Disney, ILMxLAB and The VOID Introduce ‘Ralph Breaks VR’

The 2018 CG animated movie “Ralph Breaks the Internet” raked in more than $500 million in box office revenues last year and, this year, visitors to The VOID in the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas will be able to have the immersive “Ralph Breaks VR” experience. Located in the Grand Canal Shoppes, the experience — from Disney and Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB in partnership with The VOID, allows four players to enjoy features not possible in a home VR experience. “Ralph Breaks VR” is available in eight locations including Las Vegas. Continue reading Disney, ILMxLAB and The VOID Introduce ‘Ralph Breaks VR’

SoCal Cities Buck FCC to Create Regional Internet Network

Sixteen cities in Southern California’s South Bay have teamed up to provide cheaper Internet service to their 1.1 million residents. Their effort goes against a common belief that regional collaborations are unlikely to succeed because cities are busy, strapped for resources and competitive. It also irks the FCC, which believes that private companies are doing a great job of delivering Internet at low prices to everyone in America. The FCC has been actively discouraging states from building local Internet networks. Continue reading SoCal Cities Buck FCC to Create Regional Internet Network

Amazon Inks 15-Year Lease of the Historic Culver Studios Lot

Amazon Studios just cut a ribbon on its 15-year lease of the historic 14-acre Culver Studios lot from landlord Hackman Capital Partners, which has owned the property since 2014. Hackman enticed Amazon to rent the property with a plan to invest $600 million in seven new buildings and other upgrades in the next three years. Before inking a deal for the Culver City lot, Amazon Studios had been housed in offices in Santa Monica. Amazon began moving its 700 entertainment employees into the Culver City lot in late 2017. Continue reading Amazon Inks 15-Year Lease of the Historic Culver Studios Lot

Southern California’s Silicon Beach Expanding into Playa Vista

The recently developed Playa Vista neighborhood on Los Angeles’ Westside near Marina del Rey is now home to numerous technology companies including Electronic Arts, Facebook, IMAX, Microsoft, Yahoo and YouTube. In fall 2018, Alphabet’s Google will move into a 319,000-square foot office space, adjacent to 12 acres of land the company bought in 2014. Playa Vista is also adjacent to the 600-acre Ballona Wetlands, home to hundreds of bird species, and against the Westchester Bluffs. Currently 5,000 to 6,000 people work there. Continue reading Southern California’s Silicon Beach Expanding into Playa Vista

NBCUniversal, Snap to Open New Studio for Mobile Content

NBCUniversal and Snap plan to open a production studio to create original content for mobile devices. Mark and Jay Duplass, who formed creative agency Donut to produce programming for new platforms, will be the first creators for the studio. NBC News already produces “Stay Tuned,” a twice-daily newscast distributed on Snapchat, which drew 29 million unique viewers in its first month. Former NBC Entertainment executive Lauren Anderson will head the new NBCUniversal-Snap studio, to be based in Santa Monica. Continue reading NBCUniversal, Snap to Open New Studio for Mobile Content

Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 1)

If you were not at E3, the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo, you might think that the great expanse of the Los Angeles Convention Center was wall-to-wall virtual reality. Despite VR’s headline domination, it was a different story on the floor where impressive visuals and sophisticated gameplay ignited the crowd. Even jaded game industry media could not contain their excitement. As IGN enthused after the Sony press conference, for instance, “That may be the best E3 press event ever.” We divided our overview into two parts: the evolution of E3 and direction of the gaming industry, followed by a breakdown of this year’s top products. Continue reading Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 1)

Whalerock to Launch Celebrity Networks via Web and Mobile App

The Kardashian sisters, Howard Stern and rap artist Tyler The Creator are all getting new shows, only not on traditional TV but rather the Internet and a mobile app. Whalerock Industries, a company based in Santa Monica, has confirmed it plans to launch personal channels for these artists in the coming months. Each channel will feature an eclectic mix of premium content from the celebrities including videos, music, photos, merchandise and gaming. The app will be available this June.  Continue reading Whalerock to Launch Celebrity Networks via Web and Mobile App

Production in the Cloud: ETC to Host OpenStack Event Next Week

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC will host “Eventually OpenStack” on Monday, March 17 in Santa Monica. The event, scheduled for 6:30-8:30 pm and open to all, will examine how open source and cloud technologies are impacting the media and entertainment industry. Presenters include Yahoo’s Sean Roberts (board director at The OpenStack Foundation), DigitalFilm Tree CTO Guillaume Aubuchon, and Steve Hallett of Symantec. For more information, contact Erik Weaver at ETC or visit the event’s registration page. Continue reading Production in the Cloud: ETC to Host OpenStack Event Next Week

Google Tests Same-Day Delivery Service in Southern California

Google is expanding the test of its Google Shopping Express same-day delivery service by including company employees in the Santa Monica area. The test, which joins other similar programs such as eBay Now, Walmart to Go, and AmazonFresh, is an expansion of the pilot program it launched in the Bay Area last spring. Claiming it has received “great feedback” from shoppers and retailers in the San Francisco, Google has plans to eventually extend the service to the public. Continue reading Google Tests Same-Day Delivery Service in Southern California

Sony to Launch Curved LED HDTV, Promises Immersive Viewing

Sony is getting ready to launch its new 65-inch curved screen HDTV. While LG and Samsung introduced curved OLED HDTVs this summer ($10,000 and $9,000 respectively), Sony’s $4,000 display is the first curved LED HDTV featuring contrast-enhancing LED backlighting. According to Sony, the new TV produces richer 3D video and has a wider viewing angle with a curvature designed to make the viewing experience seem more natural. Continue reading Sony to Launch Curved LED HDTV, Promises Immersive Viewing