“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

EXCLUSIVE: Bran Ferren Q&A Part 2 — We’re Just Getting Started

Bran Ferren, creative consultant to the Envision Symposium taking place September 19-21 in Monterey, sat with ETC for an exclusive look at the issues and context that inspired and provided the guiding principle for this first of its kind gathering of leaders and visionaries in the fields of storytelling, performance, cinema, television and games. This is the second and concluding part of our interview with the legendary designer and technologist. Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Bran Ferren Q&A Part 2 — We’re Just Getting Started

Cortana: Microsoft Developing Next-Gen Personal Assistant

Microsoft is developing a personal assistant app called Cortana that will compete directly with Apple’s Siri and Google Now. Cortana derives its name from an artificially intelligent character in Microsoft’s “Halo” series. Essentially, the app will be able to learn and adapt while utilizing machine-learning technology and the Satori knowledge repository powering Bing. The app will likely be released somewhere between 2014 and 2016. Continue reading Cortana: Microsoft Developing Next-Gen Personal Assistant

EXCLUSIVE: Ken Williams on Advanced Media Tech for the Home

ETC@USC Executive Director and CEO Ken Williams addressed the topic of advanced media technology for the home when he spoke at the NAB Futures Conference last Fall. As part of ETCentric‘s member exclusive features, we are pleased to present the perspectives Ken articulated to broadcasting leaders and technology innovators at the invitation-only event where attendees openly discussed the future of broadcasting and explored how businesses will thrive in this era of digital disruption. (Statistics cited reflect the timeframe in which the talk was given.) Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Ken Williams on Advanced Media Tech for the Home

Kids Engage in Disney Infinity, Game Generates Big Numbers

Disney sold 400,000 units of its “Infinity” game system in the two weeks since its debut, generating an estimated $30 million. In its first week of availability, sales for the new game matched sales of Activision Blizzard’s “Skylanders Giants” during its debut week. According to Activision, “Skylanders Giants” was the top children’s game of the 2012 holiday season. Like “Skylanders,” “Infinity” allows kids to combine collectible figures with on screen video game play. Continue reading Kids Engage in Disney Infinity, Game Generates Big Numbers

Pixar Veterans Create Interactive Talk Show App for Kids

Kids who watch shows such as “Dora the Explorer” and “Blue’s Clues” are often asked questions that encourage responses, but the TV of course does not interact beyond that point. This problem is being solved by San Francisco startup ToyTalk, a company launched by former employees of Pixar Animation Studios. Their first iPad app, “The Winston Show,” features Winston and his sidekick Ellington posing questions to their young viewers and then responding intelligently. Continue reading Pixar Veterans Create Interactive Talk Show App for Kids

Showtime Network Syncing Interactive Content on LG Smart TVs

Premium cable network Showtime has begun syncing interactive elements for its shows directly onto LG’s smart TVs using Web-based technology. This service is unique in that there are no extraneous downloads or devices. Although not all Showtime viewers own the compatible technology for interactive TV, this will likely change in the future as more TV manufacturers adopt the standard HTML5 and JavaScript technologies used by LG’s LivePlus service. Continue reading Showtime Network Syncing Interactive Content on LG Smart TVs

Walt Disney Imagineering Redefining Alternate Reality Games

“The Optimist,” developed by Walt Disney Imagineering, is the latest take on the multi-platform experience known as the alternate reality game (ARG). Linked to the Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird film due in 2014 called “Tomorrowland,” the new ARG is part of Disney’s efforts to create new interactive experiences that place its audience members directly in the action and reach beyond the niche ARG audience to attract more people. Continue reading Walt Disney Imagineering Redefining Alternate Reality Games

Ubisoft CEO Envisions New Wave of Interactive Entertainment

French video game developer Ubisoft is pushing for a more interactive television experience, one in which viewers have more control over what happens, similar to the control players have with games. As a new generation of game consoles get ready to hit the market, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot hopes to join forces with Hollywood to help make this happen. Game developers say consumers have a growing appetite for new entertainment experiences. Continue reading Ubisoft CEO Envisions New Wave of Interactive Entertainment

Apple Outlines Advertising Strategy for iTunes Radio Partners

Apple plans to launch iTunes Radio next month along with brand partners including McDonald’s, Nissan, Pepsi, Procter and Gamble, and possibly others. Apple’s new offering plans to compete with current streaming radio services such as Pandora. While the launch partners will benefit from exclusivity until the end of 2013, iTunes Radio will later be available to other advertisers. Apple also hopes to generate revenue by providing users with the option to purchase songs played via the service. Continue reading Apple Outlines Advertising Strategy for iTunes Radio Partners

Waiting in Long Lines at Theme Parks Can Actually Be Fun

Our community member Lee Lanselle of the Entertainment Development Group and AsiaParks Partners Limited forwarded interesting news regarding how theme parks are ensuring that guests are not bored while waiting in long lines. Disneyland, Universal Studios and Six Flags are among those that have incorporated interactive elements, animatronic characters, and even play areas for kids so that park attendees can be entertained while they wait in line for a ride. Continue reading Waiting in Long Lines at Theme Parks Can Actually Be Fun

Kinect for Windows Enables Touch Screens on Any Surface

Microsoft recently announced the release of its new touch screen technology that turns any ordinary surface, such as a table, a wall, or the floor, into an interactive touch screen. The technology was originally developed by Seattle startup Ubi Interactive using a Microsoft Kinect for Windows sensor. Now out of beta, the product is publicly available. The product has potential applications for classrooms, corporations, and business and personal use. Continue reading Kinect for Windows Enables Touch Screens on Any Surface

Disney to Release Infinity Video Game and Related Free Apps

Disney will be releasing its “Disney Infinity” video game that will include two other apps in the pan-Disney character multi-platform game, similar to Activision’s “Skylanders.” The game uses NFC to provide toy interaction with the game. The free game apps are an ideal incentive for players to move to the paid version, where users can purchase additional toy accessories and add-ons that can be used for enhanced game play. Continue reading Disney to Release Infinity Video Game and Related Free Apps

NBC News to Purchase Stringwire for Streaming Phone Video

NBC News is looking to leverage on-the-scene user generated content for its news coverage, envisioning a day when live video could be streamed directly to its New York control rooms from the camera phones of witnesses to newsworthy events. This approach could replace or complement footage by professional crews and ease the pressure of producers frantically searching Twitter and Facebook to locate eyewitness accounts. The network is acquiring Web service Stringwire as its first step toward this goal. Continue reading NBC News to Purchase Stringwire for Streaming Phone Video

New App Brings the Magic of Disney Animation to the iPad

Disney has launched a $13.99 iOS app for the iPad that explores the animation and history of all 53 animated Disney films. “Disney Animated” features interactive images, multi-layer animated clips, interviews with animators — and allows users to animate authentic Disney 3D character models and control a Disney visual effects simulation. The comprehensive app is a collaboration between Disney Interactive, Walt Disney Animation Studios and London-based app studio Touch Press. Continue reading New App Brings the Magic of Disney Animation to the iPad

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