PlayStation Now Improves Search, User Experience with Apollo

PlayStation Now, Sony’s all-you-can-play game subscription service, just launched its new dedicated subscription app, codenamed Apollo, which streamlines the former transactional experience of sifting through numerous menus to find desired games. The new interface and navigation system is designed with an emphasis on visuals, similar to the Netflix and Hulu interfaces. Since its January launch on the PlayStation 4 console, PlayStation Now features more than 125 games available for streaming. Continue reading PlayStation Now Improves Search, User Experience with Apollo

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)

Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 1)

If you were not at E3, the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo, you might think that the great expanse of the Los Angeles Convention Center was wall-to-wall virtual reality. Despite VR’s headline domination, it was a different story on the floor where impressive visuals and sophisticated gameplay ignited the crowd. Even jaded game industry media could not contain their excitement. As IGN enthused after the Sony press conference, for instance, “That may be the best E3 press event ever.” We divided our overview into two parts: the evolution of E3 and direction of the gaming industry, followed by a breakdown of this year’s top products. Continue reading Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 1)

Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

Microsoft used its E3 media event last week in Los Angeles to present its vision of the future of immersive entertainment with a “mixed reality” demonstration of the popular video game “Minecraft” seen through its HoloLens headset. The demonstration at the Shrine Auditorium exhibition hall lasted only a few minutes but its impact continues to resonate. Although Microsoft has provided few detailed plans, its early demos and comments made at E3 and other conferences suggest a future that is something more than a virtual or augmented reality. Continue reading Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

Sony Announces 1TB PlayStation Will Be Thinner and Lighter

In the wake of E3, Sony has announced that its new PS4 will be thinner, lighter and pack more storage than its predecessor. The new PlayStation 4 1TB Ultimate Player Edition, coming to North America next month, will weigh 10 percent lighter than the current PS4 and use 8 percent less power. The new console will come in black or white with a hard drive bay cover in a matte finish, which Sony suggests provides “a more casual look.” Earlier this month, Microsoft confirmed that its latest Xbox One would feature 1TB of storage and an upcoming wireless controller. Continue reading Sony Announces 1TB PlayStation Will Be Thinner and Lighter

Nintendo Presentation at E3 Draws Strong Backlash from Fans

More than 10,000 gamers have signed a petition requesting that Nintendo not release a game it showed during this week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. The gaming giant, which has abandoned its splashy E3 press conferences in favor of more low-key presentations, apparently failed to introduce enough new games for its fans. The harsh reaction led to the petition regarding a lackluster new “disgrace of a game” in the “Metroid” series. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata issued an apology on Twitter and vowed to improve future efforts. Continue reading Nintendo Presentation at E3 Draws Strong Backlash from Fans

E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

The 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo opens it doors in Los Angeles today following a series of press conferences from major players such as Bethesda, EA, Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft. This year we expect to see a new emphasis on virtual and augmented reality, wearable devices, online gaming and mobile apps. At last year’s show, only six companies were dedicated to VR; this week, there will be 27. Also, 74 companies touting mobile and online gaming products will be in attendance. According to Gartner, worldwide mobile revenue is expected to nearly double to $22 billion this year. Continue reading E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

Oculus Story Studio, a lab program within Oculus VR dedicated to experimentation with the goal of helping virtual reality grow as a platform, is using “Lost Director’s Cut,” a new version of the studio’s short VR film as the basis for a new social experience that promises to change the paradigm of VR experiences from solitary to shared. The purpose of the new demonstration is to show filmmakers and other creatives how far they can push virtual reality beyond current single-person, isolated experiences. Continue reading Oculus Story Studio Explores Ways to Make VR More Social

FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

FOVE, which claims to be the only virtual reality headset with built-in eye-tracking, has surpassed its Kickstarter goal by nearly $100,000 with 37 days left to go in the campaign. A $399 donation awards backers with a headset and development kit, and FOVE plans to deliver both by May 2016. Eye-tracking not only enables users to play games by aiming their eyes, it opens the door to foveated rendering, which reduces the computational demands on real-time processing and provides contextual feedback, avatar eye-mapping, and more. Continue reading FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

YouTube Supports Live Streams at 60fps and HTML5 Playback

YouTube is looking to take on game-streaming services such as Amazon’s Twitch by allowing live video streams that run at 60 frames per second (double its previous limit). Higher frame rates are vital for fast-moving games including racers and first-person shooters, and attracting gamers will be important if YouTube hopes to remain competitive in the growing eSports market. To address growing interest in gamers sharing their sessions, YouTube has been upgrading playback quality, adding support for HD, 4K, and most recently, browsers that use HTML5. Continue reading YouTube Supports Live Streams at 60fps and HTML5 Playback

Nintendo Announces its Theme Park Partnership with Universal

Nintendo recently announced it plans to partner with Universal Parks & Resorts to transform some of its most popular games, characters and worlds into theme park attractions. In partnering with Universal, which owns parks in California, Florida, Osaka and Singapore, Nintendo has an opportunity to further exploit some of its most popular franchises such as Mario, Legends of Zelda and Donkey Kong. Nintendo is expected to announce more details about the Universal partnership soon.  Continue reading Nintendo Announces its Theme Park Partnership with Universal

GOG Galaxy: New DRM-Free Online Gaming Service Goes Live

After a yearlong wait, game publisher Good Old Games (GOG) has finally launched online gaming platform GOG Galaxy, that much like Steam, updates games automatically. However, with GOG Galaxy the games can be downloaded without DRM restrictions for offline gameplay as well. Galaxy’s online social features and automatic updates are said to be optional and can be turned on and off as desired. A beta version of GOG Galaxy is now available for Mac and Windows users. Continue reading GOG Galaxy: New DRM-Free Online Gaming Service Goes Live

‘Silicon Valley’ Season 2 Premiere to Stream for Free on Twitch

HBO recently announced it plans to stream the second season premiere of “Silicon Valley” on Twitch, Amazon’s streaming service for game enthusiasts. The episode will stream free of charge starting next Wednesday, April 8. Cast members are expected to participate in a live stream discussion, which will be made available on Twitch before the episode begins streaming. The partnership not only helps Twitch expand its content offerings, but also allows HBO to reach a wider, younger audience.  Continue reading ‘Silicon Valley’ Season 2 Premiere to Stream for Free on Twitch

Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Live for Sony PlayStation

Sony has teamed with streaming music service Spotify to allow gamers to listen to their favorite tunes while playing games. Originally announced in January, Spotify officially joined PlayStation Music this week. While many users may be drawn to the Spotify-powered service, hardcore gamers may be turned off by the idea of replacing a game’s soundtrack and immersive audio effects with unrelated music. However, the companies are targeting the gamers who regularly play their own music in the background while gaming. Continue reading Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Live for Sony PlayStation

Vive VR Headset Unveiled at Game Developers Conference

We recently reported that HTC partnered with Seattle-based gaming company Valve to develop Vive, a new VR headset with plans to compete with the Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus. Valve is the developer behind Steam, the social platform for distributing and managing games. The Vive headset was unveiled at last week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and is already generating positive reviews for its tech advances, including low latency and a fast refresh rate that reduces the incidence of “Sim Sickness.” Continue reading Vive VR Headset Unveiled at Game Developers Conference

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