Microsoft Brings Zune Production Down To Zero

Microsoft recently confirmed that they will stop manufacturing Zune devices. The Zune brand will now live on for Microsoft’s music and video distribution services, and existing Zune players will continue to receive full customer support.

“We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players,” a statement by Microsoft read.

Steve Jobs Passes On

Apple has confirmed that Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56. He stepped down as CEO of the company only a few months ago – he will be remembered for founding the company and changing personal computers forever, leaving then coming back and revolutionizing the Apple brand as a leader in consumer electronics between the iPod, App Store, iPhone and iPad.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today,” said Apple’s Board of Directors in a statement. “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”

“Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives,” said Bill Gates, co-founder and chairman of longtime Apple competitor Microsoft. “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”

A full recap of Jobs’ life and accomplishments can be read at

iPad Still Preferred By Consumers Over Kindle Fire

According to a survey by SodaHead, 61 percent of respondents believe the iPad will continue to maintain its grip over the tablet market compared to the Kindle Fire. 66 percent of those under the age of 45 prefer the iPad to the Kindle Fire, while 51 percent those over 45 believe the Kindle Fire is the device for them while the remaining 49 percent prefer the iPad.

The survey also suggests that the iPad is something of a luxury item, with those making over $100,000 a year preferring the iPad to the Kindle Fire by 94 percent. By contrast, those that make between $25,000 to $100,000 had only 54 percent of respondents wanting an iPad over the Kindle Fire, while those making under $25,000 prefer the iPad over the Kindle Fire at a ratio of 73 percent to 37 percent. College students hoping for iPad gifts are attributed to raising the under $25,000 market.


Xbox Live Gets Nearly 40 New Content Partners

Microsoft has announced that it has signed contracts with roughly 40 television and entertainment content providers to bring new services to Xbox Live. These partners include Verizon, Comcast, HBO Go, Syfy, TMZ, UFC, and Bravo joining services like Netflix, Hulu+, ESPN, YouTube and VEVO.

“Today’s announcement is a major step toward realizing our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Combining the world’s leading TV and entertainment providers with the power of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the intelligence of Bing voice search will make TV and entertainment more personal, social and effortless.”

“FiOS TV on the Xbox 360 is an excellent example of how we’re working with market leaders to erase old technology borders to expand the FiOS TV experience and taking advantage of unique new features including voice- and gesture-control of live TV entertainment via Kinect,” said Eric Bruno, VP of consumer and mass business product management for Verizon. “This holiday, Verizon will bring a selection of popular live TV channels to Xbox 360 and will be a leader in delivering live, multichannel streaming HD TV, integrated with Kinect, via the Xbox.”

Team Bondi Shot Dead By Debts

A filing by the Australian Securities And Investments Commission confirms that developer Team Bondi will close their doors. Official form confirmed that a liquidator has been appointed to sell the remaining assets, and the company will be shuttered after creditors are met.

Despite the success of Team Bondi’s L.A. Noire, negative publicity over studio head Brendan McNamara’s management style and a cooling relationship with publisher Rockstar Games may have sunk the company. It is believed that at least some of Team Bondi’s assets and IP were sold to Australian film company KMM, with staff at Bondi told to accept a job with KMM or accept severance terms.

Source: Next Gen  {link no longer active}

QR Code Killers On The Horizon

Almost omnipresent QR codes used to share information with smartphone users might be outdated soon by fancier image-scanning technology. British company Aurasma has launched a new initiative for triggers for virtual content and has offered itself for free and racked up 2 million downloads.

Blippar, another image based company has done ad campaigns for Cadbury, Jack Daniels, and Tesco. Their main wag is using codes that are more aesthetically pleasing.

“We don’t want to be pigeonholed as a QR code killer,” says Jessica Butcher, Blippar’s marketing manager. “We really want to show that image recognition can do a lot more than that.”

Pepsi recently had a campaign where fans could snap photos of the X Factor logo on soda bottles for content and prizes. The promotion, powered by Pongr, doesn’t require an app but instead scans and filters the photos that users simply send to them.

“We particularly like the Pongr technology because it allows millions more of our consumers to engage via our products than if we were restricted to QR codes and QR readers,” says Shiv Singh, PepsiCo Beverages global head of digital.

Lauren Offers, Aurasma’s director of marketing, notes that despite these new changes, it was QR codes that have “gotten people comfortable with the idea of taking your phone and pointing it at some kind of image.”

Source: AdWeek

Game Of Thrones RPG

Cyanide has confirmed that it is working on an RPG based around the Game of Thrones universe. While it was being developed before the HBO series came into existence they negotiated a deal with HBO to use some assets and character designs from the locations and characters from the TV series.

“We entered the agreement late in the game, unfortunately,” said Cyanide’s studio director Yves Bordeleau, “but we managed to have a lot of characters and locations modeled [after the series.]”

Knights of the Old Republic was cited as a major inspiration and there will be choices made that can effect the game’s story. “You pause the game to give orders, but it doesn’t really pause, it slows the time down. You can see something coming and react to it,” said Bordeleau. “Less action than Mass Effect 2, it’s closer to Knights of the Old Republic and the first Mass Effect. It’s all about the storyline.”