Atari Launches Pridefest to Celebrate ‘Fun and Colour’ of LGBTQ Pride Parades

Atari Launches Pridefest to Celebrate 'Fun and Colour' of LGBTQ Pride Parades

In what is going to be interpreted and scrutinised many times over and for all kinds of reasons, a new game that intends to celebrate the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community has been released by Atari.

Pridefest, as it is called, sounds like a pride-infested simplified version of Sim City from its description which brings “the colourful atmosphere and inclusive spirit” of pride parades that take place every year around the globe.

“Pride is only one small portion of the diverse LGBTQ culture and community, but it is one centred on freedom of expression, the pursuit of equality, and shared celebration. Pridefest was designed to celebrate progress the LGBTQ community has made toward equality while working to emulate the spirited and celebratory atmosphere of today’s real-world parades,” Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said in a statement.

He added that parades are the core gameplay mechanic, and pride would be using as an all-encompassing theme for the in-game elements. Pridefest puts the player – he, she or them – as a mayor a city that has lost its sense of fun, and the player’s primary aim is to infuse joy and colour back into their city. You can achieve the same by switching store-fronts and bringing in pride flotillas into town.

pridefest_device_shot.jpg“While creating a fun, inclusive game members of the community and allies can enjoy was an important goal, we hope that Pridefest also serves as a platform for members of the LGBTQ community to connect in a safe, supportive atmosphere,” said Chesnais.

Initial reception from the community and beyond has been mostly negative, with people lamenting its “tacky free-to-play” structure and misappropriated understanding of LGBTQ issues. Like other free-to-play mobile games, in-app purchases in Pridefest run anywhere between Rs. 70 and Rs. 6,800 to assist you in infusing “fun” quicker.

“While rainbows and the word ‘pride’ have become analogous to the support of LGBTQ rights, turning that into ‘the spread of colour’ completely undermines the history of bigotry and harassment LGBTQ people have overcome (and still struggle with),” said Chelsea Stark, writing for Mashable.

She went on to point out that games such as Undertale and Dragon Age: Inquisition have done much better in the past when tackling similar topics. While Atari’s effort is commendable, it does come across as capitalising on a movement and feeling that brings people together.


Yahoo to Shut Down Its Offices in Argentina, Mexico

Yahoo to Shut Down Its Offices in Argentina, Mexico

Yahoo plans to close its offices in Argentina and Mexico, a company spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The company will maintain its Latin American operations through its teams in Brazil and Coral Gables, Florida.

Yahoo declined to specify how many jobs were affected, but said the offices were “small sales-focused”.

Technology news website TechCrunch first reported the closures.

Earlier this week, Yahoo performed its yearly spring cleaning, overhauling the Yahoo app for Android and iOS, as well as its desktop and mobile websites, with a focus on bringing better tailored news and video content alongside improving discussions with a more easily accessible comments section. The Internet giant, which is looking to recapture its former glory, has also rolled out a bunch of updates for its Android and iOS Mail apps, adding several new features including custom swipes and the ability to share recent attachments.

“We’ve made it easier to discover and create conversations with a community around engaging content and follow the latest developing stories in a nearly infinite news stream,” said Simon Khalaf, Senior Vice President, Yahoo in a blog post on Thursday, detailing the changes to the Yahoo app and home page.

As a part of the update for the Yahoo app and home page, users can now scroll through related stories in-line, instead of opening each article in a separate tab. The company says its algorithms now show tailored story articles on the news feed, based on what users are interested in. “The more you use the app and homepage, the better your experience will be,” says Khalaf. Users will of course have to sign in. The update also shows comments directly in-line below the story.


SwiftKey for Android Update Brings New Emojis and More

SwiftKey for Android Update Brings New Emojis and More

SwiftKey Keyboard for Android has started receiving an update that adds support for the 184 new and updated emoji introduced with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, apart from bringing other improvements. The app is now available to download or update via Google Play.

The SwiftKey team in a blog post said, “They’ve been available on the beta for a bit now, but we’re excited to officially bring these new Android emoji to the market version of SwiftKey.” The support for new emojis will be available for the devices running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

Some of the new emoji characters being introduced with the new SwiftKey for Android update include upside-down face, crab, burrito, bottle with popping cork, and reversed with middle finger extended, among others. Apart from the new emojis, the app also brings changes to 48 existing emoji.

To recall, Google started pushing the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow update for its Nexus range bringing the support for new set of emojis, and could be used on Google’s Keyboard app that shipped with the Nexus devices.

