Nintendo Intros DIY Labo VR Kit With Mini-Games For Kids

Almost a year ago, Nintendo debuted Labo, a DIY cardboard virtual reality kit for Switch. Now, the company is introducing its fourth kit, this one an intro to VR for children. Labo’s VR kit includes “simple and shareable” mini-games for multiple players, but requires users to hold the handset up to their faces. With the version for children, mini-games are designed for kids to pass around the screen and take turns, which Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser said encourages “both virtual and real-world interactions.” Continue reading Nintendo Intros DIY Labo VR Kit With Mini-Games For Kids

Consumers Frustrated by the Number of Streaming Options

The massive growth of streaming entertainment options may present a downside. According to Deloitte’s latest annual Digital Media Trends survey, 47 percent of U.S. consumers indicate they are becoming frustrated with the increasing number of subscriptions and services required to access the media content they want. In addition, 57 percent say they are also frustrated when their favorite movies and TV shows are no longer available due to the expiration of licensing agreements. There are more than 300 over-the-top options for video in the U.S. today, a number continuing to rise. Continue reading Consumers Frustrated by the Number of Streaming Options

Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

Oculus unveiled a new version of its Rift VR headset at GDC 2019 yesterday. The $399 Rift S, available this spring, will feature a new design, higher resolution display (up to 1280×1440 per eye), two updated Oculus Touch controllers, and embedded sensors for tracking (rather than cameras). The current $349 Rift relies on an array of external webcams to sense the environment. The new Rift S will require a PC in order to power its high-res graphics, while the wireless Oculus Quest, also available this spring for $399 will not need additional power. Continue reading Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

Facebook Launches Dedicated Gaming Tab on Updated App

With an eye to the 700 million worldwide users it says play video games on its site, Facebook is updating its mobile app to feature a dedicated Gaming tab. The tab will be located in the main navigation bar, so that users can go directly to news, streams, gaming groups and other related content. The tab also points users to instant games they can play with friends, eSports organizations, videos from popular streamers, and game publishers. The new tab is built on Fb.gg, the gaming destination Facebook debuted last year. Continue reading Facebook Launches Dedicated Gaming Tab on Updated App

Twitch, YouTube Gaming Continue Growth in Viewing Hours

According to a new “State of the Stream” report from live-streaming platform StreamElements, gaming fans watched nearly 9.4 billion hours of content on Twitch last year, a 25 percent growth rate over 2017. While YouTube Gaming’s live content viewing totaled 2.3 billion hours (or about a quarter of Twitch’s hours), YouTube’s year-to-year growth rate was an impressive 104 percent. Microsoft’s live-streaming Mixer, which launched in 2016, had almost 168 million hours watched last year, which was an increase of 179 percent over 2017. Continue reading Twitch, YouTube Gaming Continue Growth in Viewing Hours

How Personalization May Drive Netflix’s Interactive Content

In 2017, Netflix launched its first experiments in interactive content with moments in “Puss in Boots” and “Buddy Thunderstruck” where viewers picked the action. With the “Bandersnatch” episode of sci-fi series “Black Mirror,” the company made its first serious push into interactive content for adults. The episode tells the story of a video game designer trying to adapt an interactive novel that drove its author insane. Netflix vice president of product Todd Yellin has said the company will try again in this “rich vein.” Continue reading How Personalization May Drive Netflix’s Interactive Content

Apple Continues Push into Services With Subscription Plans

Apple is reportedly planning a new subscription service that would serve like a Netflix for games, according to people familiar with the initiative. The company began private meetings with game developers during the second half of last year. Insiders suggest Apple has also discussed potential publishing partnerships that could provide the tech giant with control over distribution, marketing and other areas. Plans are believed to be in the early stages and details, including cost of a possible subscription service, are not yet available. Meanwhile, Apple has also been working on subscription video and magazine services. Continue reading Apple Continues Push into Services With Subscription Plans

Nielsen’s SuperData and App Annie Quantify Gaming Market

Epic Games’ “Fortnite” led the way to 13 percent growth of digital games and interactive media to $119.6 billion in 2018, said Nielsen division SuperData. On its own, “Fortnite” earned $2.4 billion last year. The global industry segment is expected to grow to $118.2 billion in 2019. SuperData’s annual report stated that, in 2018, 850 million unique people viewed video games, with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins garnering 218 million hours, making him Twitch’s No. 1 streamer. Mobile games came out on top with $61.3 billion in revenue. Continue reading Nielsen’s SuperData and App Annie Quantify Gaming Market

