Microsoft CEO Announces Departures, Corporate Restructuring

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that a series of executive changes would take place at the company, including the departures of former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and senior level execs Kiril Tatarinov, Eric Rudder and Mark Penn. Meanwhile, Windows head Terry Myerson will take on added responsibility. As part of the company’s shift from devices and services to productivity and cloud computing, Nadella has appointed a team to oversee the restructuring of Microsoft’s three engineering groups — Windows and Devices, Cloud and Enterprise, and Applications and Services. Continue reading Microsoft CEO Announces Departures, Corporate Restructuring

Nintendo Presentation at E3 Draws Strong Backlash from Fans

More than 10,000 gamers have signed a petition requesting that Nintendo not release a game it showed during this week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. The gaming giant, which has abandoned its splashy E3 press conferences in favor of more low-key presentations, apparently failed to introduce enough new games for its fans. The harsh reaction led to the petition regarding a lackluster new “disgrace of a game” in the “Metroid” series. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata issued an apology on Twitter and vowed to improve future efforts. Continue reading Nintendo Presentation at E3 Draws Strong Backlash from Fans

E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

The 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo opens it doors in Los Angeles today following a series of press conferences from major players such as Bethesda, EA, Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft. This year we expect to see a new emphasis on virtual and augmented reality, wearable devices, online gaming and mobile apps. At last year’s show, only six companies were dedicated to VR; this week, there will be 27. Also, 74 companies touting mobile and online gaming products will be in attendance. According to Gartner, worldwide mobile revenue is expected to nearly double to $22 billion this year. Continue reading E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

Nielsen: Consumers Spending More Time Engaged with Apps

Consumers typically use only a small percentage of available apps each month, but their time spent with these apps is dramatically increasing. According to Nielsen, the time spent engaged with these apps has increased 63 percent over the past two years. In Q4 2012, consumers spent a little more than 23 hours per month with apps, while that figure jumped to 37 hours and 28 minutes in Q4 2014. Meanwhile, the number of apps used has only marginally increased: 23.3 apps per month in 2011, 26.5 apps in 2012 and 26.8 apps in 2013. Continue reading Nielsen: Consumers Spending More Time Engaged with Apps

Augmented Reality on Track to Transform Our Everyday Lives

Augmented reality systems with technology that overlays digital interfaces onto the physical world may eventually edge out virtual reality and significantly impact human perception. While VR products such as Oculus Rift, Gear VR and HTC’s Vive get closer to launch, timelines for augmented reality devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google-backed Magic Leap remain vague. However, some believe AR is more likely to become integrated into our everyday activities and subsequently affect the way we interact, work and communicate. Continue reading Augmented Reality on Track to Transform Our Everyday Lives

Microsoft Scheduled to Release its Windows 10 OS on July 29

Microsoft announced yesterday that Windows 10 would launch in 190 countries by the end of July. The upgrade will be free for PC and tablet users running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, while the $119 Home version and $199 Pro version will be available for all others. (The company has yet to announce when Windows 10 will be available for phones.) New features include the personal assistant Cortana, the new Microsoft Edge browser, integration with Microsoft’s Xbox platform, and the return of the iconic Start Menu. Continue reading Microsoft Scheduled to Release its Windows 10 OS on July 29

Qualcomm Tech to Power Next-Gen Project Tango Smartphone

Qualcomm announced that its Snapdragon 810 CPU and Adreno 430 GPU will power Google’s next generation Project Tango smartphone, coming out in the third quarter of 2015. The new phone promises to offer the same capabilities of the Nvidia-powered Project Tango tablet, but in a smaller form factor. “We’re excited to work together with Google and Android developers to help deliver new, innovative visual experiences using depth-sensing technology on mobile devices,” said Raj Talluri, SVP of product management, Qualcomm. Continue reading Qualcomm Tech to Power Next-Gen Project Tango Smartphone

Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

Oculus Story Studio, a lab program within Oculus VR dedicated to experimentation with the goal of helping virtual reality grow as a platform, is using “Lost Director’s Cut,” a new version of the studio’s short VR film as the basis for a new social experience that promises to change the paradigm of VR experiences from solitary to shared. The purpose of the new demonstration is to show filmmakers and other creatives how far they can push virtual reality beyond current single-person, isolated experiences. Continue reading Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

FOVE, which claims to be the only virtual reality headset with built-in eye-tracking, has surpassed its Kickstarter goal by nearly $100,000 with 37 days left to go in the campaign. A $399 donation awards backers with a headset and development kit, and FOVE plans to deliver both by May 2016. Eye-tracking not only enables users to play games by aiming their eyes, it opens the door to foveated rendering, which reduces the computational demands on real-time processing and provides contextual feedback, avatar eye-mapping, and more. Continue reading FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

YouTube Supports Live Streams at 60fps and HTML5 Playback

YouTube is looking to take on game-streaming services such as Amazon’s Twitch by allowing live video streams that run at 60 frames per second (double its previous limit). Higher frame rates are vital for fast-moving games including racers and first-person shooters, and attracting gamers will be important if YouTube hopes to remain competitive in the growing eSports market. To address growing interest in gamers sharing their sessions, YouTube has been upgrading playback quality, adding support for HD, 4K, and most recently, browsers that use HTML5. Continue reading YouTube Supports Live Streams at 60fps and HTML5 Playback

Facebook Eyes New Ways to Earn Revenue from Messaging

Facebook is looking to integrate mobile games into its Messenger app and business-to-consumer chats into WhatsApp. Both of these initiatives have the potential to generate new revenue for the social network. Game developers would potentially pay big bucks to make their games such an integral part of the Facebook experience. The gaming integration is already in the works, while the WhatsApp move may be introduced later. Facebook is talking with game developers to add new play options to Facebook Messenger. Continue reading Facebook Eyes New Ways to Earn Revenue from Messaging

MashMe Enables You to Create Animated Avatars in Real Time

Croatian company MashMe has developed new software that allows users to create animated scenes and avatars of themselves using only a webcam. MashMe tracks even the most minute details of a person’s facial expressions and gestures to create animated avatars that can be used with services like Google Hangouts, Twitch and Skype. The company recently launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $50,000, promising its contributors access to one of the two final software packages it plans to offer.  Continue reading MashMe Enables You to Create Animated Avatars in Real Time

Nintendo Announces its Theme Park Partnership with Universal

Nintendo recently announced it plans to partner with Universal Parks & Resorts to transform some of its most popular games, characters and worlds into theme park attractions. In partnering with Universal, which owns parks in California, Florida, Osaka and Singapore, Nintendo has an opportunity to further exploit some of its most popular franchises such as Mario, Legends of Zelda and Donkey Kong. Nintendo is expected to announce more details about the Universal partnership soon.  Continue reading Nintendo Announces its Theme Park Partnership with Universal

GOG Galaxy: New DRM-Free Online Gaming Service Goes Live

After a yearlong wait, game publisher Good Old Games (GOG) has finally launched online gaming platform GOG Galaxy, that much like Steam, updates games automatically. However, with GOG Galaxy the games can be downloaded without DRM restrictions for offline gameplay as well. Galaxy’s online social features and automatic updates are said to be optional and can be turned on and off as desired. A beta version of GOG Galaxy is now available for Mac and Windows users. Continue reading GOG Galaxy: New DRM-Free Online Gaming Service Goes Live

Xbox One Likely to Add DVR Functionality Sometime This Year

In a post yesterday about the death of Windows Media Center, tech journalist and blogger Paul Thurrott cited unnamed sources regarding an update to Xbox One’s live TV functionality that would add television recording. This would allow Xbox One to replace TiVo and other DVRs in many households. Microsoft recently unveiled a tuner that enables the console to accept over-the-air broadcast TV signals. It also offers the options to pause live TV and stream live content to mobile devices via SmartGlass. Continue reading Xbox One Likely to Add DVR Functionality Sometime This Year

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