If you've ever spent time in the company of young children watching colorful and cartoony TV shows geared to their innocence -- say something on Sprout or Nick Jr. -- then you'll know what it is to live in the world of Henry. The computer-animated virtual reality short about a lonely hedgehog is only the second to come from Oculus VR's newly founded Story Studio, an innovation lab of sorts for VR. But whereas most recent gaming- and entertainment-focused VR works have relied on cheap thrills, suspense and fear to dazzle viewers, Henry instead engages with empathy.
"That was the big question for me: How are people going to connect with him?" says director Ramiro Lopez Dau of Henry's emotional bent. "So we came up with this character who has an obvious problem: He wants to hug people and he's super spiky. So that was the connection because everyone deserves a friend. And Henry doesn't have a flaw. He's just like that; he's a hedgehog. ... So it's more about, okay, there's some meaning here. You will find someone who will accept you for who you are, which is a very universal message. ... There's going to be a very strong point to feel empathy for this guy."
Filed under: HD
In case Shenmue 3 and a Castlevania spiritual successor were a bit too recent and console-centric for your nostalgia kick, maybe the new King's Quest will tickle your fancy. The hand-painted adventure game's first episode is out today across a wide swath of platforms (PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 an Xbox One, Windows). Creative director Matt Korba writes on the PlayStation Blog that the aim was to make a family-friendly game in an effort to bridge the gap between players of yore and today. What's more there are apparently quite a few references to the original games hidden here and there. Should you want to try and find 'em for yourself, it's $9.99 per episode or $39.99 for the season pass.
Source: PlayStation Blog
We're checking in a bit late with this week's selections of what to watch -- luckily the highlights are yet to come. For anyone who writes or reads reviews, Comedy Central's Review with Forest Macneil is ready to scratch your scoring itch in a funny, out of control way each week. Last season Forest reviewed addiction, theft, racism, orgies and many other topics -- we can't wait to see what season two brings. Netflix is ready this week with Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, a prequel to the movie. ESPN also has its final 30 for 30 of this round of documentaries, as Angry Sky focuses on Felix Baumgartner predecessor Nick Piantanida's three attempts at setting a highest jump record. Finally, this weekend a collection of Reading Rainbow episodes is coming to Netflix.Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).
You won't have to wonder about when Netflix will start streaming much of its its exclusive and original programming -- the company has provided scheduling for seemingly all of it in one shot. To begin with, it's renewing the weird-yet-familiar cartoon BoJack Horseman for a third, 12-episode season that will arrive in 2016. Can't wait that long? Longmire, the rescued A&E crime series, will make its Netflix debut on September 10th of this year, while a documentary about Keith Richards, Under the Influence, is due on September 18th. There are a slew of comedy specials arriving between August 14th (Demetri Martin) and December 18th (Mike Epps). Aziz Ansari's comedy series Master of None will show up on November 6th, and Chelsea Handler is hosting a four-movie documentary series that's "coming soon."
If you've been livestreaming the Super Bowl and missing out on all of those commercials, that's about to change. Variety reports CBS will stream all of the ads during the game in February, so those watching via the internet will be privy to the same quality entertainment each time there's a break in the action. In the past, advertisers have had to choose a streaming option on top of the regular broadcast slots. If you streamed this past February's game, you likely noticed the same handful of commercials on repeat. That's why. This time around, though, CBS is said to be treating all of the ad spots equally and advertisers will have to consider delivering content in both places. The report also indicates that CBS plans to charge a record price for each 30-second spot -- likely more than the $4.5 million NBC commanded this year. What's more, the network won't let companies "opt out" of the livestream either. In recent months, NFL content has made a big splash online with clips on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside Yahoo's plans to stream a regular season game from London.
[Image credit: Focus on Sport/Getty Images]
When Hawk the Slayer came out in 1980, Jason Kingsley became an instant fan. The film features magic swords, elven mindstones, giants, dwarves, sorcerers and a massive battle between pure evil and noble good. Think Dungeons & Dragons in real life, on the big screen. For weeks after Hawk the Slayer's release, Kingsley would borrow his dad's wind-up 8mm cine camera and attempt to recreate the movie in the woods of his hometown. Now, as CEO of UK video game company Rebellion, Kingsley has the opportunity to produce Hawk the Hunter, the official sequel to Slayer. If the movie's Kickstarter succeeds, Kingsley will be working with original director Terry Marcel and actor Ray Charleson (above). It's a fantasy come true.
Cablevision isn't the only big US internet provider offering HBO Now -- Verizon* is also joining the fray. Anyone with broadband on Big Red can now use their existing account to sign up for the cord cutter service, complete with the usual 30-day trial run and $15 per month subscription. It's ultimately not much different than subscribing yourself, and you've probably already done that if you were determined to watch Game of Thrones or Veep without paying for traditional TV. Look it at this way, though: if nothing else, it's a token kindness from a telco that's known for trying to stifle net neutrality and otherwise limit the success of internet video services.
Once upon a time, it looked like OUYA would be able to support itself as an independent gaming company focused on the Android-based, microconsole experience. In 2013, it even offered up $1 million to OUYA developers as part of an initiative called Free the Games Fund, which promised to match crowdfunded cash for certain OUYA projects. Dozens of developers got involved and were banking on OUYA's contributions to complete and ship their games, often tens of thousands of dollars per project. Now that Razer is officially purchasing OUYA, all of this cash is in question and the developers involved are not happy. "Razer/OUYA's insistence that these deals are gone is causing us to have to majorly restructure our plans leading up to release," one developer, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells Engadget.
Developers Dave Proctor and Alex Rushdy of 13AM Games are in the middle of an impassioned conversation about the Wii U and independent development.
