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2016 ‘Year Zero’ of Virtual Reality Revolution, Filmmakers say

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The first wave of virtual reality cinemas, heralding what their creators claim will be an entertainment revolution, rolls out across the world this month.

“Film as we know it will be dead in the next five to 10 years.”  

— founder of the world’s first VR cinema in Amsterdam.

The first screening room in France opened Wednesday and several others are promised for Beijing, Shanghai and Los Angeles in the next few weeks.

Like the early days of cinema, virtual reality — or VR — is still something of a novelty sideshow.

But not for long, its supporters claim.

“Film as we know it will be dead in the next five to 10 years,” said the founder of the world’s first VR cinema in Amsterdam.

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“The VR revolution is already happening. 2016 is year zero of this revolution.”

— Jip Samhoud

“It’s a whole different way of telling the story. I think it is really what we are moving towards in the entertainment world,” Jip Samhoud said.

Elisha Karmitz, who is behind the MK2 screening room in Paris, insisted “that the VR revolution is already happening.

“2016 is year zero of this revolution,” he added.

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In a glass cube inside an MK2 cinema near France’s national library, viewers can choose between HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift headsets, or they can go for “full body immersive” simulators.

For €12 ($13) you can feel what it is like to fly like a bird for 20 minutes through a forest of New York skyscrapers in the film “Birdly.”

Lying flat on your stomach suspended from the ceiling, you change direction with electronic “wings” placed on your arms, and speed up by flapping them faster.

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MK2, which has signed a deal with the acclaimed Chinese film director Jia Zhangke to produce more content, predicts that with the cost of producing VR film falling, its time is coming fast.

Keen not to be left behind, Hollywood is also investing in the technology, with a few minutes of the new “Assassin’s Creed” film already available in VR. There is also a “Star Wars”-inspired game in which the viewer becomes an X-wing fighter pilot like Luke Skywalker. Read the rest of this entry »

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Daniel Craig ‘Offered $150 Million to Return as James Bond’ 

But Hollywood superstar Daniel Craig is not most people.

The 007 actor, who has played the spy since 2005, has reportedly been offered the hefty sum listed above to return to the franchise for two more films. But Craig has made no secret of his reluctance to step back into the famous tuxedo.

“Daniel’s the key for a seamless, safe transition as far as Sony and Bond bosses are concerned, and they’re prepared to pay a king’s ransom to make it happen.”

“The studio is desperate to secure the actor’s services while they phase in a younger long-term successor,” a source told the celebrity news website Radar.

The source also suggested that by playing coy – remember when he told an interviewer he’d rather “slash his wrists” than immediately return to Bond? – Craig has only upped his perceived value.

He’s essentially made himself into the man too cool to play Bond.

An article published by Ta Kung Pao this week used a photo of James Bond actor Daniel Craig to illustrate what it described as the widespread presence of M16 agents in Hong Kong. Associated Press

“The studio is desperate to secure the actor’s services while they phase in a younger long-term successor.”

“Everyone knows how much executives adore him, and the idea of losing him at such a crucial time in the franchise isn’t an option as far as all the studio honchos are concerned,” said the source, who added that Craig “has played a genius hand.” Read the rest of this entry »


A Robot Just Passed the Self-Awareness Test

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Roboticists at the Ransselaer Polytechnic Institute have built a trio of robots that were put through the classic ‘wise men puzzle’ test of self-awareness – and one of them passed.

Duncan Geere reports: In the puzzle, a fictional king is choosing a new advisor and gathers the three wisest people in the land. He promises the contest will be fair, then puts either a blue or white hat on each of their heads and tells them all that the first person to stand up and correctly deduce the colour of their own hat will become his new advisor.

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Selmer Bringsjord set up a similar situation for the three robots – two were prevented from talking, then all three were asked which one was still able to speak. All attempt to say “I don’t know”, but only one succeeds – and when it hears its own voice, it understands that it was not silenced, saying “Sorry, I know now!”

