Microsoft Buys Four Game Studios to Ramp Up Development

During Microsoft’s E3 press conference yesterday in Los Angeles, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced that the company has acquired game studios Compulsion Games (Canada), Playground Games (United Kingdom), Ninja Theory (United Kingdom) and Undead Labs (Seattle). Microsoft is planning to expand its Xbox Game Pass service; building up its in-house game development should assist in that effort. Spencer also revealed that the company is developing a cloud-based game-streaming network that will work across Xbox, PCs and phones. Continue reading Microsoft Buys Four Game Studios to Ramp Up Development

Amazon Ramps Up its Google Rivalry with New Video Service

Amazon is taking on Google with the launch of its Video Direct ad-supported video service, which allows anyone to upload original or licensed video content, similar to the YouTube model. Amazon account holders will have the options of offering their content for free, to rent or own, via a subscription channel, or exclusively to Amazon Prime members. The move is another step in Amazon’s push into media as the company continues to invest in original programming and exclusive deals with the likes of HBO and Epix, while introducing a month-by-month subscription option to compete with Netflix. Continue reading Amazon Ramps Up its Google Rivalry with New Video Service

Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

Google is testing an app downloading shortcut that bypasses its Google Play app as part of an experiment to make using Google’s search app more convenient. The company is currently testing the shortcut with a subset of Android users, a typical approach by Google when developing new products. The test is limited to the search app for now and does not include using Google.com via browsers. While a spokesperson explains the company is committed to “finding the content you need as easy as possible,” Google has not announced whether the shortcut would become a permanent feature. Continue reading Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

Nintendo is Shifting Gears with New Moves into Mobile Gaming

Nintendo is building its new online network, Nintendo Account, with Japanese mobile gaming publisher DeNA. Nintendo Account will allow gamers to login to games via consoles, PCs, smartphones and tablets. Nintendo recently announced that its first foray into mobile games would be “Miitomo,” a new take on the popular “Tomodachi Life” series that will emphasize microtransactions, player-to-player communications and dressing up players’ Mii avatars. The company is also replacing its defunct Club Nintendo with the My Nintendo loyalty system. Continue reading Nintendo is Shifting Gears with New Moves into Mobile Gaming

GoPro Announces New Premium Video Content Licensing Portal

GoPro unveiled its new premium content portal that allows content creators to license videos to brands and media companies for a profit, similar to services available through photo communities such as Flickr and 500px. The new platform, designed with the professional in mind, requires that both the seller and buyer apply for content access. Once accepted, users can download files, preview videos, and search for specific content through the portal. Videos start at $1,000 each, and the terms of the license last six months. Continue reading GoPro Announces New Premium Video Content Licensing Portal

Flickr Upgrade Includes Cloud Storage and Object Recognition

Photo sharing site Flickr is helping users store and organize their photos with new cloud computing and machine learning solutions. The service recently introduced a new automatic photo uploader for mobile and desktop and each user gets 1,000 gigabytes of free cloud storage. Sorting through photos is now easier with the new search function, which relies on machine learning tech to recognize objects, places, and people in photos. The new search engine works because the service automatically adds descriptive tags to uploaded photos. Continue reading Flickr Upgrade Includes Cloud Storage and Object Recognition

HBO Sends Warnings to Torrent Users Sharing ‘Game of Thrones’

The first four episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” fifth season were leaked online before the season’s premiere. Reportedly leaked from a review screener, the episodes have since been downloaded from public torrent sites millions of times. In response, HBO has distributed thousands of warnings to those Internet subscribers whose connections were determined to share leaked episodes. There are no legal ramifications for the subscribers, but HBO hopes that the warnings will prevent some of them from downloading future episodes. Continue reading HBO Sends Warnings to Torrent Users Sharing ‘Game of Thrones’

