Nintendo Rolls Out Switch, its New Hybrid Videogame System

Nintendo just debuted Switch, a console/handheld hybrid that is the company’s next videogame platform. The system, which has been in development since March 2015 and will be available for sale March 2017, can be used for TV gaming or as a portable gaming system, depending on the configuration of its tablet-like device and dock. Minus the tablet, the system becomes portable, with mini joysticks that can be wireless or attached to the sides. Nintendo also says it will soon reveal titles, game demos, and prices. Continue reading Nintendo Rolls Out Switch, its New Hybrid Videogame System

Game Engines Are Now Entrée to Better Titles, Faster Delivery

With its game engine, Electronic Arts can apply code created for one game to another new game. EA has evolved its engine, now integrating the features of a dozen into a single game engine, dubbed Frostbite, which was used most recently to create the title “FIFA 17.” Now, Facebook, Amazon and other tech companies are also interested in game engines, which can handle graphics and physics as well as save time and money on R&D, and open doors to development in new media markets such as virtual reality. Continue reading Game Engines Are Now Entrée to Better Titles, Faster Delivery

Google Offers Daydream SDK and Unity Support to Developers

Having exited beta, Google’s VR platform Daydream is now available to developers who can use the VR SDK to build virtual reality experiences for Daydream-capable phones and headsets. Daydream is already baked into Android 7.0 (Nougat) and can also integrate with Unity and Unreal game engines. Apps to be available at launch include CNN, HBO, Hulu, IMAX, MLB, NBA, Netflix, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as Ubisoft and Electronic Arts games. Daydream was first introduced at Google I/O in May. Continue reading Google Offers Daydream SDK and Unity Support to Developers

Sony to Unveil Two PlayStation 4s: 4K Pro and Smaller Version

Sony plans to debut a high-end console, PlayStation 4 Pro (formerly “Neo”). Set to ship November 10 for $399, PlayStation 4 Pro will boast a faster processor, more storage, and 4K graphics. Sony will also release a more energy-efficient, 30 percent smaller PlayStation 4, to go on sale September 15 for $299. This console replaces the original PlayStation 4, which debuted November 2013 at $399. All PlayStation 4 consoles will be able to play back high dynamic range images, including, via a software update, older PlayStations. Continue reading Sony to Unveil Two PlayStation 4s: 4K Pro and Smaller Version

RadicalMedia and Uncorporeal Develop Hologram Experience

RadicalMedia has been working on a project to present “great people” as holograms in venues optimized for augmented reality. Although much of the project is under wraps, more became clear recently when RadicalMedia partnered with Uncorporeal, a volumetric capture startup developing technology to create human holograms that can be used in VR or AR content. Headed by Sebastian Marino, formerly visual effects supervisor on “Avatar,” Uncorporeal’s eight staffers are veterans of Lucasfilm, Weta Digital and Electronic Arts. Continue reading RadicalMedia and Uncorporeal Develop Hologram Experience

CryWorks: Disney, Pixar, ILM Vets Launch New VR Company

VFX and CGI veterans Euan Macdonald, Hans Uhlig and Kymber Lim have secured funding led by Michael Bay’s 451 Media Group, 500 Mobile Collective, and WI Harper Group to launch an immersive entertainment company called CryWorks, with plans to produce virtual and augmented reality experiences. “Although there are a few high-quality VR content pieces to date, most of them have little incentive for the viewer to keep tuning back in,” said Macdonald. “We see an opportunity to build the first VR broadcast network, partnering with other production companies and creating addictive, episodic experiences.” Continue reading CryWorks: Disney, Pixar, ILM Vets Launch New VR Company

E3 Loses Exhibitors as Publishers and Gamers Connect Online

When the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) opens its doors in Los Angeles next week, some familiar game publishers will be missing for the first time. Electronic Arts has opted to hold its own mini-expo, Activision did not take a booth this year, and Disney is exiting the video game publishing business. That’s big news for E3, the industry’s premiere trade show that draws 50,000 video game industry members and historically has been the site of major title unveilings and celebrity appearances. Some ask whether E3 might be losing its luster. Continue reading E3 Loses Exhibitors as Publishers and Gamers Connect Online

