Monument Valley vs Framed: A Tale of Two Sequels

Monument Valley vs Framed: A Tale of Two Sequels

At WWDC 2017, a little over a week ago, Apple announced Monument Valley 2 for iOS. The original was highly acclaimed, and even found prominent mention in the Netflix series House of Cards. In the past, developer Ustwo has spoken out against a sequel, but a fresh team with new concepts and features changed things, the company said.

The game – out now for iOS, with an Android version in the works – is available for Rs. 400 ($4.99 in the US), and most of the early reviews were extremely positive. The original was also one of our favourite mobile games, thanks to its gorgeous design and intelligent gameplay. So it was obvious that we were going to give Monument Valley 2 a shot as well.

The sequel is – obviously and predictably – gorgeous and the delight of exploring the pastel worlds it presents alone is worth the price of entry. But the “freshness” that’s promised is nowhere to be seen. The game has changed, yes, but only in the most basic sense. As an experience, Monument Valley 2 remains much the same as the original, only it doesn’t even have the appeal of being something completely original and, thus, delightful.

When Monument Valley came, it had the advantage of there never having been anything to compare it to. Playing Monument Valley 2, you get a clear baseline to measure it against, and while the second game is still enjoyable, it’s less satisfying nonetheless.

monument valley so much colour monument valley

Monument Valley 2 is a gorgeous game that pairs impossible geometry with beautifully laid out landscapes, and characters who start off as ciphers and slowly gain in personality. Much like the original, the pastel colour palette stands out, and the now familiar towers are filled with strange systems to get you from point A to point B. Without spoiling things, the game features a series of puzzles – that are largely simpler than the original – as you work your way through a series of impossible buildings, slowly unfolding the story just like the structures themselves. It’s all very pleasing, if familiar.

It’s possible that people won’t agree with this – we’ve seen vicious Twitter battles play out on this topic already – but Monument Valley 2 feels more like an expansion pack, rather than a new game. Both Monument Valley titles are short games that offer up a beautiful world for you to inhabit, but at this point, and after the hype of the WWDC reveal, perhaps our expectations were simply at the wrong place for this game to be worth the asking price.
This becomes clearer when you compare Monument Valley 2 to another iOS sequel that just released recently – Framed 2. The game released this week, also at Rs. 400 ($4.99 in the US), which makes for a good comparison. Framed is another one of those “concept” games you’ll find on iOS; the original game from two years ago has a unique premise – you’re shown a series of comic-book frames, and if you change the order of the panels, you can change the outcome of the story.

Pop art colours, sharp lines, and retro background music all come together to make Framed an engaging buy, though the concept wears a bit thin by the end of the game. Framed 2 recognises this, and fine tunes the game, elevating it from quirky and interesting, to must play.

framed game framed game

The story of Framed 2 features the same characters and it’s again told without any dialogue, but there’s a lot of drama and emotion nonetheless. The different settings are dynamic, while the core mechanic of rearranging panels remains. You will rearrange the frames to determine what happens next, and find ways to evade capture using the environment.

The difference between these two sequels can not be overstated. Framed 2 is the result of a developer taking a hard look at its game, deciding it could do better, and delivering on that thought. Monument Valley 2 claims to be the same thing – but feels more like a developer looked at its output, and thought, “this is great”.

As a result, where Framed 2 has not been afraid to change things up, making the police more effective and the storytelling crisper and more fulfilling. On the other hand, Monument Valley 2 tries to be a more faithful sequel, and in the bargain, misses out on building on the original.

As the reviews have pointed out, whether you’re new to the series or a big fan of the original, Monument Valley 2 is well worth your time and money. But given how original the first game felt, we can’t help but feel a little disappointed.



Sega Forever on Android and iOS Isn’t the Netflix of Retro Gaming

Sega Forever on Android and iOS Isn’t the Netflix of Retro Gaming

Sega Forever is the company’s attempt at bringing back its older games to modern devices, games that are synonymous with consoles such as the Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis as it was known in the US), Sega Master System, and of course, the Sega Dreamcast to name a few.

To kick this off, Sega has made classics like Comix Zone, Phantasy Star II, and Sonic the Hedgehog available on the App Store and Google Play. You can play them for free with ads and cloud saves, or simply pay a nominal fee of Rs. 160 ($1.99 in the US) to play them ad-free with support for local saves. Unfortunately, the free versions doesn’t support offline play.

