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Updated: 16 hours 43 min ago

'Destiny' is getting microtransactions, but don't panic yet

October 5, 2015 - 5:04pm

Destiny is getting microtransactions. Unlike item cool-downs or the obnoxious stuff that's intrinsic to all those Facebook distractions that clog up your news feed, however, these purchases aren't game-impacting. No, come October 13th they'll take the form of emotes and other cosmetic items. Developer Bungie stresses repeatedly that these will not impact your performance in any way should you not buy them. "You won't lose a Crucible (adversarial multiplayer) encounter or fail to clear a raid because you didn't have the right" emote equipped, the blog post says.

Via: Kotaku

Source: Bungie

You'll soon watch 4K live sports with HDR... in Canada

October 5, 2015 - 11:38am

You might think that Japan, South Korea or the US would be the most enthusiastic about 4K live sports, but nope: right now, that distinction goes to Canada. The country's largest cable firm, Rogers, has unveiled a 4K strategy that reportedly includes the "world's largest" support for 4K live sports with high dynamic range (HDR) color. Every 2016 home game for the Toronto Blue Jays (which Rogers owns) will air in 4K with HDR, while more than 20 "marquee" NHL games will also display in 4K. If you're not fond of baseball or hockey, you'll be glad to know that 4K shows from Netflix and Shomi will be part of the mix. While this content won't start arriving until next year (starting with a Canadiens/Maple Leafs hockey match in January), it's at least on the cards.

Source: Rogers, CNW

Confessions of a 'Rock Band 4' drum queen

October 5, 2015 - 9:38am

"Drums are hard."

That was the verdict from my boyfriend after a raucous night playing Rock Band 4 with a group of friends. He's a guitarist, in both the physical and digital realms, and to him, Rock Band 4's drums are an anomaly. The rhythms are somehow tricky and repetitive at the same time; landing the bass pedal takes nearly perfect timing; it's a big rig that requires big motions; and the entire instrument takes a ridiculous amount of coordination. This is why my boyfriend doesn't enjoy playing the drums in Rock Band 4 -- and it's precisely why I love it. Slideshow-324545

New certification will ensure HDMI cables can output 4K

October 5, 2015 - 8:45am

While many HDMI cables these days can spit out 4K, the results can be hit-or-miss (especially as you start exploring longer cable lengths). So the HDMI Licensing group, which manages the interface, has developed a new premium certification to make sure any cable that advertises 4K compatibility actually works for that higher resolution. As part of the certification, companies will follow an expanded set of guidelines when creating cables and also test them more vigorously to make sure they can output the full 18 Gbps needed for the HDMI 2.0 spec. It's not just about 4K, either -- the certification also ensures that cables support high dynamic range (HDR) video. Once approved, the premium certified cables will sport a tamper proof sticker, which should make it easier to find them in the sea of untested cables on the market. Hopefully, this means the end of gambling with 4K HDMI cable compatibility.

Source: HDMI Group

Chromecast Audio review: Give your old speakers a new brain

October 5, 2015 - 7:00am

It's been a little over two years since Google introduced the first Chromecast, a cheap and easy way to turn any TV in your house into a smart TV. The tiny little dongle has taken the market by storm, racking up sales of over 20 million since launch. Now, the company has replaced it with not one but two streaming devices: a direct successor to the original video-focused Chromecast and a new, audio-only device appropriately called the Chromecast Audio.

Just as the original Chromecast made our dumb TVs smart, the Chromecast Audio promises to take your old pair of speakers and bless them with the convenience of streaming music. The value proposition is easy to understand: The Chromecast Audio is only $35, barely takes up any space and is easy to set up, and works with Spotify, the most popular streaming-music service on the planet. As Google tells it, it's a foolproof way to get streaming music onto your speakers. I've been testing the device since its introduction last week to find out if it delivers on that promise.

Soon you'll be able to remap your Xbox One controller's buttons

October 5, 2015 - 12:01am

Xbox One users will be able to transplant one button's function to another -- without having to stump up money for a fancy new Elite controller. While that controller costs $150 (with other reasons that might warrant a purchase), Mike Ybarra, Microsoft's Director of Program Management, replied to a user to announce that new config options will come to all controllers soon -- something that is already possible on the PS4's standard peripheral. We'd wager that the settings will come alongside that tasty Xbox 360 backwards compatibility feature, coming this November.

Via: Polygon

Source: Twitter

'FTL: Faster Than Light' soundtrack on vinyl looks out of this world

October 3, 2015 - 4:35pm

One of the direct results of folks helping Subset Games, the developers of FTL: Faster Than Light, absolutely demolish their Kickstarter goal was hiring Ben Prunty to score the game. And now thanks to iam8bit you'll soon be able to listen to it on the best sounding format possible: vinyl. The two LP set features some truly incredible artwork from designer Leif Podhajsky, trippy starburst green and black vinyl and a download code. To make sure those atmospheric sci-fi sounds are at their best, the soundtrack was mastered for wax at Telegraph Mastering Studio whose clients include Sufjan Stevens and Steve Aoki among many others. The release is up for pre-order right now, ships early next year and will run you $35 plus the cost it takes to get it to your door. Don't have a vinyl fetish obsession but still want these tunes? They're available for $5 over on Prunty's Bandcamp page.


