SoundCloud Signs Warner, Grows Mix of Music and Social Media

SoundCloud, which has mixed music and community for eight years, now boasts 150 million registered users who have uploaded over 100 million tracks and clips. Such artists as Prince, Snoop Dogg, Beyoncé and Drake have used the platform to release special tracks, remixes and promos. But as SoundCloud transitions from a free service with unlicensed content to one that licenses content and shares revenue, it teeters between two different creative models and the potential of a major breakthrough or bust. Continue reading SoundCloud Signs Warner, Grows Mix of Music and Social Media

Facebook Looking to Expand Media Offerings with Music Videos

Facebook has turned its attention to music videos in its latest move to offer more video content to its users. The social media company began moving into video in the last few years, now showing content from BuzzFeed, Vice and other publishers, in addition to its user-generated content. Music videos would continue the trend and up the competition between Facebook and YouTube. Facebook currently has 1.4 billion worldwide users, and adding video is likely to extend the time that viewers stay on the site. Continue reading Facebook Looking to Expand Media Offerings with Music Videos

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)

Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 1)

If you were not at E3, the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo, you might think that the great expanse of the Los Angeles Convention Center was wall-to-wall virtual reality. Despite VR’s headline domination, it was a different story on the floor where impressive visuals and sophisticated gameplay ignited the crowd. Even jaded game industry media could not contain their excitement. As IGN enthused after the Sony press conference, for instance, “That may be the best E3 press event ever.” We divided our overview into two parts: the evolution of E3 and direction of the gaming industry, followed by a breakdown of this year’s top products. Continue reading Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 1)

Hulu to Offer Showtime for an Added Fee Beginning Next Month

Hulu announced yesterday that its subscribers will have the ability to add Showtime for $8.99 per month starting in time for the July premieres of “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex.” The deal represents the first time that the streaming VOD service has partnered with a premium cable channel to drive subscriptions. Hulu customers will still need to pay $7.99 per month to stream the other available content. Hulu, which originally launched as a free, ad-supported service, recently rebranded itself by removing the word “Plus” from the name of its paid tier. Continue reading Hulu to Offer Showtime for an Added Fee Beginning Next Month

Sony Announces 1TB PlayStation Will Be Thinner and Lighter

In the wake of E3, Sony has announced that its new PS4 will be thinner, lighter and pack more storage than its predecessor. The new PlayStation 4 1TB Ultimate Player Edition, coming to North America next month, will weigh 10 percent lighter than the current PS4 and use 8 percent less power. The new console will come in black or white with a hard drive bay cover in a matte finish, which Sony suggests provides “a more casual look.” Earlier this month, Microsoft confirmed that its latest Xbox One would feature 1TB of storage and an upcoming wireless controller. Continue reading Sony Announces 1TB PlayStation Will Be Thinner and Lighter

Nintendo Presentation at E3 Draws Strong Backlash from Fans

More than 10,000 gamers have signed a petition requesting that Nintendo not release a game it showed during this week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. The gaming giant, which has abandoned its splashy E3 press conferences in favor of more low-key presentations, apparently failed to introduce enough new games for its fans. The harsh reaction led to the petition regarding a lackluster new “disgrace of a game” in the “Metroid” series. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata issued an apology on Twitter and vowed to improve future efforts. Continue reading Nintendo Presentation at E3 Draws Strong Backlash from Fans

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

AR/VR Leaders Imagine the Future at Augmented World Expo

More than 3,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors gathered in Santa Clara this week for the Augmented World Expo, now in its sixth year. The event, which has grown ten-fold since its inception, featured demos involving VR headsets, enhanced glasses, product-scanning apps and brain-scanning headbands. According to a recent Digi-Capital report, augmented and virtual reality is projected to reach $150 billion in revenue by 2020 (when AR is expected to dominate 80 percent of the market). AWE founder Ori Inbar believes “2016 will be the year of shakeups and mergers.” Continue reading AR/VR Leaders Imagine the Future at Augmented World Expo

Researcher Announces Impressive First Quarter for Wearables

IDC announced this week that wearable devices have experienced eight consecutive quarters of solid growth. According to the new report released Wednesday, 11.4 million wearables shipped worldwide during the first quarter, up from 3.8 million shipped during Q1 last year. IDC credits lower prices and a greater variety of wearables, such as smartwatches and activity trackers, for the increase in global sales. Fitbit led the charge last quarter by shipping nearly 4 million devices, followed by Xiaomi, Garmin, Samsung and Jawbone. Continue reading Researcher Announces Impressive First Quarter for Wearables

Android TV Blends Online Video and Broadcast Programming

At last week’s Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Google announced a new initiative to mix online video services with popular television content. Via Android TV Channels, Internet video app publishers have the ability to add linear channels of programming to Google’s Android TV platform on the same program grid used for broadcast TV networks. According to Google, the initial launch partners include AOL, Bloomberg, the Huffington Post, Pluto, TED, Vevo, the Weather Network, and European live streamer Zattoo. Continue reading Android TV Blends Online Video and Broadcast Programming

Oculus Rift VR Headsets Will Begin Shipping Early Next Year

Oculus VR announced yesterday that the company plans to ship its Oculus Rift headset by Q1 2016. Pricing and tech details have yet to be released, but consumers will be able to place pre-orders during the 2015 holidays. The virtual reality device, which has only been available for developers thus far, will need to be used with a PC. Both Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, and Facebook, which acquired the company last year, expected to launch the headset earlier. However, the team has faced challenges regarding some of the system’s requirements. Continue reading Oculus Rift VR Headsets Will Begin Shipping Early Next Year

MergeVR to Ship VR Headset and Controller by Holiday Season

Texas-based startup MergeVR plans to launch a $129 virtual reality headset this fall that is compatible with Android and iOS devices. While Oculus VR and Samsung have partnered on the mobile Gear VR headset, it is limited to Samsung phones and no launch date for a consumer version has been announced. MergeVR CEO Franklin Lyons explains that his company’s headset works with a range of modern smartphones. “We also are the first in the industry to have a wireless motion controller built to work with mobile VR apps,” he says. Continue reading MergeVR to Ship VR Headset and Controller by Holiday Season

Android Wear Watches Can Now Connect to Phones via Wi-Fi

Google has updated the Android Wear operating system to include wrist controls, Wi-Fi connectivity, and other functionality features. For the first time, smartwatch users won’t have to be tethered to their smartphone because the Wi-Fi connection will allow them to receive text messages and check email on their watches without needing their smartphones nearby. The first Android Wear smartwatches with this technology built-in are expected to begin shipping next month. Continue reading Android Wear Watches Can Now Connect to Phones via Wi-Fi

Sony 4K UHD TV Line Features Thin Panels, HDR and Android

New UHD TVs have been announced by companies including Samsung, LG and Vizio. Samsung is touting its quantum-dot-like color tech, and LG is pushing OLEDs and its quantum-dot “ColorPrime,” while Vizio is emphasizing affordable sets with full-array local dimming. Sony just announced pricing and availability of its new Android TV-powered 4K sets. The line features 10 models ranging from 43-inches at $1,300 to 75-inches at $8,000. With its new offerings, Sony is focused on razor-thin panels and HDR features. Continue reading Sony 4K UHD TV Line Features Thin Panels, HDR and Android

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