While this initiative is called Sega Forever, typing that into the App Store or Google Play doesn’t take you to any app named ‘Sega Forever’. Instead you’ll see some of the aforementioned titles available for download as separate apps.

It’s here that the very idea of Sega Forever falls flat. You see, Sega is positioning this as the Netflix of retro gaming. On paper, this sounds cool. Unfortunately, the practicalities of this have yet to be ironed out. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video let you download or stream a host of content from those apps, but this is not the case with Sega Forever.

Sega Forever doesn’t have a subscription for classic games either either. Well, not for now at least, with Sega stating that it wants to use the smartphone as a gateway with ads to allow for some form of monetisation. It’s also eyeing the PC games space too and it might have a different revenue model.
This lack of consistency – intentional or otherwise – continues in the titles on offer. Firing up Sonic the Hedgehog, you’re smacked silly with nostalgia. From opening menus that have the game’s box art and cartridge, invoking a sense of simpler times, to the classic ‘Sega’ refrain when the logo pops up on screen, the company hasn’t shied away from its heritage or its fans.

But this isn’t the same across games. Comix Zone for example, doesn’t have the same attention to detail that Sonic the Hedgehog gets in terms of menus, though much like Phantasy Star II and other titles at launch, it does have visual references to the console they were all for – in this case the Sega Mega Drive – front and centre.

At the same time, these games have a mention of Sega Forever and other titles under the label in the first screen of the game itself – something that Sonic doesn’t have. The blue hedgehog might be Sega’s mascot, but you’d think that Sega would use his popularity to highlight the other games in the Sega Forever initiative too.

Every bit of what constitutes to Sega Forever is disorganised and scattered. Granted, Sega is doing what it can under the framework of current guidelines from the likes of Apple, but it makes us wonder if this is an earnest attempt to make and preserve classic titles available to a larger audience, or simply a quick money grab.

By launching on mobile the company gets access to more users, but not necessarily those with the capacity or inclination to pay. Rather, Sega Forever on iOS and Android has more potential to serve as an ad platform thanks to the sheer number of titles that can be offered from the Mega Drive and Master System libraries alone.

The real test of realising the idea that is the ‘Netflix of retro gaming’ will depend on Sega Forever’s execution on consoles and PC. With the potential for better aggregation and bundling, a unified achievement system, perhaps a trading card meta-game layer (on Steam), and pixel perfect reproduction minus ads, it could just be what the Sega faithful and newcomers need. Till then, you’re better off getting your retro fix elsewhere.


ISRO to Launch 31 Satellites on Friday, Including Cartosat-2

ISRO to Launch 31 Satellites on Friday, Including Cartosat-2

India will launch 31 satellites with its PSLV rocket
Total weight of all the 31 satellites is about 955kg
Rocket will sling the satellites into a 505km polar sun sunchronous orbit
India on Friday will launch its earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 series weighing 712kg and 30 co-passenger satellites (29 foreign, one Indian) with its rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the Indian space agency said on Tuesday.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the PSLV rocket’s XL variant is expected to lift off on Friday morning at 9.29am from the Sriharikota rocket port.

The 30 satellites will together weigh 243kg and the total weight of all the 31 satellites, including Cartosat, is about 955kg, ISRO said.
The rocket will sling the satellites into a 505km polar sun sunchronous orbit (SSO).

The co-passenger satellites comprise 29 nano satellites from 14 countries – Austria, Belgium, Britain, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and the US as well as one Indian nano satellite.

The 29 international customer nano satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangements between ISRO’s commericial arm, the Antrix Corporation Ltd and the international customers.


SpaceX Successfully Launches Iridium Satellites Into Orbit Atop Falcon 9

SpaceX Successfully Launches Iridium Satellites Into Orbit Atop Falcon 9

SpaceX Successfully Launches Iridium Satellites Into Orbit Atop Falcon 9Photo Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX has succeeded in landing a Falcon 9 first-stage booster
Falcon 9 blasted off carrying 10 satellites for Iridium Communications
It was the second series of Iridium satellites launched by SpaceX
The American company SpaceX on Sunday successfully placed 10 satellites for the communications company Iridium into orbit using a Falcon 9 rocket.

After launching as scheduled from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:25pm local time (8:25pm GMT or 1:55am IST), the Falcon 9’s first stage returned less than eight minutes after taking off.

As planned, it landed on a barge floating in the Pacific Ocean.

