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Green Bay Press Gazette 10 September, 2021 - 08:25am 26 views

Who is the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints?

Jameis Winston, officially confirmed as the New Orleans Saints' starting quarterback a little more than a week ago, did the former against the Jaguars in the second preseason game, and will do the latter Sunday, Sept. 12 when the Saints open the season against Green Bay at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. NewOrleansSaints.comQuarterback Jameis Winston leads new pack into regular season with New Orleans Saints

As it turns out, that investment may have been short-lived as an Epic Games representative has informed TechCrunch that it plans to shut the app down in October of this year, including its 'Fortnite Mode' feature.

The application is being removed from app stores with immediate effect, though Epic has stated that people who already have Houseparty downloaded can continue to use it until service is terminated. Epic has also stressed that nobody on the Houseparty team will lose their job, claiming they will be assigned to other teams to develop social interactions across the Epic Games family of products.

Houseparty rapidly became a favorite chat app among folks staying inside during the height of the pandemic, with an average of over 2 million people downloads per week during March 2020, and faced what was attributed as a targeted smear campaign within the same month, leading Epic Games to offer a reward of $1 million to anyone who could provide proof of sabotage. Epic Games stated at the time that the application is secure and was never compromised, claiming that there was no evidence of the app interfering or hacking other applications that are already installed on the phone. 

It's unclear if this smear campaign is directly connected to the app closure, and Epic has offered no insight into its decision other than to claim that the Houseparty team could no longer give the app the attention it required, despite support for live streaming being integrated into the app less than six months ago.

According to data from Apptopia, Houseparty has been continually declining since it hit peak downloads back in May 2020, likely due to a combination of other apps like Clubhouse, Zoom and Facebook Messenger Rooms gaining some ground. But there's also the likelihood that people are more willing to go out and socialize in person with family or friends when compared to various global lockdowns last year.

If we look at the case rates for Covid-19 it's very apparent that we're not in the clear just yet, but the demand for apps like Zoom is fading and that drop is being attributed to a lack of demand in a post-pandemic world. As physical events return, people are keen to return to 'normal' after almost two years of living in a socially distance society.

A lack of demand for a service is typically why it would be shut down – after all, if it was making money then chances are they would have continued development and support, but it does appear that Epic has plans to implement social features into the wider metaverse it's building. 

Fortnite has hosted live events such as concerts from popular artists like Marshmello, Ariana Grande and Travis Scott, something that shows its evolution beyond just being a video game and more of an interactive online experience. The demise of Houseparty is unsurprising, but future developments from the team into Epic's other projects are worth keeping an eye on if Fortnite's experiential portfolio is anything to go by.

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Read full article at Green Bay Press Gazette

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Aaron Rodgers gets chuckle out of 'useless info' on Saints' pick for locale vs. Packers

ESPN 09 September, 2021 - 05:39pm

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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers got a chuckle out of the reasons he heard for why the New Orleans Saints picked Jacksonville as the site for Sunday’s season-opener against the Green Bay Packers after Hurricane Ida forced the change of venue.

According to NOLA.com, the Saints wanted it in Florida because of Rodgers’ 3-4 career record there as a starter. They picked Jacksonville over Tampa Bay and Miami because as the report said, “They had a staff member look up Green Bay flights on Expedia and compare the difference in costs and itineraries between Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa.”

Jacksonville proved most difficult to get to and most costly.

Packers assistant director of communications Tom Fanning made Rodgers aware of the report shortly before the quarterback met with reporters this week.

“Thank you, Tom, for the useless information like that,” Rodgers said. “I did hear something, Tom just mentioned actually something about Expedia and checking flights, and if it’s true, hey, good for them, trying to get every little advantage.

“I would assume based on when we played in Jacksonville the last couple times, there will be a lot of Packer fans there. Even still, not playing in New Orleans with that crowd noise back-to-back years is definitely nice.”

The Packers played the Saints last season in the Superdome without fans because of COVID-19 restrictions, meaning crowd noise was not a factor in Green Bay's 37-30 win.

Rodgers and the Packers have won six straight season-openers -- the longest streak in franchise history and tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the longest active streak in the NFL. During that streak, Rodgers has thrown 14 touchdown passes and only one interception.

The biggest obstacle in Jacksonville might be the heat. Although it was a hot summer in Green Bay and Sunday’s forecast in Jacksonville calls for only a high of 86 degrees, Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis, who played his first 12 NFL seasons for the Jaguars, said the Jacksonville heat doesn’t compare.

“This is not heat; the heat here is just because the sun is up,” Lewis said. “It’s totally different in Jacksonville. When I first got there, it was, shower every two hours.”

Packers coach Matt LaFleur has been on his players all week about hydrating.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a set amount,” LaFleur said, “but certainly every time they pee, you want it to look clear.”

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