While Sony works on Morpheus for PS4 and Oculus continues to developer Oculus Rift, Google is offering a more mundane approach to the virtual reality space called Google Cardboard. It sounds like an April Fool's Day prank, but Google Cardboard is a DIY VR headset offering developed by a two-man team (in Europe) at Google that uses a simple cardboard headset, and a few household items to offer VR using an Android phone and a Google app.
Almost 50 percent of all households in the United States have at least one television set connected to the Internet via a video game system, Blu-ray Disc player, smart TV set, and/or stand-alone device such as Roku, Apple TV, or Google Chromecast. This number is up from up from 38 percent of U.S. households in 2012 and 24 percent in 2010, according to new data released by research firm Leichtman Research Group. The data is based on a survey of 1,200 U.S. households conducted this year.
Graphics hardware maker Nvidia is responding to accusations by rival AMD that its new GameWorks toolset interferes with the ability of game developers to optimize their products for AMD graphics hardware. Last week Robert Hallock, AMD's head of technical communications, software and technologies made the allegations in regard to Watch Dogs.
A former Google employee and the lead engineer on Google Glass has left the company to join virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR. Adrian Wong was senior hardware engineer of the Explorer Edition of Google Glass prior to joining Oculus.
During his time at Google, Wong was responsible for a number of duties on the Explorer Edition, including working on hardware prototypes and display subsystem design and architecture.
Wong was also hardware engineering manager of the Consumer Edition of Google Glass.
ZeniMax asserted last week that it owns the rights to "key technology used by Oculus to develop and market the Oculus Rift" by way of "extensive VR research and development works done over a number of years by John Carmack while a ZeniMax employee, and others." The company said that it provided that technology to Oculus in 2012 and 2013 and that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey "acknowledged in writing ZeniMax's legal ownership of this
Update #2: A person who is familiar with the situation (who spoke on background) said that the Wall Street Journal's use of the term "stole" is not a term that Zenimax would use in describing John Carmack's actions leading up to this current dispute. We have adjusted the title and body of the story to reflect the situation in its proper context.
Aquifi, a company comprised of some of the team that developed "key elements" of the Microsoft Xbox One Kinect Technology today introduce the world to its new "Fluid Experience Technology." Fluid Experience Technology is a software-only platform that "will yield new economics and usability in the perceptual computing and gesture-control markets, by allowing a new style of 'adaptive' interface to be created," according to Aquifi.
Virtuix has completed a $3 million round of seed investment that it says it will use to complete its Omni VR treadmill. You may remember the virtual reality treadmill from last year when its Kickstarter crowd funding campaign sought to raise $150,000 but ended up raising a whopping $1,109,351. The technology works with VR headsets to let players move around inside virtual environments. At present Virtuix has more than 3,000 preorders for the $500 Omni treadmills.
External game storage support for the Xbox One is "coming soon," according to Microsoft's resident Xbox spokesperson Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb. Hryb confirmed the news in an Xbox One subreddit.
Responding to a question from a Reddit user about the topic, Hryb said that external game storage support is "coming soon" but that he needed to check on the status of media storage support. Hryb also said that he would share details on if there will be external storage limits.
Amazon revealed the Fire TV set-top streaming entertainment and gaming device on Wednesday. The $99 Android-powered device features 2GB of memory, a quad-core processor, a dedicated GPU and built-in Wi-Fi support. It also supports most of the popular entertainment apps including Netflix, Crackle, WWE Network and more. Today the company has revealed all the games available now for the Fire TV.
The tower-defense shooter title Sev Zero is the system's only major exclusive game. It was developed by Amazon Game Studios.
A full list - from free to $7.99 can be found below:
While some developers like Mojang say that they will no longer pursue plans to support Oculus Rift after Facebook announced that it would acquire the virtual reality technology last night for $2 billion, others are saying that they will continue to support the device. One of those developers is Eve Online developer CCP Games. The company tells Eurogamer that it still plans to launch its space combat game Eve: Valkyrie for the consumer version of Oculus Rift, whenever that comes out.
Facebook announced this afternoon that it would purchase VR headset maker Oculus for $2 billion with a combination of cash and stock. The company will pay $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares worth about $1.6 billion. Oculus employees will also eligible for an additional $300 million if the company achieves certain targets.
"This is a long-term bet on the future of computing," said Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday on a call with analysts. "I believe Oculus can be one of the platforms of the future."
Top executives from tech companies including Facebook, Google and more are meeting with President Obama today to talk about “issues of privacy, technology, and intelligence,” according to what one White House official tells Politico. The administration declined to provide a list of those attending the meeting.
We are all well aware that Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast in order to get direct access to its customers, but it looks like the popular TV and movie streaming service will be paying another ISP very soon. According to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, Netflix and his company are in talks right now to finalize a paid interconnect agreement for direct peering to Verizon customers.
Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said in a blog post today that President Obama's proposed changes to how the National Security Agency collects and stores both phone and internet data is not enough.
"Despite the President’s reform efforts and our ability to publish more information, there has not yet been any public commitment by either the U.S. or other governments to renounce the attempted hacking of Internet companies," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said. "This has been and remains a major concern across the tech sector."
Earlier this week Alienware said that its Steam Machines - custom PCs that sport Valve's steam OS, hardware to support it, and a nifty Steam Controller - were not upgradeable and that it would use a release schedule similar to the iPad to get new hardware out there. Today the company is saying that there was a bit of a miscommunication in its original message.
What the company meant to say, apparently, is that you CAN upgrade the Alienware-branded Steam Machine, but it won't be an easy thing to do.
The great debate about the fate of the former NSA contractor who leaked documents detailing the agency's spying programs on the Internet, mobile phones and even in video games rages on. Some believe that Edward Snowden is a patriot and a whistleblower who deserves a full presidential pardon, while others believe that he should be get the maximum penalty under the law for treason and espionage.
Here's the problem with letting a bunch of different PC manufacturers make something and use a brand like "Steam Machines" - you are going to get some wildly different products and price ranges that can be pretty darned costly for rank and file consumers whose last names aren't "Rockefeller," "Bloomberg," "Trump," etc. That's what is happening with Alienware's version(s) of the Steam Machine.
Two of the companies that had the biggest buzz coming out of the Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week were Oculus (for a new version of its Oculus Rift VR gaming headset) and Steam (for its Steam Machines and Steam Controller), so it is interesting that Valve has announced plans to bring the two PC gaming devices together. Steam is now testing an experimental mode that uses the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift in the most recent Steam Client Beta.
Earlier this week we reported that Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of Finland-based antivirus provider F-Secure, had publicly canceled a talk (entitled, "Governments as Malware Authors") at the upcoming RSA Conference USA 2014 in protest of news that the RSA received $10 million to make an NSA-favored random number generator the default setting in its BSAFE crypto tool.
While tablets seem to be popular with very young children, some pediatricians and other health experts are expressing concerns that these devices may be interfering with early childhood development and may even lead to some children developing attention problems. Of course, the research on all of this is still mostly incomplete because the iPad and other popular devices have not been out long enough to determine what the long-term effects of usage among children really are.
According to a recent interview with Oculus VR chief executive Brendan Iribe on GamesBeat, John Carmack is spearheading Oculus VR's mobile efforts. Carmack left id Software earlier in the year to work for the company out of its Dallas offices, and apparently he is spending a fair amount of his time focusing on mobile platforms.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put the brakes on a plan by AT&T to raise prices for "special access" customers, which could have led to a rate hike to businesses and cell phone users. AT&T had planned to make that hike happen today, but the FCC stepped in and suspended the action for five months while it conducts an investigation on the matter.