PC-Only Game with Galactic-Size Ambitions Raises $50 Million

“Star Citizen,” a PC-only game still in development by Cloud Imperium Games, is part space exploration simulator and part first-person action game in a huge universe of planets, space stations, cities and ships. Since the game’s announcement in 2012, the makers of “Star Citizen” have raised almost $50 million through crowdfunding, with 10,000 to 15,000 new people donating every month. In June 2013, it became the first crowdfunded project to raise $10 million. Continue reading PC-Only Game with Galactic-Size Ambitions Raises $50 Million

Google’s Baseline Study Aims to Spot Diseases in Early Stages

Baseline Study, an ambitious Google project, plans to determine the fullest picture yet of a healthy human being. Andrew Conrad, a molecular biologist who joined the Google X research arm in 2013, is running the project along with his team of experts. The study will collect the anonymous genetic and molecular information of 175 different people, expanding to thousands more in the future. In the long run, Google X hopes to detect fatal illnesses in their early stages. Continue reading Google’s Baseline Study Aims to Spot Diseases in Early Stages

Samsung Developing Virtual Reality Headset for Video Games

Later this year, Samsung is reportedly planning to announce a virtual reality headset that will work with Galaxy phones and tablets. The headset with OLED screen is designed to provide gamers with a more immersive experience for Android-based video games. Facebook and Sony have been developing their own VR headsets with the much-hyped Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, but Samsung hopes to offer its product before the competition and at a lower price. Continue reading Samsung Developing Virtual Reality Headset for Video Games

Ultra HD: Consumer Adoption on the Rise with Lower Prices

New data from analyst IDC finds that shipments of 4K televisions have reached over one million per month and are projected to reach upward of 15.2 million for 2014. Consumer adoption is on the rise as the average selling price has dropped 85 percent worldwide in the last two years, from $7,851 in 2012 to $1,120 in 2014. A new report from BI Intelligence predicts a faster adoption curve than HDTV, with 4K TVs to be found in more than half of North American homes within 10 years. Continue reading Ultra HD: Consumer Adoption on the Rise with Lower Prices

Report: UHD TV to Reach One-Third of U.S. Households by 2020

According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, Ultra High-Definition is poised for rapid adoption in the U.S., with a projected 33 percent of households expected to have UHD TV sets by 2020. The report, “Ultra High-Definition TV Displays: Global Market Forecast: 2012-2020,” predicts that North America will become the leading region in UHD penetration by 2020, and entry level prices for UHD TVs will drop below $2,000 this year from one or more of the major brands. Continue reading Report: UHD TV to Reach One-Third of U.S. Households by 2020

Board Game Sales Increase Despite Electronic Game Success

While most people may assume that the success of electronic gaming has negatively impacted the traditional board game industry, the result has actually been the opposite. Technology has brought new tools that can create tabletop games with 3D figures and other tangible advances. In the past few years, sales of tabletop games have dramatically increased. Dan Shapiro, who has worked at Microsoft and sold a company to Google, recently created a board game for children and found crowdfunding to be beneficial. Continue reading Board Game Sales Increase Despite Electronic Game Success

Atlantic Develops VR Content for Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus

Adrian Pennington forwarded us news that British television producer Atlantic Productions is developing virtual reality narrative content, including documentary, CG and drama pilots for Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. Atlantic Productions is the company behind noted nature documentaries such as “Galapagos,” “Kingdom of Plants” and the BAFTA-winning “Flying Monsters 3D.” Atlantic hopes to bundle some of its VR content with the Oculus Rift when it becomes commercially available. Continue reading Atlantic Develops VR Content for Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus

New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

More than a dozen companies have joined the Core Infrastructure Initiative to provide funding to open source projects, starting with OpenSSL. The Linux Foundation, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, Qualcomm, and VMWare have each pledged $100,000 over the next three years to pay for full-time developers, security audits, computing and testing infrastructure, and more to help financially strapped open source projects. Continue reading New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

Creative District: Technicolor Launches Pro Networking Site

Similar to how business networking site LinkedIn services the needs of recruiters, professionals and job seekers, Technicolor has launched a social network called Creative District that is geared toward media producers and creatives. The platform is designed to help film and media creators collaborate and share resources, and find work and funding. Creative District operates as a startup, while Technicolor serves as the network’s sole investor. Continue reading Creative District: Technicolor Launches Pro Networking Site

Google Releases Developer Kit for Project Ara Modular Phone

Google is working towards creating a build-it-yourself modular smartphone, one that will allow users to build the perfect smartphone based on their individual needs. The device is being developed through Project Ara, part of the Advanced Technology and Projects group at Google. The group is developing a smartphone that features an open-source hardware platform. Customers would start with a base hardware piece called Endo, and then add features through plug-and-play modules. Continue reading Google Releases Developer Kit for Project Ara Modular Phone

Bug Causes Scramble to Update Software and Change Passwords

Popular websites have been scrambling to update software and Internet users have been encouraged to change their passwords following the news of an encryption flaw known as the Heartbleed bug, which is already being categorized as one of the biggest security threats the Internet has ever experienced. The bug has affected a number of websites and services (although the extent is not clear), and may have exposed account info including passwords and credit card numbers going back two years. UPDATE: Cisco and Juniper said yesterday that some of their networking products contain the bug, which means sensitive info may have been obtained while moving across corporate networks, home networks and the Internet. Continue reading Bug Causes Scramble to Update Software and Change Passwords

Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Sony has plans to introduce virtual reality to its PlayStation 4 console with new hardware called “Project Morpheus.” During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, the company unveiled a prototype with two headset components — a closed display and what looks like a PlayStation Move sensor. The unit features HDMI and USB connections, a 1080p display and just over a 90-degree field of view. The prototype, three years in the making, will also serve as a developer kit. Continue reading Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Prime Focus Technologies to Acquire DAX in $12.5 Million Deal

Prime Focus Technologies (PFT) has agreed to acquire DAX in a deal valued at nearly $12.5 million. PFT is known for CLEAR, its cloud-based content and workflow management platform, while Culver City-based DAX develops media asset management applications and cloud-based production software, including the Emmy-winning Digital Dailies. DAX is actively engaged in the ETC’s Cloud Project, sharing both expertise and development resources. Continue reading Prime Focus Technologies to Acquire DAX in $12.5 Million Deal

Disney Teams with Shanghai Media, Producer Forms New Studio

Disney has signed a multiyear deal with Shanghai Media Group that will have writers in the U.S. collaborate with Chinese writers and filmmakers to develop Disney-branded movies that incorporate Chinese themes. The partnership will also expand training opportunities between the creative teams of both countries. Meanwhile, film producer Robert Simonds is forming a new movie studio that intends to meet the growing needs of China and self-distribute the types of films that have been displaced by summer blockbusters. Continue reading Disney Teams with Shanghai Media, Producer Forms New Studio

Production in the Cloud: ETC to Host OpenStack Event Next Week

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC will host “Eventually OpenStack” on Monday, March 17 in Santa Monica. The event, scheduled for 6:30-8:30 pm and open to all, will examine how open source and cloud technologies are impacting the media and entertainment industry. Presenters include Yahoo’s Sean Roberts (board director at The OpenStack Foundation), DigitalFilm Tree CTO Guillaume Aubuchon, and Steve Hallett of Symantec. For more information, contact Erik Weaver at ETC or visit the event’s registration page. Continue reading Production in the Cloud: ETC to Host OpenStack Event Next Week

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