Magic Leap, Wacom Debut Prototype of Shared Design Tools

Wacom and Magic Leap, whose partnership was announced last October at the first L.E.A.P. developers’ conference, have debuted a prototype of their collaborative design tools. Two years in the making, the tools consist of a Magic Leap One headset connected to a Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablet. Designers use a separate Pro Pen 3D stylus to control content on a Spacebridge platform that streams 3D data into a spatial computing environment. The system, which was on display at CES 2019, allows multiple people to interact with 3D models. Continue reading Magic Leap, Wacom Debut Prototype of Shared Design Tools

ETC Panel: USC Students Discuss the Future of Entertainment

The ETC invited nine undergraduate students from the USC School of Cinematic Arts to the December 13, 2018 All Members Meeting to discuss their impressions regarding the future of entertainment. Click here for a six-minute highlight reel from that one-hour conversation, featuring student perspectives on immersive storytelling, social media, content distribution and more. ETC plans to produce student discussions at least quarterly in 2019 — twice at our Executive Board Meetings and twice for our All Members Meetings. We encourage everyone at an ETC-member company to attend (as appropriate) and ask questions at these future sessions. Continue reading ETC Panel: USC Students Discuss the Future of Entertainment

HTC Unveils New Vive Pro Headset With Foveated Rendering

At CES in Las Vegas, HTC unveiled an upgrade to its Vive Pro VR headset, the Vive Pro Eye, featuring integrated eye tracking for in-app controls, analysis of user attention and foveated rendering. The last item relates to the ability of cameras in the headset to precisely track the position of the eyes’ pupils to enable the GPU to focus processing on that location. With foveated rendering, the GPU is said to save 30 percent over its power, which can be used to conserve power or increase detail within the rendered area. Continue reading HTC Unveils New Vive Pro Headset With Foveated Rendering

CES Panel: The Evolution of Cloud-Streaming Games With 5G

GameSpot editor-in-chief Randolph Ramsay moderated a panel of game industry experts discussing how 5G will change that industry. “5G’s high speed and low latency will be the next big disruption,” he said. Blade Group platform evangelist Bill Rehbock spoke about his company’s Shadow PC streaming service, which provides a complete Windows 10 PC to users. “5G picks up with a minimum of where 4G left off,” he said. “5G makes hand-over [from tower to tower] so robust it will be an enabling technology.” Continue reading CES Panel: The Evolution of Cloud-Streaming Games With 5G

CES 2019: 5G to Make Debut as a Multi-Faceted Technology

At CES 2019 next week, 5G is expected to make a strong showing, not simply as a means to improve mobile phones, but as a game changer for everything from robots and drones to video games, sports and shopping. Although Samsung has already shown prototype 5G phones for Verizon and AT&T, ETC consultant George Gerba noted that, “the need to upgrade phones will not occur till 2020 when most metropolitan areas should be closing in on the first wave of 5G.” “This is one of those evolutions that will happen in waves and with some bumps,” he said. Continue reading CES 2019: 5G to Make Debut as a Multi-Faceted Technology

Netflix Tests Interactive Storytelling in ‘Black Mirror’ Episode

Netflix released “Bandersnatch,” an interactive episode of “Black Mirror,” its popular techno-paranoia series, that lets the viewer decide what happens at many points throughout the story, beginning with what cereal the protagonist has for breakfast. Netflix, which is using the episode to test if audiences are ready to embrace interactivity, already developed software to organize stories with infinite variations, called on producers to submit proposals for interactive stories, and hinted it has more in the works. Continue reading Netflix Tests Interactive Storytelling in ‘Black Mirror’ Episode

Epic’s New Game Store Poses Threat to Steam’s Dominance

During The Game Awards last week, Epic Games debuted a new digital marketplace that offers a favorable 88/12 percent revenue split to game creators. By opening a new marketplace, the company may be establishing a game store competitor to Valve’s Steam, which has dominated PC game distribution for over ten years. Epic chief executive Tim Sweeney has also pledged to better support creators. Although the store’s first list of games is small, it will be part of Epic Launcher, the software required to update and play “Fortnite.” Continue reading Epic’s New Game Store Poses Threat to Steam’s Dominance

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