US-based artificial intelligence (AI) firm DataRobot announced that it will invest S$15 million into Singapore as part of its expansion plans into the region. The investment will be primarily used to set up its regional business HQ here as well as expand its advanced AI R&D centre.
Fifty percent of the initial investment will be spent on hiring. DataRobot hopes to hire 50 employees here by 2019 with 40 per cent of the staff being technical experts and data scientists.
Speaking to the Singapore media, Mr Jeremy Achin, CEO of DataRobot has highlighted that Singapore has an excellent work environment; and its easy access to a wide connection of high skilled technical experts from various fields specifically in the area of fintech.
DataRobot is also looking to work with fintech startups in Singapore. Fintech startups could also tap on their cloud services – DataRobot Cloud as it is much more affordable than investing in physical hardware.Given the availability of data, these companies could tap on A.I for data analytic and automation.
Zidisha, one of DataRobot users, is a great example of this. They are a non-profit peer lender that helps poor people in Africa to get day loans. Clearly, a charity cannot afford expensive Data Scientists on staff and use DataRobot instead.
DataRobot, an SG:D Accredited company, offers an enterprise automated machine learning platform that empowers users of all skill levels to make better predictions faster. Incorporating a library of hundreds of the most powerful open source machine learning algorithms, the DataRobot platform automates, trains and evaluates predictive models in parallel, delivering more accurate predictions at scale. DataRobot provides the fastest path to data science success for organizations of all sizes.
According to the report “Emerging Trends in Real Estate (Asia Pacific) 2018” jointly prepared by Urban Land Institute and PWC, developing markets continue to draw interest particularly in Vietnam and India.
In Vietnam, investors tends to draw favorable comparisons with the China of ten to 15 years ago. GDP growth is in the area of 7.4 percent, and though bureaucracy remains an issue, the regulatory environment is less restrictive compared to decades ago.
Despite the exciting growth story of Vietnam, there are very little prime offices built in recent year which leads to international investors, usually in conjunction with a local joint venture partner, switching to residential for opportunities. According to one fund manager participated in the survey, “There’s been a general recovery economically, but asset levels have not lifted to pre– global financial crisis levels as in other markets. So we see strong growth prospects from a macro perspective. Our entry point there is mid-to-affordable residential housing, which has a natural exit. It’s very demand based. That’s a strategy we’re executing on now.”
Ho Chi Minh City, for instance, is ranked among the highest in terms of rental value growth, reflecting confidence that economic strength will spill over to property values. See City’s Prospects Table below. Home sales and prices have remained strong for the past 3 years. As one investor in Ho Chi Minh City observed: “Land costs have gone up very, very significantly to the stage where it’s not an opportunistic play anymore in terms of the returns you can get. And when you look at how developers are taking down payments on condos and using those to buy more land as opposed to putting them into their own projects, you can see there are strains in the system and that if the sales should slow, the train’s going to stop.”
Given the small amounts of invest-able stock, those focused on the commercial side will be looking mainly at development, usually by way of joint ventures with local developers, who are often willing to take on partners to obtain better access to foreign capital and technical expertise. Completed assets do exist, however. With most existing stock having been built by domestic developers, there are now opportunities to buy and fix. According to one investor surveyed, “There are some questions around standards and design, so it’s probably a value-add play because you’d have to do some sorting out. We’ve just bought an office tower at 7 percent to 8 percent [yield] and a retail podium in a mixed-use development for just under 9 percent.” Opportunities also exist to provide debt financing, given the generally high gearing of many domestic developers.
Legend: Red Line – Development Prospect, Green Line – Investment Prospects
To read up more about investment prospects of other Asia Pacific cities, you may wish to download the full report here
The report also covers Singapore. You may read the official press release below
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Singapore, October 2017 – Dell revealed a new Inspiron 7000 series laptop in the newly revamped Plaza Singapura Store.
The new Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 aims to bring stunning visuals and powerful performance in a small footprint. A narrower border and FHD IPS touch display also supports active pen for digital drawing, writing and note taking.
