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Consumer spending on video games rises to $28.9 billion for the first half of 2021

Consumer spending on video game hardware, software and accessories rose to $28.9 billion for the first half of 2021, up 15% from the same time last year, according to the NPD group.

Why it matters: The easing of pandemic-related lockdowns in the U.S. hasn't stopped the boom in gaming, which began with the onset of COVID-19 last year.


  • If anything, the pandemic is now holding back hardware spending, as console manufacturing, impacted by supply chain disruptions, is keeping supply well short of demand.

By the numbers:

  • The Nintendo Switch led in unit and dollar sales for the first half, according to NPD, which doesn’t release specific tallies.
  • For June, the Switch sold the most units, but the more expensive and newer Xbox Series X and S consoles combined led in dollar sales.
  • NPD's June software chart, tracked by revenue, was topped by "Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart." Notably, a free "Pirates of the Caribbean"-themed update to Xbox's "Sea of Thieves" bumped the 2018 game from No. 36 in May to No. 20 in June.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

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Jan. 6 panel to paint haunting scene of Capitol attack with graphic footage

The Jan. 6 select committee will paint a haunting picture of what unfolded during the attack on the Capitol during its first public hearing on Tuesday, Axios is told.

Why it matters: The nine-member panel will not only hear from four police officers on the grounds that day, but show graphic video footage similar to the chilling 13-minute video Democrats aired during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

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Bipartisan infrastructure bill reaches do-or-die as infighting breaks out ahead of deadline

A host of new problems emerged Monday morning threatening whether the Group of 10 can actually make this "infrastructure week" after all.

Why it matters: This is the bill's do-or-die moment.

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Peter Thiel floods 2022 GOP races with cash, makes candidates an easy target

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel is injecting huge sums into some crucial 2022 midterm contests — and drawing fire from Republicans eager to tie their rivals to the GOP's Silicon Valley bogeymen.

Why it matters: Whether he's backing a candidate or being attacked by one, Thiel embodies the present GOP zeitgeist. His brand of nationalist conservatism mimics the party's Trump-era shift. Yet the fortune he's using to bankroll like-minded candidates derives from an industry reviled by much of that base.

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