Microsoft Unveils 3 New Xbox Consoles for Holiday Shoppers

Microsoft has three new Xbox consoles slated for the holiday shopping season, including an all-digital Xbox Series X model in Robot White. This $450 discless iteration has up to 4K resolution, 1TB of SDDS storage and the same performance as the Carbon Black Series X introduced last year. A white Xbox Series S with disc drive is also coming, for $350, “for players who wanted more storage without the full power of Series X.” For power users, a 2TB Galaxy Black Xbox Series X Special Edition that offers “the same speed, performance and features of Xbox Series X” is priced at $600. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils 3 New Xbox Consoles for Holiday Shoppers

Twitch DJ Program Forges New Path for Live Streaming Music

Twitch is rolling out its licensed DJ Program to allow music live streamers to pursue their craft without having to deal with takedown notices. The popular gaming platform, owned by Amazon, has been dealing with copyright infringement complaints, and now offers what it calls a “first-of-its-kind” compliance solution that provides creators who opt-in with “millions of tracks” that will be legally safe to use. Participating DJs will be required to pay copyright holders a percentage of their earnings from the stream in which the music is used. Twitch did not disclose the percentage but said it would split the cost 50/50 with creators. Continue reading Twitch DJ Program Forges New Path for Live Streaming Music

Nvidia Teases Next-Gen AI Platform Rubin at Computex 2024

Nvidia President and CEO Jensen Huang said the company will be upgrading its AI accelerators annually, with the Blackwell Ultra processor coming in 2025 and a next-generation platform called Rubin that is still in development planned for 2026. Rubin AI will utilize a type of high-bandwidth memory called HBM4 that addresses a bottleneck that has stifled the production of AI accelerators. Huang shared the news from Taiwan, where he delivered a keynote at the Computex trade show. Nvidia Inference Microservices were another focus, allowing AI applications to be deployed in minutes instead of weeks, Huang said. Continue reading Nvidia Teases Next-Gen AI Platform Rubin at Computex 2024

YouTube Adding ‘Playables’ Free Game Catalog for All Users

After a limited introduction in select markets and to Premium subscribers, YouTube’s Playables free gaming catalog is rolling out to all users. More than 75 games are currently accessible on desktop, Android and iOS by visiting the main YouTube home page and selecting Playables in the Explore menu. Games can be shared by tapping the three-dot “more” menu. The lightweight offerings include popular titles like “Angry Birds Showdown,” “Words of Wonders,” “Cut the Rope” and “Trivia Crack,” among others. Availability will ramp up gradually over the coming months. Continue reading YouTube Adding ‘Playables’ Free Game Catalog for All Users

Acer, Asus, HP First to Offer Chromebook Plus with Google AI

Not to be outdone by Windows Copilot+ PCs, Google is also bringing AI to the Chromebook, which will be infused with Gemini’s generative smarts via companies including Acer, HP and Asus. “New Google AI and gaming features are available on Chromebook Plus,” says the Alphabet company, noting “you can now write like a pro with Help Me Write, supercharge your ideas with Gemini, edit photos in a snap with Magic Editor, and more — all on Chromebook Plus laptops starting at $350.” Google, which partially integrated Gemini with the Chrome browser, teased AI for ChromeOS last fall. Continue reading Acer, Asus, HP First to Offer Chromebook Plus with Google AI

Study Finds Many Consumers Seeking Multi-Service Bundles

Bundling is back. Following the cord-cutting that led to a decline in content subscriptions, consumers now indicate they want multi-service deals, with discounts and choice as to what type of content is included. A new study from Hub Entertainment Research indicates that traditional SVODs have declined overall in household usage while areas such as gaming, music, podcasts and social media have increased. “TV is no longer the center of the entertainment universe,” the study suggests, noting premium video only accounts for about 6.3 percent of consumers’ total entertainment sources. Continue reading Study Finds Many Consumers Seeking Multi-Service Bundles

Google Adds Open-Source Gameface for Android Developers

In a move aimed at launching more accessible Android apps, Google has open-sourced code for Project Gameface, a hands-free game control feature released last year that allows users to move a computer with facial and head gestures. Developers will now have more Gameface resources with which to build Android applications for physically challenged users, “to make every Android device more accessible.” Project Gameface evolved as a collaboration with quadriplegic video game streamer Lance Carr, who has muscular dystrophy. The technology uses a smartphone’s front camera to track movement. Continue reading Google Adds Open-Source Gameface for Android Developers