Apart from the new emojis, the SwiftKey Keyboard app gets new input currencies for Russia, Argentina, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Germany, Canada, and Australia. The update also brings improvements to typing behaviour when backspacing. It fixes some issues reported by users including auto space which now works with Japanese enabled and Evernote personalisation will now not cause repeated listing in settings. The update will now also allow users to type a URL. Previously, when users typed a URL, the keyboard suggested an autocorrect at the start of a message or capitalised the first “w”.


India Funding Roundup: A Matchmaking Startup, a Marketplace for Used Vehicles, and More

India Funding Roundup: A Matchmaking Startup, a Marketplace for Used Vehicles, and More

It was a massive week in terms of funding activity for the Indian startup ecosystem, with many startups securing seed funding rounds. Apart from food delivery, education and healthcare startups, crowdfunding and hybrid vehicle technology startups saw funding rounds come their way.

​Healthtech startup JustDoc has secured an undisclosed sum in seed funding from TracxnLabs, as well as angels such as Mohandas Pai, Mohit Saxena, Co-Founder, InMobi, Raghunandan G, Co-Founder, TaxiForSure, Singapore Angel Network, and others. JustDoc enables patients to do video consultations with doctors via its website and mobile apps, and said that it has completed 2,500 consultations so far. The startup is targeting five specialisations currently – general medicine, psychology, gynaecology, dermatology and paediatrics. JustDoc also provides 24/7 access to over a 100 quality doctors from top hospitals, and is now in the process of partnering with several top government and private hospitals, the company said in an emailed statement.

Crowdfunding platform Bitgiving has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from angel investors Harminder Sahni, Krishna Mehra, and Sanjay Bakshi, among others. The New Delhi-based startup helps individuals and organisations raise funds for entrepreneurial, creative and social projects, and will use the funds to scale up the team, enhancing the product and marketing. Founder and CEO Ishita Anand said in an emailed statement that the company plans to launch BitGiving 2.0, which will redefine community-driven crowdfunding.

Bengaluru-based matchmaking startup Aisle has raised Rs. 1.25 crores in its pre-series A round from TermSheet and ah! Ventures. The round was led by Anand Vijay, a Bay Area-based angel investor and jointly advised and syndicated with ah! Ventures, with participation from Snapdeal Chief Product Officer Anand Chandrasekaran, as well as Mekin Maheshwari, Akshay Syal, Richard Kim, Jana Pokkalla, and Manish Gautam. Founded in 2014 by Able Joseph, the platform gets 500-800 registrations per day from over 50 countries activated, with over 25 percent of the registered base ‘connected’ on the platform, the company said in an emailed statement.

Jupiter Capital has invested $2 million (roughly Rs. 13 crores) in Altigreen Propulsion Labs, a niche startup providing technology-enabled solutions for electric and hybrid powertrains. Jupiter Capital is looking to invest in game-changing technology ventures focused on Make in India, Design in India, and Smart City, the company said in a statement. Altigreen is engaged in research, design and development of proprietary hybrid vehicle technology for the Indian market. Altigreen has four co-founders and is supported by a strong engineering team and an advisory panel of cross-domain industry experts.

Mumbai-based Truebil, an online marketplace for used vehicles, has reportedly raised $5.15 million (roughly Rs. 35 crores) in Series A funding from Kalaari Capital, Inventus Capital, Tekton Ventures, and existing investor Kae Capital. Founded in March 2015 by former employees, the startup plans to use the funds to expand operations into other metro cities.

FindUrClass, a search and discovery platform for class seekers, has reportedly raised a fresh round of funding from members of VentureNursery. Launched in March 2015, the startup reportedly lists over 20,000 classes in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru, and plans to expand to other metro cities.

Hyderabad-based food delivery startup, TinMen, has reportedly raised an undisclosed amount in an angel funding round from Lead Angel Network. Founded in August 2015, the startup reportedly delivers over 8,000 lunches to professionals every month, with a scheduler built into its app that’s available for Android and iOS.

DesignBids, a marketplace for interior design services, has reportedly raised its maiden round of funding from the Indian Angel Network. Currently operational in Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai, the three-month-old startup will use the funds to expand into major metros and increase its headcount.

WiZN Systems
Bengaluru-based WiZN Systems, a maker of home automation solutions, has reportedly raised an undisclosed angel round led by Taiwan’s Foxconn and angel investors.