There's no word on another new season or movie for Arrested Development, but now the show's creator Mitch Hurwitz is working with Netflix on something new. As first reported by Deadline Hollywood, Hurwitz has signed a multi-year deal to create and produce a new original series under his The Hurwitz Company banner. After resurrecting his old show for a new season (and grabbing a few Emmy nominations) on the streaming video service last year, the relationship is clearly deep, and Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says it's "lucky to be in business with... a true genius." So far Netflix's strategy has been to snag series from talented, experienced teams and it seems to have worked out well. Still, no matter what the new show is we'll still be keeping an eye out for news on more AD in the future, especially once our rates creep up a buck or two.
Source: Deadline Hollywood
Now that Unreal Engine 4 supports Oculus Rift, any virtual environment built with the platform can easily be pushed right over to the VR headset. Naturally, there's a Star Trek fan using every bit of bleeding-edge technology, so it's no surprise to see that a fan has crafted one of the first environments to take advantage of the feature. Oculus developer Thomas Kadlec has crafted the bridge of the USS Voyager for you to wander around, interact with and generally pretend that you're dodging Borg in the Delta quadrant. It's available to download now, so you can relive all of those moments when you hoped that Voyager would finally become any good, but didn't.
Joss Whedon might currently be shooting the follow-up to The Avengers, but that hasn't stopped him from making waves with another of his projects. Just moments after In Your Eyes premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Firefly creator announced that the supernatural love story he penned and executive produced would be immediately available to download on video streaming website Vimeo for $5. It's a huge coup for the website and its On Demand pay-per-view service, which finds itself in a market dominated by Google's YouTube. As part of the agreement, it'll get the chance to distribute the film to fans globally for a period of 72 hours, around three months before it's due to hit theaters. Unable to attend the premiere himself, Whedon confirmed plans while taking a break from production of the Age of Ultron. "It's exciting for us because we get to explore yet another new form of distribution," he said, "and we get $5."
Via: BBC News
Source: In Your Eyes (Vimeo)
House of Cards is probably Netflix's most-discussed original series, but fans of Orange is the New Black would argue it matches Frank Underwood & Co. in both deviousness and quality. As usual, the entire second season will premiere at once on June 6th, and it should be an even wilder ride than the first time around, as shown in this trailer (embedded after the break). The gang is back, including Piper, her ex Alex Vause played by Laura Prepon, Crazy Eyes, Pennsatucky and all the rest. Netflix isn't the only service or channel investing in original content to set itself apart, but over the last year or so it's been one of the most consistently successful, and with new additions like Sense8 and Marco Polo coming soon, those trying to catch up will face a tough job in prying any of its 30 million+ customers loose.
Sony was quick to pat itself on the back for passing five million PlayStation 4s sold more than a month earlier than it predicted, and now that the fiscal year is over there's more to celebrate. As of April 6th, Sony says it has sold more than seven million PS4s worldwide, covering more than 72 countries/regions. Games are moving too, with 20.5 million sold in stores or as downloads since launch, while players have already punched that Share button over 135 million times. This means we've had two updates on Sony's stats since the last time we heard specific worldwide numbers from Microsoft, which seems to still trail in the hardware sales race. Despite radio silence on sales, updates on the Xbox One have added a number of features to its software recently, and Sony has revealed the PS4 will get a big update with external drive support, HDCP off and more soon. A post on the PlayStation Blog claims information on that is close by, but for now gaming fans can focus on what's really important: which system moved more units.
14/04/2014 - Prime-time TV enjoys its highest ratings since 2007
The drastic change in the way people consume media has stirred up the argument that TV as we knew it is dead. But while prime-time ratings have dipped since the rise of services like Netflix and solid programming from networks such as AMC and HBO, the first quarter of 2014 has been very kind to prime-time TV in the US. According to a report from MoffettNathanson, prime-time TV ratings saw a surge of four percent compared to the previous quarter, and in the process marked the first time TV has seen any sort of growth since over a year ago. As Re/code notes, researcher Michael Nathanson says this is television's "best performance since the last quarter of 2007."