Microsoft Will Introduce Web-Based Xbox Mobile Game Store

Microsoft Xbox President Sarah Bond announced the company plans to launch a web-based mobile game store in July, creating a new rival for Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Speaking at the Bloomberg Technology Summit, Bond said the web venue was selected so a single store could serve all users in all countries, “independent of the policies of closed ecosystem stores.” Initially the focus will be on Microsoft games, opening later to other publishers. “This web-based store is the first step in our journey to building a trusted app store with its roots in gaming,” Microsoft said in a post-even statement. Continue reading Microsoft Will Introduce Web-Based Xbox Mobile Game Store

Netflix Teams with Roblox in Creation of ‘Digital Theme Park’

Netflix announced it is launching a “digital theme park” in early access on the Roblox online gaming platform. Web-based universe “Netflix Nextworld” will feature mini-games, easter eggs, watch parties, user-generated content and more “in 3D interactive spaces” based on characters and content from popular Netflix franchises such as “Stranger Things,” “One Piece,” “Cobra Kai” and the “Rebel Moon” movies. There will also be an activity based on the upcoming animated series, “Jurassic World: Chaos Theory.” Users will be able to collect objects and wearables from the shows and movies to post in their Fan Pods, which can be shared online with friends. Continue reading Netflix Teams with Roblox in Creation of ‘Digital Theme Park’

Meta Opens Mixed Reality OS to Third-Party Hardware Makers

Meta Platforms has rebranded its Quest VR operating system Horizon OS and is opening the platform to third parties. While licensing terms have not been publicly disclosed, Asus and Lenovo have said they’re going to be designing hardware using the system. Microsoft and Qualcomm are also in round one of the companies on the inside track as Meta positions Horizon OS along the lines of a universal VR standard, not unlike Microsoft’s Windows OS for computers. All four companies have already been working with Meta on VR for Quest or its predecessor, Oculus. Continue reading Meta Opens Mixed Reality OS to Third-Party Hardware Makers

Short-Form Video App Storiaverse Touts ‘Read-Write’ Format

Mobile entertainment platform Storiaverse is connecting writers and animators around the world to create content for what it claims is a unique “read-watch” format. Available on iOS and Android, Storiaverse combines animated video, audio and text into a narrative that “enhances the reading experience for digital native adults.” Created by Agnes Kozera and David Kierzkowski, co-founders of the Podcorn podcast sponsorship marketplace, Storiaverse caters to graphic novel fans interested in discovering original, short-form animated stories that range from 5-10 minutes in length. At launch there will be 25 original titles. Continue reading Short-Form Video App Storiaverse Touts ‘Read-Write’ Format

AWS Deadline Cloud Service Scales Up Instant Render Farms

Amazon Web Services has launched a new cloud computing service called AWS Deadline Cloud that allows customers to set up, deploy, and scale rendering projects in what the company says is mere “minutes,” improving efficiency by facilitating parallel rendering pipelines. “With Deadline Cloud, customers creating computer graphics, visual effects, or innovating their pipelines to incorporate artificial intelligence-generated visuals can build a cloud-based render farm — aggregated compute — that scales from zero to thousands of compute instances for peak demand, without needing to manage their own infrastructure,” according to AWS. Continue reading AWS Deadline Cloud Service Scales Up Instant Render Farms

LinkedIn Tests Vertical Video Feed, Experiments with Games

Microsoft-owned business and employment-focused social platform LinkedIn plans to add games and a vertical-scroll feed of short videos. But the career-centric platform will still be all work, even as it adds play. The intent is to have the TikTok-like video feed filled with professionally themed content, and the games will be geared toward relationship building, while also potentially getting people to spend more time using LinkedIn. The video feed is in the test phase, while code hinting at the direction of the gaming feature has been discovered by some astute app watchers. Continue reading LinkedIn Tests Vertical Video Feed, Experiments with Games

U.S. Targets Apple Smartphone Monopoly in Antitrust Lawsuit

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, joined by 16 other state and district attorneys, has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple for “monopolization or attempted monopolization” of the smartphone market. The move comes after years of regulatory scrutiny triggered by complaints from companies who compete against Apple or rely on it to do business and pay hefty fees for doing so. The charges center on the iPhone, which has an estimated 60 percent share of the U.S. smartphone market and is seen as an essential platform for anyone that wants to reach mobile consumers. Continue reading U.S. Targets Apple Smartphone Monopoly in Antitrust Lawsuit

Stable Video 3D Generates Orbital Animation from One Image

Stability AI has released Stable Video 3D, a generative video model based on the company’s foundation model Stable Video Diffusion. SV3D, as it’s called,  comes in two versions. Both can generate and animate multi-view 3D meshes from a single image. The more advanced version also let users set “specified camera paths” for a “filmed” look to the video generation. “By adapting our Stable Video Diffusion image-to-video diffusion model with the addition of camera path conditioning, Stable Video 3D is able to generate multi-view videos of an object,” the company explains. Continue reading Stable Video 3D Generates Orbital Animation from One Image