SpaceX has successfully landed multiple rockets on both land and water, as part of its effort to bring down the cost of space flight by re-using multimillion dollar components instead of jettisoning them in the ocean after launch.
It was the second series of Iridium satellites launched by SpaceX, after a set of 10 were delivered in January.

In total SpaceX, which is headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, will launch a series of 75 satellites for Iridium’s satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT by 2018.

The $3 billion (roughly Rs. 19,350 crores) project is a bid to upgrade the Virginia-based Iridium’s global communications network.


NASA’s Opportunity Rover Spots Evidence of Ancient Lake on Mars

NASA's Opportunity Rover Spots Evidence of Ancient Lake on Mars

The Opportunity rover found rocks at the edge of Endeavour Crater
The rocks were either transported by a flood or eroded in place by wind
The crater is about 22 kilometres across
NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover is examining the edge of a crater on the red planet that may once have been a lake of liquid water.

The Opportunity rover found rocks at the edge of Endeavour Crater that were either transported by a flood or eroded in place by wind.

The features were seen just outside the crater rim’s crest above Perseverance Valley, which is carved into the inner slope of the rim. Researchers plan to drive Opportunity down Perseverance Valley after completing a “walkabout” survey of the area above it.

The Opportunity mission has been investigating sites on and near the western rim of Endeavour Crater since 2011. The crater is about 22 kilometres across.

“The walkabout is designed to look at what’s just above Perseverance Valley,” said Ray Arvidson, from Washington University in St Louis.

“We see a pattern of striations running east-west outside the crest of the rim,” said Arvidson, Deputy Principal Investigator of the Opportunity mission.

A portion of the crest at the top of Perseverance Valley has a broad notch. Just west of that, elongated patches of rocks line the sides of a slightly depressed, east-west swath of ground, which might have been a drainage channel billions of years ago.

“We want to determine whether these are in-place rocks or transported rocks,” Arvidson said.

“One possibility is that this site was the end of a catchment where a lake was perched against the outside of the crater rim,” he said.
“A flood might have brought in the rocks, breached the rim and overflowed into the crater, carving the valley down the inner side of the rim,” he added.

“Another possibility is that the area was fractured by the impact that created Endeavour Crater, then rock dikes filled the fractures, and we’re seeing effects of wind erosion on those filled fractures,” Arvidson said.

In the hypothesis of a perched lake, the notch in the crest just above Perseverance Valley may have been a spillway.

Weighing against that hypothesis is an observation that the ground west of the crest slopes away, not toward the crater.

The science team is considering possible explanations for how the slope might have changed.

A variation of the impact-fracture hypothesis is that water rising from underground could have favoured the fractures as paths to the surface and contributed to weathering of the fracture-filling rocks.

The team is analysing images of Perseverance Valley, taken from the rim, to plot Opportunity’s route.

The valley extends down from the crest into the crater at a slope of about 15 to 17 degrees for a distance of about two football fields.


Why Microsoft isn’t the smartphone leader it should be

Why Microsoft isn’t the smartphone leader it should be

Earlier this year, I read a piece at ArsTechnica about Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting, where many in attendance expressed their belief to CEO Satya Nadella that Microsoft had effectively ceded control of the smartphone market to Apple and Google, and had ceased to be a serious competitor.

One Windows Phone-using shareholder, Dana Vance, expressed his dismay that Microsoft had released certain apps on iOS and Android before Windows 10 Mobile. Vance also brought up the claims that development of the Microsoft Band had been discontinued.

Another audience member was more blunt, and asked Nadella straight up whether Microsoft was committed to Windows Mobile.

A slow and steady decline

So, here’s the thing. Eons ago, Microsoft was one of the market leaders when it came to mobile productivity. This was before Steve Jobs had even conceived the iPhone. Back then, the smartphone race was bitterly-fought between four main players: Palm, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Microsoft. Windows Mobile 6 – Microsoft’s offering – had a respectable market share of around 30 percent.

Windows Mobile did well with overworked office managers and financiers who wanted a convenient way to access their emails and tap out office documents, but its popular appeal was limited. The vast majority of handsets were just too drab and clunky for most ordinary consumers to even consider buying them.

But in 2007, everything went to shit for Microsoft. Apple released the iPhone, and in turn transformed the smartphone market into something that hadn’t been seen before.

iphone, apple, lock screen hack
Credit: ymgerman/Shutterstock

The iPhone was a phone that allowed people to get shit done while actually looking the part. It was the first truly aspirational smartphone. Everyone from teens to executives wanted their hands on one. And then shortly after Google unveiled Android which allowed companies like Samsung and HTC to offer iPhone-like functionality but at a fraction of the cost.

