Microsoft Developing a Classroom Edition of ‘Minecraft’ Game

The building-block game “Minecraft” may make its way into classrooms next fall. Microsoft is planning to launch a classroom version of the game, which will allow teachers to create custom challenges and track students’ progress on their building projects. This new version of “Minecraft” would be based on “MinecraftEdu,” a spinoff of the original game that was sold to Microsoft last year. Microsoft plans to charge $5 per student annually for the classroom version of the game. Continue reading Microsoft Developing a Classroom Edition of ‘Minecraft’ Game

Oculus Conference Puts Spotlight on Virtual Reality Content

At the Oculus Connect 2 developers conference, the company, now a unit of Facebook, focused on its efforts to increase the amount of content available for VR headsets, several of which are slated for launch in early 2016. That’s because a dearth of content is seen as a stumbling block to consumer adoption of VR when it becomes widely available. The conference unveiled newly inked deals for streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix, the popular “Minecraft” game and movies including “The Hunger Game” series. Continue reading Oculus Conference Puts Spotlight on Virtual Reality Content

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)

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

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

Microsoft’s HoloLens AR Technology Designed for Productivity

Microsoft demonstrated the practicality of its HoloLens augmented reality technology at last week’s Microsoft BUILD developers conference. While it may not be as exciting as stepping into an immersive experience with virtual reality, the technology opens the door for some compelling practical applications, whether that involves educating medical students or building virtual models of rocket ships. Possibilities for business and the home is what may help augmented reality catch on and improve people’s lives. Continue reading Microsoft’s HoloLens AR Technology Designed for Productivity

Microsoft to Pay $2.5 Billion for Mojang, Maker of ‘Minecraft’

Microsoft has agreed to purchase Mojang, the Swedish company responsible for developing the world-building computer game “Minecraft.” The $2.5 billion cash deal, expected to be completed later this year, will bring the immensely popular title — and the Stockholm-based Mojang team — to Microsoft Studios, which publishes blockbuster game series such as “Fable” and “Halo.” “Minecraft” is currently the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for iOS and Android in the U.S. Continue reading Microsoft to Pay $2.5 Billion for Mojang, Maker of ‘Minecraft’

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

Minecraft Enjoys Global Success, Inspires Indie Developers

“Minecraft,” created by Markus Persson four years ago, has become one of the world’s most popular video games. Its 22 million users make it three times more popular than “World of Warcraft.” The virtual world’s simple gameplay provides users with creative freedom, offering Lego-like blocks to build basic structures that can be later transformed into palaces. It is also giving other game developers the idea that a successful video game can be made independently. Continue reading Minecraft Enjoys Global Success, Inspires Indie Developers

Game of Thrones Fans Recreate Detailed Virtual Continent

On WesterosCraft, a “Minecraft” server on which “Game of Thrones” fans have recreated the continent that author George R. R. Martin’s novels describe, there is enough scope and detail to fill almost the entire landscape of Los Angeles. Fans have created a virtual land that is 59,000 blocks by 22,000 blocks, or over 500 square miles relative to the characters. But size isn’t the goal, according to the project’s co-creator. Continue reading Game of Thrones Fans Recreate Detailed Virtual Continent

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