GameMine Inks Distribution Partnership With Mobile Carriers

Los Angeles-based GameMine has inked distribution partnerships with five international mobile carriers, enabling direct billing of game subscriptions through mobile plans. With the partnerships, the carriers’ subscribers will have access to GameMine’s more than 400 games, all of them unlocked, ad-free and available for iOS and Android devices. Among the involved carriers are Movistar in Spain, Orange in Egypt, and TIM, Vodafone and Wind Tre in Italy, with a combined mobile subscribership of more than 150 million people. Continue reading GameMine Inks Distribution Partnership With Mobile Carriers

Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

Finland-based Rovio Entertainment Oy, maker of the “Angry Birds” mobile games and movie, is said to be planning an IPO valued at $2 billion as early as September. “A listing would test investors’ appetite for entertainment software, a group whose shares have declined an average of 18 percent from their offer prices following IPOs this year,” reports Bloomberg, citing social gamer King Digital Entertainment (creator of “Candy Crush”) and South Korean publisher Netmarble Games (maker of “Lineage” and “Stone Age”) as examples. A successful IPO for Rovio could help finance “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” slated for a 2019 release. Continue reading Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Game developer Enhance Games announced the availability of “Rez Infinite” for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets, now accessible via Steam and the Oculus store. The VR version of the popular game debuted on PlayStation VR late last year and was quickly the top-rated VR title on Metacritic. “The game has collected more than 40 awards, including Best VR Game Winner at The Game Awards 2016,” reports VentureBeat. Enhance commissioned indie studios Monstars and Resonair to make the new VR versions of the game. Continue reading Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

Road to VR is featuring a guest article this week by Alvin Wang Graylin, China president of Vive at HTC, who sings the praises of Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel Ready Player One. The story depicts an existence in which “VR is intertwined into every aspect of our daily lives,” writes Graylin. He believes there are positive lessons to be learned from such a “VR-First future.” The book details tech “that has the potential to create truly transformative impact on our future lives, culture, and world,” which is why he makes sure every member of his China Vive team has a copy. In his article, Graylin outlines what he sees as the 16 key takeaways from Ready Player One.

Continue reading HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

Smithsonian Art Museum, Intel Partner on Three VR Exhibits

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has partnered with Intel to create a room-scale VR demo of the art in one wing, for the enjoyment of far-flung art lovers. To produce the immersive experience, the two partners relied on studios including V.A.L.I.S., Framestore, xRez and 8i. The demonstration consists of three interactive experiences, and is a good case study on how museums can utilize virtual reality to extend their relationship with the public. Other museums, such as the British Museum, have also experimented with VR. Continue reading Smithsonian Art Museum, Intel Partner on Three VR Exhibits

Nvidia Integrates Computer Graphics and Artificial Intelligence

At this week’s SIGGRAPH 2017 conference in Los Angeles, Nvidia showed off a variety of technologies connecting graphics and artificial intelligence, delivering 10 research papers relevant to the company’s developers, including an AI-empowered method to create realistic facial animations. The company also showed off its Isaac robots, which vet AI algorithms inside its Project Holodeck virtual environment. By doing so, the robots will be able to learn inside a virtual space for collaboration, minimizing the potential of causing problems in the real world. Continue reading Nvidia Integrates Computer Graphics and Artificial Intelligence

USC Taps Industry Vet Danny Bilson to Chair Games Division

USC just brought on Danny Bilson as the new chair of its School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD), reporting to the School of Cinematic Arts dean Elizabeth M. Daley. Bilson, who has held senior executive positions at THQ and Electronic Arts, is a writer, film director, producer and game developer. Since 2005, he has also been on the faculty of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, teaching screenwriting and narrative design, and, currently, leading the Advanced Games Project. Continue reading USC Taps Industry Vet Danny Bilson to Chair Games Division

