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Steamed Over Steam
February 24, 2017
Where would the PC gaming market be without Steam, the digital distribution platform that was developed by Valve Corporation more than a decade ago? It likely would be in worse shape than it is now, but that's not to say it would be bad. First, despite the repeated cries that "PC gaming is dead," the state of PC gaming is actually pretty good and PC gaming is very much alive because of Steam.
Gadget Ogling: Gaming's New Virtual Reality Frontier and Personal Cargo Robots
February 10, 2017
Regular readers will know that I've played games my entire life. I hold deep reverence for the care and attention that go into creating these experiences, and I've rarely met a game I didn't want to conquer. Yet I am nervous about virtual reality. I've tried it and found those disorientating worlds difficult to handle, though I suspect that over time I could grow more accustomed to it.
EC to Take a Hard Look at E-Commerce Practices
February 3, 2017
The European Commission on Thursday announced three separate investigations into online pricing and other sales practices that may have breached EU antitrust rules. The EC investigations will assess whether consumers were able to enjoy cross-border choice when it came to buying video games and consumer electronics, and making hotel accommodations online.
Luckey Dons Virtual Flak Jacket for Zenimax Testimony
January 19, 2017
Palmer Luckey on Wednesday denied that he stole proprietary code from ZeniMax Media, in the little-known company's blockbuster $2 billion lawsuit against Oculus VR and Facebook. ZeniMax has alleged that in 2012, when Luckey was just a video game enthusiast, he corresponded with John Carmack, who allegedly used proprietary hardware and software information to develop the Oculus Rift VR headset.
Nintendo Banks on Switch Hit
January 14, 2017
Nintendo on Thursday announced the Nintendo Switch handheld gaming console, its long-awaited successor to the poorly received Wii 2. The $300 Switch will hit the streets March 3. Purchasers will get the console, two Joy-Con controllers, a Joy-Con Grip, a set of Joy-Con wrist straps, a Nintendo Switch dock, an HDMI cable and an AC adapter. The Switch can be used as an independent handheld player.
Gadget Ogling: The CES Spectacular Edition
January 12, 2017
Trust Razer to come up with something completely ridiculous that I need in my life immediately. Project Ariana is a projector that incorporates Razer's full-spectrum lighting system, Chroma. It uses a wide-angle lens to project images. Its 3D depth-sensing cameras detect objects in a room and adjust for them accordingly so that it still projects a flat image.
Nvidia Lays Out Bold Strategy at CES
January 6, 2017
Nvidia offered a bold new strategy at this week's International CES in Las Vegas. The company, which has been a leader in hardware graphics technology for decades, recently has expanded into the realms of artificial intelligence, deep learning and automotive tech. Graphical support and video delivery will however remain a key component of the company's strategy, according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang.
Apple's Great App Store Sales May Not Signify Much
January 6, 2017
Apple's App Store racked up an all-time high of $240 million in sales on the first day of this year. On the whole, 2016 was a very good year for Apple devs, who earned more than $20 billion for their apps. "Apple has always had the most profitable ecosystem and app market in terms of revenue per user and price per app," said Holger Mueller, a principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Lenovo Surprises With Home Tech Play
January 4, 2017
Lenovo watchers expected the company to announce a number of new laptops when CES rolled around, but the company surprised on Tuesday when it also unveiled new products aimed at the home technology market. "The Smart Assistant and Smart Storage line probably caught everyone off guard," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.
Microsoft and Intel's Project Evo Ups the PC Game
December 9, 2016
Microsoft and Intel have announced Project Evo, their highly anticipated collaboration to create the next generation of personal computers. The project aims to expand on new advances in AI, mixed reality, advanced security and gaming, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, unveiled some of Project Evo's ambitious plans at the WinHEC event in China.
Microsoft, Qualcomm Tuck Windows 10 Into ARM Devices
December 8, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced the compatibility of Windows 10 and native Windows apps with ARM-based processors, including Qualcomm's Snapdragon, which currently powers a large percentage of Android devices. The new partnership will make it possible for Windows applications, peripherals and enterprise solutions to run on new mobile, power efficient and always-connected cellular PCs.
AI Platforms Welcome Devs With Open Arms
December 6, 2016
Two leaders in the field of artificial intelligence have announced that they're open-sourcing their AI platforms. After investing in building rich simulated environments to serve as laboratories for AI research, Google's DeepMind Lab said it would open the platform for the broader research community's use. DeepMind has "only barely scratched the surface of what is possible," the team said.
Gadget Ogling: Smarter Slumber and Pod-Free Coffee
December 1, 2016
In a previous column, I revealed how terrible a sleeper I am. My mattress is old, and there's a sizable dent on my side of the bed. It's probably time to find a new mattress, so perhaps it's time to consider one that connects with the rest of my home. Eight's smart mattress gives you a little more incentive to get out of bed, as you can set up a string of IFTTT recipes to improve your morning routine.
It's All Aboard for Linux Gamers at The Final Station
November 30, 2016
The developers of The Final Station, recognizing the growing market for the post-apocalyptic train ride in the open source community, have made their hot-selling title available for the Linux OS. The indie game, which Do My Best Games and TinyBuild launched for PC, Mac, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this summer, became available for Linux last week.
Gadget Ogling: Big Bendy Screens, Chatterbox Robots, and TV in the Cloud
November 22, 2016
I'm at long last about to start setting up my new home office. Goodbye, Ikea dining table. Hello, fancy new desk. When I actually have my new setup, I'd like to have a monitor at long last to complement my laptop. AOC's latest is under serious consideration. The AG352QCX is a 35-inch, curved behemoth with two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI 2.0 input, VGA, DVI, audio in and out ports, and DisplayPort 1.2.
