OpenAI Beats Human-Player Team at Complex Video Game

OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research group backed by Elon Musk, stated that its software can beat “teams of five skilled human players” in Valve’s video game “Dota 2.” If verified, the achievement would be a milestone in computer science and a leap beyond other AI researchers working on mastering complex games. IBM’s software mastered chess in the late 1990s, and Alphabet’s DeepMind created software that dominated “Go” in 2016. “Dota 2″ is a multiplayer sci-fi fantasy game where teams advance through exploration. Continue reading OpenAI Beats Human-Player Team at Complex Video Game

ETC and NAGRA Partner on Fandom Genomics for myCinema

NAGRA, the digital TV division of the digital content and protection Kudelski Group, just debuted a partnership with ETC@USC to conduct a data science study — dubbed Fandom Genomics — for its newly launched myCinema platform. Debuted at CinemaCon 2018, myCinema is a broadband-based in-theater platform that providers a large catalog of alternative content titles to theater chains of all sizes and in any location, and is intended to help exhibitors reclaim the theater’s position as the social center of the community. Continue reading ETC and NAGRA Partner on Fandom Genomics for myCinema

NAB 2018: Immersive Leisure With AR, Gamification, and VR

During a Destination NXT presentation at NAB Show, Media Sherpa managing director John Canning moderated a panel on “redesigning the consumer experience” with “AR Adventures, Gamified Gatherings and VR Vacations.” Canning asked the panelists what drew them to creating immersive media. Fulldome.pro chief operating officer Stephen Powers sees this “new media as having the unique power” to “lift the human spirit.” For Vari Parks chief executive Louisa Spring, it’s her love of VR and desire to bring the experience to more people. Continue reading NAB 2018: Immersive Leisure With AR, Gamification, and VR

Amazon Debuts Cross-Platform Competitive Gaming Platform

Amazon has launched an AWS-powered competitive gaming platform called Amazon GameOn, which allows third-party developers to add eSports-like competitive elements such as tournaments and leaderboards to mobile, PC and console games. Gamers can also win Amazon prizes (perhaps an Echo Dot, for example) in real-time, which effectively adds another layer of competitive gaming between professional eSports players and amateur gamers. According to market research from Newzoo, eSports could grow into a $1.5 billion business by the year 2020.

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ESports Popularity Leads to Skyrocketing Revenue, Fanbase

ESports is booming, having earned $756 million in 2017 and anticipated to reach $1 billion in 2018. Traditional sports leagues are launching eSports leagues and buying eSports franchises, and more than 60 colleges and universities offer eSports programs recognized by the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), while many more have unofficial programs. Colleges are doing everything from supporting student eSport athletes with scholarships and building eSports arenas. UC Irvine actively recruits talented players. Continue reading ESports Popularity Leads to Skyrocketing Revenue, Fanbase

Overwatch League, ESL, Facebook Take eSports Mainstream

When the Overwatch League debuted its first season this month, eSports fans came in droves, bought lots of merchandise and otherwise behaved like those who attend professional football, basketball and baseball games. Numerous traditional sports team owners have already invested in eSports, so when the Overwatch League was being formed, many investors were eager to pay $20 million for a franchise. Even Facebook has joined in, saying it will be the exclusive destination for multiple leagues from eSports federation ESL. Continue reading Overwatch League, ESL, Facebook Take eSports Mainstream

VR Gaming Turns to Cryptocurrencies for Buying Virtual Assets

VR games and cryptocurrencies are joining forces. Social virtual reality company High Fidelity, co-founded by “Second Life” creator Philip Rosedale, began developing a blockchain for in-game cryptocurrency and intellectual protection in 2017. Now the company has debuted Avatar Island, a VR shopping center for avatars created by digital artists around the globe, and will accept payment in a new cryptocurrency running on blockchain. Rosedale notes that Linden Dollar for “Second Life” was one of the first digital goods currencies. Continue reading VR Gaming Turns to Cryptocurrencies for Buying Virtual Assets

Twitch Signs Pact With NBA to Stream Minor League Games

Amazon-owned Twitch, the destination for eSports broadcasts, inked a deal with the NBA to stream up to six minor league games per week this season, beginning Friday, December 15. The NBA G League games on Twitch will feature interactive statistics overlays and a co-streaming option for some Twitch personalities to provide commentary, as well as a fan loyalty program. The G League games, which will have in-stream ads, will also offer subscriptions for viewers to receive custom emotes for group chat and other perks. Continue reading Twitch Signs Pact With NBA to Stream Minor League Games