At that point, the final nail in the Windows Phone 6’s coffin had been all but hammered. It started to hemorrhage users. Microsoft tried to stem the flow with Windows Mobile 6.5, which worked slightly better on touch-only handsets and had a better browser, but it just wasn’t enough.

By the time the company released its first real modern smartphone OS – Windows Phone 7 – Microsoft’s overall share had shrunk to a fraction of what it was in 2005. This was a profoundly humbling moment for a company that had dominated the world of computing since the early 1990’s.

Despite the subsequent launches of Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows Mobile 10, Microsoft has never recovered in the mobile space.

It shouldn’t have to be this way

The most tragic thing about Microsoft’s unstoppable decline in the mobile is that it feels completely unnecessary.

There’s literally no reason why Microsoft – a company with vast financial resources and some of the world’s most talented developers and researchers on its payroll – should struggle like this.

Perhaps the biggest reason why Windows Phone (and later Windows Mobile) suffocated was that there was a vacuum of consumer enthusiasm. Nobody really cared about it. What frustrates me the most is that there were things that Microsoft could have done (and indeed, can do) to turn this around.

The struggling app store

Let’s address the ten-ton elephant in the room: the app store. Right now, the biggest reason why you shouldn’t buy a Windows Phone is that there’s a veritable drought of apps. Worse, of the scattering of apps that do exist, many of them haven’t received an update in a really long time.

Straight out of the gate, Microsoft should have taken a leaf out of RIM’s book and offered some serious financial incentives to developers.

Yes, I know that in 2013 it briefly offered to pay developers a whopping $100 for each newly-published app. Yes, I know that there were some private (and hefty) financial incentives given to larger companies, like Foursquare.

Clearly, these weren’t sufficient, and they weren’t sustained to ensure that these apps had feature-parity with their Android and iOS equivalents.

Taking control of hardware

The erstwhile CEO of Microsoft, Steven Ballmer, has some pretty strong thoughts on this subject. He (rightly) thinks that Microsoft should have gotten into the hardware game way sooner. Doing so would have allowed Microsoft to release phones where it can exercise control over every aspect of the device, much like Apple is with the iPhone.

This makes a lot of sense. During the brief halcyon days of Windows Phone, there were a smattering of devices running the software from a variety of manufacturers including Nokia, Blu, HTC, Alcatel, and ZTE.

Many of these were, at face value, pretty identical. In terms of industrial design and internal specifications, there wasn’t much to choose from. Moreover, it’s hard to differentiate between a Windows Phone device and an Android device because Microsoft only allows a certain amount of software customization.

From a consumer perspective, this was pretty confusing. I imagine that many people took a look at the then dizzying Windows Phone device ecosystem and promptly gave up, instead choosing to spend their money on an Android or iPhone.

Credit: Shutterstock

In retrospect, buying Nokia was a great idea. The Finnish mobile icon made great phones. Their industrial design was top-notch, and they were perhaps the most visible and committed manufacturer of Windows devices.

The biggest mistake Microsoft made was its inertia to retire the Nokia brand and take control of the Windows Phone ecosystem.

When it bought the company in 2014, it should have immediately stopped licensing its software and instead have committed to releasing three phones per year: a low-end, a mid-tier, and a premium flagship device.

This would have allowed Microsoft to take a holistic look at how people use its devices, and allow it to take the same detail-oriented approach to user experience that Apple takes with the iPhone.

Microsoft can make amazing hardware. This fact has been proven time-and-again with the likes of the Xbox One, Surface, Surface Book, and Surface Studio. Imagine what it would be like if the only Windows Phones on the market were a range of enticing, well-built Surface Phones?

Microsoft should have put on its dreaming cap

Over the past five years, Microsoft has evolved from a company obsessed with making incremental improvements to its software, to one that’s fundamentally adventurous and is obsessed with the new and undiscovered. Hololens anyone?

But this hasn’t really materialized on the mobile front.

I’ve got a theory about this. Since 2007, when Apple launched the iPhone, Microsoft has been playing catchup. It’s been so obsessed with ensuring that things work and that the essential features are present, it hasn’t been able to bring its vision for things like augmented reality to its mobile product.

From early on, Microsoft should have explored how it can differentiate its mobile offering from Apple and Google. It should have been bold. It wasn’t, and today Windows Phone languishes as an also-ran smartphone OS.

