Microsoft: We Are Committed To Xbox

Ever since new CEO Satya Nadella took over at Microsoft, many gamers were wondering if the company would stay the course with its Xbox consoles, or try something different. However, rest assured, Microsoft’s staying in the game.

During the SXSW show this weekend, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer assured that the company would remain committed to the consoles. According to him, the company remains “extremely committed” to the Xbox brand, according to Twitter user Todd Lutz.

In addition to staying with the brand, Microsoft also stated that they would make the newly introduced Games With Gold program – which offers two downloadable titles for free a month to Xbox Live Gold subscribers – would get better.

Speaking with Polygon, Spencer acknowledged that the program’s start with older games wasn’t as well-received as the PlayStation Plus program’s offerings. “One of our issues with Games with Gold – not “issues” but differences between the other system we get compared to – is the fact that with Games With Gold, you get to keep that game, regardless of whether you continue to subscribe,” he said.

“And the business around Games With Gold, for us, is just fundamentally different from some of the other programs that are out there, which does put a different financial picture on a – you’re gonna go buy a game that’s brand new, the cost of putting that in, just to be kind of blunt about it.”

Rumor has it that the program will expand into the Xbox One library later this year.

Source: VG247

Nielsen Sees Merging Of Media Advertising

While TV and online advertising remain on separate mediums (for now, at least), it won’t be too long before they eventually merge together, according to a report from Nielsen and Simulmedia.

The report, titled The Data-Driven Future of Video Advertising, indicates that video advertising has become a huge part of online interactivity, and should gain more than $5.72 billion ad spend in the U.S. this year alone. TV companies are looking to play a big part in that as well.

While the merging of the TV and online mediums isn’t likely to happen anytime soon, statistics show that the two will go into full cross-channel coordination and integration by 2020, with digital video playing a big part in that partnership.

Source: Clickz

‘Game Of Thrones’, The Beer

With the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones coming next month, fans everywhere are gearing up to see what happens next. While they wait, however, they’ll be able to get their hands on some fine ale.

Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York has begun brewing a third round of beer inspired by the show, readying them for release on March 31.

The brew, called Fire and Blood Red Air, features three different labels based on brands from the show – Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion, all of which belong to the character Daenerys. This follows the company’s previous brews, Iron Throne Blonde Ale and Take the Black Stout.

The beer will be ready for distribution on March 31, one week before the show’s fourth season premiere. It will be available nationwide, selling in 750ML bottles for $8.50 each.

Source: Mashable

Live-Action ‘Titanfall’ Coming Soon

It’s a big day for Xbox One and PC gamers today, as EA’s multiplayer shooter Titanfall has finally made its way to stores. But gamers are in for a surprise if they think the story ends with that single game.

Respawn Entertainment, the developers behind the shooter, have teamed up with visual effects/post production studio Playfight to work on new live-action content for the game, via a teaser website announcement.

The project will be led by director William Chang, with a focus on “laying the foundation for the creation of original content within the vast expanse of the Titanfall universe.

Titanfall is set in a rich near future universe with visceral, epic battles with Pilots and their Titan companions,” said Respawn’s Dusty Welch. “We wanted to partner with Playfight, who has a history of delivering movies that meld gameplay, live action and stellar CG into truly entertaining media, for Titanfall. What this collaboration brings is yet to unfold…”

Meanwhile, Titanfall is available in stores now, as well as through digital download.

Source: Polygon


Samsung’s ‘Virtual Hand Keyboard’

Samsung is on a roll when it comes to new tech for 2014. Along with its own variation of Google Glass, the company now appears to be working on a camera-based augmented reality keyboard system – which would do away with needing to type in functions on a physical model.

The patent, titled Input Method and Apparatus of Portable Device, has the goal of eliminating issues that speech recognition-based controls can run into, such as low recognition accuracy and being to input functions in private.

With this method, users can utilize a headset to see an AR keyboard mapped out on their fingers and palms, then use their thumbs to type the letters of choice. Although not set up like a conventional keyboard, it’s easy to see how someone could get used to this method.

Originally filed last august through the World Intellectual Property Organization and South Korea’s Korean Intellectual Property, the tech could be unveiled as soon as this September at the IFA trade show in Berlin. However, Samsung hasn’t confirmed anything as of yet.

Source: PSFK

Matty Rich Brings Hollywood To Headphones

Matty Rich is the Hollywood director behind Straight Out of Brooklyn and The Inkwell, but he’s also spent time in the trenches developing video games. He served as the creative director for Ubisoft’s 187: Ride or Die game and lived in Paris, France during the development process. More recently, he has established Matty Rich Games (MRG) and is developing a trio of mobile games aimed at the mass market.

