IPad 3 Out By March, Says Report

Reports are that the iPad 3 is currently being prepped for release in March 2012. Reports are that it will have a QXGA display and longer battery life compared to the iPad 2, though other wise be very similar; still it is expected the iPad 2 will see a price reduction to $399 when its successor releases.

Furthermore, it is expected that a 9.7-inch iPad 4 will release in October 2012 with much more powerful hardware and integrated applications. All of these strategies will look to counter cheaper tablets, such as the Kindle Fire, and more top-flight tablets from Microsoft and Google.

Source: digitimes.com

Social Schooling Network Sees Funding, End-Of-Year Stats

Piazza has announced that it has secured $6 million in Series A funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners. The social learning network for students and instructors will use the money to expand its interactions and outreach efforts.

“Bessemer invested because we believe that Piazza can lead a communications revolution in higher education,” said Ethan Kurzweil, Vice President at Bessemer Venture Partners who recently joined Piazza’s board of directors. “Across every sector, the world is witnessing seismic shifts away from clunky, centrally-mandated software packages towards tools designed from the ground up to be social and collaborative. That wave is breaking in education, and Piazza is best positioned because of its ability to create positive engagement among users. I wish I’d been able to use Piazza when I was in college myself.”

“In BVP we found a partner that shares our vision for a social learning network that transforms education,” said Pooja Sankar, Founder and CEO of Piazza. “This year we will expand our platform to support more open-ended interactions among students and encourage new forms of social learning, stretching beyond the traditional classroom. As we execute on our mission, we will draw on BVP’s wealth of experience in helping companies to scale from initial customer successes into lasting businesses.”

Piazza, which emerged from private beta in January and how has over 100,000 students at hundreds of schools worldwide, including 109 of the top 250 colleges in the U.S. Designed to be an environment that students can ask questions under the guidance of their instructors, students who sign on to Piazza stay logged in for an average of four hours a day.

During the Fall 2011 term, 96 percent of the questions posted on Piazza were answered, with 45 percent receiving an answer from a student and 67 percent addressed by instructors. Most active class on Piazza was a computer science class at Berkeley, where students recorded over 19,000 contributions during the course of the semester; one student in this class answered 463 of his peers’ questions while 74 percent of the students contributed, which is 7.5 times the industry norm for online communities.

“I demand deep engagement from my students in the classroom,” said Srinivasan Keshav, Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Waterloo. “With Piazza, for the first time I can expect a level of engagement outside of class that enables me to challenge my students with harder problems. I know they will work through them and learn together using Piazza then come to class knowing what they need to learn. That’s not just a better way to get questions answered, it’s a more effective style of teaching and learning.”

“People are making a big deal out of Berkeley choosing gmail as its email solution, but nobody I know uses email unless we’re forced to,” said Tianbo Xu, a student at UC Berkeley and the president of the school’s IEEE student branch. “We’ve grown up with a more social communication style, but at the same time a lot of students are reluctant to participate in class forums because they don’t want to seem too smart or too dumb. Piazza has figured out how to create a vibrant social network centered on your class without demanding that you disclose everything. Once you’ve used it, it’s hard to imagine not using it.”

Max Payne 3 Special Edition: Get It Now

Max Payne 3 will have a special edition, but in order to get it, you have to pre-order before January 15. The game is currently set to launch in March 2012.

Max Payne 3 special edition will come with a 10 inch tall Max Payne Statue, some original still life art prints, copper and brass-plated iron bullet keychain with a screw-off back and the official soundtrack featuring the game’s instrumental score. Downloadable bonuses include a multiplayer character pack of eight playable characters (including characters from the original Max Payne and Max Payne 2 like classic Max, Mona Sax and Vladimir Lem), the “Disorderly Conduct” multiplayer weapons pack including the Hammerhead Auto Shotgun, G9 Grenade Launcher and Molotov cocktail.

Bayonetta Designer Teases ‘Comeback On The Game Scene’

Hideki Kamiya is one of the head designers at Platinum Games and has a storied history as director of notable titles like Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, Okami and Bayonetta. While, he’s teased announcements that have led to nothing over the past year, his comment to 4Gamer suggest he may finally announce his latest project in 2012.

“Kamiya said that he would like to announce a new game and make a comeback on the game scene and be known as more than just some guy who posts on Twitter,” said the interview synopsis.

Source: Andriasang.com

Xbox Live Indie Developers Have Happy New Year

Microsoft has announced changes to the App Hub for Xbox Live Indie Games developers. Most prominently, the size of Indie Games has been increased from 150MB up to 500MB.

“Another area we’re adjusting today is the requirement that titles larger than 50MB be priced at either 240 or 400 points. After raising our maximum size we’ve decided to also raise this limit. Starting today you can apply the 80 point price to any game with a CCGAME size under 150MB, which is three times the current limit of 50MB,” posted Microsoft. “The last change affects a fewer number of developers, but we still believe it’s an important update. Originally developers were limited to just eight titles on Xbox Live Indie Games. When Creators Club became App Hub, we raised the limit up to ten. We’re happy today to let you know that we’re again raising this limit up to twenty titles per developer.”

Source: blogs.msdn.com

Online Mobile Service Playerize Brings In $1.1 Million

Playerize has announced that it has secured $1.1 million in funding. The company, which likens itself to Google AdWords, boasts 5.3 billion mobile subscribers and will use the resources to expand and develop its email service.

“Playerize uses display advertising through blog networks to help find new players for mobile and social games,” said co-founder Lyal Avery. “For example, if a game studio creates a puppy themed game, we would place a display ad on a puppy related website to drive players to the game.”

Source: VentureBeat

Zynga Launches Two New Titles

Zynga has launched two new titles in Hidden Chronicles on Facebook, and Scramble With Friends on mobile. While some might think that the launch of new products would be an encouraging sign for the company, especially given the impressive production values of both titles, the company’s stock instead dipped below $9.

Still, despite these warning signs, BMO Capital analysts Edward Williams isn’t giving up hope. “We believe Zynga will continue to see strong growth as the dominant social games player in the industry and is poised to further grow following its investments in the mobile category,” said Williams.

Aeria Games Lands Agreement With NHN

Aeria Games has announced that it has received an investment from Korean internet company NHN, who they will work with to publish its games globally. Aeria has also acquired the free-to-play gaming portal ijji Games.

“The acquisition of ijji Games further enhances our market leader position in the rapidly consolidating free-to-play sector of mid- and hard-core gaming,” said Lan Hoang, CEO of Aeria Games. “In addition to outstanding new content such as the popular A.V.A. and Soldier Front games and other quality titles from NHN going forward, NHN’s investment-which is our first external funding-will provide resources to facilitate our continuing growth and business expansion in multiple areas.”

StarCraft II Lego Battlecruiser Rules All

Lego builder Sven Junga has really out done himself with a reconstruction of Jim Raynor’s flagship the Hyperion, a Terran Battlecruiser in StarCraft II (along with a pic of his other impressive models of a Marine, a Thor and a Viking). He spent six months on this model, which is 115 studs long and includes around 15,000 pieces.

Source: www.flickr.com/photos