Microsoft Builds a Videogame Controller for Disabled Players

Microsoft is readying the debut of its Xbox Adaptive Controller for Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 computers, its first videogame controller for people with disabilities. The controller, slated to go on sale later this year, will cost $100, about $40 more than the standard version. Currently, disabled players often rely on more expensive, customized gear. According to AbleGamers, which advocates for accessibility in the videogame industry, more than 33 million people in North America with a disability play videogames. Continue reading Microsoft Builds a Videogame Controller for Disabled Players

Multiplayer Games Led by ‘Fortnite’ Are Driving Headset Sales

According to NPD Group, Epic Games’ survival shooter game “Fortnite” and other PlayStation, Xbox and PC multiplayer games are driving sales of headsets to gamers who like to talk to other gamers while they play. NPD, which tracks the $36 billion U.S. videogame industry, added that sales of game accessories and gift cards have now risen to $372 million. This record-breaking sales number is due to the popularity of multiplayer games, said NPD analyst Mat Piscatella, who pointed to “Fortnite,” which has become a smash hit. Continue reading Multiplayer Games Led by ‘Fortnite’ Are Driving Headset Sales

Facebook Is Testing Playable Ad Format With Game Previews

At F8 2018 on May 1, Facebook plans to reveal more details of a new playable ad format that it just started testing with a few game developers. The ad allows players to preview a game before installing it, with the goal of driving more “high-intent” installs. Later this year, Facebook plans to roll out the new ad format across its News Feed, and to all advertisers. Facebook is also testing Premiere, which lets content creators debut pre-recorded videos, with real-time chats, as Facebook Live moments. Continue reading Facebook Is Testing Playable Ad Format With Game Previews

Nintendo Debuts Labo Cardboard Add-Ons for Young Gamers

Nintendo has begun selling Nintendo Labo, $70 and $80 cardboard add-ons that, with software, let users transform the hybrid Switch tablet/console into a miniature piano, motorcycle handlebars, robot exo-skeleton and other objects. The goal is to appeal to new users outside its core base of hardcore gamers. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said that only 10 percent of Switch users last year were younger than 16, likely due to its $300 price point, which is more than double Nintendo’s 3DS handheld system. Continue reading Nintendo Debuts Labo Cardboard Add-Ons for Young Gamers

8 Circuit Studios Uses Blockchain, Ethereum to Build Games

Creating Metaverse, the digital universe depicted in “The Matrix,” “TRON” and “Ready Player One” and described by novelists William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, sounds like a nearly impossible feat. But Seattle-based 8 Circuit Studios, staffed by veteran gamers, plans to rely on its expertise plus blockchain and cryptocurrency to develop this world more quickly than previously deemed possible. That’s because the company proposes that gamers, developers and publishers will work together to create the Metaverse ecosystem. Continue reading 8 Circuit Studios Uses Blockchain, Ethereum to Build Games

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.

Continue reading Amazon Debuts Cross-Platform Competitive Gaming Platform

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

Growth in Number of Twitch Partners, Affiliates Earning Money

Amazon-owned Twitch revealed new metrics regarding its popular game streaming service, including more than 2 million monthly streamers and 15 million daily visitors, an increase in Partners who profit from their Twitch videos (27,000), and the number of its Affiliate streamers (150,000). While the total number of Twitch’s creator community held steady in 2017, the increase in number of people making money on the platform is compelling, even as it faces new competition from YouTube Gaming. Continue reading Growth in Number of Twitch Partners, Affiliates Earning Money

Nintendo’s Profits Jump With Strong Sales of Switch Consoles

Nintendo enjoyed a significant jump in profit with strong sales of its Switch console, unveiled on March 3, and affiliated software. The company, based in Kyoto, reports it sold 7.24 million Switch units in Q4 2017, bringing total sales since its debut to 14.86 million. One reason for the leap was that Nintendo ensured that stores had plenty of Switch consoles to sell over the holiday shopping season, following shortages during the summer. But, says the company, demand still outstrips supply. Continue reading Nintendo’s Profits Jump With Strong Sales of Switch Consoles

