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Stanford Controller Could Get Video Gamers' Blood Racing
April 09, 2014
Stanford researchers have created a new game controller that can measure a player's emotions. Eventually, developers may be able to use this information to adjust video gameplay, depending on a player's level of engagement. The prototype consists of an Xbox 360 controller with the back panel removed. Researchers replaced it with a 3-D printed plastic module that is packed with sensors.
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.
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.
US Judge: Free Speech Protects Baidu's Beijing-OK'd Results
March 28, 2014
A Manhattan judge ruled that a Chinese search engine's practice of restricting free speech is, wouldn't you know it, protected by free speech. Chinese Internet company Baidu won the dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit filed by activists who objected to its, shall we say, selective search results, which adhere to the government's notoriously limited view of what is and isn't acceptable.
Candy Crush Fails to Melt Wall St.'s Heart
March 27, 2014
Investors didn't share the same excitement for King Digital Entertainment stock as Candy Crush fans do for the mobile game, sending King shares down nearly 16 percent in Wednesday's disappointing first day of trading. It slipped a further couple of percentage points on Thursday. King's stock debuted at $22.50, but dropped 15.6 percent to close at $19 -- this year's worst first day drop for an IPO.
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.
Rocket the Vote! NASA Asks People to Vote on New Space Threads
March 26, 2014
NASA is asking people to vote on their favorite design for the outer shell of the new Z-2 spacesuit. While the Z-2 models may descend from their Apollo 13-style ancestors, there are some decidedly 21st Century twists. The "Biomimicry" design, for example, has a reptilian flare; "Trends in Society" has a more everyday look -- at least, as far as spacesuits go.
Flappy Bird May Soar Again
March 20, 2014
The mobile game Flappy Bird seemed dead and buried, but a tweet from its creator suggests it may yet rise from the ashes -- perhaps not quite like the phoenix. In response to a Twitter user asking whether the game would return to the App Store, Dong Nguyen responded, "Yes. But not soon." Indie developer Nguyen released the game last May, having created it in just a few evenings.
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.
Earth Narrowly Missed Solar Blasts in 2012
March 20, 2014
Enormous solar blasts, which possessed the potential to wreak havoc on electrical grids and satellites, barely missed Earth in 2012. The near-misses, revealed by researchers Wednesday, would have been akin to the 1859 Carrington Event, the largest solar storm ever recorded. While there were no satellites to cripple back then, the storm knocked out telegraph systems across the U.S.
Google Adds Some Serious Oomph to Play Games
March 17, 2014
Google on Monday announced a number of new features to the Google Play Games platform that are intended to boost discoverability and cross-platform multiplayer gaming while providing developers with deeper analytics. Three out of every four people who use the Android operating system play games, according to Google. There are more than 1 billion activated Android devices.
Amazon Appears Fired Up for Gaming
March 17, 2014
It appears Amazon is ready to take its brand of gaming to television screens, based on leaked photos of a game controller the company purportedly is working on. The images, which blogger Dave Zatz on Friday reported finding on the website of a Brazilian regulatory authority, show a controller with typical game controls alongside media playback buttons.
Democreativity Wants Your Great Gaming Ideas
March 10, 2014
The Democreativity initiative is calling for gaming ideas from anyone and everyone, with the hope of turning the best of them into hit video games. The initiative is led by Visit Sweden, the Swedish Institute and Business Sweden. Through its website, which launched last week, anyone can post video game ideas. The site encourages completely original submissions, as well as collaborative efforts.
Titanfall to Thunder Into Game Stores Monday Night
March 10, 2014
Titanfall -- a video game for several Microsoft platforms -- is about to be released, and the company apparently sees it as a hugely important title for its Xbox One console. Titanfall is a multiplayer shooter that pits two teams of up to six players against each other. Players control "pilots," who can either engage with each other directly or take command of titans.
Zynga Trots Out New Mobile Versions of Old Favorites
March 04, 2014
Zynga COO Clive Downie on Monday announced the early rollout three mobile-first games: FarmVille 2: Country Escape, New Zynga Poker and New Words With Friends. The soft launch is taking place in certain markets before the games' formal debut in June. The release as a key part of Zynga's larger strategy to regain its momentum.
French Teen in Hot Water Over Drone Footage
February 21, 2014
A French teen faces charges of "endangering the lives of others" over his use of a drone, which he sent skyward to capture impressive (and seemingly harmless) footage of the city Nancy. Eighteen-year-old Nans Thomas affixed an Internet-bought drone with a GoPro camera and then sent the contraption skyward. The ensuing video has been viewed more than 270,000 times already on YouTube.
Candy Crush Maker Wants Wall St. to Pour a Little Sugar on It
February 18, 2014
King Digital Entertainment, creator of the blockbuster social game Candy Crush Saga, is planning to go public. The company filed its initial public offering paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The company's revenue soared by more than tenfold in 2013, rising to $1.88 billion from $164 million the previous year, the filing reveals.
Old Discs Get a Chance to Spin Again
February 18, 2014
One of the UK's go-to spots for selling entertainment products online, Entertainment Magpie is now setting its sights on the U.S. with the launch of Decluttr.com. In this podcast, we chat with CEO Steve Oliver about how the digital revolution affects a business model predicated on physical entertainment media.
Flappy Bird Flutters Into the Sunset
February 10, 2014
Popular smartphone game Flappy Bird has been pulled from Apple's App Store and the Google Play app marketplace by its creator. Independent Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen released the free-to-download game last May having spent only a few nights creating it. Flappy Bird remained under the radar for many months. However, it suddenly soared up the rankings in recent weeks to take the top spot.
Unable to Dent Wallet, France Attacks Google's Pride
February 10, 2014
France's top administrative court ruled that Google must display a notice on its French search page saying that the company was fined by a local privacy watchdog. Google plans to fight the fine, but will have to adorn its Google.fr page with the humiliating message in the meantime. In January, French privacy regulators followed through on previous threats by fining Google roughly $200,000.

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