Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Live for Sony PlayStation

Sony has teamed with streaming music service Spotify to allow gamers to listen to their favorite tunes while playing games. Originally announced in January, Spotify officially joined PlayStation Music this week. While many users may be drawn to the Spotify-powered service, hardcore gamers may be turned off by the idea of replacing a game’s soundtrack and immersive audio effects with unrelated music. However, the companies are targeting the gamers who regularly play their own music in the background while gaming. Continue reading Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Live for Sony PlayStation

Mobile Gaming Revenue on an Upswing, Supercell is Top Earner

Revenue from mobile gaming is expected to rise 16.5 percent this year to $3.04 billion, surpassing the revenue growth of e-books, music, and videos. An estimated 60 percent of that growth is expected from in-app purchases. Mobile gaming companies will likely make most of that revenue from only a few strong-performing games because the revenue distribution is highly skewed towards the top. Currently, European gaming companies are making the most successful mobile games. Continue reading Mobile Gaming Revenue on an Upswing, Supercell is Top Earner

The Pirate Bay Returns After Being Shut Down by Authorities

Popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay is back online following a two-month outage after police in Stockholm raided a data center and seized servers. Responding to complaints from Swedish anti-piracy group Rights Alliance, authorities shut down numerous peer-to-peer and torrent-related services on December 9. Later that month, The Pirate Bay page returned, went through several iterations, and eventually replaced its pirate ship with a phoenix logo. A countdown clock indicated a February 1 return, and the site now appears to be live. Continue reading The Pirate Bay Returns After Being Shut Down by Authorities

Jay-Z in Negotiations to Acquire Tidal and WiMP Music Services

Media mogul and entertainer Jay-Z is in closing negotiations to acquire Swedish company Aspiro AB, which owns music streaming services WiMP Music and Tidal. The deal, reportedly valued at $56 million, is being handled by Jay-Z’s S. Carter Enterprises. Tidal is the American and U.K. version of WiMP Music, a streaming service that offers CD-quality music files. Once the deal closes, Jay-Z may join the ranks of Dr. Dre who sold his Beats Music streaming service to Apple last year.  Continue reading Jay-Z in Negotiations to Acquire Tidal and WiMP Music Services

Twitch Commands Live Gaming with 100 Million Monthly Views

Twitch Interactive announced late last week that it now averages 100 million global viewers per month. The Amazon-owned site hosts live video broadcasts of gamers competing against each other and has been steadily growing in popularity (its current viewing numbers more than double last year’s figures). The announcement comes as Twitch faces an increasing number of competitors, including Dailymotion, GamingLive.tv, Valve and Google’s YouTube. Twitch generates its revenue through advertising and premium upgrades. Continue reading Twitch Commands Live Gaming with 100 Million Monthly Views

Pirate Bay File-Sharing Service Raided by Police, Shut Down

The Pirate Bay was taken down yesterday after Swedish police raided a server room over alleged copyright violations, seizing computers and servers in the process. Pirate Bay’s file-sharing section and its Suprbay.org forum were both affected. The move follows a series of recent events surrounding the service that have returned it to the spotlight. Online sources are reporting that file sharing services such as EZTV, Torrage and Zoink also went down yesterday, but it is not yet clear whether they were raided. Continue reading Pirate Bay File-Sharing Service Raided by Police, Shut Down

Microsoft to Pay $2.5 Billion for Mojang, Maker of ‘Minecraft’

Microsoft has agreed to purchase Mojang, the Swedish company responsible for developing the world-building computer game “Minecraft.” The $2.5 billion cash deal, expected to be completed later this year, will bring the immensely popular title — and the Stockholm-based Mojang team — to Microsoft Studios, which publishes blockbuster game series such as “Fable” and “Halo.” “Minecraft” is currently the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for iOS and Android in the U.S. Continue reading Microsoft to Pay $2.5 Billion for Mojang, Maker of ‘Minecraft’