Source: iam8bit

Cortana won't help you on Xbox One until next year

October 2, 2015 - 8:33pm

If you were hoping to experience Cortana's most helpful version on your Xbox One this year, you might have to settle for her possible appearance in Halo 5 at the end of the month instead. The virtual assistant won't make her full debut to owners of Microsoft's latest console until early next year. Don't fret though: Redmond spokesperson Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb says that the voice from Master Chief's ear will be available to folks in the Xbox One's Dashboard Preview Program later this fall. There's a joke to be made about rampancy in this news -- I'm almost sure of it. Oh, and speaking of Halo 5, there's a new live-action trailer out today (embedded after the break) that nurtures the seeds of doubt in Spartan 117 that Microsoft's been sowing since the first teaser hit.

Source: Major Nelson

TiVo exec explains Bolt strategy, Fire TV app and new Pro next year

October 2, 2015 - 5:42pm

When the TiVo Bolt was unveiled earlier this week, most of the questions (that weren't about its odd shape) came from long-time enthusiasts wondering why it doesn't cater to them? Many aren't willing to downgrade from a Roamio Pro's 6 tuners and 3TB storage just to add 4K and commercial skipping. Dave Zatz points out that today TiVo Chief Marketing Officer Ira Bahr has faced the company's most dedicated fans in a thread on TiVo Community, and says not to worry. According to Bahr, "we already have a roadmap plan to bring you something you'll like way better in 2016 (more on this shortly)." As I figured during our Bolt preview, this device is an attempt to connect with new users, among the millions of people buying streaming boxes as they use internet video services to replace or add to traditional TV. As far as the look of the Bolt, Bahr said "my view is that we have to look different."

Via: Zatz Not Funny

Source: TiVo Community

Microsoft buys 3D physics developer Havok to boost gaming efforts

October 2, 2015 - 4:02pm

Microsoft today announced the acquisition of Havok from Intel. Havok makes a 3D physics engine and licenses it to gaming studios; its work has been featured on more than 600 titles, including popular franchises such as Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, Dark Souls, The Elder Scrolls and Microsoft's own Halo. While Microsoft says it is delighted to add Havok's technologies to its robust portfolio of tools and components for developers, like DirectX 12 and Azure, it did point out that it won't stop supporting partners going forward. "We will continue to license Havok's technology to the broad AAA games industry," Microsoft said in a statement to IGN. "This also means that we will continue to license Havok's technology to run across various game consoles including Sony and Nintendo."

Source: Microsoft

Playdate: An introverted journey with 'The Beginner's Guide'

October 2, 2015 - 2:30pm

Everybody needs a creative outlet -- a valve, if you will, to relieve the pressure of modern humanity. What if your outlet was creating video games? And what if a friend of yours compiled the games you made during a specific personal crisis, and distributed them to the world to digest? If they did, you'd have The Beginner's Guide, Davey Wrenden's weird, introverted interactive narrative experience. Join me, Tim Seppala and the disembodied voice of Wrenden himself at 6PM ET (3PM PT)on Twitch.tv/Joystiq, the Engadget gaming homepage and right here in this post as we explore the mind of a game developer "struggling to deal with something they do not understand." Fair warning, though: this one is gonna get a little weird.

'Super Mario Maker' crushed my dreams of making video games

October 2, 2015 - 10:30am

"Isn't this supposed to be fun?" I asked myself over and over again. I knew the answer was "yes," but I still wasn't having any. I'd been playing Super Mario Maker, a video game that lets you make your own Super Mario Bros. levels and play them on a real Nintendo console, and I was completely miserable. It didn't make any sense. I'd dreamed about making Nintendo games since I was 6 years old, but when the company gave me the chance to prove a game design genius lived under my skin, I flopped. It was then that a shocking and heartbreaking realization washed over me: I hate making video games.

Amazon lands exclusive streaming rights to more CBS series

October 1, 2015 - 5:14pm

If you thought Amazon was done getting cozy with CBS, think again. The online retailer today announced yet another streaming deal with the TV network, which will give it exclusive access to three new summer series through 2018. What this means is you'll be able to watch certain CBS episodes on Prime Instant Video four days after they're first aired, as has been the case with Under the Dome and Extant -- two of the channel's most popular shows. This new licensing partnership includes episodes from CBS' upcoming BrainDead a comic thriller about brain-eating aliens in Washington, DC, plus two more shows that have yet to be disclosed.