Fans Used Periscope to Live Stream ‘Game of Thrones’ Illegally

“Game of Thrones” fans have found a new way to pirate HBO’s hit show: live streaming through Twitter’s Periscope app. The Australian site Mumbrella reported that several Periscope users were broadcasting the “Game of Thrones” Season 5 premiere, and HBO issued take-down notices. Periscope, which has an entire team dedicated to reviewing material, issued a statement saying it explicitly prohibits piracy and it can remove content and shut down user accounts. Continue reading Fans Used Periscope to Live Stream ‘Game of Thrones’ Illegally

Popcorn Time Circumvents Apple App Store with iOS Installer

The anonymous developers behind Popcorn Time, one of the fastest growing torrent platforms in the world, have figured out a way to get their new app on iPhones and iPads without going through the Apple App Store. Apple’s security team will not approve apps that facilitate copyright infringement, so the developers have created a new software called iOS Installer for Windows. This software will allow people to download the Popcorn Time app without jailbreaking their phones. Continue reading Popcorn Time Circumvents Apple App Store with iOS Installer

Pirates and the Wealthy Watching Theatrical Releases at Home

“Furious 7,” the latest installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, broke box office records last weekend, and that’s not even counting the people who watched the movie at home. From Thursday to Monday, the film had been illegally downloaded 2.59 million times on torrent networks. Meanwhile, fans could legally stream the movie on PRIMA, a streaming set-top box. For the luxury of streaming movies opening weekend, PRIMA users would have to shell out $500 for the 24-hour rental. Continue reading Pirates and the Wealthy Watching Theatrical Releases at Home

BitTorrent Starts Testing New Maelstrom Torrent Web Browser

BitTorrent, known for its peer-to-peer file sharing service, has unveiled a new Web browser, Maelstrom, that could take Web content from centralized servers to a network of shared torrents. A browser that utilizes a peer-to-peer network makes downloading large files faster and keeps files off a cloud that could be surveyed by the government or hacked by cyber criminals. Maelstrom could also supplement existing browsers to take the load off of other networks. Continue reading BitTorrent Starts Testing New Maelstrom Torrent Web Browser

Technics to Launch Hi-Res Music Download Service in Europe

Technics announced it plans to launch Technics Tracks, a high-resolution music download service, in the U.K. and Germany starting in January. In addition to tens of thousands of 24-bit FLAC tracks, the service will also carry CD-quality tracks up to 16-bit/44.1kHz. All purchases will be stored in a cloud locker, available for download to multiple devices. The service, custom built by platform operator 7digital, will be accessible from Macs, PCs, and apps for Android and iOS. Continue reading Technics to Launch Hi-Res Music Download Service in Europe

Bandcamp Gives Artists More Control with Subscription Service

Bandcamp, an online music store that supports promotion of independent artists, will now offer individual subscription platforms. Artists will be able to share content, merchandise, and other offers, choosing their own subscription rate. Music will be available to subscribers through downloads or streaming via the mobile app. As a bonus for new subscribers, artists can choose to give items from their back catalog. Bandcamp currently features 12 million tracks and 1.6 million albums. Continue reading Bandcamp Gives Artists More Control with Subscription Service

Google Play Adds Songza Playlists for its Music Subscribers

Subscribers to Google Play Music All Access will now be able to pick from activity-based Internet radio stations powered by Songza. Songza curates Internet radio offerings based on time of day and activities. Google acquired Songza back in July, but this is the first time it has integrated Songza’s offerings. The tech giant is playing catch-up in the Internet radio business to iHeartRadio, Slacker, Beats Music and Spotify, which already offer activity-based music playlists. Continue reading Google Play Adds Songza Playlists for its Music Subscribers

Third Party Site May Have Stored 200,000 Snapchat Images

Members of anonymous online messaging forum 4chan claim to have access to as many as 200,000 Snapchat photos through a third-party app called Snapsaved. The smartphone tool allows creators to store photos from their Snapchat accounts. Anonymous members have said that a link will be posted, allowing users to download the photos. It is not clear who created Snapsaved, and the app’s site is no longer working. Meanwhile, Snapchat claims that its servers have not been compromised.

Continue reading Third Party Site May Have Stored 200,000 Snapchat Images

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