"I think the industry is getting into a habit of unsustainably large development, where it's like, 'Ugh, of course the Wii U can't run Assassin's Creed Unity,'" Proctor says.
Rushdy cuts in, "Nothing can run Assassin's Creed Unity."%Gallery-slideshow306935%
Digital photo, movie and music collections may have been growing over the years, but luckily hard drive capacity is keeping pace, albeit in increasingly smaller packages. Western Digital recently launched its most capacious My Passport Ultra drive yet, boasting 3TB of storage in an array of colorful shells. You can keep your files at the ready with the safety of 256-bit hardware-based data encryption and USB 3.0 transfer rates of up to 5 Gb/s. Using WD Backup, you can also set up scalable automatic backups of desktop folders and files to the portable drive or fling them to the cloud for safe keeping. WD has provided us with a trio of these devices this week so three lucky Engadget readers can try to stuff them full of data. As usual, just head on down to the Rafflecopter widget for up to three chances at winning one these 3TB My Passport Ultra drives from WD.
Hold on, folks -- Motorola's big event wasn't done when it unveiled a trio of new smartphones. The company has also launched two sets of Bluetooth headphones, the in-ear Surround (shown above) and over-ear Pulse (below). Besides the form factor, you're mostly choosing based on longevity. The bigger Pulse lasts a healthy 18 hours on a charge, while the tinier, waterproof Surround will get you a smaller, but respectable 12 hours of listening. They're both available today, starting at $60 for the Pulse and bumping up to $70 for the Surround. %Gallery-slideshow307509%
It might be easy to broadcast your gameplay on Twitch, but engaging with the audience, attempting to be entertaining, playing whatever game you're streaming proficiently and keeping an eye on chat for trolls simultaneously is the exact opposite. A new feature from the Amazon-owned company should make at least the latter part a bit simpler, though. When you set your native tongue in "Broadcaster Language Mode," only folks who choose your selected language can chat. Basically, it's a way to help prevent people from using a different language to say stuff that'd otherwise get them banned.
Xbox One users who also own a Win 10 phone have long been able to share their gaming screenshots using Microsoft's Smartglass app. Now that ability is coming to both Android and iOS devices. Users will be able to view, share, and save their screenshots. There are some restrictions however. For Android users, the new features will only be available, at least initially, on the Android Xbox One SmartGlass Beta. And for Apple fans, only those users who have already signed up for the iOS Xbox One SmartGlass Beta program through the Apple Store.
[Image Credit: commorancy/Flickr]
Source: Major Nelson
NASA's International Space Station team recently got a big camera upgrade in the form of RED's Epic Dragon, and it's more than a little eager to show off what this high-resolution gear can do. The agency has started posting 4K videos (sorry, no 6K yet) that show what life is like in orbit in exceptional detail. You can make out the finer details of clouds on Earth, for instance, or see every last nuance of a zero-gravity water bubble.
Splatoon is easily Nintendo's breakaway game for 2015. The brightly colored post-apocalyptic third-person multiplayer shooter sold more than a million copies in its first month. It's tons of fun, but it also feels a little incomplete: the game launched with a low level cap, and a primitive, randomized matchmaking system that made it almost impossible to team up with friends. In a few days, that changes -- in August, Nintendo will be upgrading Splatoon with new weapons, new items, a higher level cap and more robust matchmaking.
WWE 2K16, the latest installment in Take-Two's yearly wrestling franchise, will feature a familiar face stretched around a nigh-indestructible metal skeleton: the Terminator, as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. The Terminator is a playable character in WWE 2K16, but only for those who pre-order the game on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One or Xbox 360. Pre-orders are live now and the game is due to hit shelves on October 27th, just in time to perfect your "Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator as a wrestler in a WWE video game" Halloween costume.
Source: WWE 2K
Just days after BT began selling its Ultra HD box online, broadcasting rival Sky appears ready to show off its own 4K hardware. The Telegraph reports that the pay TV provider is just weeks away from launching "SkyQ," an Ultra HD set-top box that will reportedly let subscribers watch or record at least four programmes at once. Like the EE TV box, Sky's player will also share broadcasts across smartphones and tablets, as families increasingly shift towards smaller screens.
Filed under: HD
Source: The Telegraph
In case you've already finished Journey and are looking for another gorgeous game that eschews violence, Submerged hits PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in early August. From the sounds of it, the game should be a pretty relaxing affair despite the fact that protagonist Miku is searching a flooded city for a cure for her wounded younger brother. A post on the PlayStation Blog notes that you can explore at your own pace and climb around as you see fit. And as you do, you'll uncover the tale of how the world came to be flooded and a tale of an equally destroyed family. The game gets its good looks thanks to the absurdly powerful Unreal Engine 4, and I'm feeling a bit of an Enslaved: Odyssey to the West vibe from it, myself.
Grand Theft Auto V really seems like the gift that keeps on giving. The latest present? An unofficial map app (Android, iOS and web) that's been updated with collectibles locations from the current-gen releases like Peyote plants that let you play as sharks, eagles and more -- yes, flying around as a bird of prey is bizarre as it sounds. The differences between this and the official app are pretty major, too. As VG24/7 reports, you can add personal notes to the map, track your collectibles progress and even switch between atlas and satellite views of the terrain. Future plans include making streets searchable by name. Interested? Hit the source links below to grab it for your device of choice.
Via: VG 24/7
China technically lifted its longstanding ban on game consoles last year, but only for companies that registered in the Shanghai free trade zone. Needless to say, that put a damper on sales in the world's most populous country. However, the gloves just came off -- China's Ministry of Culture has approved the manufacture and sale of consoles anywhere in the nation. Companies like Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony no longer have to hold back (or rely on black market sales) when doing business. They'll still have to grapple with heavy censorship of the games themselves, but that beats a lack of official options.
Source: Wall Street Journal