Gadget Ogling: Mac's Back, Nintendo Returns, and Huawei Goes to the Edge
November 5, 2016
Apple has unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, giving the company's core laptop its first full refresh in a few years. The design has metal on all sides, along with a Force Touch trackpad double the size of previous versions. There's a customizable OLED touch strip above the keyboard that responds to gestures and taps, useful for fast access to emoji or secondary controls within an app.
Battlefield 1: Big, Bombastic and Very Loosely Based
October 25, 2016
If filmmaker Michael Bay -- known for the Transformers and other over-the-top films -- were to decide to make a World War I movie, and if he chose to rely on comic books for research, the result would be very much like Electronic Arts' newly released video game Battlefield 1. This latest entry in the popular series moves the action from recent modern settings to the Great War.
Rez Infinite Rocks Worlds
October 21, 2016
Rez Infinite this week earned praise from early reviewers for its graphics and immersing qualities. Sony announced the game -- an update of a remake -- last year. Featuring support for 1080p resolution graphics, along with 3D audio sound, Rez Infinite is designed for the PSVR, but it's also compatible with the regular PlayStation 4.
Nintendo Switches It Up
October 20, 2016
After months of speculation and buildup, Nintendo on Thursday officially unveiled its new gaming system, the Nintendo Switch. Previously known only by the codename "NX," rumors about this latest video game console began last year with a hint from Satoru Iwata, the company's late president. At the time Iwata suggested only that Nintendo was working on a new video game system.
Battlefield 1 Delivers Great War Action, Say Early Reviewers
October 18, 2016
Electronic Arts' new epic first-person shooter Battlefield 1 could be the war game to end all war games, based on the first wave of reviews published Monday. This latest title in the popular franchise from Swedish developer DICE is an action-packed, rip-roaring take on World War I. There's a single-player campaign that features a story worthy of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
Early Reviews Fuel High Hopes for Civilization VI
September 29, 2016
Early hands-on previews of Civilization VI came out Thursday, and those who had a chance to partake in the turn-based PC game found that it successfully built on the foundation of the past versions, while bringing some fresh changes to the experience. It has been 25 years since the classic debuted to great acclaim, and it seemed that Firaxis would have to pull out all the stops.
Steam Blows Off Aggrieved Indie Dev
September 19, 2016
Independent video game developer Digital Homicide Studios on Monday posted a response to its ban from Valve's digital distribution platform Steam. Valve banned the development studio this weekend, after Digital Homicide reportedly initiated legal action against 100 users who had posted negative reviews of its games. Digital Homicide accused the users of cyberbullying and other offenses.
New Apple Products Have the Right Gaming Stuff
September 17, 2016
Apple wants to attract gaming fans to the more powerful graphics and processing power embedded in its new iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 products. The iPhone 7 features the new A10 Fusion chip -- the most powerful ever in a smartphone, according to the company. The CPU fuses two high-performance cores that run twice as fast as the iPhone 6 with much more efficient use of battery power.
Sony Kicks The Last Guardian Down the Road Again
September 16, 2016
The first wave of previews for SIE's long-in-development video game epic The Last Guardian appeared following a demo at the Tokyo Game Show earlier this week, and reactions were mixed. Much of the coverage of this PS4 game, first announced at E3 in 2007, has focused on its long development process and delays. It originally was to be a follow-up to Fumito Ueda's Shadow of the Colossus.
Sony's PS4 Pro Gets the Jump on 4K, HDR TVs
September 8, 2016
Sony on Wednesday officially unveiled the powered-up PlayStation 4 Pro, which features smoother graphics, thanks to higher frame rates. This new version of Sony's bestselling video game console includes support for 4K resolution and high dynamic range, making it fully compatible with 4K/UHD displays. Some developers will add PS4 Pro support to existing games, as well as upcoming releases.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Desks, New-Wave Gaming, and Roaming Routers
September 7, 2016
After a long, laborious process and a lot of scraping paint splotches from the floor, the office space in my new apartment is ready for me, and I will soon no longer need to write this column from my kitchen table. So, I'm in the market for a desk. With my nascent interest in standing desks, the Gaze Desk seems a decent option. It switches between standing and seated modes with a button press.
Intel's Kaby Lake Chip Promises Deeper Internet Immersion
August 31, 2016
Facing a shrinking market for personal computers and a stalled market for tablets, Intel on Tuesday unveiled its 7th-generation processors, code-named "Kaby Lake," which deliver more speed and power than its 6th-generation chipsets, while improving battery efficiency. Intel has positioned the new Kaby Lake chipsets as ideal for the immersive Internet.
Sony Tips PS4 Slim Standard Strategy
August 22, 2016
Sony reportedly plans to roll out a slimmed-down standard version of its popular PlayStation 4 video game console next month. The news follows the company's announcement earlier this year that it would introduce a higher-end version of the console with enhanced graphics, aimed at hard-core gamers. The new PS4 standard model could be Sony's way of attracting more casual users.
Intel's Project Alloy Tosses Reality Into a Blender
August 17, 2016
Intel on Tuesday presented its virtual reality vision -- a vision that mixes virtual and real worlds into a kind of merged reality -- to developers attending a conference in San Francisco. Mixing reality and unreality sometimes can be a recipe for disaster, but Intel thinks it will be a formula for success. At the center of Intel's vision is its Project Alloy mobile headset and its cutting edge RealSense software.
Microsoft to Add Beam's Live-Streaming Skills to Xbox
August 16, 2016
Microsoft last week announced a deal to acquire live-streaming startup Beam. It plans to use Beam's interactive technology to enhance the Xbox Live experience. Beam, which was the winner of Techcrunch Disrupt earlier this year, has attracted a number of top investors, including Techstars, Courtside Ventures and Ore Ventures. The deal is designed to help make Xbox Live more social and fun.
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