With the new Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1, consumers can watch movies or video chat uninterrupted thanks to SmartByte streaming technology co-engineered by Dell that prioritises streaming and conferencing above other network activities. It also offers longer battery life and quieter performance with standard SSDs or optional PCIe NVMe SSDs.
For those who prefer a traditional laptop, the new Inspiron 7000 laptops are the perfect travel companion with the slim, light and thin-bezel design in Platinum Silver or Pink Champagne. Available in 15 inches, the Inspiron 7000 offers a brilliant FHD IPS display for a crisp, detailed picture, viewable from a wide range of angles without sacrificing image quality. The laptops take advantage of the outstanding performance, responsiveness and hardware enabled security built into the 8th Generation Intel Core processor.
The new Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming Laptop offers NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 discrete graphics and NVIDIA Max Q Design technology, 7th Gen Intel quad core CPU options and dual fans to keep the system cool and quiet while powering through challenging games. Anti-glare IPS wide viewing angle FHD display provides excellent visual clarity while Waves MaxxAudio Pro software delivers precise audio. The laptop’s new 2×2 WiFi antenna design provides great wireless performance, while the SmartByte software prioritises gaming and video content to keep games and videos smooth even during large file downloads. A new quick-charge battery gets up to 80% capacity within an hour and the Thunderbolt 3 multi-use port connects multiple devices (including support for up to two 4K displays) to the laptop with transfers up to 40Gbps.
Pricing and Availability:
All products are available immediately, unless otherwise stated, through Dell and its authorised partners:
Running a Food & Beverage (F&B) business usually involves a lot of co-ordination ranging from sales ordering to stock replenishment. Often, small business owners find themselves spending too much time handling manual business operations instead of putting resources in more higher yield activities.
The Neo Dimension has recently visited Franchising & Licensing Asia 2017 and got to know Habitat Blue, a startup specializing in providing end-to-end point of sales (POS) solutions. During the tour, Dr Koh Wee Lit , Chief Technology Officer Habitat Blue, shared with us his experience in handling small businesses in developing South East Asian markets and the company’s Orca business system has successfully helped entrepreneurs grow their businesses. In 2016 alone, the company processed over approximately SGD 32 million worth of transactions.
Cost should not be the barrier for small businesses in Singapore to jump onto the technology bandwagon. At the booth, Dr Koh showcased their range of products that aims to help F&B businesses in improving productivity without incurring high investment cost.
For example, one of the products, Orca Lite, is an all-in-one POS system that allows small businesses to get an overview of their stock inventory and sales transactions via any Android-powered tablet at the price of SGD49 per month. For young startups, Habitat Blue also offers the entire installation package which includes both the software and all the required hardware at an affordable price of below SGD 1,200.
For more established businesses, Habitat Blue has a more advanced version of Orca that can handle more complex F&B operations. More importantly, it is highly customizable to support the customer’s requirements including data migration and/or integration with existing systems.
Below is the video on how a F&B outlet is using Orca Business Operating System to handle food ordering and kitchen workflow.
Epson has launched its new A4 duplex integrated ink tank printer, the new L-series printers that offer one of the lowest printing costs in the market.
The new integrated L-series printers significantly lower the total cost of ownership to businesses with its ultra-high page yields. Each complete set of 4 ink bottles yields 7,500 black and white pages and 6,000 colour pages to help businesses lower their operating costs.
The new L6160, L6170, L6190 printers come with auto-duplex print function which affords users up to 50 per cent savings on paper cost, reducing running costs even further. Epson is currently the only brand offering ink tank printers with auto-duplex function in the market.
The new L6160, L6170, L6190 printers are equipped with Epson’s proprietary PrecisionCore printheads for high performance, achieving high ISO print speeds of up to 15ppm for standard black and white printing and 33ppm for draft printing, for improved business efficiency. Delivering a maximum print resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi, Epson’s PrecisionCore printheads are composed of Micro Thin Film Piezo print chips for precise multi-size droplet control capabilities, ensuring the greatest details and extremely smooth gradations in documents or photographs.
The integrated ink tank printers deliver exceptional quality black and white prints with the use of black pigment ink that produces water and smudge-resistant printouts. For photo printing, the printers offer outstanding lab-quality photos when printing on photo media. Large-sized photo printing is made possible as the printers support borderless printing of up to A4 size.
