New Form Digital Studio to Launch Program at USC This Fall

Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer’s newly launched digital studio, New Form, will team up with students from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts to develop digital content. Two-person teams of students will participate in the year-long program to develop scripted series for the Web and pitch their projects. At the end of the first semester, three of the pitches will be selected for production to take place during the second semester. Continue reading New Form Digital Studio to Launch Program at USC This Fall

Samsung Developing Virtual Reality Headset for Video Games

Later this year, Samsung is reportedly planning to announce a virtual reality headset that will work with Galaxy phones and tablets. The headset with OLED screen is designed to provide gamers with a more immersive experience for Android-based video games. Facebook and Sony have been developing their own VR headsets with the much-hyped Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, but Samsung hopes to offer its product before the competition and at a lower price. Continue reading Samsung Developing Virtual Reality Headset for Video Games

Mobile Apps and Infotainment for Cars Shifting into High Gear

Earlier this week, we reported that GM is getting ready to release more than 30 new vehicles equipped with built-in 4G LTE service provided by AT&T. A number of new models from various automakers are also looking to become rolling Wi-Fi hot spots this year as car and app makers make the long-awaited push into new software and communications links. New models will feature dashboard electronics that make it easier to access smartphone apps for traffic, weather, news, entertainment and more. Continue reading Mobile Apps and Infotainment for Cars Shifting into High Gear

GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Take-Two Interactive Software announced that it has sold more than 33 million copies of “Grand Theft Auto V” since the game’s launch in September, generating an estimated $1.98 billion in retail sales. The New York-based company claims “GTA V” was the best-selling console game last year in North America, Latin America and Europe — and the fastest title in video game history to reach $1 billion in sales. For additional perspective, it’s worth noting that Take-Two generated $2.4 billion in total revenue for its fiscal year. Continue reading GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Board Game Sales Increase Despite Electronic Game Success

While most people may assume that the success of electronic gaming has negatively impacted the traditional board game industry, the result has actually been the opposite. Technology has brought new tools that can create tabletop games with 3D figures and other tangible advances. In the past few years, sales of tabletop games have dramatically increased. Dan Shapiro, who has worked at Microsoft and sold a company to Google, recently created a board game for children and found crowdfunding to be beneficial. Continue reading Board Game Sales Increase Despite Electronic Game Success

Los Angeles Mayor Launches Entrepreneur in Residence Program

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently announced the city’s Entrepreneur In Residence Program, an initiative sponsored by Ernst & Young. Garcetti has appointed two notable entrepreneurs — Krisztina “Z” Holly and Amir Tehrani — to help create jobs and develop ideas for boosting L.A.’s economy. In addition to developing new business policies, Holly and Tehrani will coordinate with non-profits, educational institutions and businesses to foster entrepreneurship. Continue reading Los Angeles Mayor Launches Entrepreneur in Residence Program

Atlantic Develops VR Content for Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus

Adrian Pennington forwarded us news that British television producer Atlantic Productions is developing virtual reality narrative content, including documentary, CG and drama pilots for Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. Atlantic Productions is the company behind noted nature documentaries such as “Galapagos,” “Kingdom of Plants” and the BAFTA-winning “Flying Monsters 3D.” Atlantic hopes to bundle some of its VR content with the Oculus Rift when it becomes commercially available. Continue reading Atlantic Develops VR Content for Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus

F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

During Facebook’s F8 developer conference this week, an Oculus VR spokesperson said the company would likely release its Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets commercially next year. While there is no official word yet on a price tag or release date for the consumer version of Oculus Rift, the headset will require an ecosystem of games and entertainment. The Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 is presently on sale for $350, and is scheduled to begin shipping in July. Continue reading F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

Amazon Hires Engineering Team to Design Its Own Server Chips

Retail and cloud giant Amazon has joined Google and Facebook in investing in development its own server chips. The company recently brought together a team of CPU architects and hardware development engineers, four of whom come from Calxeda, the defunct ARM-based server startup in Austin, Texas. Despite the high initial costs of custom server chips, these specialized products would allow Amazon to optimize costs and improve performance. Continue reading Amazon Hires Engineering Team to Design Its Own Server Chips

New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

More than a dozen companies have joined the Core Infrastructure Initiative to provide funding to open source projects, starting with OpenSSL. The Linux Foundation, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, Qualcomm, and VMWare have each pledged $100,000 over the next three years to pay for full-time developers, security audits, computing and testing infrastructure, and more to help financially strapped open source projects. Continue reading New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

LinkedIn Has 300 Million Registered Users, Mobile Use on Rise

LinkedIn recently announced that it now has more than 300 million registered users, about two-thirds of which are based outside the United States. While the company has not specified how many of the 300 million are active monthly users, it reported 139 million monthly unique visitors and 48 million Slideshare visitors for the fourth quarter of 2013. During that same period, LinkedIn noted that 41 percent of its traffic came from mobile devices, a percentage it expects to continue increasing. Continue reading LinkedIn Has 300 Million Registered Users, Mobile Use on Rise

NBCUniversal Unveils its Plans for New Digital Programming

NBCUniversal announced on Tuesday its push into digital programming with the launch of new series to be distributed via its channel websites, Hulu and VOD. Two series slated to launch on NBC.com include “Saturday Night Line,” about superfans who wait in the “SNL” standby line, and “Heroes Reborn: Digital Series,” a prequel to the upcoming “Heroes” miniseries. In addition, Universal Cable Productions has plans to release more than a dozen digital programs, including “Tesla and Twain” and “Last Single Girl.” Continue reading NBCUniversal Unveils its Plans for New Digital Programming

DARPA Converts Army Surveillance Drones into Mobile Hotspots

DARPA’s Mobile Hotspots program is converting retired RQ-7 Army drones into wireless hotspots to provide Wi-Fi to soldiers in remote areas. The drones will be able to transfer data at one gigabyte per second — about the same connectivity of a 4G smartphone — to give troops the same communication capabilities, including access to tactical operation centers and mission data, that others in more central conflict zones have. DARPA is retrofitting the drones with small Wi-Fi antennas. Continue reading DARPA Converts Army Surveillance Drones into Mobile Hotspots

Engineers Developing Emotion-Based Video Game Controller

Stanford engineers have created the next step in interactive gaming — a video game controller that can sense a player’s emotions. The handheld game controller can monitor a player’s brain activity to decipher when a user is extremely engaged or bored, which could trigger zombies or another element of the game to be thrown at them to catch their attention. Gregory Kovacs, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, created a prototype controller in his lab in collaboration with Texas Instruments. Continue reading Engineers Developing Emotion-Based Video Game Controller

USC Planning to Offer Journalism Course Using Google Glass

While developers consider a number of industries for which Google Glass may have useful applications, some are considering the headset’s potential use in the news business. Professor Robert Hernandez of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is offering a course this fall on Glass Journalism. “The class will consist of teams (Journalist, Designer, Developer) working together to research and develop different types of news apps designed specifically for the Glass platform,” reads a Tumblr post about the course. Continue reading USC Planning to Offer Journalism Course Using Google Glass

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