options are not available. We believe that “Synth Sundays” will be a great way to connect our players together for workouts and social interactions which are now only possible in a multiplayer VR experience,” said Abraham Aguero Benzecri, Creative Director, Kludge Interactive in a statement.

Kluge Interactive has more updates in store including an “Electro Swing Essentials” DLC which will offer songs from Parov Stelar, Jamie Berry and Electric Swing Circus as well as plans to bring Synth Riders to even more platforms including an optimized version for VR arcades. The Fitness Update is out now and as further updates are released, VRFocus will let you know.

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Games Inbox: What’s the best video game of 2020 so far?

The Thursday Inbox is not happy with Platinum Games’ attempt at an April Fool, as one reader asks for PS4 Metroidvania recommendations.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

First quarter
So, I hate to say it but the years is now one quarter done. I know, right? I think it’s safe to say that at this point it’s probably not going to go down as a classic year for gaming, or anything probably. But we have had some good games in the last couple of weeks, so at the 25% mark I’ve got to ask what is the best game of 2020?

As far as I can see the main contenders are Persona 5 Royal (not really a new game, but I think it counts), Half-Life: Alyx, Doom Eternal, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Nioh 2, and Ori And The Will Of The Wisps. Now I haven’t played all of these (I’d be surprised if even 5% of readers had played Half-Life: Alyx) but for me it’s between Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing.

Of those two, personally I’ve only played Doom Eternal and I really enjoyed. But even I have to admit that Animal Crossing seems to be the bigger game, it really seems to have caught the imagination of people more than anything else I’ve seen for a long time. It obviously suits self-isolation, especially because it’s cheerful and non-violent, so plenty of non-gamers are playing it too.

Kudos to Nintendo, I say. I don’t understand why more companies don’t try to make non-violent games. It’s basically a thing only Nintendo do and from a basic business point of view that seems like a mistake. Personally I’d still rather play Doom but a good game is a good game, especially if it’s doing something differently.

Double cancellation
So not only is E3 cancelled but the thing that was meant to replace it, at least from Bethesda, is also cancellation? What a classic this year is turning out to be! It felt like the games industry was trying to tear itself apart before the coronavirus ever started, now it feels like it’s just doing things at random. Final Fantasy 7 Remake coming out 10 days early, people leaking seemingly accurate Nintendo rumours, everybody saying as little as possible about what games they’re making… it’s cats and dogs living together all over again!

There’s a lot going wrong at once but I wonder whether the underlying problem is that companies aren’t ready for the next generation. It did really happen with the PlayStation 4 era but go back a generation from that and tons of developers, particularly in Japan, couldn’t handle the move to HD and a lot of games turned out bad or late and this smells to me like the same sort of thing.

So few games are coming out at the moment, or even getting announced, that it feels like the machinery is all jammed up. Companies don’t know when the next gen console are coming out and they’re not sure when to switch to supporting them. That’s my theory anyway. There’s too much going wrong at the same time and I can’t believe that it’s a coincidence that it’s happening during the build up to the new consoles.
PS: I admit that doesn’t explain Nintendo, but whatever can?

Platinum 1½
So let me get this straight, PlatinumGames went to all the trouble of setting up a website and doing press for the ‘Platinum 4’ and it turned out to be a remaster of one of their lesser games, a new studio for making mobile games, an April Fool’s joke, and one genuine new game? That is not what I was hoping for when they first started hyping all this up.

The new studio was disappointing enough but they said they were saving the best till last, which turned out to be a non-joke about an old arcade shooter that I bet 99% of people have never even heard of. They should hire me to be their marketing guy, I’d do it for free lunch and access to their games room and I wouldn’t come up with anything as pointless and annoying as that.

On top of all this they’re not involved in the NieR remake. Project G. G. looks good but otherwise I do not think this has been a good couple of months for Platinum.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Family games
Hi GC and my fellow readers. I hope you are all keeping safe and getting to enjoy some gaming time during a difficult time. Now that I’m home with the kids and trying to think of fun ways to kill time, I was hoping GC or any readers could advise on which is the best family friendly ten-pin bowling game on the Switch? Something akin to the old Wii Sports would be great.

Would there be any other fun party games/sports games for families to play that you can recommend (apart from Super Mario Party and Mario Kart 8, which we already own). My eldest is six, so would need to be something not too complex ideally.

Thanks in advance.
Dj Kj

GC: We don’t remember bowling in any Switch game, but perhaps there’s something we’ve forgotten that a reader can recommend. There seem to be various bowling games if you search in the eShop, but they all look pretty low budget and we’ve never heard of any of them before. As for other games, Just Dance is usually popular with kids and non-gamers, or there’s things like Bubble Bobble 4 Friends and Overcooked. Animal Crossing: New Horizons also allows multiple people to live on the same island, although all but the first has to take a very reduced role.