Sporting a brand new sleek design, the new L6160, L6170, L6190 are designed to be compact, offering the smallest footprint amongst all ink tank printer brands.
Designed with the customers’ experience in mind, its easy-to-use spill-free ink bottles offer users ease and convenience when refilling the ink bottles. The ink bottles are designed with a unique “lock & key” bottle nozzle with each ink bottle nozzle uniquely customised to fit its matching colour tank, in order to prevent re-filling errors.
The ink tank printers support printing on-the-go and comes equipped with Ethernet2, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct connectivity, enabling users to print wirelessly within a network, connect to mobile devices or print remotely from anywhere via Epson Connect, Epson’s suite of connectivity solutions.
The new L6160, L6170, L6190 printers will be priced SGD459, SGD499 & SGD539 respectively and will be available at major retailers from 22 September 2017 onwards.
7 September 2017, Hong Kong – Fanfare is excited to announce that it has joined the Alibaba Influencer Network through a signed partnership with VideoUP, a global video analytics platform.
“We are extremely delighted with this new venture, as it builds upon Fanfare’s video-sharing and social commerce platform, while opening new doors for our Fanfare Ambassadors”, says Benny Phang, Fanfare’s Rainmaker.
To-date, Fanfare has an ecosystem of 90 Fanfare Ambassadors from 24 countries, ranging from micro-influencers to social media personalities, with a combined reach of 13 million followers worldwide. This exclusive entry into Alibaba’s Influencer Network will allow eligible Fanfare Ambassadors direct access to a galaxy of brands and merchants available on the Alibaba and Lazada marketplace, with monetary rewards when they create brand-related review videos.
“The world has become a more social place. It is no longer just about concocting your own secret sauces or conceiving elaborate strategies. It’s about connection, collaboration and co-creation. This is the power of fan-generated content, the future of brand amplification and the crucible for social commerce”, adds Benny Phang.
Fanfare is a mobile APP that rewards Fans for creating interesting video content about the Brands they love.
It serves as an omni-channel missing link between fans and their favorite brands. Through community-created video content, viral campaigns, gaming elements, exclusive prizes, as well as e-Commerce – all on a single mobile platform – Fanfare aims to empower consumers or fans around the world to have more personalized engagements and meaningful moments with their favorite Brands, while getting rewarded at the same time.
SINGAPORE – September 12, 2017 – Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), a technology provider to the global travel industry, today unveiled findings from its 2017 Asia Pacific Corporate Traveller study. One key finding shows that 80 percent of travel managers now believe mobility to be the biggest priority in managing corporate travel; another underscore the rise of premium economy as a new corporate favourite class; a third finds companies trying to stay on top of corporate travellers who are increasingly deviating from their travel policy.
“The increasing incidence of non-compliance is the result of corporate travellers booking out of policy, where they extend business trips to include some leisure time at their own expense. With more companies shifting accountability of policy compliance to the traveller, the ability to integrate non-traditional sources of flight and accommodation, and option to change plans easily while on the go, will go a long way in helping the corporate traveller adhere to policy without compromising on the quality of travel,” said Jason Toothman, vice president of global accounts, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific.
Almost half of all corporate travellers make changes to their trips
According to the study conducted on corporate travel professionals from across 19 countries in the region, more than 43 percent of corporate travellers are deviating from company policy ahead of the trip and 42 percent are making changes while travelling.
As companies strive to find the balance between driving compliance and increasing their corporate travellers’ satisfaction, respondents have seen corporations actively re-crafting their travel policies (32 percent in 2015 vs 47 percent in 2016) to accommodate more booking autonomy. One quarter of respondents also noted that most of their clients have deployed mobile app(s) that incorporate policy compliance options, shifting accountability of compliance to the traveller.
Rise of mobile and virtual payment technologies
When asked what it is they considered to be the biggest priority in managing corporate travel in their organisation, 80 percent of travel managers believe mobility – from making a booking through a mobile device, to itinerary management, to staying in touch with their traveller via instant messaging – is their top priority, highlighting the importance placed on moving towards a mobile first strategy. 66 percent also quoted looking at alternative forms of payment technology as a high priority area for them.