Netflix Expands to European Markets, Promises New Content

Netflix is making content announcements and pledges ahead of its push into mainland Europe this month. The service has greenlit “Marseille,” its first original series based and produced in France, which the company expects will become one of its biggest new markets. The series is scheduled to begin shooting early in 2015 and will debut on Netflix later in the year. In addition, CEO Reed Hastings told German news magazine Der Spiegel that Netflix would “certainly” produce something in Germany in the future. Continue reading Netflix Expands to European Markets, Promises New Content

Newstag Slated to Launch Crowd-Curated Video News Service

Swedish startup Newstag has developed a compelling revenue-sharing approach that it hopes will solve the “broken economic model” of today’s news dissemination and consumption. Newstag plans to help professional news organizations, brands, NGOs and general consumers make money from news when it launches its service commercially in September. According to journalist and ETCentric contributor Adrian Pennington, the company recently announced $1.3 million in seed funding. Continue reading Newstag Slated to Launch Crowd-Curated Video News Service

Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Microsoft is expanding beyond video games in an effort to make its Xbox console more of an entertainment media hub. The software giant is planning to produce TV-like original programming including an expected series from Steven Spielberg based on “Halo,” a version of Swedish sci-fi show “Humans,” a soccer reality-style series and a documentary about discarded Atari games. Microsoft joins a growing field as companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Yahoo are tackling original content. Continue reading Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Netflix Joins European Cable Boxes, Targets U.S. Operators

Although Netflix apps are currently offered on over 1,000 devices, they have been absent from cable boxes. This week, Netflix launched an app on Swedish TiVo boxes used by the cable operator Com Hem, which allows viewers to see Netflix’s catalog adjacent to live TV programming. The video service announced a similar deal with cable operator Virgin in the U.K. last year, and is working with Waoo in Denmark. Netflix is looking to pair with U.S. cable operators before the end of this year. Continue reading Netflix Joins European Cable Boxes, Targets U.S. Operators

Spotify Has Plans to Go Mobile with Free, Ad-Supported Music

Spotify has plans to launch a free, ad-supported version of its streaming music service on mobile devices, according to people familiar with the matter. The Sweden-based company has reached licensing deals with three of the global music companies to use their recordings on the service. The ad-supported offering will allow nonpaying mobile users to play a limited number of songs on demand, but will mostly serve up music based on user input, similar to services such as Pandora.

Continue reading Spotify Has Plans to Go Mobile with Free, Ad-Supported Music

Leading Smart TVs to Include Magine Cloud Service in Europe

Magine’s cloud-based TV service currently allows users to scan TV schedules, surf channels, rewind programs and access archived content via their tablets, smartphones or computers. Starting early next year, European users will be able to do the same with their smart TVs when sets from LG, Panasonic and Philips’ venture with TPV Technology will come preloaded with the Swedish company’s cloud TV software. Magine is demonstrating the system this week at MIPCOM in Cannes, France (October 7-10). Continue reading Leading Smart TVs to Include Magine Cloud Service in Europe

Augmented Reality App Offers Custom Views of IKEA Catalog

IKEA is launching an augmented reality app that works in conjunction with its AR-capable catalog. Consumers can visualize virtual furniture layouts by essentially superimposing furniture on top of the live view of a smartphone or tablet camera. Consumers select a piece of furniture from the catalog, and point their mobile device toward the physical catalog as a reference point for angle, light, position and size. A virtual version of the furniture will then appear on the device. Continue reading Augmented Reality App Offers Custom Views of IKEA Catalog

Minecraft Enjoys Global Success, Inspires Indie Developers

“Minecraft,” created by Markus Persson four years ago, has become one of the world’s most popular video games. Its 22 million users make it three times more popular than “World of Warcraft.” The virtual world’s simple gameplay provides users with creative freedom, offering Lego-like blocks to build basic structures that can be later transformed into palaces. It is also giving other game developers the idea that a successful video game can be made independently. Continue reading Minecraft Enjoys Global Success, Inspires Indie Developers

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