Metroidvania mania
VVVVLTRFTW. Isolation has given me an opportunity to actually get back into gaming after a long break. I have been using my housemate’s Xbox to play firstly Ori And The Blind Forest and currently playing Ori And The Will Of The Wisps. What brilliantly crafted games these are! I have mostly avoided this style of ‘Metroidvania’ game before.

My housemate is getting a little bit vexed at me using his Xbox, and I own a PlayStation 4 – can anyone give me any recommendations for Metroidvania games to help relieve isolation boredom?
Millero86 (gamertag)

GC: Most Metroidvanias are multiformat indie games, so there’s Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, Axiom Verge (the closest to the actual Metroid series), Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night (the closest to Castlevania), SteamWorld Dig 2, Guacamelee, and Owlboy. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the only recent big budget example of the genre.

Relatively difficulty
RE: drlowdon on game difficulty. Much as I adore the Dark Souls games, I do feel that when it comes to game difficulty there is one point that should be considered: difficulty is completely subjective.

The design decisions in the Souls games are in part what makes it difficult, but to take the example you made that, ‘The mechanic of having to collect your souls after dying also wouldn’t work if you didn’t ever actually die!’ How often each player dies is unique to that player. Some players can get through the game without ever actually dying, so don’t make use of that mechanic.

I also feel, especially in multiplayer games, the idea of rewarding good players with more powerful items and letting the worse players suffer is somewhat backwards (though directly inverting it would also be a terrible idea).

Though it would be difficult to do, dynamic difficulty would be the best option, like that seen in Resident Evil 4 (see Game Maker’s Toolkit), that way ‘lesser’ players and ‘good’ players would both have a challenge that they can overcome and enjoy.
Joseph Dowland

GC: Those stories of people beating Dark Souls without dying are only after a huge amount of practice. We don’t think anyone would describe the games as anything other than difficult.

Never surrender
I will say this for Ubisoft they don’t give up on a game and they almost always manage to turn them around. I would’ve said that Ghost Recon Breakpoint was unsalvageable and I’m certain no other company would’ve bothered to try and fix it but sounds like Ubi actually put in the effort.

I don’t know if they’re going to get much out of doing that, considering how cheap the game is now, but I’ll probably give it a go at £15. It also makes me more confident about buying their other games in the future.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Licence blindness
RE: Obakasama and his letter about bad games that you actually enjoyed. This is true of The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (which I think GC gave 2/10).

I’m not sure if I was blinded by complete faith to the TV show (back when it was still good and at the height of its popularity) but I actually really enjoyed the game. Putting you in the shoes of my favourite character, Daryl, using his infamous crossbow to kill walkers was perfect for placing you in the world and scoring headshots rarely left me without a smile on my face.

There was also a bit of depth to the game, where you could pick up survivors on your travels and recruit them to your group (they joined your RV). They then became available to send on scouting runs and, dependent on their skills and current inventory, had a chance of success for their missions. Whilst I never became attached to any of the characters, it did feel strange sending someone to their inevitable doom and helped build out the world.

Overall, the game was entirely forgettable, but at the time (probably due to the rose-tinted glasses) I remember being completely absorbed in its campaign.
CapoCurious (PSN ID)

Inbox also-rans
Gone Home and Hob are free on PC on Epic Games Store from today for the next week.
Andrew J.

Considering these fretful times, do you think that Pac-Man can get Pac-Man fever?

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Onibee, who asks what do you think, and hope, Nintendo’s next games will be for the Switch?

It’s now six months since they had a general topic Nintendo Direct and there are currently no major new Switch games scheduled for the whole year, so what do you think is going on? Although the coronavirus is exacerbating the situation Nintendo’s secrecy started last year, so why do you think that is?

What new games do you expect to see come out next and what surprises are you hoping for once they are finally announced? What do you think the secrecy is in aid of and what do you think Nintendo should do in order to try and counter the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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Persona 5 Royal: Guide To Playing Darts

Part of Persona 5 Royal’s improvement on the Baton Pass system is the ability to level up the effectiveness of Baton Passes with your teammates by playing darts at Kichijoji.

Players are introduced to this mechanic on 6/5, when Ryuji takes them to the darts and billiards game bar play darts— during this trip, the game automatically brings Ryuji’s Baton Pass to rank 2, but it’s only when players return to play of their own volition that the game introduces the actual minigame.