But there's a reason for this: Nathanson points out that the increase in TV ratings is largely due to major events that have taken place this year, including the Oscars, the Sochi Winter Olympics, playoff games from the NFL and, most recently, the NCAA's March Madness tournament. We'll see if ratings can keep up this momentum going forward, but, at least for the time being, it's safe to say good ol' TV is far from being put to rest
If you can believe it, Syfy may be getting back to its pre-name change roots. A notable addition to its plans for the next year is a new TV series based on a popular series of sci-fi books known as The Expanse. The first book Leviathan Wakes snagged nominations in 2012 for the Hugo Award for Best Novel and Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Set 200 years in the future, it focuses on a ship captain and detective searching for a missing young woman, with a sprawling story and scope that have netted comparisons to both Star Wars and Game of Thrones. We'd be more than pleasantly surprised if it reached anywhere near those heights, but Syfy president Dave Howe is claiming this is the network's "most ambitious series to date."
The books are written under the pseudonym James S.A. Corey by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who will be among the show's producers. Whatever happens with the show, we'll get the full 10-episode season Syfy ordered based on a script by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men -- sort of, Iron Man) who are the show's writers and executive producers. Whether it is anything like Game of Thrones it's at least a return to Battlestar Galactica-style scifi for the network instead of a new series of Celebrity Ghost Stalker Makeup Artists. Syfy alone is also working on new series 12 Monkeys, Dominion, Ascension and the second season of Helix, which combined with Netflix's Sense8 from the Wachowskis, Amazon's The After from X-Files creator Chris Carter and the return of Heroes on NBC next year make this an interesting time to be a sci-fi fan.
11/04/2014 - An oral history of the last 20 years of gaming, as told by PlayStation's Shuhei Yoshida
The three weeks out of every month that Shuhei Yoshida's in Japan, he has the same routine every day. He wakes up, opens a tablet, and gets back to work on PlayStation consumer feedback via his favorite interaction tool: Twitter. The man who heads Sony's PlayStation group is incredibly, perhaps detrimentally, accessible on social media. It's not his job, but a role he's taken on. "It's my personal time, but since lots of people tweet to me, I'm doing this almost official customer service," he says.
After 20-plus years working on PlayStation, Yoshida's beyond overqualified for customer service. He's been with Sony's PlayStation arm from its creation, and helped shepherd franchises from idea to mainstream norms: Gran Turismo, Crash Bandicoot, Uncharted. The list goes on.
Yoshida spoke with PlayStation 4 lead architect (and other game industry legend) Mark Cerny last evening in California, where he detailed his storied history in the game industry.
11/04/2014 - How PlayStation Move shaped the PS4
The PlayStation Move has been called a lot of bad names. It's the PlayStation peripheral that's least used by game devs, least purchased by console owners, and least spoken of by Sony itself. Some of that sentiment's been turning lately, ever since Sony showed off Project Morpheus a few weeks ago and demonstrated what an impact something like Move has on virtual reality immersion (the controller works for both PS3 and PS4). And the guy who heads up PlayStation's worldwide game studios, Shuhei " Shu" Yoshida, says Move is responsible for far more than it's given credit.
"This project was one of the very first hardware projects formed with three groups: the software engineering team at SCEA, the hardware engineers at SCEI in Japan, and the Worldwide Studios team making games using the motion controller," Yoshida told attendees of a presentation tonight at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. He and PlayStation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny explained that this trifecta was the first in a string of major collaborations: PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, and now Project Morpheus.
Nintendo World Championships is a game for Nintendo's first major game console, the NES. It's notorious for popping up every few years on places like eBay and fetching a ton of dough. You won't find articles praising its thrilling gameplay or beautiful soundtrack, and that's because it's not really a game. Nintendo World Championships is actually pieces of three games -- Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris -- and was used for competitive NES play in the early 1990s. It's rare because only about 90 copies exist, but now you too can play it on your Wii U. Well, sort of.
Folks who already own NES Remix on Wii U can purchase its sequel, which unlocks "Championship Mode." Therein you'll find a similar challenge to the one immortalized by Fred Savage in The Wizard, albeit with Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros 3 and Dr. Mario. Head below for a video taste of the nostalgia-laced madness in action.
