GDC 2016 Tops Attendance Record, Celebrates Past & Future

The 30th edition of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) set a record for event attendance, with more than 27,000 game industry professionals at last week’s conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. One of the major draws this year was the debut of the Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC), an event dedicated to the creation of new video games, entertainment and technology around virtual and augmented reality (AR), which was held alongside GDC 2016. VRDC brought greater focus to the nascent field of virtual reality development. Continue reading GDC 2016 Tops Attendance Record, Celebrates Past & Future

GDC 2016: Creating Virtual Worlds for Companies and Brands

Tony Christopher, president and CEO of Landmark Entertainment Group, is currently developing a Virtual Worlds Fair. The project started with a discussion with Steven Spielberg 20 years ago, and is currently moving forward with funding from Chinese backers. The fair will feature four key areas: Dataland, an entertainment and education VR experience for children; Intencity, for branded VR experiences; Passportal, to virtually experience the wonders of different countries; and the Tower of Humanity, to celebrate the planet through virtual experiences. Continue reading GDC 2016: Creating Virtual Worlds for Companies and Brands

GDC 2016: Reporters Face Unique Challenges Covering eSports

During the “Storytellers of eSports” panel at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, creative execs and journalists for Twitch, Yahoo Sports, Team Liquid and 1UP Studios discussed how they cover eSports, and how their approaches differ from coverage of traditional sports. The challenge for writers is to bring life to a sport in which the players barely move, but their hand and body twitches translate into incredible feats within the game. The stories are more about eSports personalities, and less about the actual gameplay, than traditional sports. Continue reading GDC 2016: Reporters Face Unique Challenges Covering eSports

GDC 2016: Your Brain on VR, The Psychology of Doing VR Right

Cognitive scientist, programmer, game developer, and senior technical designer for Riot Games and Radial Games Dr. Kimberly Voll took a packed house at the Game Developers Conference into the brain on VR, hailing the tremendous opportunities and flashing potential hazards this new medium presents. As someone who “engineers awesome experiences through understanding humans better, frequently in VR,” Voll’s latest project is “Fantastic Contraption,” a VR update to the popular 2008 building game, that will be shipping with the HTC Vive in April. Continue reading GDC 2016: Your Brain on VR, The Psychology of Doing VR Right

Cinematic VR Audio Discussed at Game Developers Conference

Varun Nair of Two Big Ears Ltd. and Jean-Pascal (JP) Beaudoin of Headspace Studio gave an excellent primer on “Audio for Cinematic VR” at this week’s GDC VR Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Beaudoin started by making two overarching points: the sense of presence in VR is proportional to the amount of immersion, and it is important to understand the Field of Audition (FoA – the sound space). The session also addressed three key types of sound space designs: diegetic audio, acousmatic audio and non-diegetic audio. Continue reading Cinematic VR Audio Discussed at Game Developers Conference

Google Launches Pilot Program for Hands-Free Mobile Wallet

Google launched a pilot for Hands Free, a mobile wallet application that allows a buyer to use her phone for purchases without taking it out of her purse. The pilot, conducted in the southern San Francisco Bay area, is available in a few stores and designated McDonald’s and Papa John’s locations. The cashier’s system can detect the user’s phone; to close the transaction, the user asks to pay with Google and gives her initials to the cashier. The cashier can also detect if the user is the same person in the Google profile. Continue reading Google Launches Pilot Program for Hands-Free Mobile Wallet

Oscars Backstage: ABC to Live-Stream Video from 20 Cameras

ABC is partnering with AOL, Comcast and Yahoo for Sunday’s “Oscars Backstage” live-streamed red carpet and behind-the-scenes webcast. Pay TV subscribers in eight markets — Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco — can access the live stream on ABC.com and the WATCH ABC app. ABC has streaming access agreements with AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Google Fiber, Midcontinent, Cablevision and Verizon FiOS. Continue reading Oscars Backstage: ABC to Live-Stream Video from 20 Cameras

