Nintendo Bringing its Popular Games to Apple Mobile Devices

At the Apple iPhone 7 launch, Niantic Labs chief executive John Hanke announced that “Pokémon Go” — which has been downloaded 500 million times worldwide — is coming to the Apple Watch. Following the announcement Nintendo shares skyrocketed 20 percent; since that and the debut of “Super Mario Run” (coming to iOS this year), the company’s shares have risen more than 65 percent in the past few months. With the new Pokémon app, the company has improved its safety: players can simply walk without having to constantly look for what Pokémon are nearby. Continue reading Nintendo Bringing its Popular Games to Apple Mobile Devices

Amazon Debuts Pilots on Twitch, Remaking It as Test Platform

Amazon, which paid $1 billion for Twitch Interactive two years ago, has identified an interesting way to use the platform beyond gaming. The company streamed two original TV pilots on Twitch, which ordinarily hosts game competitions to 10 million daily users. With that user base, Twitch is now an ideal venue for Amazon to test new original shows before committing to a full season. Audiences voted on one of the two comedy pilots: comic book superhero spoof “The Tick” or “Jean-Claude Van Johnson,” starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Pilots on Twitch, Remaking It as Test Platform

Plex Media Player System Adds DVR Feature for Broadcast TV

Client-server media player system Plex has debuted beta DVR functionality, enabling users to record broadcast TV programs and stream them to other devices. Recorded content can be watched on TV/mobile devices with Plex apps for Apple TV, Android, iOS, Roku, Chromecast, game consoles and many smart TVs. For now, scheduling shows is only available via Plex’s Web interface. The DVR feature also requires the use of a networked TV tuner to access broadcast TV signals; Plex has partnered first with tuner maker SiliconDust. Continue reading Plex Media Player System Adds DVR Feature for Broadcast TV

Lytro Debuts First VR Film Shot with Immerge Camera System

Up until now, virtual reality content from The New York Times, the United Nations, Facebook, YouTube and others is actually more accurately described as 360-degree video. What that means is that, although it is immersive, the viewer can’t move inside the VR experience, limited to three “degrees of freedom” (3DOF). In computer-generated videogames, the player has six degrees of freedom (6DOF), and Lytro has advanced its plans to bring that to cinematic virtual reality with its light field camera system. Continue reading Lytro Debuts First VR Film Shot with Immerge Camera System

Scandy Introduces SDK for 3D Scanning via Android Devices

Scandy, a company with technology for printing 3D images on demand, is now debuting a beta version of a $500 tool to scan objects in 3D from Android devices. The company relies on 3D sensors from chip tech provider pmd to achieve 0.3mm feature precision, a degree of resolution ordinarily found only in much more expensive toolsets. The company is also making its Scandy Core software development kit available to developers, with the idea that they will create innovative, 3D scanning products and services. The beta program is open now. Continue reading Scandy Introduces SDK for 3D Scanning via Android Devices

Google Pursues Original VR Content Prior to Daydream Debut

Google is readying Daydream VR, a store/software service, set to debut around the same time as new Android phones, VR headsets and controllers. Daydream will offer users apps from YouTube and HBO Now among others. Google is also investing in original content to help build the buzz for its platform, including 360-degree projects with YouTube stars such as the Dolan twins and Justine Ezarik, as well as projects from Hulu. The goal is to become the dominant way that consumers interact in VR. Continue reading Google Pursues Original VR Content Prior to Daydream Debut

Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Facebook is working with game engine Unity to build a dedicated, downloadable desktop gaming platform. The new platform will not require the intensive coding of Facebook’s previous SDK, making it easier for game publishers to offer iOS and Android games on the desktop. Developers now have until August 31 to get “instant access” to an alpha version of Unity 5.4 needed to build and export games to Facebook’s Web and desktop app. Facebook’s move is seen as an attempt to regain gaming revenues lost to the mobile platform. Continue reading Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Nvidia’s New GTX Series Super-Powers Laptops, Enables VR

After first debuting the Maxwell-based GTX 980 graphics chip in a notebook last year, Nvidia has now upped its game, with notebooks and laptops powered by its GTX 1000 series chips, more specifically the GTX 1060, GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. These new GPU chips, which Nvidia declares “VR-ready,” use the company’s more efficient Pascal architecture to provide nearly identical operation to their desktop chips; only the GTX 1060 provides a slightly slower base clock speed in a notebook. Continue reading Nvidia’s New GTX Series Super-Powers Laptops, Enables VR