When Phil Spencer was appointed the new head of Xbox following the departure of longtime lead Marc Whitten, he promised a re-focus on gaming across all Microsoft platforms. That wasn't a huge surprise, of course --most folks know Spencer as the Microsoft Studios guy; the guy who makes game deals; the guy who speaks at E3 about games during Microsoft's keynote. While that's all accurate, Spencer is also a longtime Microsoft employee, starting as a programmer and working his way up. In an interview with Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb, Spencer detailed that 26 year history and how it led him to the lofty position he's in today.
Beyond the history lesson, Spencer teased out at least one juicy tidbit: "we've got a game we haven't announced yet, we're gonna show on stage at E3." Unannounced games at E3? Get right out! Joking aside, he said it's got a "fantastic setting" and a "soulful" feeling (comparisons were made to indie darlings Limbo and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons). Color us intrigued.
Join us below for a bulleted list of quick facts about the man charged with running Microsoft's gaming division, and the full video interview from Microsoft.
Hey, look, we all know the Super Bowl is a pretty big deal. But March Madness isn't that far off, both in terms of viewership and the great dose of excitement it injects into fans. And there are numbers to prove it too. According to Turner Sports, an NCAA partner, March Madness Live 2014 shattered all previous online viewing records for the tournament, netting a total of 69.7 million live streams. That statistic takes into account the different platforms in which the service was available this year, which included a website as well as apps on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows devices.
In retrospect, Turner reports that March Madness Live 2014 streams grew by 42 percent compared to last year, while TV Everywhere (aka sites and apps from pay-TV providers) also saw an increase in usage during the basketball tournament, with an 85 percent growth from March Madness 2013. All in all, the NCAA can be pleased by the response from people in 2014, who clearly took advantage of the streaming options it was able to provide in association with CBS, Turner Sports and cable/satellite companies.
[Image credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP]
Source: Turner Sports
07/04/2014 - Introducing the Engadget UK Edition
When Engadget launched ten years ago, few predicted how popular it would become. Even fewer (basically, nobody) guessed it'd have an impact three thousand miles away across the Atlantic. Nevertheless, here we are. Despite a thick American accent, we've grown into one of the biggest sources of technology news for British readers. We're proud of that, but we think it's high time we offered something better, so today we're launching something new: the Engadget UK Edition. It won't look hugely different to the Engadget you already know, and it'll contain many of the same US-originated articles, simply because the big stories tend to be international. But Engadget UK will be tailored with more news, reviews and recommendations that are relevant over here, and less content that isn't. We hope you'll like it, but first things first -- we'd better show you how to select which edition you prefer.
When Microsoft revealed the Xbox One's independent developer program (and more recently, universal Windows apps) we hoped it could provide access for more than just games -- and it looks like that's happening. Developer Tyson Edwards reveals he's been approved by ID@Xbox to develop a Plex client for Xbox One, bringing better access to video, music and photo streaming than the console's DLNA support or web browser can provide.
While the work going on isn't an official Plex project, they could base an official client on its technology. Tyson tells us he's working to bring all the features of the current Windows 8 Modern UI Plex app to Xbox One, plus voice and motion control via Kinect. He says the platform has been surprisingly easy to work with so far, and since universal Windows apps won't be available until later this year, an Xbox-specific version will be released "as soon as it's ready." So PS4, it's your move on media support -- DLNA, MP3, Blu-ray 3D, CD, anything?
Source: Plex Forums
A little over a month ago, TiVo founders Mike Ramsay and Jim Barton announced Qplay, a service that lets users curate personalized video streams, or "Qs," from a variety of different sources. At the time, the only way you could use the iPad app and the service was to purchase the Early Adopter bundle, which gives you both the app and the TV adapter for $49. Today that restriction has been lifted and the app is now open and free to everyone, adapter not required. Along with the general availability of the app, Qplay has also introduced new video content from media curators like Vanity Fair and Reddit plus new video sources like College Humor, Funny or Die and the New York Times.
If you'd rather have the service create a Q for you, the company has curated a few more new ones as well, such as Late Night Funny, Movie Trailers and Photography. Further, the latest Qplay update will let you share those videos via Facebook, Twitter and email, just in case your friends aren't hip to the whole Qplay thing just yet. Of course, if you want to watch those Qs on an actual television, you still have to cough up that $49 for the aforementioned adapter. But if you're happy with just your iPad, you can now at least try your hand at this new take on streaming video without spending a dime. If you're still a little fuzzy on how the whole thing works, there's a handy dandy tutorial video after the break.
