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Splatoon: Nintendo Seeks Bloodless Coup in Online Shooter Genre
May 27, 2015
With its bloodless battles of attrition between squads of human-squid chimeras, twitch-shooter Splatoon oozes classic Nintendo charm that has enamored many early reviewers. It takes a crack at the competitive shooter genre, but instead of the visceral shock of bullet wounds, blood, and the wails of the wounded, Splatoon supplies brightly colored ink to wield in chaotic matches.
QuizUp Branches Out Into Social Territory
May 21, 2015
Popular trivia game QuizUp on Thursday issued an update that gives players access to a broader array of social networking tools. Users' exchanges had been spilling out of the trivia app and into forums, so developer Plain Vanilla Games decided it was time to build out the game's social features. QuizUp now aims to connect users through their shared interests.
Fove VR Headset Locks Onto Your Gaze
May 20, 2015
Fove is the first virtual reality headset to feature eye-tracking -- meaning, among other things, that characters you view on screen can look right back at you. So far, close to 500 people have pledged nearly $200,000 to bring the Fove VR headset to fruition. Just a day into its 45-day Kickstarter campaign, the Fove appears certain to reach its $250,000 goal.
Cossacks 3 Could Revive RTS Game Genre
May 19, 2015
GSC Game World has announced it will release Cossacks 3, a new version of the popular real-time strategy title Cossacks: European Wars. It will be available for PC, Mac and Linux machines later this year. Cossacks 3 is a modern remake of the original game that debuted in 2001, which was unique in that players could control hundreds of individual units at a time.
The Future According to Qualcomm
May 18, 2015
I was at the Qualcomm Internet of Things event in San Francisco last week during what was a major IoT event in the city. What is kind of amazing is the larger event was just a small part of the applications show that used to go on at the same time. This year it is twice the size of that older show. Companies are flocking to this IoT concept like ducks to water.
Arduboy Could Spark Retro Gaming Revolution
May 13, 2015
Arduboy, a new pocket-sized 8-bit game device, has ignited a firestorm of interest on Kickstarter. With 27 days to go, the campaign already has drawn contributions of more than eight times its modest $25k goal. The rapid funding response could spark a miniature retro revolution. The handheld Arduboy has the potential to divert gamers from smartphones and tablets.
Bloodstained Makes Its Mark on Kickstarter
May 12, 2015
Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi's Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has drawn more than three times its $500,000 base goal in roughly two days on Kickstarter. While the concept and its art already have attracted lavish support from fans, there's still a winding road ahead before the game goes gold. Bloodstained is a 2.5D platformer with RPG and crafting elements.
Splatoon: Nintendo Hits You With Its Best Shot
May 7, 2015
Nintendo has invited players to paint the town red -- and green and blue and a palette of other colors -- in Global Testfire events over the weekend for Splatoon, a new game launching May 29 exclusively on the Wii U. The Testfire events will provide three hour-long windows to try out Splatoon and provide Nintendo with the server stress-testing the game will need for a successful launch.
Oculus VR Promises a Rift for All in 2016
May 6, 2015
An exact date hasn't been set, but Facebook's Oculus VR has announced that the highly anticipated consumer version of its Rift headset will launch in the first quarter of 2016. Preordering will begin later this year. More details will emerge about the consumer version of the Rift in the coming weeks, the company said, including information about unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences.
'Night Terrors' Could Turn Your Home Into a Hellscape
May 6, 2015
Gamers could get the chance to count themselves among the things that go bump in the night, if Novum Analytics' Night Terrors, an augmented reality game for mobile devices, meets its Indiegogo funding target. The story itself is rudimentary, but the gameplay takes place in relatively uncharted territory. The player is alone in the dark with a smartphone.
Holy Crap: Microsoft Is Building Tomorrowland!
May 4, 2015
One of the movies I'm really looking forward to this month is Disney's Tomorrowland. My first real job was at Disneyland, and I was so in love with the place I often would come back and work a second shift for free. Epcot, the city of tomorrow, was supposed to be Walt's final legacy but his untimely death ended that vision. That city of tomorrow never came to be.