How To Play Darts

The rules are identical to those of real-life darts: you score points based on where your dart lands, and you must score exactly the specified amount of points in five turns. The game is divided into three difficulty levels: 301, 501, and 701, each named after how many points must be scored.

Each turn is comprised of three dart throws. It’s best to aim for the highest score possible on your first turn, but beware: if your dart throw puts your remaining points in the negative, it will be a bust and any points you scored during that turn will be voided. You must reach 0 points exactly.

Playing the minigame is mostly a matter of reflexes. When you step up, there will be an oval on the screen that you can position by using your Dualshock’s motion controls. Once it’s over the area you’d like to score, hold R2 to lock it in place, at which point a dot will start bouncing about within the oval. This dot determines where your dart will actually land— the trick is to flick your controller or press X when it’s over the score field you want to hit.

How To Rank Up Baton Passes

This is fairly simple— succeeding at one round of 301 will increase that teammate’s Baton Pass to rank 2, while a round of 501 will max them out at rank 3. Teammates at rank 1 will automatically ask to play 301, but you can still skip to rank 3 in one round if you play your cards right.

There are five turns in a round, with the protagonist going first and the selected teammate going second. If you’re able to score enough points in your first and second turn that your teammate could feasibly finish the round on their second turn, you’ll be given an opportunity to encourage them.

Selecting the right option will boost their performance, increasing the chance that they’ll finish the round and rank up to 3 immediately. However, if the number of points you’ve left for them to top off is low enough, you don’t need to worry too much about boosting their performance. Aim to leave them with anywhere between 1 and 30 points.

The “Right” options are as follows:

  • Mona: C. “I’m counting on you.”
  • Skull: A. “Focus!”
  • Panther: C. “Just play like usual.”
  • Fox: A. “Think of it like painting.”
  • Queen: C. “Take deep breaths.”
  • Oracle: B. “This is the real thing.”
  • Noir: C. “Just enjoy yourself.”
  • Violet: C: “Trust yourself.”

*These are unofficial translations of the prompts, and will be updated soon.

The exception to this is Crow— he will always ask to play 701 with you, and only ever level up one rank at a time.

How To Boost Your Performance

As with the other minigames in Persona 5 Royal, you’re able to augment your skills by purchasing certain items. After playing darts for the first time (not including the first visit with Ryuji), two items will be available for sale: a book and a specialty dart.

The book can be bought in Shinjuku and upon reading, will allow you to use Third Eye during a round. This means that holding L2 after locking the aiming oval down will slow the dot down, making it easier for you to shoot for the field you want.

The specialty dart can be bought from the sports shop in Shibuya’s Underground Mall, where the record store used to be in the original P5. This makes your aiming oval thinner, allowing for greater precision.

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League of Legends Adds New Champion Pingu As April Fools’ Prank

This April Fools’, Riot Games has announced its newest League of Legends champion, Pingu. For their prank this year Riot published a champion update on their website, detailing fake information on Pingu, a cuddly but deadly penguin champion that has been trapped in the Freljord ice for thousands of years.

The Pingu update is surprisingly complete, with a full set of abilities and even a theme song. There’s even a set of (poorly drawn) ability breakdown videos, made up of paper puppets and voiced over in a monotone. He can stun enemies with how cute he is, teleport around the map, and throw icebergs at enemies while Celine Dion plays.

Pingu is a cute little bird, but don’t be fooled. His tantrums have leveled villages, and his immense powers have caused many former enemies to join together to find a way to defeat him. No one knows how to stop him, but some of the brightest minds are working on doing so before it is too late. Still, it’s impossible to stay mad at him; he’s just so darn cute.

Pingu won’t be releasing any time soon, or ever, since he’s just an April Fools joke. Still, he’s earned a place in our hearts.

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Startup fundraising in a meltdown environment

The takeover offer that was in the works for over a year was supposed to arrive on February 14 but didn’t. Your contact at the company informed you they needed more time to “go over the numbers.”

Discussions with a strategic partner and potential investor have slowed to a stop.

A few months ago, your lead investors begged you to reject “low-ball offers” in the hundreds of millions. At the time, you had multiple bidders and ample interest from venture capital funds looking to participate in your Series A, B, or C. Now there is radio silence.

Investors in startups like to talk about the “special sauce” that makes a startup unique – the alchemy of technology, leadership, vision, scale, and product/market fit that makes a startup uniquely qualified to corner a market, or corner the market long enough to make everyone rich.

Today’s economic conditions are wartime conditions. Nobody in the developed world has managed through a war in a long time. There is no “special sauce” to raise money in wartime conditions, but some will manage it well, and many more will fail.