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However, as we can assume that all three robots were coded the same, technically, all three have passed this self-awareness test. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Bill Maher Forces Liberals To Eat Their Own Vomit: ‘Islamophobia Kills?’

In the final segment of Friday’s edition of HBO’s Real Time, host Bill Maher took aim at those who oppose free speech, especially taking liberals to task for the “Islamophobia kills” campaign and being against “bullying” when it’s convenient.

“Yeah, liberals hate bullying alright but they’re not opposed to using it when they causally throw out words like bigot and racist.”

“It does cower people into avoiding this debate. And if you’re doing that, you don’t get to wear the “Je suis Charlie” button; the button you wear is ‘Je suis party of the problem.’ And that goes for everybody,” he added.

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Some are willing to have an open debate. Others are too delicate, fragile, prefer to join movement that advocates unplugging their opponent’s microphone, so they won’t risk being “offended” by forbidden  points of view

[BONUS: The pro-censorship website crooksandliars.com disapproves of Maher’s defense of free speech with this thumb-sucking, pouting, infantile headline: Maher’s New Rule: Limbaugh Can Say Whatever He Wants, You Little People Can Just STFU]

Maher criticized Catholic League president Bill Donahue for blaming the publisher of Charlie Hebo for not understanding “the role he played in his tragic death. Maher says that’s essentially blaming a woman for rape because she was wearing clothes that were too provocative.

“Free speech only works if there are no waivers. No waivers. Including for religion.”

— Bill Maher

Next, Maher slammed frequent guest of the show Glenn Greenwald for saying anti-Muslim speech is a “vital driver” for the occupation of Muslim countries and killing the innocent.

“Really? Newspaper cartoons did all that? Wait until they get to the horoscopes and the crossword.”

“It reminds me of one of those protest signs that I saw up in Berkeley last month; it said: ‘Islamophobia kills.’ Does it? The phobia kills? Or maybe it’s more the AK-47s, and the beheadings, and the planes into buildings,” Maher responded.

 “…Ironically you’re not even a proper liberal because you don’t get free speech. You’re just a baby who can’t stand to live in a world where you hear things that upset you. Oh, you’re not alone.”

Maher even defended Rush Limbaugh from campaigns in recent years to boycott him and get companies to pull their advertisements from his show. Read the rest of this entry »


South Korean Activist Plans to Launch The Interview DVDs into North Korea

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A South Korean activist said Wednesday that he will launch balloons carrying DVDs of Sony’s “The Interview” toward North Korea to try to break down a personality cult built around dictator Kim Jong Un.

The comedy depicting an assassination attempt on Kim is at the center of tension between North Korea and the U.S., with Washington blaming Pyongyang for crippling hacking attacks on Sony Entertainment. Pyongyang denies that and has vowed to retaliate.

“North Korea’s absolute leadership will crumble if the idolization of leader Kim breaks down.”

— Activist Park Sang-hak

Activist Park Sang-hak said he will start dropping 100,000 DVDs and USBs with the movie by balloon in North Korea as early as late January. Park, a North Korean defector, said he’s partnering with the U.S.-based non-profit Human Rights Foundation, which is financing the making of the DVDs and USB memory sticks of the movie with Korean subtitles.

Park said foundation officials plan to visit South Korea around Jan. 20 to hand over the DVDs and USBs, and that he and the officials will then try to float the first batch of the balloons if weather conditions allow. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Yeonmi Park, North Korean Defector

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Merry Christmas and Happy new year everyone. I wish you all the best!

So grateful to have this freedom to watch this cool movie.
I hope you all enjoy it.
화이팅 “The interview”!!!

Yeonmi Park, North Korean defector


How Obama Took Sony’s Crisis From Bad to Worse

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[VIDEO] Mike Rogers: Intelligence Community Was Ready to Respond to North Korea Hack Attack, Didnt Get Decision from Obama

“The problem here was not the fact that we didn’t have the capability to do something nearly in immediate time, we just didn’t get a decision from the president of the United States.”

