In Speedier Rollout, Amazon Adds Four New Alexa Slot Types

When Amazon’s Alexa asks for the name of an actor, athlete, author or another noun in response to a question, there’s a method to the madness: it’s trying to fill a “slot type,” which defines how data is recognized. A skill or third party app with a slot type for actors would likely query filmographies listing names of actors. These slots are intended to save time, says Amazon, as well as provide a more consistent experience. Amazon is adding four new slot types: Creative Work, Food, Sport and Video Game. Continue reading In Speedier Rollout, Amazon Adds Four New Alexa Slot Types

Rockstar’s ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ Breaks Sales Records

According to Rockstar Games, its “Red Dead Redemption 2” earned more than $725 million in global retail sales in its first three days on the market, breaking several records. The company deemed it “the biggest opening weekend in the history of entertainment,” surpassing the $640 million raked in by “Avengers: Infinity War,” which earned more than $640 million in its opening weekend. But “Red Dead Redemption 2” doesn’t top Rockstar Games’ own “Grand Theft Auto V,” which pulled in more than $1 billion in its first three days. Continue reading Rockstar’s ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ Breaks Sales Records

Unity Deepens Storytelling Workbench With CineCast Feature

At the Unite 2018 developers conference last week, Unity Technologies’ head of cinematics, Adam Myhill, unveiled CineCast, a synthetic co-director for filming video games that has implications for narrative storytelling and sports broadcasts of all kinds. Myhill, with the help of four players and a stand-in director — professional gamer Stephanie Harvey — demoed the CineCast mode for “GTFO,” a first-person shooter and the first property to use CineCast. Under Harvey’s watchful eye, CineCast automatically and in real-time chose the best and highest quality shot to move the action forward, with Harvey making only a few, on-the-fly adjustments. Continue reading Unity Deepens Storytelling Workbench With CineCast Feature

Unity’s AI-Enabled CineCast Allows Dynamic Game Viewing

At this week’s Unite LA event, Unity Technologies debuted CineCast, an AI-powered camera system that is intended to change how people stream, watch and interact with games and eSports. CineCast, which will enter beta in 2019, lets them create and view different camera angles. Unity introduced this technology to offer a better viewing experience for watching games such as “Overwatch.” Although the Overwatch League created similar tools, they don’t reach everyone, and Unity hopes to attract more viewers to the games. Continue reading Unity’s AI-Enabled CineCast Allows Dynamic Game Viewing

Facebook Launches Android Version of Game Streaming Site

Facebook introduced its Fb.gg online gaming hub this summer, created to draw game streamers and their followers away from rival sites such as Amazon-owned Twitch. The hub — featuring videos based on games and streaming celebs that Facebook users follow, as well as Liked Pages and Groups — is going mobile with an Android launch, now in its beta testing stage. The Android version is expected to provide gamers who stream via Facebook Live a more prominent landing page for improved discovery. Continue reading Facebook Launches Android Version of Game Streaming Site

Oculus Signals Intent to Develop Location-Based VR Content

At the Oculus Connect developer conference last week, Oculus head of experience Colum Slevin teased the idea that the company would soon seek involvement in location-based VR centers and arcades in movie theaters and malls. He drew attention to a number of such location-based VR experiences, underlining how Oculus’ involvement could help drive sales of headsets. Oculus recently listed a job opening for “Producer – Location Based Entertainment VR,” that said it would include direct investments into location-based VR content. Continue reading Oculus Signals Intent to Develop Location-Based VR Content

Nintendo Plans New Version of Switch Hybrid Game Console

To increase sales of its Switch game console, Nintendo plans to launch a new version by the second half of 2019. When Switch debuted in March 2017, sales soared. Although they are still robust, they’re losing steam enough to prompt Nintendo to prep a second version that will, it hopes, keep the console competitive. According to sources, Nintendo is still contemplating what hardware and software to include in the next version. One possibility is an improved display, which is currently a lower-end LCD. Continue reading Nintendo Plans New Version of Switch Hybrid Game Console

Netflix to Offer Interactive Feature, Starting With ‘Black Mirror’