Source: Amazon

Playdate: Grinding through 'Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5'

October 1, 2015 - 2:30pm

The reviews are in and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is... not looking good. When I played the game in Chicago earlier this year, it was fine. There were a few glitches here and there, sure, but it was an early version of the game and that's to be expected. The game crashed a few times, but it wasn't anything like I've seen in various videos that've surfaced online this week. It's a sad state of affairs that games are releasing this buggy and possibly broken even two years into the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One's lifecycle. There is light at the end of this tunnel though: You can save yourself some grief by watching Sean Buckley and myself broadcast the game this afternoon instead of buying it for yourself. What's more, we have four skateboard decks signed by Tony Hawk himself to giveaway! Join us for both starting at 6pm ET / 3pm PT.

Verizon's streaming video service, Go90, launches today

October 1, 2015 - 1:49pm

As revealed last month, Verizon is throwing its hat into the streaming ring with Go90. This new service is geared toward none other than millennials, delivering free access to live, as well as on-demand content from iOS and Android devices. Inside the application, which is now officially out of beta, Verizon will offer a variety of programming provided by different TV and online networks -- including Comedy Central, ESPN, NFL Network, MTV, Univision, Vice and many more. Like TechCrunch points out, what makes Go90 different than services such as Sling TV is its main focus on mobile devices, which is definitely an interesting strategy. If it ends up succeeding, though, don't be surprised to see Verizon bring it to set-top boxes and other streaming hardware.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: App Store, Google Play

Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck on his first video game soundtrack

October 1, 2015 - 1:30pm

Robin Finck's slow entry into the video game industry began, as he puts it, "a hundred years ago." Around that time, Finck -- best known as the guitarist for Nine Inch Nails -- ran into Devolver Digital co-founder Mike Wilson in a fairly unconventional place. "Mike Wilson and I camped adjacent one another at Burning Man," Finck explains. "I think he was dressed in shades and a flag and not much more, save the dust."

Tribeca and Lionsgate's video-streaming service is now available

October 1, 2015 - 10:47am

It took almost a year to get here, but Tribeca and film distributor Lionsgate have finally launched their paid video-streaming service. Shortlist, as the on-demand product is called, will have a $5 monthly subscription fee and give users access to over 150 "critically acclaimed" movies. Among them are Crash, City of God, Chasing Amy, Fargo and The Producers, to mention a few. Right now, Tribeca Shortlist is only available on the web and for iPad, although we're told it'll be available on the iPhone, Fire TV and Roku later this year, as well as Apple TV and Android in 2016. Tribeca, which is the company behind the Tribeca Film Festival, says the $5 price is set to stay until the end of 2015, but then it plans to increase it to $6. Nevertheless, if you're interested in seeing what it has to offer, you can sign up for a free trial.

Source: Tribeca Shortlist

YouTube Kids streams content on Chromecast, Apple TV and more

October 1, 2015 - 10:30am

YouTube's kid-friendly app arrived earlier this year, delivering a library of age-appropriate content for younger viewers. Now, the streaming software is moving beyond mobile devices. YouTube Kids is now available on your television, streaming to Chromecast, Apple TV, game consoles and smart TVs. There's also new curated playlists from the likes of National Geographic Kids and tools for parents that help you learn the app and tweak the password. Perhaps most importantly, you won't have to give up your phone or tablet when junior wants to catch up on the latest episodes.

Source: YouTube Blog

'Citizen Kane' to 'Call of Duty': The rise of video games in universities

October 1, 2015 - 9:30am

Picture an art school. Visualize the hallways of a university dedicated to the arts, the classrooms lined with paint tubes, charcoal sticks and nude models. Imagine the galleries where outgoing seniors present their final projects. Consider the thick-framed glasses that sit atop students' noses as they sketch, sculpt, write and design the things that lurk in their wildest daydreams. Now picture a creation so strange that the school's professors aren't sure how to critique it from an artistic angle, let alone how to assign it a grade.

In Pasadena, California, Art Center College of Design graduate Ashley Pinnick faced this problem in her last semester, with her final project: a video game.

'Thug Notes' is YouTube's unlikeliest education destination

October 1, 2015 - 7:00am

Not long ago, whenever a teacher would assign a book report, most students would sprint to Barnes & Noble to grab the CliffsNotes version that could save their weekend. These days, however, they're more likely to head to YouTube to listen to the wise words of Dr. Sparky Sweets, PhD. He's the star of Thug Notes, a show that explores classical literature in a language you won't find coming out of your teacher's mouth. It's become such a success that the channel behind it, Wisecrack, has more than half a million subscribers and has its sights set on becoming an internet behemoth. Thug Notes' cultural impact is growing too, since it's now being used in public schools and an accompanying book was recently published. We went to find out how this weird mix of comedy and education became so successful.