Beam Acquisition Could Lead to New Xbox Streaming Service

Microsoft just acquired Beam Interactive, a Seattle-based startup that enables games to become more interactive. With a software development kit, Beam allows programmers to tweak existing computer games, such as “Minecraft,” so players can live-stream their gaming sessions to friends. Most players are used to a more passive model of playing, available on YouTube and Twitch, but Beam offers crowdsourced controls to let the player direct the play of the person streaming. Beam launched at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2016. Continue reading Beam Acquisition Could Lead to New Xbox Streaming Service

Amazon to Test Original Programs on Gaming Platform Twitch

Amazon has, up until now, tried out new comedy, drama, documentary and children’s shows with a ‘test’ episode on Amazon Video. The company just announced at the Television Critics Association press tour that it will now debut a few of its original pilot episodes on its streaming Twitch platform, more typically associated with games and gamers. Although Amazon made no formal announcement, the news was reported by several publications. Twitch has previously aired classic shows featuring Bob Ross and Julia Child. Continue reading Amazon to Test Original Programs on Gaming Platform Twitch

Videogame Developers Tap Music Industry for Song Licensing

Videogame app creators are turning out to be a boon to the music industry, for their willingness to pay real money for the rights to well-known songs. Startup music-licensing platform SongLily has inked deals with major record companies and publishers for licensing songs for videogames and mobile apps, for an annual flat fee of about $1,440 per song for up to 100,000 app downloads or individual registered players. For videogame developers — especially smaller ones — eager for recognizable music, that’s a bargain. Continue reading Videogame Developers Tap Music Industry for Song Licensing

‘Pokémon Go’ Rakes in Over $200 Million After its First Month

App analytics platform Sensor Tower reports that Niantic’s location-based, augmented reality game “Pokémon Go” is continuing its rise in popularity, with more than $200 million in net revenue generated during its first month of availability. The meteoric rise “compares favorably to in-game revenue generated by other huge in-app purchase-driven games,” notes TechCrunch. “Pokémon Go” has nearly doubled “the first month revenue of ‘Clash Royale,’ the other big in-app star this year” and “made almost four times as much as ‘Candy Crush Soda Saga’ managed during its first 30 days of availability.” “Pokémon Go” experienced a significant spike when it launched in Japan. The game was just introduced to 15 additional Asian countries. Continue reading ‘Pokémon Go’ Rakes in Over $200 Million After its First Month

Nvidia Rolls Out Titan X Chip for Games, Artificial Intelligence

Nvidia introduced Titan X, a new chip that is a successor to a current chip with the same name, targeted at the high-end gaming and artificial intelligence communities. Priced at $1,200 and available beginning August 2, the new Pascal-based Titan X chip offers 12 billion transistors, compared to seven billion on a high-end Intel chip. The new Titan X will be available as an add-on card for PCs. Nvidia’s closest competitor, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) offers a similar chip for PCs and game consoles. Continue reading Nvidia Rolls Out Titan X Chip for Games, Artificial Intelligence

YouTube Faces Rivals, Diversifies to Capture Niche Audiences

For the first time, Internet video pioneer YouTube has had to take into account that its dominance is being challenged, most notably by Facebook, Snapchat and Amazon. Now, YouTube has more than a billion users, an app audience of 18-to-49-year-olds that dwarfs that of any U.S. cable network, and an average mobile viewing session more than 40 minutes long. To keep ahead of the competition, YouTube has diversified, with apps devoted to specific niche audiences: YouTube Music, YouTube Kids and YouTube Gaming. Continue reading YouTube Faces Rivals, Diversifies to Capture Niche Audiences

Microsoft Debuts Xbox One S, Project Scorpio to Soon Follow

On August 2, Microsoft’s Xbox One S will be available for $399. The new console is 40 percent smaller than the Xbox One, offers a tidy built-in power supply, and is capable of standing vertically, a throwback to older Xboxes. The Xbox One S is also more powerful, with a faster processor that, for the first time, provides 4K video for streaming Netflix and Amazon Video, and high dynamic range (HDR), as well as the ability to play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. But only users with 4K TV sets will be able to see the difference. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts Xbox One S, Project Scorpio to Soon Follow

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