GameStop has received buyout interest from private-equity firms, including Sycamore Partners, and is in talks about potential deals, sources said. The retailer has carved out a niche in used games, but it's struggling to boost sales as more gaming shifts to online streaming.
More restaurant chains including White Castle, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Denny's and Arby's are raising brand awareness on social media by creating distinctive personas. Smaller players can level the field by striking the right tongue-in-cheek tone without crossing a line, marketing experts said.
Amazon has launched the Alexa for Hospitality program, which will expand its service into the hotel sector. Through the system, guest information can be more easily managed, while smart room functions such as raising the blinds and adjusting the thermostat are enabled.
Sonos faced challenges when Amazon's Echo was unveiled but has been able to compete in the market by adding smart speaker functionality to much of its line of offerings. The company also released Beam, a soundbar that offers a better audio experience and is less expensive than other options in the market.
Sensible Objects, a startup that develops games that become interactive through the use of smart speakers, has raised $3.2 million in a funding round that included an investment from the Alexa Fund. The London-based startup's first game works exclusively with Alexa, but a Google Assistant version will be available early next year.
Cybershoes, which use foot sensors to provide a more immersive experience, are helping to showcase the potential of virtual reality. The shoes are compatible with existing VR platforms, with inventor Michael Bieglmayer reporting, "The Cybershoes ... allow you to walk in virtual reality, and enhance your immersive experience by letting players control their gameplay through natural movement, and it can be used by anyone with a VR system and a swivel bar stool."
Delivery is a must-have for more restaurants, but the rising costs of using third-party delivery systems is spawning a new generation of startups that aim to help eateries do delivery in-house. EpiFruit links eateries with couriers, and ShiftPixy is testing a plan to create on-demand delivery drivers.
The growing popularity of online ordering and delivery has spurred Amazon to become an emerging player in the restaurant sector. Amazon Pay Places teams with point-of-sale provider Clover, and Amazon Restaurants partners with online ordering service Olo to deliver food using Amazon's Prime Now services.
Restaurant delivery service Deliveroo will launch a new service in several European markets next month. The Marketplace+ service will offer new delivery options to restaurants that have their own in-house delivery services.
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