Amazon Rebrands Twitch Prime in Shift to Gaming Strategy

Amazon debuted Prime Gaming this week, a rebranding of its first foray into the video game industry, Twitch Prime, which offers exclusive game content and free subscriptions to Twitch, the live-streaming site. There, users could enjoy free games from small studios, discounts for bigger titles like “Grand Theft Auto” and in-game gear. Prime Gaming will include those features and offer more titles and exclusive content, accessible without a Twitch account. Meanwhile, a group of artists has demanded that Amazon pay to license music streaming on Twitch. Continue reading Amazon Rebrands Twitch Prime in Shift to Gaming Strategy

Machine Learning Is Being Used to Upscale Classic Games

Gamers have discovered a way to use machine learning to improve the graphics of older games. Called “AI upscaling,” the technique uses an algorithm to take a low-resolution image and, based on training data, generates a version with more pixels. Although upping the resolution of images is not new, machine learning has improved both the speed and the quality of the end result. On the r/GameUpscale subreddit, which is moderated by Norwegian teacher and student Daniel Trolie, users share “tips and tricks” on the practice. Continue reading Machine Learning Is Being Used to Upscale Classic Games

We Were Passengers in a Las Vegas ‘Self-Driving’ Rideshare

Autonomous vehicles have been a part of tech culture for so long that it’s hard to realize that only a handful of people have actually ridden in one. So it was with great surprise that our very first Lyft ride out of our Las Vegas hotel on Sunday night was in a “self-driving” vehicle. Lyft partnered with Irish auto-parts-company-turned-autonomous-vehicle-startup Aptiv (formerly known as Delphi) to offer CES attendees and Vegas commuters the option to ride in one of their 30 “self-driving” BMW 5 Series. Continue reading We Were Passengers in a Las Vegas ‘Self-Driving’ Rideshare

Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion and Its Simulation Technology

Social gaming company Zynga has acquired game and software developer NaturalMotion for $527 million — giving the company access to simulation technology that makes characters look and move naturally. Zynga hopes to improve its mobile games like “FarmVille,” which currently feature more cartoon-like 2D characters. The same technology behind NaturalMotion was used in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and Rockstar uses it for the “Grand Theft Auto” games. Continue reading Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion and Its Simulation Technology

Video Game Industry Booms as Other Media Industries Struggle

While some areas of entertainment media such as the movie and music businesses are struggling to find their footing in an evolving digital landscape, the video game industry is thriving. “Grand Theft Auto V” by Rockstar Games, for example, earned $800 million worldwide in its first 24 hours of availability. That’s the largest launch day any form of entertainment media has ever experienced. Challenges involved with pirating games contribute to the industry’s success. Continue reading Video Game Industry Booms as Other Media Industries Struggle

Activision Ships $1 Billion Worth of New ‘Call of Duty’ Game

Gamers have opted to hold off on purchasing some high-profile games until Sony and Microsoft release their next-gen consoles. The PlayStation 4 is scheduled to launch November 15 and the Xbox One will be available November 22. Although consumers are showing hesitation ahead of the new hardware launches, Activision Blizzard has shipped $1 billion worth of “Call of Duty: Ghosts” to retailers worldwide. “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” earned $1 billion in 15 days when it was released last year. Continue reading Activision Ships $1 Billion Worth of New ‘Call of Duty’ Game

“Grand Theft Auto V” Generates $800 Million on its First Day

On its first day of availability, sales of Rockstar Games’ “Grand Theft Auto V” have topped $800 million worldwide, reports publisher Take-Two Interactive (and the game has yet to make its debut in Brazil and Japan). “GTA V” has been praised by critics, averaging a 98 score on review site Metacritic and is expected to generate impressive numbers, despite a 22 percent drop in video game disc and console sales in 2012 due to the rise of online and mobile games. Continue reading “Grand Theft Auto V” Generates $800 Million on its First Day