Highlights From the AR/VR Think Tank Sessions at CES 2019

During the AR/VR Think Tank panel and subsequent panels on gaming and LBE (Location-Based Entertainment) at CES this week, representatives of production and tool companies put the current state of the medium in a broader context. We are past the initial “everything should be shot in 360” stage, and are now asking, “what are you trying to say?” Ultimately the experience must be purpose-driven. Game developer Don Daglow noted that killer apps usually happen by accident when someone’s passion taps into an unrecognized mass market demand. He noted that VisiCalc was a killer app for the PC, for example. Continue reading Highlights From the AR/VR Think Tank Sessions at CES 2019

Why Netflix, Amazon Didn’t Buy Movies at Sundance Film Fest

For the last two years, Amazon Studios and Netflix dominated in acquisitions of films at the annual Sundance Film Festival, purchasing six titles each at the 2016 festival and, last year, Netflix leaving with 10 titles and Amazon with five. This year was a notable difference, with neither streaming giant buying a single title (yet) from the 2018 fest. Because of that, more traditional distribution companies and foreign sales agents were able to compete, the latter because the streamers bought worldwide rights. Continue reading Why Netflix, Amazon Didn’t Buy Movies at Sundance Film Fest

SIGGRAPH 2015: Virtual Production, Cousin of Virtual Reality

At SIGGRAPH 2015, Autodesk executives David Morin and Ben Guthrie described virtual production, its relationship with virtual reality and some newly released tools from their company to aid in the process. Virtual production began with Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings,” got a bump of recognition with “Avatar,” and has been used on many films since. According to Morin and Guthrie, the process, which lets filmmakers create virtual worlds in-camera and composite CG and live action on set, is achieving momentum. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: Virtual Production, Cousin of Virtual Reality

Nvidia Launches DesignWorks Software Suite for Designers

DesignWorks, Nvidia’s newly announced suite of software tools, technologies, and libraries for designers enables “photoreal rendering for unparalleled accuracy, easy transfer of materials and digital models between applications, and the ability to incorporate virtual reality into design software,” the company said in a press announcement. Alongside the launch of DesignWorks, Nvidia also announced two new professional GPUs: the Quadro M5000 and Quadro M4000, based on Nvidia’s Maxwell GPU architecture. Continue reading Nvidia Launches DesignWorks Software Suite for Designers

Google to Lead Investment in Magic Leap’s ‘Cinematic Reality’

Google may lead Andreessen Horowitz and other investors in a $500 million round of funding for Florida-based hardware and software maker Magic Leap, according to sources. The company is working on a new 3D experience that is more advanced than current virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. Magic Leap has released very few details about its “cinematic reality” tech, but it is most likely going to involve super high-resolution 3D images projected from special glasses. Continue reading Google to Lead Investment in Magic Leap’s ‘Cinematic Reality’

Amazon Announces its Kindle Unlimited, the Netflix for Books

Amazon announced its new Kindle Unlimited, a $9.99 per month unlimited reading and listening service that provides access to more than 600,000 Kindle books and thousands of audiobooks from Audible. It will be available for the Kindle as well as iOS and Android mobile devices through the Amazon Kindle app. Analysts suggest that the service, which will compete with existing ebook subscription services Scribd and Oyster, could spark as much as $1 billion in growth for Amazon. Continue reading Amazon Announces its Kindle Unlimited, the Netflix for Books

Industry Execs Discuss Direction of Games, VR and the Cloud

Trends in electronic gaming, virtual reality and the impact of the cloud were topics addressed during last week’s Digital Entertainment World conference in Los Angeles. During “The State of the Game Industry” panel, Machinima co-founder Allen DeBevoise said that gameboy culture is driving entertainment. Companies including Warner Bros. are exploring games as a service; gaming in the cloud seems inevitable, but faces challenges; and VR tech is supported by most, while consumer adoption remains a hurdle. Continue reading Industry Execs Discuss Direction of Games, VR and the Cloud

Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion and Its Simulation Technology

Social gaming company Zynga has acquired game and software developer NaturalMotion for $527 million — giving the company access to simulation technology that makes characters look and move naturally. Zynga hopes to improve its mobile games like “FarmVille,” which currently feature more cartoon-like 2D characters. The same technology behind NaturalMotion was used in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and Rockstar uses it for the “Grand Theft Auto” games. Continue reading Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion and Its Simulation Technology

Is Modern Warfare 3 the Most Successful Franchise of All Time?

  • “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” has set a new entertainment launch record, selling 6.5 million units within 24 hours after its release last week. The first-person shooter raised $400 million in sales revenues in the Unites States and United Kingdom.
  • This marks the third consecutive sales record for game publisher Activision Blizzard with the “Call of Duty” series. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” sold 4.7 million copies during its first day of availability in 2009, and last year’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops” hit 5.6 million in its first 24 hours.
  • “We believe the launch of ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’ is the biggest entertainment launch of all time in any medium, and we achieved this record with sales from only two territories,” said Activision Blizzard chief exec Bobby Kotick.
  • “Other than ‘Call of Duty,’ there has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records three years in a row,” he added. “Life-to-date sales for the ‘Call of Duty’ franchise exceed worldwide theatrical box office for ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Lord of the Rings,’ two of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time.”