Deloitte Predicts 2018 Trends in AR, eSports, Phones and TV

In its 17th annual Technology, Media & Telecommunications Report, Deloitte released nine predictions regarding trends for the tech industry in 2018, covering everything from ad blocking and augmented reality to livestreaming programming. Deloitte vice president Paul Sallomi reports that, “we have reached the tipping point where adoption of machine learning in the enterprise is poised to accelerate, and will drive improved business operations, better decision making and provide enhanced or entirely new products and services.” Continue reading Deloitte Predicts 2018 Trends in AR, eSports, Phones and TV

Overwatch League, NBA 2K League Establish eSports Profile

In November 2016, Blizzard announced it was creating the Overwatch League, the first-ever eSports venture to model itself after professional North American sports, with franchised teams in major cities, salaried athletes and live spectator events. This was in the early days of “Overwatch,” a first-person shooter, team-based game, which had already accrued die-hard fans when it was in beta. The game, an “optimistic” battle between heroes and AI robots, has become a huge hit, with more than 35 million players and more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Continue reading Overwatch League, NBA 2K League Establish eSports Profile

Newzoo Global Games Report Notes Big Uptick in Revenues

Newzoo revealed that the global game market is on track to reach $116 billion in revenues this year, up 10.7 percent from the previous year and more than $7.1 billion than Newzoo’s previous estimate. Mobile gaming revenue is responsible for some of the unexpected increase, revised from $46.1 billion to $50.4 billion. Revenue figures from China and Japan are another bright spot. ESports is another sector showing strength, with total revenues possibly reaching $2.5 billion by 2020, $1 billion more than originally anticipated. Continue reading Newzoo Global Games Report Notes Big Uptick in Revenues

Hulu Will Debut Its First eSports Programs, Produced by ESL

Hulu is now into eSports, having just ordered four original series from ESL, a major eSports content and tournament producer. The upcoming eSports content, which will total about 15 hours, will premiere in the fall, exclusively on Hulu. The shows are “Player v. Player,” a game-style talk show; docu-series “Bootcamp,” which follows The Immortals, an elite “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” team; “Defining Moments,” which explores various eSports topics; and “ESL Replay,” which recaps four big tournaments. Continue reading Hulu Will Debut Its First eSports Programs, Produced by ESL

Two Groups Vie to Form NCAA-Like Organization for eSports

ESports is booming on college campuses; 40 colleges created “varsity” eSports programs, with full-time coaches and staff members, official arenas, player recruitment and eSports scholarships. The NCAA, the main organizing body for collegiate sports, is still mulling over whether eSports is a fit for its qualifications as a sport, even as the Big Ten, the Pacific-12 and colleges begin to look more favorably on accepting it as an athletic endeavor. Meanwhile, grassroots groups are working to create an NCAA-like organization. Continue reading Two Groups Vie to Form NCAA-Like Organization for eSports

Electronic Arts, NFL Create Tournament for Casual Gamers

Electronic Arts and the National Football League now offer an eSports tournament aimed at the casual user in the living room. Dubbed the Madden NFL Club Championship, the competition is open to players of all skill levels aged 16 or older in North America, the U.K. and Germany, and is based on a pilot program held last spring. It’s also linked to the debut of “Madden NFL 18,” Electronic Art’s newest installment of the annual football game franchise, which has sold more than 100 million units around the world since its 1980s debut. Continue reading Electronic Arts, NFL Create Tournament for Casual Gamers

Disney Selects 11 Companies for 2017 Accelerator Program

The Walt Disney Company announced 11 tech and media companies will receive funding and support as part of the Disney Accelerator program, now in its fourth year. The companies will be given access to work space at Disney’s L.A. creative campus and guidance from entertainment and media technology leaders. The 2017 class covers a range of compelling areas such as artificial intelligence, eSports, messaging, online learning, robotics, video games and virtual reality. Among the 11 startups are Epic Games, creator of Unreal Engine tech, and location-based VR firm The VOID. Continue reading Disney Selects 11 Companies for 2017 Accelerator Program

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