New Research Places Roku at Top of Connected-TV Market

According to a new eMarketer study, Roku is now the leading connected-TV device in the U.S. Roku has more users than Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google Chromecast. The research firm estimates that 38.9 million U.S. consumers will use their Roku devices at least once per month this year. Chromecast will follow at 36.9 million users, Amazon Fire TV at 35.8 million, and Apple TV at 21.3 million. Roku is the only one of the four leading brands that is not connected to an affiliated content service and, as a result, has signed agreements with numerous partners. Continue reading New Research Places Roku at Top of Connected-TV Market

Weak Security and Obsolescence Leads to Demise of Flash

Adobe has finally pulled the plug on Flash, an application that Steve Jobs excoriated as far back as 2010 for being too insecure and proprietary for the iPhone. Adobe stated that it would no longer update and distribute the Flash Player at the end of 2020, and many in the industry will cheer its demise. In fact, Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari have been blocking Flash for the past year, but many sites devoted to gaming, education and video still use Flash, whose infamously weak security has been exploited by malware. Continue reading Weak Security and Obsolescence Leads to Demise of Flash

Mira’s $99 Prism Turns Apple’s iPhone Into an AR Headset

For Apple iPhone users looking forward to augmented reality, there will soon be another option to looking at images on the phone’s screen. Due to launch later this year, the Mira Prism, which looks like a sun visor or welder’s mask that fits over the user’s head, will reflect AR’s 3D images in front of the user’s face — and only costs $99. The visor comes from Los Angeles-based company Mira, founded by students from the inaugural class of USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. Continue reading Mira’s $99 Prism Turns Apple’s iPhone Into an AR Headset

Facebook Developing Two Wireless Virtual Reality Headsets

Facebook will debut a cheaper wireless version of its Oculus Rift VR headset in another attempt to bring virtual reality to the masses. The current Oculus Rift costs $400 and must be paired to a $1,000 computer to work properly, whereas Samsung’s Gear VR goes for $130. The new Oculus headset from Facebook, which will sell for a mid-range price of about $200, will also not need to be hooked up to a PC or smartphone. The headset, expected to release in 2018, is aimed at gaming, video and social networking. Continue reading Facebook Developing Two Wireless Virtual Reality Headsets

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

Facebook Offers New Price Reduction for Oculus Rift Bundle

For the second time this year, Facebook is hoping to jumpstart sales of its Oculus Rift VR headset with a price reduction. Facebook’s Oculus VR unit will offer the Rift, Oculus Touch motion controllers, seven VR games and more as a $399 bundle over the next six weeks. The bundle was earlier offered for $598, which was $200 less than the combined launch prices. According to Jason Rubin, head of content at Oculus, the new bundle price is meant to leverage the increased number of apps and games available for the Rift (700+ today, compared to 400 in March). Continue reading Facebook Offers New Price Reduction for Oculus Rift Bundle

Twitch Debuts Mobile App Updates Including Cam Streaming

Amazon-owned Twitch updated both its iOS and Android apps with a new navigation bar, interface options, recommendation algorithm and mobile streaming. The features will make it easier to use the camera for selfie-style videos and likely result in more content on the platform. Although Twitch has been focused on live gaming-related video — with a total market worth $4.6 billion — it has begun to include non-gaming content as part of Twitch IRL. Twitch also opened subscriptions to affiliates that don’t have as many viewers as a Twitch Partner. Continue reading Twitch Debuts Mobile App Updates Including Cam Streaming

VR World NYC Offers an Open Buffet of 50+ VR Experiences

Kent Bye covers location-based VR operations, pricing structures, crowd management and throughput, and reaching the mass audience in this 30-minute Voices of VR podcast interview with the founders of VR World NYC. The new midtown Manhattan portal, which opened June 24th, features over 50 VR experiences spread over three floors in a 20,000 square foot space near the Empire State Building. Visitors pay $39 in the afternoon and $49 in the evening for unlimited stay and play. Continue reading VR World NYC Offers an Open Buffet of 50+ VR Experiences

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