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Pokémon Go with HoloLens

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Remember the good ole days when we’re able to search Pokémon with our phone outside without face masks? Yeah, those were good times. Well, Niantic, the company behind Pokémon Go, just created to level up our gaming experience with the help of holograms. 

Proof-of-Concept Video Demo: Pokémon Go

During Ignite 2021, Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Niantic announced its collaboration with the tech giant. Microsoft and Niantic will join forces to create a new “augmented reality experience.” 

As an example, the company released a proof-of-concept video. In the clip, Niantic CEO, John Hanke, is seen walking through a park wearing HoloLens 2. According to Hanke, “augmented reality could make the world a little more magical.” As he explores the park, many Pokémon appear, showing how “magical” playing Pokémon Go can be through HoloLens.

To further demonstrate the features, a menu pops out as he holds his wrist in front of the headset. After tapping on a Pikachu icon, a Pokéball is tossed out from Hanke’s menu, “materializing” the Pokémon in front of him. With another tap on the menu, Hanke managed to toss a strawberry to feed the cute Pikachu. 

In the end, Hanke meets up with Veronica Saron, who is also wearing a HoloLens 2. Veronica, a global product marketing manager for Pokémon Go, appears right beside Eevee. Naturally, she challenges Hanke to a Pokémon battle. Sadly, the concept video did not show an actual battle, leaving viewers anticipating more. 

The concept video demo is made using Microsoft Mesh. It’s the new cloud-based mixed reality service of Microsoft that’s also announced at Ignite 2021. Along with HoloLens 2, users can upload 3D models to Microsoft Mech. After uploading the models, they can share them with other users who use the same headset. Aside from that, it also enables users to interact and move the models uploaded. 

Image credit to Niantic Research

Pokémon Go in Augmented Reality

As someone who grew up watching Pokémon, it’s exciting to experience playing Pokémon Go as the concept showed. After watching the concept video, the user experience looks promising. Of course, if we ignore a stranger’s judging looks passing by as we navigate and interact with Pokémons inside the virtual space.

At least we’re not glued to the screens of our phones while unaware of the surroundings. Using the headset looks safe to use in a park and garden, as Hanke mentioned in the video. If the app pushes through, it will be interesting to see Pokémon Go users aimlessly explore the surroundings. Honestly, I can’t wait for new funny compilations and articles of players brave enough to use HoloLens out in the wild.  

Sadly, the video is only a demo of what Niantic can create in collaboration with Microsoft Mesh. So, there’s no guarantee that the version presented in the concept demo will be available to avid Pokémon fans. 

Let’s hope that HoloLens 2 will be a lot more affordable by the time it does come out. At the moment, HoloLens 2 costs $3,500 in the market. So by the time Pokémon Go releases the actual version, let’s hope the majority can afford this advanced headset. 

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Depop: Etsy’s $1.6B Ticket to Access Gen Z’s Market

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Depop is the home to progressive and diverse finds when it comes to fashion. However, is that why Etsy bought it for a dazzling price of $1.625 billion? Perhaps it’s one of the reasons, but that’s not the end of the story. It all comes down to the target market.

Depop and Gen Z

If you’re wondering what Depop is and why on earth it’s worth more than $1.6 billion, then you’re not alone. To give you a quick overview, Depop is a startup eCommerce marketplace for fashion. It’s a place where people can buy, sell and discover unique items. Let’s say if Instagram and eBay had a baby, it’s probably similar to Depop. 

Depop makes it its mission to provide a “community-powered” fashion ecosystem to its consumers. It’s a brand that is kind to people and much kinder to the planet. Aside from being an online eCommerce site, it has become a community. It managed to evolve into having a community that’s creative, diverse, inclusive, and progressive.  

The fashion eCommerce has over 26 million registered users hailing from 147 countries. It’s a marketplace where 90% of active users are under the age of 26. So yes, the majority are Gen Z’s. The most popular categories found on the website are vintage, one-of-a-kind clothes, Y2K, and streetwear.