Today, new technologies are emerging at a rapid pace, ultimately opening up countless new revenue channels for travel companies to tap into. Travel managers have an opportunity to engage their corporate travellers on multiple devices at all points of the journey for a truly seamless trip. Product solutions that can seamlessly integrate booking, itinerary management, messaging, virtual payments, expenses reporting and travel risk management will help corporate travellers improve their traveller experience, whilst helping their organisations maximise efficiency, streamline expenses and improve compliance.
Premium Economy – A new corporate favourite
Amidst economic uncertainty, companies are cutting back on premium class air travel and as such, premium economy options have become the next best alternative without significantly impacting travellers’ comfort. From the report, over half of the respondents indicated that companies are switching class from business to premium economy. On the other hand, some businesses are upgrading travellers from economy to premium economy for higher traveller satisfaction. Both forces have contributed to 81 percent of respondents are seeing an increase in premium economy bookings.
The Sabre Asia Pacific Travel Study surveyed corporate travel professionals from 19 key markets across the region, representing corporate travel management companies and travel agencies servicing corporate accounts. Countries covered included Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.
Singapore, 18th August 2017: The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award 2017 honoured fifteen prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders from Singapore in a grand gala dinner at Sands Expo & Convention Center, Singapore.
The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards, better known as APEA, is a regional recognition program organized by Enterprise Asia, the region’s foremost association and think-tank for entrepreneurship. The Awards are presented to a handful of entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific each year, with award ceremonies held in thirteen countries every year.
The Awards is often compared to the Olympics for the stringent entry criteria and highly competitive judging parameters. The nomination is by-invitation only with each nominee subjected to a rigorous judging process, including financial verification by an appointed audit firm and mandatory physical site audit and interview, culminating in a confidential balloting process by Enterprise Asia’s committee. This year, the award received close to eighty nominees from Singapore and fifteen winners across ten industry categories were selected.
RECIPIENT LIST OF ASIA PACIFIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS 2017 SINGAPORE
Special Category – Lifetime Achievement Award
Mr Kwek Leng Beng, Executive Chairman of Hong Leong Group
Entrepreneur of The Year
for Electrical & Electronics Industry
Mr Albert Phuay, Founder & Chairman of Excelpoint Technology Ltd
for Trading & Wholesaling Industry
Mr Cheam Hing Lee, CEO of Rhodium Resources Pte Ltd
APEA Winners 2017 Singapore
Mr Scott D Smith, CEO of Beyonics International Pte Ltd
Dr Terence O’Çonnor, Group CEO of Courts Asia Ltd
Mr Ronald Goh Wee Huat, Managing Director of Electronics & Engineering Pte Ltd
Ms Danielle Warner, Founder & CEO of Expat Insurance Pte Ltd
Mr Ori Leshem, CEO of Genesis Retail Pte Ltd
Mr Adam Simkins, Director of Getz Bros. & CO. (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Mr David Kim, Managing Director SEA -ANZ of Tmax Singapore Pte Ltd
Ms Chin Wei Jia, Group CEO of Health Management International Ltd
Mr Low Cheong Kee, Managing Director & Founder of Home-Fix D.I.Y Pte Ltd
Mr Suneet Goenka, Founder & Group Managing Director of Red Apple Travel (S) Pvt. Ltd
Mr Tan Poo Seng, Founder & Managing Director of TopZone E&C Pte. Ltd
Ms Doris Wee Hui Cheen, Director of Wendell Trading Company
Co-authored by Mr. Ku Swee Yong, Co-founder of HugProperty with Janice Chin Li Ping, undergraduate from the Department of Real Estate, National University of Singapore.
In today’s competitive services market, real estate agents are not only caught in the strife of industry competition, they also have to grapple with being made redundant by technology. To say that there are many real estate agents in Singapore is an understatement — there are more than 28,000 licensed agents or about 1 agent serving every 140 residents; and this is probably the principal cause of the stiff competition in the industry. The competition is exacerbated by the growing number of buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants who opt for self-service through web applications. We are concerned that some agents have compromised their integrity and their “duty of care” for their clients in order to trump the competition.
So, buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants: beware! We want to highlight to you that many of the listings on property portals and websites are not real. Those seemingly attractive and enticing deals may just be potholes for you to step into. We have encountered several of these unfortunate events ourselves, and in this article, we highlight some red flags that you should keep a lookout for. It is vital that you take precaution to ensure that you do not fall into the traps created by a few crafty agents.
Scenario A — Fake news and listings are increasingly common: The agent you call does not havean actual listing of the property you saw online.
A property listing is an advertisement of a property that is put up for sale or for lease. Listings may appear on property portals or in traditional print media, such as the classified ads in the newspapers. Sellers and landlords may appoint one or more licensed real estate agents to list the properties to attract buyers and tenants. Conversely, buyers and tenants may also engage real estate agents to source for suitable properties that meet their budgets and needs.
To think that all listings of properties are genuine and available at any point in time is to picture a world of sunshine and rainbows. The sad truth is: there are many cases of fake listings put up to bait direct buyers and tenants.
We term these fake listings “imitations”. Why so? They look almost identical to other real listings, but upon careful inspection, something may be amiss. These imitations sometimes use photos or descriptive information copied from listed properties posted by other property agents. Sometimes, even after a property has been sold, unscrupulous agents might copy the property’s photos for use in their fake listings. We have experienced several of such cases and we have highlighted these imitations to the owners of the apartments. These agents would quickly remove the imitations after the owners have called to inquire if the agents were given the permission to represent them for sale or for rent.
Usually, imitations use very attractively low prices to entice buyers and tenants because they look like “good deals that should not be missed”. Then when direct clients call these agents to enquire, the usual responses are that the property is “sold” or “taken” or “no longer available”, and the agents will immediately ask, “May I show you another apartment in the same block?” If the agent received calls from other property agents who are representing buyers, they either do not pick up the calls or they do not return calls. This is commonly seen in districts 9, 10 and 11 where transaction values are higher and the probability of attracting unsuspecting foreign buyers and tenants is likewise higher. Higher value properties also translate to a higher quantum of the 1% agent fees, which is sufficiently rewarding for the agents to put in efforts to pull such tricks.
We estimate that up to 20% of the listings posted online are not genuine. The percentage could be higher for luxury developments. Buyers who receive such replies from agents should immediately congratulate the agent that the property is already sold or leased out, and then hang up the phone. To avoid being further prospected by that agent, buyers would do well to appoint a trustworthy agent to do their home search. Let your agent represent you and let him sieve out and deal with the numerous imitations in the property portals.
Scenario B — The agent has actual properties to list, but the information is misleading
Fake-lister agents deliberately post listings of properties with incredibly low prices to attract direct buyers and tenants. Unsuspecting buyers and tenants will then ring the agents up because they may reflect the lowest dollar per square foot price ($psf) or rental for that condominium unit. The $psf may give a different impression in different contexts. For example, if a buyer wishes to compare prices in the same district or perhaps properties with similar attributes but in different condominium blocks, $psf will be a key metric in measuring the relative value of the properties. Merely showing the buyers how cheap a property is based on $psf comparisons without describing much about the size and layout of the property does not reveal much about whether the property is really well-priced.
The buyer may see an advertisement for a 750 sqft apartment for sale at $980psf (i.e. $735,000) in a condominium where the average transacted prices in the last year were around $1,200 psf. It gives the impression of a $220 psf discount from the recent transacted average. However, only when the buyer views the apartment will he realise that the very “cheap” 750 sqft apartment is a shoebox unit with 450 sqft of built-in area, a 260 sqft patio and another 40 sqft air-conditioner ledge. Or it could be a “penthouse” unit with 400 sqft of built-in area, a 300 sqft roof terrace and a 50 sqft stairwell. The low $psf price is deliberately highlighted to create the impression that the property is a great buy. Buyers and tenants, do take note! Many other variations of the same pattern exist. Most times, information that is not revealed is more important than information that is highlighted.