The last hurrah?

There were other things I wanted to mention. I wanted to bring up the confusing, inconsistent branding (note how many times I switch between Windows Phone and Windows Mobile in this article). I desperately wanted to rant about how I thought the platform was badly marketed. But time is short, and there just weren’t the column inches.

Some of you will read my article and furiously type out a comment about how I’m “an bias”  and an Apple fanboy. You’d be wrong. Not that it matters, but this Monday I bought a Dell XPS 13, and over my lifetime I’ve owned four different Windows phones. As a platform, I’ve given it plenty of chances. Perhaps more than it deserves.

But time is running out for Microsoft’s mobile ambitions. Microsoft is rumored to be working on a Surface Phone. Satya Nadella says that this will be the “ultimate mobile device”. Will this be the company’s last hurrah before it eventually consigns itself to building apps and services for the other two big incumbents?

Maybe. But I hope not.

I’m a perennial optimist, and as a result haven’t written Windows 10 Mobile off quite just yet. I feel that if Microsoft somehow manages to convince developers to return to the platform, and if it can build a device that can compete with the current range of desirable flagships, then maybe – just maybe – it’ll have a chance.

Maybe. But I doubt it.


LinkedIn app for Windows 10 Mobile gets a stealth “upgrade”

Earlier this month we reported on the disappearance of the LinkedIn app for Windows 10 Mobile from the Windows Store.

Microsoft never made an official announcement regarding the disappearance of the app, but we assumed Microsoft intended Windows Phone users to use the Edge browser to access their own enterprise social network.

It seems this was not far off the mark, even when the app has recently been updated.

We have received a number of messages today, and there have also been other posts on various web forums, that the app, which can still not be found in the Windows Store, has been updated.

The new app has a whole new look, and closer scrutiny reveals the old app has been replaced with a link to the LinkedIn Mobile website, still prominently displaying a banner linking to the Google Play Store urging users on more vibrant platforms to download “a faster” mobile app.

Beggars can of course not be choosers, and we assume after paying $26.2 billion for LinkedIn Microsoft did not have any spare change left to develop a proper UWP app.

The LinkedIn app for Windows 10 Mobile can not be found (but may make a reappearance) at the link below.


Have you had bad experiences with Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile tech support?

Image result for Have you had bad experiences with Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile tech support?



Companies today find it difficult to score the right balance when it comes to customer support. Microsoft is no exception, and we want to hear about your experiences with the company related to mobile product support, good or bad. Community member 73blazer experienced an issue with Windows 10 Mobile and the official Mail app from Microsoft. After updating it to the latest version, it ceased to work in Continuum mode.

As expected, 73blazer decided to hit up Microsoft for some assistance. What wasn’t expected was the bad experience. First off, Microsoft Office support was involved, and they were unable to offer assistance and eventually redirected our poor member over to B2x, an outsourced support platform Microsoft uses for hardware and other support. After providing the IMEI number of an HP Elite X3, 73blazer was informed that only Lumia phones are covered for support through this particular channel.

Do they even have it? I tried desperately Friday to get some insight into an issue that is clearly a bug, to no avail. Basically, the issue is the new version of the mail app that came out earlier this week, won’t launch in continuum mode. Elite x3 had it. I pull out my 950xl which hadn’t updated in a while mail launches there in continuum mode, update the mail app, mail won’t launch in…


After supplying the same information for a Lumia 950, both soft and hard resets were recommended (clearly we’re looking at someone reading from a list of instructions to hand to consumers). It got worse from there, and so our forum member contacted HP support. They were more helpful and offered to take the problem up with Microsoft directly, supplying 73blazer with a case number to reference.How have your past experiences gone down when you got in touch with Microsoft for support? Do you have any tips when it comes to Windows 10 Mobile and specifically Lumia devices? Hit the link below and sound off in our community forum.


Oracle re-spins legacy software into cloud growth game

oracle.pngThe demise of legacy enterprise software vendors may be a bit overblown and Oracle appears to be showing a blueprint and a ground game that leverages its customer base into an as-a-service recurring revenue stream.

Oracle’s fourth quarter was strong on many fronts, but can be summed up in two words: Legacy lives. And if you couple Oracle’s results with strong performances from Red Hat and VMware you’ll find that the giants are adapting.
Brad Reback, an analyst at Stifel, put it best in a research note following Oracle’s fourth quarter:

Oracle’s strong print combined with recent solid results from Red Hat and VMware suggest that legacy software vendors continue to improve execution despite the changing IT landscape. It further goes to show how sticky enterprise software is and that legacy players can adjust as they leverage their privileged position within their massive installed base footprint.