YouTube Gaming’s Streamer Base Experiences Major Growth

A new Streamlabs report suggests that Twitch rival YouTube Gaming is gaining significant traction. While Twitch continues its lead in live streaming video, YouTube’s monthly active streamer base increased by 343 percent during 2017. Twitch attracted 27,000 concurrent streamers in Q4 2017, while YouTube Gaming had 7,000, notes TechCrunch. “Twitch also saw 788,000 concurrent viewers in Q4, up from 736,7000 in the prior quarter.” YouTube was “second with 308,000 concurrent viewers, followed by Periscope’s 80,000, Facebook’s 27,500 and Microsoft Mixer’s 5,000.” Continue reading YouTube Gaming’s Streamer Base Experiences Major Growth

New York City Invests $6M in Augmented, Virtual Reality Hub

In 2016, a Goldman Sachs report predicted that AR/VR sales could reach $182 billion by 2025. Now, New York City, home to at least seven virtual reality centers, is committing $6 million to a 15,000-square foot space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that will serve as a “hub for virtual reality and augmented reality.” The de Blasio administration says the hub will create more than 500 jobs. One of the existing centers, VR World, is equipped with a bar and dance music and lets users sky dive, rock climb or wield a samurai sword. Continue reading New York City Invests $6M in Augmented, Virtual Reality Hub

Kodak Shows 360-Degree Cam, VR Cameras in Development

At CES 2018, Kodak showed its new Kodak Pixpro Orbit360 4K camera, debuted in August. Kodak is positioning the camera as a next-generation 360-degree camera for video and still photography that features built-in processing. The camera has two hemispherical lenses, one on either side of its rectangular body. One lens is 155 degrees and the other is 235 degrees; the two lenses work together to create the 360-degree, 4K image that can be live-streamed or uploaded via Wi-Fi to Facebook, YouTube and other platforms. Continue reading Kodak Shows 360-Degree Cam, VR Cameras in Development

HTC Beefs Up Resolution and Adds Headphones to Vive Pro

HTC’s new Vive Pro VR headset made a major splash this week in Las Vegas and received notable Best of CES awards, including the Best Gaming Product from Engadget and the Best VR/AR award from The Verge. HTC added built-in headphones to this version and increased the resolution of the dual-OLED displays 78 percent to 2,880 x 1,600 (1,400 x 1,600 per eye). The headphones offer spatial audio support, but no noise-canceling functionality. HTC added dual microphones and dual front-facing cameras, which should attract developers. Continue reading HTC Beefs Up Resolution and Adds Headphones to Vive Pro

Nvidia Introduces Big Format Gaming Displays to Las Vegas

Nvidia unveiled the first big-screen TVs designed for gamers this week at CES. The company’s “Big Format Gaming Displays” (BFGDs) are 65-inch, 4K screens that tout impressive features such as HDR, low latency, 120Hz refresh rates, full-array backlighting, full DCI-P3 color gamut support, and Nvidia’s G-SYNC technology for smooth game performance (it minimizes screen tearing). “Nvidia is partnering with Asus, Acer and HP to build these displays,” reports Engadget. “With their built-in Shield support, they’ll do everything Nvidia’s set-top box can, and they’ll also come with the company’s remote and gaming controller.” Continue reading Nvidia Introduces Big Format Gaming Displays to Las Vegas

CES to Offer New Take on the Future of Ambient Experiences

For 20 years the quest and definition of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) has been the purview of think tanks and device manufacturers. Defined in the 1990’s by Eli Zelkha and a team at Palo Alto Ventures, the pursuit of pervasive presence for humans and responsive connection with the computed environment has been the goal of multinationals and government entities. Most recently, the concept of creating environments that are responsive to the presence of individuals is making its way into the consumer electronics and personal computing space, which we expect will make a compelling splash next month at CES in Las Vegas. Continue reading CES to Offer New Take on the Future of Ambient Experiences

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