In October of 2013, 19.2 million viewers tuned in live to watch the Red Sox clinch a World Series title, soundly routing the Cardinals in game six. That same month, 32 million viewers tuned in to watch SK Telecom T1 trounce Royal Club, 3 games to 0 to take home the Summoner’s Cup. Nearly all of us know that the first sport is baseball. Many fewer can identify the second as League of Legends, a competitive online multiplayer video game. And yet maybe we should. [More]
The majority of video games in the U.S. are purchased and played by adults. The largest titles make money that Hollywood films could only dream of raking in, and the biggest players in the industry run multibillion-dollar multinational operations that employ thousands of people. Yet many consumers still think of gaming as a kid’s thing that doesn’t merit serious consideration or scrutiny. In an age where our culture recognizes previously sniffed-about industries like professional sports as much more than child’s play, it’s time to get over that same hump about video games. [More]
Comcast and Time Warner Cable have done their parade in front of the House and Senate to state their case publicly for why they should be allowed to merger into a truly massive mega-company. But now, it’s time for the investigation that really matters, as regulators at the FCC and the Department of Justice start looking into whether or not this deal is good for the public interest… or violates antitrust law. [More]
Whenever a company (or a company’s top executive) does something that ticks off a segment of the population, there’s usually talk of people calling for boycotts of that company’s products and services. But can a boycott bring about change on its own, or does it risk only hurting the low-level employees who are probably not the target of the protest? A boycott’s success frequently has less to do with an immediate loss of revenue than it does with the public’s reaction to the boycott. [More]
The mega-rich can dabble in pretty much any business they want to. Warren Buffet owns everything from furniture stores to ice cream chains. Richard Branson started a commercial spaceflight company, for crying out loud. And yet with demand for high-speed, affordable internet access going only up, up, and up, no new business or venture capitalist seems to be stepping into the fray to provide it. People passionately hate their current cable companies — so what’s stopping an enterprising entrepreneur from making a giant wad of cash entering the telecom game?
Americans have always viewed a college education as an investment in a student’s future, but there’s another sort of investment going on behind-the-scenes, and it’s nearly risk free. With access to a revolving door of prospective students and a continuous supply of federal aid, some colleges are turning hopes and dreams into big returns for Goldman Sachs and other investors. [More]
Critics of payday lending say the practice traps many borrowers in a debt spiral, forcing them to take out additional loans to pay back the first. Yet these short-term loans do have proponents (many of them profiting from the industry) who claim that without this pricey option for quick cash, desperate consumers will turn to more unsavory means, leading to increased crime rates and other doom and gloom predictions. But does that really happen? [More]
Payday lending has been getting a makeover of sorts recently. A number of banks, including Wells Fargo, have discontinued their payday-like direct deposit advance programs after federal regulators tightened their guidance over the high-cost products. Now, a number of state legislatures are discussing payday lending reform bills, which they say will make short-term loans safer for consumers. But are they truly helpful to those who need them? Not quite, say consumer advocates. [More]