Treyarch: Black Ops III More Ambitious Than World at War
April 27, 2015
Activision on Monday announced the launch date for Call of Duty: Black Ops III -- Friday, Nov. 6. The company is departing from its tradition of Tuesday releases. Instead of conflicting with school and work schedules, the Friday release will give players the weekend to dive into the sci-fi shooter and get a feel for the new gameplay mechanics.
Modders Steamed over Valve's Revenue-Sharing Plans
April 27, 2015
Valve last week announced that it was allowing players to sell video game mods on its digital distribution platform, Steam, starting with mods of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but its plans for policing the marketplace and sharing revenue with creators have become points of contention. Skyrim developer Bethesda Softworks is the only company participating in the initiative so far.
Dev Aims to Light the Way for Apple Watch Gaming
April 24, 2015
Racking up more preorder sales in a couple weeks than the combined sales of all Android Wear units in 2014, the Apple Watch is in a position to redefine the nascent smartwatch market. It won't do that alone, however. The key ingredient is likely to be apps, apps and more apps. WayForward wants to be on the vanguard of the movement, claiming an early position with its Watch Quest game.
Gadget Ogling: A Juicy Wristband, a Gamy Wearable and a Dorky Dongle
April 18, 2015
Asus is taking a common-sense approach to the fitness tracker game by debuting a new watch with a 10-day battery life. Thanks to its square screen, the soon-to-be-released VivoWatch resembles a smartwatch more than, say, a Fitbit. It appears to have a monochrome screen, which must help extend that all-important battery life. It has a stainless-steel build, and dust and water protection.
Guitar Hero Strikes Back
April 15, 2015
Rock Band 4's race to the top of the gaming charts this fall will be rivaled by a new release from Activision. Returning with a music video mode and first-person perspective, Guitar Hero Live offers a unique take on the music game genre. It "lets people rock real crowds with real reactions," said Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg. "Our goal was literally to give people stagefright."
EFF Lambasts ESA for Hindering Video Game Preservation Efforts
April 14, 2015
The EFF last week called out the ESA for opposing its video game preservation efforts. The EFF has petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption to the DMCA's anticircumvention provisions. The point is to afford legal protection for game enthusiasts to be able to use the games they own, as well as for academics and museums to preserve them for educational or historic purposes.
Investors Squirm as Zynga Founder Takes Back Reins
April 13, 2015
News last week that Zynga founder Mark Pincus had replaced Don Mattrick as CEO, less than two years after vacating the position, sent the company's shares tumbling. The sharp reaction was a clear indicator of investors' concern over the management change. Pincus' return to the helm sparked concern from investors worried about the company's lackluster earnings.
Microsoft Plugs Over-the-Air TV Into Xbox One
April 8, 2015
Checking another item off its to-do list, Microsoft on Wednesday announced an update to its latest Xbox One console: support over-the-air television broadcasts. A TV tuner is necessary to pick up OTA signals, and Microsoft has partnered with Hauppauge, which provides one that can do the job. The OTA update, a chart topper at Xbox's Feedback site, is live now for Xbox One Preview members.
Halo Fans Hunt for Truth, Microsoft Hunts for Hearts
March 31, 2015
Xbox and 343 Industries have released two live-action trailers for Halo 5: Guardians to encourage both Xbox One owners and holdouts to "hunt the truth." The trailers aired during The Walking Dead's season finale. In one, the story catches up with Master Chief scorning an injured and supine Spartan Locke with an unsettling benediction. In the other, their roles are reversed.
The Futility of the Strong Password Solution
March 31, 2015
After experiencing a data breach, most companies take a number of measures to strengthen security, including advising users to change their passwords and to make them strong. Although it stopped short of confirming anything, Amazon-owned Twitch last week notified users that its network might have been hacked and that some user account information might have been exposed.