Netflix, famous for disrupting the traditional TV model by delivering all episodes of a new TV season at once, is readying experimentation with interactive TV. The company is reportedly developing a series of specials that will allow viewers of the streaming service to select the next storyline of a movie or television episode. According to people with knowledge of the plans, the new feature will be introduced later this year when viewers can select storylines for an upcoming episode of Emmy-winning sci-fi series “Black Mirror,” a show noted for its examination of tech and its social implications. Continue reading Netflix to Offer Interactive Feature, Starting With ‘Black Mirror’

Nintendo Switch Online Debuts as a Multiplayer Game Service

When Nintendo Switch Online debuts today, gamers will have a multiplayer option similar to Xbox Live and PSN. The new service allows users to save online games in the cloud and offers a library of NES games. Subscription prices range from $4 per month, $8 for three months, to $20 for a year and $35 for a family plan with at least two accounts. Gamers can also sign up for a seven-day free trial. Some games, such as “Fortnite,” will not require a subscription to play online. The service will debut with 20 games. Continue reading Nintendo Switch Online Debuts as a Multiplayer Game Service

Newzoo Upbeat on eSports, Predicting Dominance of Gaming

Newzoo predicts that eSports will earn $1.7 billion in revenues by 2021 and every major U.S. media conglomerate will own at least some eSports rights. To buttress the latter prediction, Newzoo notes that Disney, Comcast and AT&T are “already looking into content rights for eSports,” in part, at least, to “entice younger consumers.” The research firm further predicts that eSports content will not only be featured on these media outlets’ linear platforms but also on their nonlinear live-streaming platforms. Continue reading Newzoo Upbeat on eSports, Predicting Dominance of Gaming

Microsoft Service to Bundle Xbox One, Xbox Live, Game Pass

After months of planning, Microsoft has announced its Xbox All Access service (formerly codenamed Project Largo) that will include the Xbox One console with Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass. As of now, the company will offer the subscription service at its retail stores and is also working to bundle it with other PC manufacturers. According to the Microsoft announcement, the company will offer the Xbox One S with Xbox All Access for $21.99 per month, and the Xbox One X with Xbox All Access for $34.99 per month, both deals for 24 months. Continue reading Microsoft Service to Bundle Xbox One, Xbox Live, Game Pass

Some Developers Fed Up With Apple, Google App Store Taxes

Apple and Google are getting pushback from such companies as Netflix, Epic Games and Valve that have complained the tech behemoths collect too high of a tax for residing in their app stores. The number of such complaints has risen significantly, and new ways of reaching users has led some companies to avoid app stores altogether. That, combined with competition from those new sources and regulatory scrutiny threaten what has thus far been a source of billions of dollars in revenue for Apple and Google. Continue reading Some Developers Fed Up With Apple, Google App Store Taxes

Amazon Adjusts Ad-Free Viewing on its Twitch Prime Platform

On September 14, Amazon will end ad-free viewing on Twitch Prime, which has been complimentary since it was launched two years ago as a benefit for Amazon Prime subscribers. Twitch Prime has since evolved into its own thriving platform, featuring free games, in-game prizes for some titles and a monthly channel subscription credit that the user can award to a streamer of his/her choice. These perks will remain despite the end of ad-free viewing. Amazon is positioning the change as a way to better support creators. Continue reading Amazon Adjusts Ad-Free Viewing on its Twitch Prime Platform

Two Bit Circus Brings Micro-Amusement Park to Los Angeles

Two Bit Circus is on track to open a “micro-amusement park” in a 40,000-square-foot space in downtown Los Angeles in September. Company chief executive Brent Bushnell and cofounder Eric Gradman said they plan to open more digital/physical arcades, potentially in shopping malls, in the future. The interactive playground has zones, “like an amusement park,” with a variety of different games in each one. The company, which was founded in 2012 and raised $15 million in 2017, will invite corporations to sponsor events there. Continue reading Two Bit Circus Brings Micro-Amusement Park to Los Angeles

Apple Targets Creatives With MacBook Pro Speed, Features

Apple’s latest 15-inch and 13-inch MacBook Pros feature improvements in processor speeds, RAM and internal storage, and allow the user to access Siri with voice commands. The new MacBook Pros also feature a much quieter keyboard. The 15-inch version, with a six-core processor, is estimated to be 70 percent faster than the previous model, and the amount of memory and storage is double the amount of the previous model. It also gave a seal of approval to Blackmagic’s eGPU peripheral, ideal for intensive graphics use. Continue reading Apple Targets Creatives With MacBook Pro Speed, Features

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