Etsy, for $1.6 billion, gambled on the booming market for second-hand goods. Not only that, it gained access to Depop’s young and fashion-conscious audience. This scenario is an excellent example of how much brands are willing to pay to enter the Gen Z market. 

Why is Gen Z’s Market important?

Currently, Millennials and Gen Z’s dominate the rank if we’re talking about online consumers. Although Millennials now sit at the throne as the most extensive consumer base, change is inevitable. As Gen Z’s grows old, they will slowly surpass millennials as the largest consumer base. By 2026, it’s expected that Gen Z will entirely surpass millennials. 

Aside from its huge market base, Gen Z’s are considered ethnically diverse consumers. Also, they’re the most educated generation which explains why they always doubt brands. Gen Z values authenticity, transparency, and being unique. It’s the generation where they’ll research everything about your business before purchasing. 

It makes sense why $1.6 billion is spent to acquire an active marketplace with existing Gen Z users. Let’s take it as a shortcut to access the soon-to-be primary consumers of the world quickly. Aside from their extreme distrust of unknown brands, Gen Z’s are known to value brands that show authenticity.  

So now, it’s obvious why brands go through extreme lengths to secure their market base for the long run. 

Depop’s Business Worth

So far, it’s clear why Etsy bought Depop, especially if we emphasize the percentage of Gen Z users on the website. But it’s not enough to measure the scale of Depop’s business worth. 

Here are two key factors that can show at what level Depop’s is worth: 

  • Gross Platform Spend, 2020’s Revenue

In 2020, Depop earned $650 million and $70 million, respectively, each increasing over 100% year-over-year.  

  • Gross Platform Spend Trend, Historical

From 2017 to 2020, Depop’s gross market sales grew at an 80% annual growth rate. 

From the 2020s 70 million revenue, Depop is valued at 23.2 times compared to the previous year’s top line. It’s notable how Etsy sees Depop as a high-growth “SaaS business” instead of a consumer marketplace. 

Depop and Etsy

The majority of younger shoppers have been maneuvering the shift of resale on a broader note. Besides, according to GlobalData PL, 40% of shoppers under 24-years old have been buying second-hand fashion. This study explains why Depop, where they can resell unique items, is popular with Gen Z’s. 

Meanwhile, Etsy is widely known as a marketplace for handmade goods where you can buy vintage items. According to CEO Josh Silverman, the transaction is a way to deepen their connection with the younger generation. The company had $1.8 billion in cash, investments, equivalents, and balance sheet. It also had an undrawn $200 million revolving credit facility last March. 

Although Etsy has acquired Depop, the current chief exec of Depop is encouraged to continue running the marketplace. As for Etsy, it will remain in London and will continue its operations as a stand-alone marketplace.

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Update on 3rd Stimulus Check, $1400 For Each Dependent

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The IRS reveals that some Americans are getting ‘plus up’ payments with the third round of the stimulus check. 

Since President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan last month, there are more than 130 million who received the Economic Impact Payments. These are worth up to $1400, including the $1400 per dependent. To date, $335 Billion has gone out. 

According to reports, some Americans are getting ‘plus up’ payments as long as their 2020 tax returns were processed. Those who experienced a decline in their household income, compared to their 2019 tax returns, could receive more money. The same goes if you have a new dependent. 

The IRS also shared that they issued checks to those with information not on record and just filed their tax returns to qualify for the stimulus check. 

The full $1,400 payments are for individuals and heads of the household earning $75,000 and $112,500, respectively. For married couples earning $150,000, they are eligible for $2,800. Reports state that 85% of US adults are qualified to get the full amount. 

Parents will also have $1,400 per dependent. Take note that this was only $600 during the first two rounds and is only for dependents ages 17 and below. However, for the third stimulus check, they have already included adult dependents. So if you are a parent with college-age students or living with the elderly and people with disabilities, you will receive extra money for this round. 