31/03/2014 - New Xbox head Phil Spencer promises renewed focus on gaming across all Microsoft platforms
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the new head of its Xbox division this morning: Phil Spencer, longtime Microsoft Studios leader and Xbox game dude. In Spencer's initial letter to the legions of Xbox owners the world over, his approach comes across as scattershot. See for yourself:
"This past year has been a growth experience both for me and for the entire Xbox team. We've taken feedback, made our products better and renewed our focus on what is most important, our customer. Our mission is to build a world-class team, work hard to meet the high expectations of a passionate fan base, create the best games and entertainment and drive technical innovation. As we continue forward, this renewed focus and mission will be a foundational part of how I lead the Xbox program."
Given that, our first question to Spencer in a short phone interview this afternoon was one of clarification. With so many aspects of Xbox to oversee, where will he begin? "I'm gonna lead with a gaming focus and making sure that's where we're led. That's the North Star for the organization," he told us.
31/03/2014 - Xbox gets a new leader at Microsoft: Phil Spencer
When longtime Xbox lead Marc Whitten left for Sonos recently, Microsoft was left without an exec to lead up one of its most powerful divisions. Today, Phil Spencer is stepping in to fill that spot -- not exactly a surprise given Spencer's past role leading up the Xbox software side (specifically games). Beyond just Microsoft Studios and Xbox, Spencer says he's, "leading the Xbox, Xbox Live, and creative teams including Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Microsoft Studios." It also stands to reason that we'll see a lot more of Spencer during Microsoft's annual E3 briefing and in press interviews; what we're trying to say is "expect to hear from him a lot more going forward."
Not sure who Phil Spencer is? Rest assured, we've got more on his background below.
The Xbox One's simplified Reputation system aims to keep like-minded gamers playing together, and now the folks in Redmond plan to notify you if you fall of out the community's good graces. Are you the sort of player who doesn't ruffle too many feathers? You'll be just fine -- the occasional bad report won't do much harm. Starting this month though, Microsoft will reach out to trollish gamers when negative feedback from fellow players drags their reputations down into "needs work" territory. Prolonged abrasiveness will ultimately land them in the red "avoid me" zone, where matchmaking for games becomes more difficult and certain features like Twitch livestreaming could be restricted. Seems like a pretty big price to pay when the alternative is to behave like a civilized human being, doesn't it?
Welcome ladygeeks and gentlenerds to the new era of gaming. The one where you get to watch, and comment, as other people livestream gameplay from next-gen consoles. Since our live gameplay of Titanfall for Xbox One went over so well, we've decided to make this a regular feature for any major, new release, quirky indie, or, really, any game we deem worthy enough. Because games! They're fun!
Are you a good guy or are you a bad guy? It's a morality tale as old as time itself -- or, maybe it's just as old as the first inFamous on PlayStation 3 back in 2009. Cole, the protagonist of the series' previous two titles, may be dead (we think?), but his legacy lives on in Delsin, the new superhero/villain (it's your choice, really) at the heart of Sucker Punch's inFamous Second Son. The game, set for release tomorrow, is Sony's first in-house AAA exclusive for the PlayStation 4. And lucky you, we're here to play it live so you can virtually try before you buy. It's all happening just after the break.
20/03/2014 - Infamous Second Son: The Joystiq Review
There's a stark duality at the heart of the Infamous series. The original Infamous was built on a solid foundation, putting players in the role of a modern-day superhero with a repertoire that expanded gameplay in satisfying, meaningful ways throughout its campaign. Its sequel boasted a number of improvements, but its mechanics weren't always explored to their fullest potential.
Playing through InFamous 2 recently reminded me of the series' darker half. Though its upgradable superpowers were impressive and its parkour mechanics were fun, its story missions frequently came up short. Throughout the campaign, protagonist Cole MacGrath was too often saddled with repetitive arena fights and escort missions -- a poor fit for a man who can shoot lightning from his fingertips.
Infamous: Second Son emphasizes the series' strengths in its debut appearance on the PlayStation 4, easily trumping previous Infamous games while showcasing the power of Sony's latest console. In the process, it drastically overhauls the series' defining elements, stripping away the weaker parts and focusing on what works best. If you found previous Infamous games more frustrating than fun, Second Son's gleefully destructive superheroics will win you over as a fan.