The instinctive reaction of most startup founding teams will be to delay their round. Startup valuations are in part built on good vibes and fear of missing out. Good vibes are hard to come by when thousands of people are dying, the living remain cooped up in their homes, and the economy sprints into reverse. The fear of sticking out has replaced the fear of missing out. A reasonable person could argue, why swim against the tide? Delay the round.

Delaying may not be a bad strategy if you are convinced that your company will be in a better position six months down the road. “Better” is defined by more traction with customers, longer runway, and better financing market conditions. No matter how much progress you made with customers in the previous six months, it will be extremely difficult to get commitments for substantial orders in the next six months, at least with enterprise customers. Unless you are among the very rare, you can expect revenues to be lower, your runway to be shorter, and your cash reserves to be depleted. Not exactly a “hot” investment.

In a situation where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t, the best policy is honesty. Tell your existing investors that, as hopeful as you are that the situation will become better in the next six months, chances are that it won’t drastically change for the better given customers’ current reticence to commit and your limited runway.

Then comes the hard part: Explain that the future will not stop, despite the current crisis. Humans always find a way to work around challenges, and we will do the same with the coronavirus. If your crop of investors liked your vision, your team, your technology and your market before the coronavirus, you should explain that nothing has fundamentally changed, except the time horizon. Suggest that you work together to meet the new time horizon.

Good investors are realistic. As scared as they may be at this moment, they know that the world will not end and that they will need to invest their partners’ money somewhere. If they don’t, they need to find another job.

Investing is all about confidence. You can’t control the market, but you can control how your company reacts to it. Investors want to see a realistic plan for cashflow, product development, and business development, with measurable goals. They want to see a team that can execute that plan, and the best predictor of future success is past success. In times of crisis it all comes down to fundamentals — management competence inspires investor confidence.

Convincing existing investors to support you in some tangible way during this period is critical to your future ability to attract new investors. Impressive examples are Exor NV’s $200 million investment in Via Transportation Inc. and the recent $240 million investment in Lilium led by Tencent, including other previous backers Atomico, Freigeist and LGT.

No matter how many zeros are involved, this is the time for your existing investors to step up. If you can’t convince those who know your business best that you are worth supporting through this period, you will have little chance of raising a new round once the coronavirus smoke clears.

Milan A. Račić is a co-founder of Gideon Brothers, a robotics and AI company in Europe.

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PC issues halt Verstappen’s Redline Esports win streak

Technical problems prevented Red Bull Racing Formula 1 star Max Verstappen from challenging for his fourth successive win in the fifth round of Team Redline’s Esports series for professional drivers, although he rebounded to win again later.

Verstappen dominated the opening race of the latest Real Racers Never Quit round, which featured over 40 real-life drivers racing GTE machinery around Interlagos.

He took pole for race two, but his PC crashed as the cars formed up for the rolling start and he was booted from the session – unable to re-join and take the start. This left McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris to lead the field away at the race start. As the pace car pitted, Norris brought the field to an extremely slow pace and there was multi-car pileup over the start line.

Series debutant Red Bull reserve driver Sergio Sette Camara was among the drivers involved in the chaos along with ex-F1 drivers Felipe Nasr and Giedo van der Garde.

Norris and 2019 Porsche Supercup runner-up Ayhancan Guven were separated by very little all race long and came to blows with just four laps to go.

At Turn 10 – scene of Alexander Albon and Lewis Hamilton’s incident at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix – Guven dived up the inside of race leader Norris and the duo collided. Norris turned in and was pushed wide, allowing Guven to emerge with the race lead.

Despite consistent pressure from Norris, Guven held on to take his first victory in the series and became only the third driver – along with Verstappen and Audi factory driver Kelvin van der Linde – to win a race in the series.

Verstappen also took pole position for the first race ahead of Norris and he led every lap in the 12-lap opener ahead of Norris.

Norris repelled race-long pressure from Argentine touring car driver Agustin Canapino to take second place. BMW factory drivers Bruno Spengler and Nicky Catsburg completed the top five.

Catsburg had less fortune in race two when he was spun out of eighth place by 2019 Japanese Formula 3 champion Sacha Fenestraz.

2018 Bathurst 12 Hour winner Dries Vanthoor took a sixth and a fourth-place finish in the races.

Formula E championship leader Antonio Felix da Costa enjoyed a rare clean opening race, finishing in ninth place. In the second race, he finished 15th after starting outside the top 40 positions.

Check out more Esports racing action with the NASCAR HEAT Pro League tonight on at 8pm E.T.

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