Those who receive disability, retirement, and survivor benefits should have their payments last April 7. Most of the payments made were for people who didn’t file a tax return in 2019. 

Around 85,000 Americans receiving benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board should have their stimulus checks this week. 

Meanwhile, a few US veterans have been patiently waiting for their third stimulus check. The IRS released a statement that veterans will receive their pension benefits and compensation through direct deposit starting next week, and they can expect it by April 14. 

The money is arriving through direct deposits, mailboxes, and prepaid EIP debit cards. Hence, it is strongly suggested to monitor your payment status with the IRS and with the USPS. 

What to Do with Missing $1,400 stimulus Check? 

Just in case you encounter problems with your stimulus check, do not call the IRS. That would be useless as their phone operators will not have access to the information you need. What they only have are the data already found in the IRS.gov. 

Here’s what to do. 

Fifteen days after the IRS sends your check, you will receive a letter about the payment. If you did not receive any, you must request an IRS Payment Trace. You can do so by calling the IRS through this number: 800-919-9835. Or you may complete the Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, and mail it to them. 

When you’ve already made a request through a phone call, there’s no need to send the form.

The IRS will issue a replacement. However, if you suddenly found your check, you need to return it as soon as possible.

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Shocking Revelations on Meghan Markle Interview with Oprah

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The ‘Meghan Markle interview’ happened weeks ago, but it’s still making the headlines. Why wouldn’t it be? It has some of the juiciest revelations about the royal family. It reminded us how Princess Diana made some shocking news decades ago with her own interviews. 

The interview last month was seen by more than 17 million viewers in the US and 11 million viewers in the UK. To date, people all over the globe want to see the entire interview—proof of how controversial it is. 

Archie’s Color And Racism 

harry and meghan markle
Credits: CBS

One of the most controversial topics during the ‘Meghan Markle interview’ was the apparent ‘concerns’ about the baby’s skin color. 

According to the couple, a member of the family raised the issue of how dark the skin of the unborn baby would be. This happened while Meghan was still carrying him in her womb.   

Meghan’s Suicidal Thoughts During Pregnancy

Long ago, the duchess was already giving clues about her mental health. But during the interview with Oprah, she told her how severe it became during her pregnancy. 

She mentioned how her life with the royal family was isolating. Meghan revealed that she felt there was a lack of support. She bravely shared that she had thoughts of killing herself while pregnant with their son, Archie. 

She wanted to get help. But the palace didn’t allow her as it wouldn’t be good for the institution. In addition to that, the HR department refused to give her support as she was not a ‘paid employee of the institution.’ 

Kate Made Meghan Cry 

A few months after Meghan and Harry’s wedding, there were reports that she made her sister-in-law cry over flower girl dresses. However, Meghan revealed that she was the one who cried, invalidating the entire story. 

According to her, Kate apologized and brought her flowers and a note. She then forgave her after the fiasco. But, it seems that the public would always want to pit them against each other. 

The Feeling of Being Trapped

Harry shared that his father and brother are trapped in the system. He jokingly shared that he couldn’t even call Uber to the palace. 

As for Meghan, she never received guidance in terms of her role. It’s far more different from what you see in movies, where newcomers will be trained to sit, speak, and all that formality. In fact, she would even Google the words of the British national anthem to avoid embarrassment. 

Meghan’s Biggest Regret 

Meghan’s biggest regret was the time that she believed the palace would protect her. Apparently, things went south, and no protection was ever given. 

She realized that being on the other side, they are not just surviving. They are also thriving. This implies how their lives became better after being working royals. 

Of course, some people were not happy about the controversial ‘Meghan Markle Interview.’ One of them is Prince Albert of Monaco. For him, it was inappropriate. 

While he understands the pressure the two went through, he believes it shouldn’t be laid out in public the way they did it. 

The palace has already issued a statement and shared that the issues, particularly about race, will be addressed by the family privately.

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