Electronic Arts Launches Subscription Service for PC Gamers

Origin Access hopes to become the new Netflix of video gaming. For $4.99 per month, subscribers can sample new PC games before they’re released, receive special discounts on current games, and play some games for free. All of the games are delivered via Internet downloads. The subscription service is an extension of Electronic Arts’ Origin, an online community and store for PC games. EA already offers a similar subscription service for Xbox One games and rival Nvidia has one for PC games. Continue reading Electronic Arts Launches Subscription Service for PC Gamers

Video Game Downloads Becoming More Popular This Year

This holiday shopping season comes at an opportune time for the gaming industry — the latest “Fallout” and “Call of Duty” games have hit the shelves and the newest consoles have hit their stride in terms of price and availability. However, video game sales are down and GameStop and Electronic Arts recently reported disappointing earnings. The dismal numbers may be due to an increased number of game downloads, which are not usually counted in these reports. Continue reading Video Game Downloads Becoming More Popular This Year

Comcast and EA Partner to Test Streaming Games via Cable

Comcast and Electronic Arts have partnered to launch the beta test of Xfinity Games, showcasing around 20 video games for streaming via cable. EA will stream the games to Comcast’s cable boxes, in the same manner that video services stream TV shows and movies to set-top boxes. No game pads are used in the service, as the service is targeting mobile and casual gamers, instead of console gaming fans. Users can access a website with their iPhone or Android phones to use as game controllers. Continue reading Comcast and EA Partner to Test Streaming Games via Cable

Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 2)

In Part 2 of our E3 overview, we look at the featured products and emergence of virtual reality. E3 operates with a familiar orchestration: Press events, lavish floor displays and private parties with big name bands. The Who, for instance, entertained guests of Electronic Arts. The layout of the exhibit floor gathers the platform players — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — in the Convention Center’s West Hall and fills the South Hall with the major game developers. In a sign of where VR leader Oculus fits into the spectrum, its booth anchored a prominent corner of the platform-centric West Hall. Continue reading Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 2)

Nintendo Will Make Mobile Games Through New Partnership

Nintendo has teamed up with Japanese mobile game company DeNA to bring Nintendo’s popular characters to smartphones and tablets. DeNA and Nintendo plan to build an online gaming service that will be introduced this fall. However, Nintendo has not completely abandoned its strategy to build games for its own hardware. The company is also working on its next game console, codenamed the NX, which may be unveiled next year. It may possibly incorporate VR or media services offerings. Continue reading Nintendo Will Make Mobile Games Through New Partnership

E3 2014: Electronic Arts Puts Focus on Conceptual Prototypes

In addition to games it plans to produce this year, Electronic Arts offered a glimpse of the future at its E3 press conference. CEO Andrew Wilson promised “raw prototypes of what’s to come over the next few years” and “thoughtful reflections on what’s inspiring the future.” Early prototype footage was shown for “Star Wars Battlefront” from DICE, a new game in the “Mass Effect” series from BioWare, and an unnamed first-person game with helicopters, motorcycles and skydiving from Criterion. Continue reading E3 2014: Electronic Arts Puts Focus on Conceptual Prototypes

E3 2014: Microsoft Places Emphasis on Games at Xbox Event

At yesterday’s Xbox briefing, Microsoft took a different approach by focusing its entire E3 presentation on games. Traditionally, the event has included other media functionality of Xbox hardware, but this year Phil Spencer, the new head of Xbox, noted that changes to strategy were necessary for the Xbox One — changes initiated by user response to the (formerly) always-online, DRM-heavy console. The event included major titles, trailers of previously announced games and a slate of indie titles. Continue reading E3 2014: Microsoft Places Emphasis on Games at Xbox Event

Comcast Customers to Soon Stream Games from Electronic Arts

Following two years of testing, Comcast and Electronic Arts are reportedly close to reaching an agreement that would allow customers to stream EA video games to televisions via Comcast’s X1 cable box system, and use their tablets as controllers. The cloud-connected X1 system features apps, viewing recommendations and voice control. According to sources familiar with the plans, games such as “FIFA,” “Madden” and “Monopoly” would be available to Comcast’s more-than 22 million U.S. customers. Continue reading Comcast Customers to Soon Stream Games from Electronic Arts

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