Sling TV Adds First Broadcast Station, ABC, for Cord Cutters

Dish Network’s streaming service Sling TV just added support for streaming broadcast network ABC in select U.S. markets. Sling TV subscribers in metro regions, including Chicago, Fresno-Visalia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco can add the $5/month “Broadcast Extra” bundle by calling the company, which has not officially announced the service. According to Dish, these markets represent more than half of the top 10 U.S. market areas, serving almost 25 percent of the population. Continue reading Sling TV Adds First Broadcast Station, ABC, for Cord Cutters

Verizon Plans to Test 5G Network Technology in U.S. in 2016

Verizon is already developing a 5G cellular network, the next generation of wireless technology following 4G LTE. Chief financial officer Fran Shammo says the company plans to launch the first 5G network in the U.S. Verizon hopes to begin trials of the 5G network as early as this year, but the technology probably won’t be widely available until 2020. Verizon says the 5G network is different from the LTE network because 5G is designed to accommodate demands of the Internet of Things. Continue reading Verizon Plans to Test 5G Network Technology in U.S. in 2016

Uber is Bringing its New Meal Delivery Service to 10 U.S. Cities

Ride-hailing service Uber is expanding its new meal delivery service to 10 U.S. cities in the coming weeks. People in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Austin, Washington DC, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle and Dallas will be able to order food from dozens of local restaurants through a dedicated UberEats app and have an Uber driver deliver the meal. UberEats will have longer hours of operation than Uber’s existing lunchtime-only food delivery service in these cities. Continue reading Uber is Bringing its New Meal Delivery Service to 10 U.S. Cities

CEO Launches Netflix in 130 Countries During CES Keynote

Netflix turned on the world, adding 130 new countries, during the time its CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings delivered the opening day keynote at CES in Las Vegas. The addition of these new markets grows Netflix’s global footprint from 60 to 190 territories as the company reimagines itself as a global television network. Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos covered many of the technological, economic, business and creative innovations driving their success in a world where Hastings observed, “Tune in has been replaced by personal choice.” Continue reading CEO Launches Netflix in 130 Countries During CES Keynote

GM Invests $500 Million in Lyft and Partners on New Initiatives

Ride-hailing service Lyft announced yesterday that General Motors recently invested $500 million in the San Francisco-based startup. The investment represents half of Lyft’s latest venture financing round, which values the company at $4.5 billion. GM and Lyft will work together to develop an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles, taking on companies such as Google, Tesla and Uber in the process. In addition, the two companies are planning short-term car rental hubs that would provide work opportunities for potential Lyft drivers who do not have their own vehicles. Continue reading GM Invests $500 Million in Lyft and Partners on New Initiatives

Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

In 2016, Google will spin off its driverless car unit, currently part of Google X, as a standalone business under the Alphabet aegis. With more than 1 million miles clocked on public roads, the company already has a hefty lead on competitors, including Uber Technologies, which has raised more than $10 billion towards its own work creating an autonomous car. Google first plans to launch a service, with fleets of large and small vehicles deployed in closed areas such as college campuses, military bases and corporate complexes. Continue reading Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

Silicon Valley Titans Invest $1 Billion to Establish AI Nonprofit

Several Silicon Valley technologists and tech companies will invest at least $1 billion in OpenAI, a nonprofit research center in San Francisco with a long-term goal of creating open-source “artificial general intelligence,” a machine capable of performing any task that a human can. Among the investors are Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman. One chief focus of the group’s members is to ensure that the resultant technologies augment rather than replace humans, and are used for good. Continue reading Silicon Valley Titans Invest $1 Billion to Establish AI Nonprofit

LucidCam Developing $299 VR Camera, Partners with Sephora

LucidCam successfully raised $100,000 on Indiegogo from 264 backers, and now is well on its way to creating the camera that sounds too good to be true: a $299 device that’s small enough to fit in a pocket and yet can shoot immersive virtual reality content. The company, headed by chief executive Han Jin, says the LucidCam team is now busy creating partnerships with content creators and brands — its first is with make-up brand Sephora — and reveals that the company will release its first 360-degree 3D video in December. Continue reading LucidCam Developing $299 VR Camera, Partners with Sephora

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