18/03/2014 - Oculus VR exits first virtual reality collective
Just five days ago we told you about the Immersive Technology Alliance, a group of companies that are working on virtual reality coming together to support the burgeoning medium. At the time, we told you that Oculus VR -- the company behind the Oculus Rift -- was part of the group. That said, the announcement was notoriously missing any official statement from the Oculus folks. As it turns out, that's because Oculus VR isn't actually part of the group. Oculus offered Engadget this statement:
"There was confusion on March 13 about whether Oculus was a member of the Immersive Technology Alliance. We've spoken with the ITA's leadership and clarified that we are not, and have not been, a member of the group. We appreciate the ITA moving so quickly to correct their website and media to reflect this."
We've checked with the other members of the group, many of which responded to confirm their participation in the ITA, including EA and Technical Illusions. During the group's first meeting today at GDC 2014, ITA Executive Director Neil Schneider kicked things off with a lengthy response to Oculus dropping support, heavily tinged with passive-aggressive criticism.
18/03/2014 - Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes: The Joystiq Review
It's a pleasure being lost in the universe of Metal Gear. With every game, and with every return of director Hideo Kojima, the fascinating stealth series redraws the boundaries of its dense military fiction, pushing them back to include more and more characters and conspiracies. We feel like time-travelers in Metal Gear's byzantine blend of fact and fiction, leaping back and forth between the future and past of a legendary soldier named Snake. Now we enter 1975 in Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, and bless its prequel heart - there's a spot in the statistics screen reserved for time paradoxes.
Kojima's fiction may be impenetrable to the newcomer, but one man's convoluted is another man's complex, and it's your job to infiltrate the latter. Ground Zeroes effectively acts as the cold open for the upcoming and separately released Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, sending Snake through a massive rain-drenched encampment in Cuba. It's not quite the glorified demo your cynical self might suggest, but this tantalizing playground does show how Metal Gear Solid will change its crouching silhouette yet again.
The mission to rescue Chico and the duplicitous Paz, two important figures from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, is just the first step in a new, freely explorable environment. It feels daunting at first, but clear goals keep you pointed in the right direction. Ground Zeroes is a confident game for the confident player - the one who sees the playground hiding beneath Metal Gear's tankers and army bases. This one's just a whole lot bigger.
Microsoft's launch of the Xbox One has had a rocky start -- DRM 180 anyone? -- and now its Chief Product Officer, Marc Whiten, is leaving the company. Whitten will become the Chief Product Officer at Sonos, continuing an executive reshuffling that started with CEO Steve Ballmer and also saw former Xbox chief Don Mattrick leave last July. In a note to the fans, he reflected on fourteen years as part of the Xbox team, proclaiming the "utmost confidence" in the group and its products.
16/03/2014 - Torrent front end Popcorn Time made streaming movies free and easy, so of course it's gone
For about four days "Popcorn Time" lived, opening an easy-access door to streaming movies via torrents, but now it's gone. Aggregating info from APIs (YIFY for torrents, OpenSubtitles for subs and TheMovieDB for metadata) its developers quickly pushed out open source apps for Linux, OS X and Windows. The team explained that it's meant to be as easy as using Netflix, and insisted no legal problems were incoming because it didn't host any content locally or charge anything. Whether Hollywood studios agreed (doubtful) won't be known, as a "Goodbye" statement on the Popcorn Time website says the project is over "because we need to move on with our lives." If this sounds like a dream setup however, all is not lost -- TorrentFreak has heard from the YTS movie torrent site that it's picking up the baton and expects to release an installer "shortly."
You see that image above? That's the new Steam Controller, headed to SteamOS. Sound familiar? That's because this is the second iteration of the Steam Controller first unveiled last year. Astute readers might be thinking, "Haven't I seen this somewhere before?" That's also a strong possibility, as we got a first glimpse of it back at Steam Dev Days earlier this year (albeit via shaky cellphone camera). Today, however, Valve's deigned us worthy to see it in high-res glory. Heck, the folks at Valve even juxtaposed the new one (on the left) against the original version of the controller (seen on the right). Sad about that missing touchpad? We are too, but perhaps those fancy new buttons will help make up for it, eh?