MRG Headphones is the latest offshoot of the MRG brand. The company has partnered with ViviTouch, which is owned by Bayer Material Sciences, to introduce 360 degree headphones to the market this fall. The headsets will retail for $200 and will be made available in different color schemes, including white, black and pink. Available exclusive at this fall, Rich said the line will expand to retail stores and ecommerce sites in 2015. He talks about his new venture and explains what separates his product from the crowded gaming headset market in this exclusive interview.

What separates MRG Headphones from all the competitors’ products?

MRG Headphones offer 360 degree 7.1 surround sound with distinct ranges and mid-ranges and high-tones for innovative sounds that will change the way you hear and experience games. It’s a fusion of technologies for the gaming world, the entertainment world and for the music world. We’re a lifestyle brand with bold color schemes and ritzy sophistication and a gold rope pattern for some bling bling. MRG Headphones are not a headphone that’s designed for those who just want the bottom of the bass. If you want true clarity when playing a game or listening to music, this is for that consumer. Plus, they look cool. I’ve been blessed enough to be embraced by the gaming world and this is my opportunity to add another dimension to my experience as a creative director, to create a sound that takes the gaming experience to the next level. There are a lot of really good gaming headphones on the market, but I believe there isn’t any one headset that is as cool and dynamic as MRG.

How involved have you been with the creation of these headphones?

I’m extremely involved from the creation of art design, retooling and perfecting the sound and quality to perfect the MRG brand. I am working with a team in Asia to create a unique 360 degree audio sound. There’s no company that has a product that looks like MRG Headphones for gamers. The plan is to make it fashionable and cool, but the sound quality will be by far something that gamers will dig. They’re not big and bulky and intrusive like some of the other gaming headphones. There’s a detachable mic, so you can take them outside and listen to music.

We are bringing coolness to the gaming world by creating headphones for both indoors and outdoors that has a lifestyle fashionable feel for activities beyond gaming inside of the house.

How has your experience in Hollywood and the video game industry helped you design this product?

As a filmmaker, I know the kind of sound that I like and as a game developer I know what people want to hear when they’re playing a game or listening to music. I want to combine my Hollywood and gaming experience and bring something unique to this market. It’s similar to when I was working as the creative director at Ubisoft, I worked with the visual and sound department team to fine-tune channels for the game and music. I’m bringing all that knowledge from the gaming world and cinematic world to these headphones. In fact, I’d like to have these headphones used on set when directors are calling “action” for film productions.

How will you be featured in the marketing of these headphones?

Matty Rich is the brand. I stand by what I’m building. I will be featured in the marketing for the initial launch. I want people who trust and believe in my body of work to know that I’m bringing something unique to the market place. This isn’t just another celebrity slapped on the cover of a product, this isn’t a hobby, this is a business I’m building. It links to everything I’m doing — films, games and branding partnerships. The MRG brand is specific for gamers. It’s for people who want to wear a great sounding pair of headphones and yet still be fashionably cool.

What other marketing opportunities do you see with game publishers and MRG Headphones?

I’m in talks with several gaming brands to merge MRG headphones with their games for the launch of some of their titles including some eSports branding. My goal is to secure branding partnerships with gaming publishers to create a unique MRG headphone for some of their gaming titles. Each gaming partnership will have a unique sound that fits that experience for that particular game. There will be 360 degree audio clarity immersive sound on each product and once we do a brand marketing partnership, that product will have particular sounds for a game.

How will your own video games utilize this headphone technology?

MRG is making games that have 360 degree possibilities. Everything we are developing, whether it’s a sports, trivia or action game, has a film, TV, graphic novel and comic book component. Everything I’m working on is starting in the mobile space on iOS and Android.

How big is MRG?

MRG is based in Santa Monica and has a handful of people that work on headphones, games, film, comics and graphic novels. We also have a team of engineers and graphic artists in Hong Kong, which is also where some of the manufacturing is being done. We’re a start-up company and we’ll always be a start-up company. Every day is a new experience.

When will media be able to test out this new product?

MRG will host a gathering of journalists and select consumers at the upcoming E3 gaming where they can have a hands-on experience with the headphones.

What are you working on in Hollywood these days?

I just optioned the rights to a published biography book that I’m going to produce and direct as a feature film. It will be my third feature and I’m looking forward to that. Since 12 Years a Slave won the Best Picture at the Oscars, it’s success has impacted things significantly. 12 Years a Slave and The Butler have propelled new stories to be created in Hollywood. Now I have an opportunity to not just produce a movie, but also direct one. This is a true life story so it won’t have a gaming component. However, I’m looking forward to getting behind the camera and telling another American story that needs to be told.

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