PC Sales Drop Yet Again, EA Offers Endless Gaming… [Tech News Digest]

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PC sales are still in decline, EA wants (even more of) your money, VLC gets ported to Apple TV, Amazon Prime users get discounts on games, and how Pixar borrows scenes from other movies.

Even Windows 10 Can’t Stop the PC Rot

It’s a story that makes me feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, but PC sales continue to decline. In fact, things are getting worse, with market research firm IDC reporting that PC sales have fallen 10.6 percent over the past quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Gartner is reporting a slightly-better-but-still-depressing drop of 8.3 percent.

This all equates to 71.9 million PCs sold in the fourth quarter of 2015, meaning total shipments for the year were below 300 million for the first time since 2008. In terms of individual companies, Lenovo shipped the most computers, followed by HP and Dell. However, all three experienced a drop in sales, unlike Apple and ASUS, which both experienced small increases.

Despite these disappointing figures, IDC remains upbeat about PC sales as we head into 2016. Loren Loverde, Vice President of the company’s Worldwide PC Tracker, stated:

“PC replacements should pick up again in 2016, particularly later in the year. Commercial adoption of Windows 10 is expected to accelerate, and consumer buying should also stabilize by the second half of the year.”

“Most PC users have delayed an upgrade, but can only maintain this for so long before facing security and performance issues. We continue to believe that a majority of these users will purchase another PC, motivated by new products and attractive pricing.”

Windows 10 is clearly an important factor in all of this. Microsoft offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade meant people could delay purchasing new hardware and still feel like they’re up to date. However, that free upgrade offer will end this year, and sales should pick up as a result. Fingers crossed.

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EA’s Origin Access Offers Endless Gaming

EA has launched Origin Access, a subscription service offering “Endless PC Gaming” for $4.99 a month. While “Endless PC Gaming” is a nice slogan, in reality it means downloads of full games from the EA Vault, pre-release trials of upcoming games, and a 10 percent discount on all Origin purchases.

The main draw is obviously access to the EA Vault, which currently contains 15 EA games, including Battlefield Hardline, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and the reboot of SimCity. EA promises to add more games in the future, but the company reserves the right to also remove existing offerings as and when it wants.

Origin Access is the PC gaming version of EA Access, which offers the same benefits on the Xbox One. A subscription costs $4.99-per-month in the U.S. and Canada, £3.99-per-month in the UK, and €3.99 in Germany. EA hopes to brings Origin Access to more countries in the future.

VLC Comes to Apple TV for the First Time

VLC has landed on the Apple TV, with the popular media player available to download to your Apple TV right now. This version brings all of the usual VLC goodness plus, according to the press release, “a kind of ‘casting’, where you can send directly your video files for any browser or app to the Apple TV”.

VLC for Apple TV is essentially a port of the version available for iPhone and iPad. However, it adds some extra features, and new additions for future updates are already being beta tested. MacStories has given its first impressions on VLC for Apple TV that is well worth reading before you download it for yourself.

Amazon Prime Adds Discounted Games

Amazon has added another benefit to Amazon Prime, and this one should keep gamers of all ages happy. The company had added a 20 percent discount on all video games bought within two weeks of launch. This is in addition to the raft of Amazon Prime benefits already available.

Any Amazon Prime member buying a physical copy of a video game up to two weeks after launch will have the discount applied at checkout. The offer also applies to pre-orders and collector’s editions, but not to console bundles.

With new games costing around $60 at launch, this could save gamers $12 every time they buy a new title, making Amazon Prime an ever better deal than it already was.

How Pixar Steals from Other Movies

And finally, Pixar is responsible for some of the greatest movies ever made. WALL-E, Up, and Toy Story 3 are all masterpieces that make you forget you’re an adult watching animated films. But Pixar’s greatest skill may be paying tribute to classic movie scenes.

This video shows just how often Pixar borrows from older films, using the same action sequences or camera pans as other movies. Some are a stretch, but most are undeniable. And with Pixar being masters of their craft, the filmmakers being mimicked should regard this as a privilege. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Why do you think PC sales are slowing down? Would you ever pay for Origin Access? Will you be using VLC on your Apple TV? Does 20% off new games make you want Amazon Prime? What classic movie scene(s) have you spotted in Pixar movies?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credits: Amanda Tetrault via Flickr

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