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Stealthy Assassin Series Hitman GO Makes a Luscious Board Game
April 23, 2014
I can safely say that I never would have imagined turning the Hitman video game series into a luscious dioramic board game for iOS. Lucky for us, that's what Square Enix did with last week's Hitman GO release. Apple featured the game in the App Store, and for good reason: The graphical representation of the boards you play on is a visual feast.
PS4 Reigns Supreme in Huge Video Game Sales Month
April 18, 2014
Sony's PlayStation 4 remains top dog among the latest generation of consoles after March sales figures showed it continuing to outpace Microsoft's Xbox One. Sony revealed earlier this week it had sold more than 7 million PS4 units worldwide, while Microsoft said it had shipped 5 million Xbox Ones to retailers to date. The PlayStation 4 led hardware sales for the third month in a row in March.
Next iOS May Add Shazam Music Discovery
April 18, 2014
Have you ever heard a song you never heard before while you were out and about and wished you knew its title and artist? iOS soon may be able to tell you. Apple reportedly is working with Shazam Entertainment to incorporate into iOS 8 a feature that allows a song's title and artist to be identified from a sound grab through the microphone in an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Zynga Heads Back to the FarmVille Trough
April 18, 2014
Zynga is once again plowing the furrow of its greatest success with the launch of FarmVille 2: Country Escape. The latest title from the casual gaming studio is a mobile-focused effort. Zynga has launched the game globally on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. FarmVille 2: Country Escape was crafted from the ground up as a new mobile experience.
Sonos Swings Into Google's Playground
April 10, 2014
A new partnership between Sonos and Google means that users of the Google Play Music app for Android now can stream music to their Sonos speakers directly from the app itself. Available in 25 countries, the new capability effectively eliminates the need to use Sonos' Controller app as an intermediary. It represents Sonos' first such integration partnership with a major music streaming service.
Which Screen Comes Second Now?
April 08, 2014
Which came first, the mobile device or the television? OK, that one is easy -- but which comes first now -- the mobile device or the television? The answer is probably television, but it's not quite as obvious, is it? Television is the dominant screen for most consumers today, but signs are growing that the mobile screen might well supercede it at some point.
Microsoft Adds Sci-Fi Series to Xbox Originals
April 08, 2014
Microsoft added to its list of original programming for its Xbox gaming system Monday with the announcement of a new science fiction series called Humans. Based on a hit TV series in Sweden, Humans is a cooperative effort of Xbox Entertainment Studios and UK broadcaster Channel 4. It is scheduled to air next year exclusively on the Xbox platform and Channel 4.
Courtroom Drama: Hollywood Sues Megaupload
April 08, 2014
Six Hollywood studios have banded together in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload, the wildly popular though now shuttered site that, in its heyday, was ground zero for file-sharing. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages, but does say that the studios should be entitled to $150,000 per copyright infringement, as well as profits earned by Megaupload.
Amazon Fire TV Fails to Rage but Glows Hot
April 08, 2014
The Amazon Fire TV, available for $99 from Amazon, hasn't yet made any jaw-dropping leaps forward, but it is an excellent set-top box that, in some ways, breaks ahead of the Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku competition. There's a lot to explain here. First, the Amazon Fire TV isn't just another box that lets you stream movies and video to your living room HDTV. It's solid, svelte, sexy and fast.
Jaunt Wants to Put You in the Movies
April 04, 2014
Though the current incarnation of virtual reality entertainment has its roots in gaming, potential applications for the Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus extend far beyond video games. Jaunt is one company hoping to expand the possibilities of virtual reality through development of an end-to-end solution for creating cinema-quality VR experiences.
Record Labels Slam Russian Social Net With Piracy Suit
April 04, 2014
Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music on Thursday filed legal proceedings against vKontakte, or VK, charging that the Russian social network operates a music service that deliberately facilitates widespread copyright infringement. VK operates an unlicensed music service involving a large collection of copyright-infringing tracks, the companies charge.
How to Watch TV on Your Laptop
April 03, 2014
The big TV news this week is about hardware, with Amazon launching its Fire TV to rival Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast. Speculation had been hot and heavy that Amazon would launch its own pay-TV service, but that hasn't happened... yet. That's what the real TV wars likely will be fought over, though -- how content reaches consumers. A major battle will kick off this month in the Supreme Court.
Amazon Sets TV on Fire
April 02, 2014
Amazon on Wednesday put paid to the buzz circulating around its plans for a set-top box, announcing Amazon Fire TV at a New York event. The size of a CD box and just over half an inch thick, Fire TV takes on set-top boxes, the iPod, Apple TV and game consoles. It plugs into users' HDTVs to provide instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime and Amazon videos.
Amazon: And Now for Something Completely Different
April 02, 2014
Amazon is widely expected to reveal a new set-top video streaming device on Wednesday. It likely will introduce either a streaming stick like the HDMI Google Chromecast or a set-top box like the Apple Apple TV. Or, the company might produce both options -- like Roku's new Streaming Stick or more traditional Roku box. Like the Kindle Fire, Amazon's operating system will be Android-based.
Nvidia's ECS: Some Amazing Little Companies to Watch
March 31, 2014
Nvidia's Emerging Companies Summit, a place to check out some of the firms that could become the next breakout company, didn't disappoint this year. Among the highlights: A firm that could redefine advertising connected to Web pictures and videos; a company that could put your entire desktop and gaming experience in the cloud; and one that could help you actually hear that TV you see at a bar.
Facebook Makes Unreal Acquisition
March 26, 2014
Facebook has agreed to acquire Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming hardware. Facebook will pay around $2 billion for the company. That figure includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, valued at $1.6 billion based on recent average trading price. There is a provision for an additional $300 million earnout based on performance.
Disney Snaps Up Maker to Court Millennials
March 26, 2014
Disney this week announced it would acquire Maker Studios, a provider of short-form videos, for at least $500 million -- a number that could go up if Maker meets performance targets. Maker's videos account for more than 5.5 billion monthly views on YouTube -- it has 380 million subscribers. Among its more than 55,000 YouTube channels are the popular Epic Rap Battles of History.
Apple, Comcast Wade Into Streaming Content Talks
March 24, 2014
Apple and Comcast reportedly are discussing a streaming-TV service that will go through an Apple set-top box. Apple apparently wants the service to be treated as a managed service, meaning it will run on cabling separate from that used for public Internet access. "I seriously doubt Comcast will agree to a deal, said Mukul Krishna, digital media senior global director at Frost & Sullivan.
Pandora Pumps Up the Pricing
March 24, 2014
Pandora last week said it would increase its monthly charge for new users who sign on to its ad-free service by US$1 a month. Starting in May, the price for users who want to pay month by month will be $4.99. Existing Pandora One monthly subscribers will not experience a price increase at this time and will continue to pay $3.99 per month. Pandora made other tweaks to its pricing model, as well.
Sony Dreams Up Project Morpheus Virtual Reality Experience
March 20, 2014
Sony this week debuted Project Morpheus, its virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 console. The project is in active development with a view to a future commercial launch. A software development kit also is under development. Morpheus features a head-mounted unit with a visor-like display, which operates in tandem with the PlayStation Camera.

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