Leap Motion Faceplate Lets OSVR Head Talk to the Hand
March 25, 2015
It looks and sounds good, but virtual reality is still establishing how to get around in the digital worlds it creates. OSVR has placed the controls in the hands of Leap Motion, which may be a stellar move. Leap's novel approach embeds the VR controls in a faceplate that can be attached to an OSVR-compatible headset. The faceplate will be bundled with OSVR's Hacker Dev Kit when it ships in June.
Magic Leap Allows a Peek Into Its Crazy-Cool AR World
March 24, 2015
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz was scheduled to present last week at a TED talk in Vancouver, where he was expected to reveal the augmented reality tech his company has up its sleeve. Magic Leap pulled out a few days ahead of the presentation, but it left the tech world with a teaser trailer showing an AR game being played on a working prototype of its headset.
PlayStation Vue Could Put Cable TV in Rear-View Mirror
March 19, 2015
Sony on Wednesday launched its PlayStation Vue streaming service in New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia. A combination of live and on-demand TV with a cloud-based DVR, Vue is available on the PS4 and PS3 in those cities. Users' favorite shows and channels will be right on the home screen whenever they fire up the service. The DVR lets users save favorite shows and store them for up to 28 days.
Nintendo Makes the Leap to Smartphones and Tablets
March 18, 2015
Nintendo has reached an agreement that will see its beloved intellectual property finally arrive on mobile devices, CEO Satoru Iwata announced Tuesday at a hastily called briefing. Mobile publisher DeNA and Nintendo have entered a capital alliance, in which they'll trade a portion of their stock and develop games for smart devices. Nintendo will acquire 10 percent of DeNA's outstanding shares.
Asus to Sport Powerful New Nvidia GPU
March 13, 2015
Nvidia on Thursday launched the latest in its GTX 900s series of mobile GPUs -- GTX 960m and 950m -- designed to make a gaming laptop as future-proof as possible. Asus' recently unveiled GX501 is one of the machines that already has incorporated the latest Nvidia tech. The new GPUs include such gaming-enhancing features as BatteryBoost, ShadowPlay and Optimus.
What Mobile World Congress Delivered Besides Same-Old Smartphones
March 10, 2015
The latest handsets and tablets received their share of headlines at this year's MWC, but their mindshare shrank considerably. Sony unveiled its Xperia Z4 tablet, possibly its last hurrah in the mobile space. Meanwhile, Samsung's Galaxy S6 smartphone stole the spotlight. However, with more than 2,000 tech organizations promoting their wares and services, MWC 2015 offered a fresh set of promises.
Gadget Ogling: Slick, Dull and Outlandish Smartphones, a Powerful Shield and Invisibility Glasses
March 10, 2015
Samsung is trying something a little different while simultaneously positioning its S6 and S6 edge as the market's dominant Android smartphones. Sure, they're faster, smarter, brighter, stronger and more powerful than previous models -- as you might expect in a flagship refresh -- and that's all terribly pedestrian. Still, I love the edge concept. I'm glad to see Samsung continue and expand it.
Hillary Clinton's Possibly Fatal Email Mistake
March 9, 2015
Hillary Clinton's email scandal showcases that she shouldn't be president. This has nothing to do with her party or politics -- it has to do with how she seems to approach a decision -- through tunnel vision leadership. This method isn't biased on the left or right, but it is more hardwired into men than women. Unfortunately, Clinton seems to have this in spades.
Rock Band 4 Rises From the Ashes
March 5, 2015
Harmonix on Thursday revealed that the fourth installment of Rock Band will launch this fall on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The news comes about five years after the last title in the franchise made its debut. Harmonix is celebrating the series' return by gifting fans Frank Turner's I Still Believe. It's an appropriate track for a series that has taken some time off.
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Will fitness bands fade away?
Yes -- smartwatches will take over their functionality.
Yes -- they're like diets -- people tire of them.
No -- it's smartwatches that will fade away.
No -- people are getting more health-conscious.
Not sure -- but I'd like to try one.
Not sure -- not interested.