While some agents withhold information, other agents offer a lot of information about the properties to show how knowledgeable they are about a particular condominium or district. They would purposely post many listings in a particular district they claim to be active in, to impress upon prospective buyers and tenants that they “specialise” in that neighbourhood. Unsuspecting clients may be dazzled by these agents, but tell-tale signs could be seen from their overenthusiasm. For example, in a listing for a condominium in Sentosa Cove, the agent included a description “near HarbourFront MRT Station”. An agent who understands the needs of the residents in Sentosa Cove will not highlight the MRT station, and will certainly not say that HarbourFront Station is near.
While we would love to believe that some agents are really familiar with certain districts or market segments, we need to be mindful that many of them just want to create that impression so that they have a higher chance of being contacted by prospective clients.
We have merely touched on a handful of examples of the many patterns we have encountered. To discuss all the cases we regularly see will require too many pages. The ultimate aim of these agents is simple: to cut out other agents in order to get direct clients to call them, to swing these clients to their own actual listings or to get the clients to appoint them as a buyer’s representative.
Unfortunately, in trying to outwit the competition, they create misinformation in the market.
In the speech on Budget 2017, the Minister of State for National Development Dr Koh Poh Koon spoke about how “it may be more important for property agents now to hone their skills in servicing clients and building up their credentials rather than just competing on marketing and closing transactions.” We wish that more agents will adopt this attitude and compete on service, rather than conjuring smoke and mirrors.
We at HugProperty are deeply concerned about the clients’ interest and we wrote this piece to raise awareness about the patterns displayed by dodgy agents to fend off competition. We recommend clients to carefully select an agent that they feel comfortable with and to appoint the agent exclusively to represent them, whether it is for a property search (for purchase or rent), or to list a property (for sale or let). The appointed agent will be fully motivated to represent the clients’ best interests and diligently assist clients in marketing or searching for properties.
More importantly, your exclusive agent will be able to ward off the dodgy agents with colourful patterns.
P.S: While we were researching and preparing this article, the Council for Estate Agencies published a disciplinary case in their 02/2017 newsletter titled “Cost of misleading and false ads – $17,500”. The CEA highlighted several cautionary points arising from the errant property agent’s actions: placing fake or dummy advertisements, placing advertisements without property owners’ consent and omitting mandatory details in advertisements. Readers who are keen to know more about the case may refer to the online newsletter here: https://www.cea.gov.sg/docs/default-source/module/newsletter/2-2017/website/cost-ofmisleading-and-false-ads.html
“Already the most competitive mobile MOBA on the market, with an active global esports scene and growing community, Vainglory is off to a great start,” CEO Kristian Segerstrale said. “Together with our investors we’re doubling down on our missions to build the best core gaming experiences for the touchscreen generation, and to create a home for talented game developers who are passionate about pushing the boundaries of the industry.
Super Evil will utilize the additional funding to continue to grow its team of masters-at-their-craft game designers, engineers and artists. Having recently doubled its San Mateo office space, the company has grown from 50 to 80 in the last six months alone and is looking to expand further. Super Evil will also use the investment to continue developing its proprietary, console-grade, multi-platform E.V.I.L. engine that has made Vainglory’s stunning graphics, beautiful visual effects and realistic animations possible. Currently, the studio is heavily focused on developing Vainglory’s upcoming 5v5 game mode, which will add to the strategic depth of the game and offer more to the already thriving Vainglory competitive community.
Vainglory is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game, developed and published by Super Evil Megacorp for iOS and Android devices. The game features traditional elements of the PC game genre, where players of two opposing teams fight to destroy the enemy base by controlling the path between the bases, which is lined by turrets and guarded by AI controlled enemy creatures. Players may also battle for control points that supply extra resources, often giving teams the edge in destroying the enemy base.
Optimized for touch-based controls and portability, Vainglory features simplified gameplay mechanics and an intuitive interface for the ultimate mobile MOBA experience. Powered by the proprietary E.V.I.L.™engine, Super Evil games deliver console-quality graphics, precision controls and online gameplay experiences not possible with an out-of-the-box tablet engine solution.