You could also add SAP into that mix.

Perhaps these enterprise giants are melding license and cloud models into something hybrid.

The upshot: Enterprise software giants don’t necessarily have to win new cloud customers as much as convert the ones they have into an as-a-service model. Meanwhile, the power of Oracle’s bundle–database, HRM, CRM, ERP, infrastructure–means that customers can cut deals. Oracle has about 13,550 customers in its active software-as-a-service base.

And now let’s toss in Oracle’s cloud at customer play. Oracle noted that AT&T is moving its on-premise database to the cloud. The revenue didn’t show up in Oracle’s fourth quarter, but the deal was strategic. Oracle’s plan is to bridge hybrid and public cloud by running its services in a customer’s data center.

CTO Larry Ellison and CEO Mark Hurd outlined the deal. Ellison noted that there are similar deals to AT&T in the pipeline. “During this new fiscal year, we expect both our PaaS and IaaS businesses to accelerate into hyper-growth, the same kind of growth we’re seeing with SaaS, as our customers begin to migrate their millions of Oracle databases to Generation2 of the Oracle Public Cloud,” said Ellison.

Hurd added the following details on the AT&T deal.

  • AT&T’s deal is ratable over time and Oracle nets more revenue.
  • There are more than 10,000 Oracle databases at AT&T.
  • AT&T wanted the data on-premise due to regulations.
  • “We take our Oracle Cloud machine and we are able now to do all of that with them on their premise and give them all the benefits of the cloud. We manage. We patch. We basically run the cloud for them and we help them get all of that done,” said Hurd.
  • Financials weren’t disclosed, but Hurd said the AT&T transaction is important because of what it represents for the Oracle customer base.
  • Meanwhile, Oracle added several ERP, HCM and CRM customers. These customers are also moving up from on-premises to the cloud.

Oracle’s bet is that on-premise database licenses become cloud machine similar to the way customers have moved apps to the cloud.


Software export growth set to slow: Nasscom

Domestic market expected to grow faster than exports and may touch $26.5 million in FY18

The country’s software export growth is set to slow to 7-8% this fiscal year, down from 8.6% a year earlier, according to industry body Nasscom.

Nasscom expects software export revenue to be between $124-125 billion in the current fiscal year to March 2018. Software exports during the last year ended March 2017 were $116 billion and domestic market revenue, excluding that of hardware, was $24 billion, both in constant currency terms. The domestic market was projected to grow faster than the export market during this fiscal, Nasscom president R.Chandrashekhar said. Revenue from the domestic market may increase 10-11% and touch $26-26.5 billion.

Last fiscal, the industry added $11 billion in revenue, an increase of 8.6% in constant currency and 7.6% in reported currency, despite headwinds in the form of “increased rhetoric on protectionism, elections, Brexit and visa issues.

Macroeconomic uncertainties also led to delay in the decision-making process of customers, while in traditional services the growth was slower on account of the focus on cost optimisation. Currency volatility led to a difference of 1-3% between constant currency and reported currency growth, the National Association of Software & Services Companies (Nasscom) said.

Stating that it was the first instance of Nasscom making the guidance announcement in Hyderabad, Chairman Raman Roy said it is a precursor to the focus that will remain on the city over 8-12 months ahead. Hyderabad will play host to several programmes of Nasscom as well as the prestigious World Congress on IT, which is coming to India for the first time.

‘Inflection point’

The outlook, Nasscom chairman Raman Roy said, comes in the backdrop of the industry being at an interesting “inflection point.”

Mr. Chandrashekhar said improvements in financial services and a high potential in digital businesses would be the key growth drivers. Nasscom had deferred making the announcement in February. Then it had lowered the projections for the last fiscal year.

“The direction today is far clear… have a greater visibility and reasonably confident of what we are talking about,” he said.

An improvement in legacy business and increased automation-based projects would be among the growth drivers, Mr. Chandrashekhar said. The industry also foresaw itself as a net hirer. The number of people to be hired this year would be between 1.3 lakh and 1.5 lakh, he said. The demand will be for technology-skilled professionals and it was imperative for new and existing people to reskill themselves.

Vice-chairman Rishad Premji said a big opportunity for reskilling was emerging and unlike in the past many in the workforce were coming forward to equip themselves with new skills.