Bitcoins Coming Soon to Your Wallet & Virtual Warfare

December 1, 2013

Bitcoins Coming Soon to Your Wallet

By: Jacqueline Dizenhouse

Bitcoins are stirring a lot of interest and have become a buzzword amongst Canadians – and people across the globe. Unlike currency issued by a government’s central bank, bitcoins are digital currency created by a computer program.

Although online stores are now readily accepting bitcoins, most traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have been reluctant to do so. Two Toronto-based entrepreneurs aiming to increase the bitcoin’s ubiquity, and to facilitate purchases at these retailers have developed a banking website and card reader technology enabling consumers to link bitcoins to a debit card usable in-store. With this technology, merchants will be able to accept bitcoins more easily at the register – which will become increasingly advantageous as bitcoins gain more acceptance.

Co-founders Peter Gray and Rodolfo Novak see significant prospects for their banking website (Coinkite) in the developing world as well, where associated costs restrict many from opening physical bank accounts.

Toronto-based QuickBT, launched by Jamie Robinson just three months ago, enables debit cardholders to purchase bitcoins with Interac. Although these services are currently restricted to Canadians, Robinson anticipates expansion into Australian and European markets.
Both Coinkite and QuickBT charge lower fees than those charged by traditional banks and money-transfer services, and are able to instantly provide bitcoins anywhere in the world for free.

Bitcoins supported by these unparalleled banking services present significant implications for traditional banking, both within this country and around the world.
As of November 27, 2013, the bitcoin was valued at more than $1,000 – and the value of all bitcoins in circulation was more than $12 billion. The country’s first bitcoin ATM opened in Vancouver, British Columbia earlier this year.

Virtual Warfare

By: Christian Vavaroutsos

Ever since the Microsoft’s decision to release its Xbox the gaming world has been divided amongst the 3 major superpowers of virtual entertainment.  The last console release in 2006 was revolutionary characterized by more interactive games and higher definition video output. Nintendo’s Wii emerged the eventual winner outselling the competition and changing the way games were played, by adding in a physical interaction element. By 2012 the Wii had sold over 100 Million units world wide, outperforming both of its competitors. Part of the great success of the Wii over its competitors was its sub $300.00 price point much lower then the PS3 or Xbox 360. Last year Nintendo broke the recent mold surrounding system releases by releasing their latest system a year ahead of the competition unfortunately their Wii U was a flop and drastically underperformed the figures set by its predecessor.

Fast forward to November 2013, and race to console supremacy seemingly has only 2 competitors with Nintendo failing in their most recent release.  Sony’s PlayStation 4 hit the market at a base price of $400.00, $100 dollars cheaper then its major competition the Xbox One. Although the price difference between the consoles is not as steep as was the case with the Wii in 2006, a higher price point could prove to be part of Microsoft’s downfall. The base bundle for the Xbox however does include its kinect system designed to track the physical movements of a player for in game use. Although this does somewhat justify its higher price the lack of option over the inclusion of the added hardware does force Xbox faithful to dish out an extra $100 dollars for the system. A lack of options may lead some gamers to support the opposition and purchase the PS4 instead.

In addition to a lower price Sony has also outdone Microsoft in terms of hardware. The PS4 will output video at full HD 1080p, with a sharper picture and clearer resolution then the Xbox One which will only output 720 p. Microsoft’s choice not to make its latest next gen system full HD compatible is quite interesting as even the PS3 was 1080p ready. I feel that this move was to allow for growth in their second release of the Xbox One which will likely feature full HD video output. Although this may pay off in the future a lack of pristine video quality will undoubtedly hurt the sales of the Xbox through the 2013 holiday season.

Having already released on November 15th the PS4 has smashed all previous company records selling 1 million units on its first day. Although the true demand for the system won’t be fulfilled until well into 2014 due to shortages in supply Sony has made an impressive start to its most recent next generation campaign. In terms of the markets reaction to sales figures, there has definitely been anticipation of large release day sales numbers. On release day Sony’s share price made a sizeable .50 cent jump in price. The shifting of share price is definitely not over though as the sales of the Xbox One will surely have a further impact on the share prices for both companies.  The real impact on share price will occur well into 2014 as reviews and more complete sales figures are released. Although to be ahead of the word on the street investment decisions have to be made soon, and I personally feel that Sony has offered a much more competitive product that should pay off for the firm in the long run.  With the Xbox One releasing about a week later on November 22nd the console war will soon be under way.

 

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