X2 Games Integrates Alexa to Update Board Game Format

X2 Games released “St. Noire,” an AI murder mystery board game that integrates Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. “St. Noire” ($40 on Amazon) lets players become private eyes and explore the eponymous, shady town to determine the culprit in a recent murder. Players ask Alexa to “examine” locations such as Black Saint Bar or Greasy Spoon, or to pretend to be a suspect during interrogation. The game, which requires the use of Alexa, is similar to the board game “Clue” in that it evolves by the process of elimination to determine the specifics of each crime. Continue reading X2 Games Integrates Alexa to Update Board Game Format

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

Helios and Matheson to Buy EFO Films Library, Current Slate

Helios and Matheson Analytics, MoviePass’ parent company, has the exclusive option to acquire the film library and production slate of Emmett Furla Oasis (EFO) Films, which produced “Lone Survivor” and “End of Watch.” The company would use EFO Films’ assets and expertise to debut its own production company, MoviePass Films. EFO founders Randall Emmett and George Furla would be co-chief executives of the new venture. Helios and Matheson chief executive Ted Farnsworth said the deal signals MoviePass’ continued viability. Continue reading Helios and Matheson to Buy EFO Films Library, Current Slate

Google DeepMind Speeds AI Learning with Computer Dreams

Google’s DeepMind division has improved the speed and performance of its machine learning system with technology whose attributes are similar to how animals are thought to dream. Dubbed “Unreal” (Unsupervised Reinforcement and Auxiliary Learning), the system learned to complete Labyrinth, a 3D maze, ten times faster than the best existing artificial intelligence software and can now play up to 87 percent of expert human players’ performance. DeepMind researchers will now be able to try out new ideas much more quickly. Continue reading Google DeepMind Speeds AI Learning with Computer Dreams

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

New Book from Nolan Bushnell: Finding the Next Steve Jobs

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell released a new book this week called “Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent.” The book sets out to answer the popular Silicon Valley question: “Who is the next Steve Jobs?” and, in the process, offers advice on how to launch the next Apple or Atari. Bushnell was one of the first to hire Jobs and later turned down the chance to own one-third of Apple during its early years. Continue reading New Book from Nolan Bushnell: Finding the Next Steve Jobs

Atari Files for Bankruptcy to Separate from Parent Company

New York-based interactive entertainment company Atari Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, announcing plans to sell all its assets. The videogame pioneer, with a portfolio of more than 200 games, has filed in an effort to separate from its French parent Atari SA of Paris (formerly Infogrames SA) and secure independent capital. Continue reading Atari Files for Bankruptcy to Separate from Parent Company