Ryan Lovelace writes: Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the intelligence community is ready to respond to the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment by hackers that had the support of North Korea. “Our intelligence services, the folks who would be responsible for at least the first wave of trying to make sure they don’t have the capability to do this again, were ready, they have the capability, they were ready to go,” Rogers said on Fox News Sunday….(read more)

National Review Online

 


[VIDEO] Dr. Evil on Saturday Night Live: Mike Myers Mocks North Korea and Sony

SNL” veteran Mike Myers returned to the show on Saturday as Dr. Evil to mock North Korea’s cyber war with Sony Pictures.

The Austin Powers nemesis, appearing in the show’s opening sketch, ripped everyone from the hackers (“There’s already a GOP and they’re already an evil organization”) to Sony, who, according to Dr. Evil “hasn’t had a hit since the Walkman.”

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He also poked fun of “The Interview.” Read the rest of this entry »


‘Hacker in Chief’ Sony Flick Nix Wrong: Bam New York Post Cover, December 20, 2014

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SONY HACK UPDATE: ‘The Interview’ Facebook, Twitter Accounts Are Deleted

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Todd Spangler reports: The Facebook and Twitter pages for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s “The Interview” — the satirical film at the center of North Korea’s alleged attack on the studio — as of Saturday morning were not accessible.

It’s not clear if Sony deleted the accounts or if hackers had disabled them….(read more)

Variety


Chinese Newspaper: The Interview Shows Hollywood’s ‘Senseless Cultural Arrogance’

 (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Clifford Coonan reports: A state-run Chinese newspaper has slammed Sony’s North Korean-baiting comedy The Interview, which it pulled after a cyberattack, saying it was evidence of Hollywood’s “senseless cultural arrogance”.

“Any civilized world will oppose hacker attacks or terror threats. But a movie like The Interview, which makes fun of the leader of an enemy of the U.S., is nothing to be proud of for Hollywood and U.S. society.”

An editorial in the Global Times newspaper, part of the group that publishes the official Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily, said making a comedy about the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “tasteless” and “nothing to be proud of.”

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China is North Korea’s only significant ally. China supported the North during the Korean War (1950-53) and aid from Beijing has probably kept the North Korean economy going since it lost the support of the Soviet Union following its collapse in the early 1990s.images

“No matter how the U.S. society looks at North Korea and Kim Jong Un, Kim is still the leader of the country. The vicious mocking of Kim is only a result of senseless cultural arrogance.”

However, relations have been strained since the North decided to go ahead with its nuclear weapons program against China’s wishes.

The editorial ran as North Korea said accusations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that it was involved in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures were “groundless slander” and that it was wanted a joint probe into the incident with the US.

“Any civilized world will oppose hacker attacks or terror threats. But a movie like The Interview, which makes fun of the leader of an enemy of the U.S., is nothing to be proud of for Hollywood and U.S. society,” ran the commentary. Read the rest of this entry »


Jonah Goldberg on the Sony Fiasco: ‘No Superheroes in The Interview Cave-In’

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The first issue of Captain America came out on December 20, 1940. It shows Cap slugging Adolph Hitler in the mouth.tyranny-cliche

[Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, is a few keystrokes away, at Amazon]

Good stuff, but note the date. America wouldn’t enter World War II for about another year. At the time, many Americans wanted to stay out of another European war. And here was an American superhero punching the leader of a sovereign nation in the kisser. Subsequent issues kept pitting Captain America against Hitler and his goons.

“A theater chain caved. The movie studio caved. As of now, The Interview will never be theatrically released. In theory, Sony could release it online, via on-demand and streaming channels.”

The angriest reaction came from the German-American Bund, Hitler’s stooges in the U.S. They harassed Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, the creators of Captain America, with hate mail and telephoned death threats.

“The theme was ‘death to the Jews,’” Simon wrote in his memoir. “At first we were inclined to laugh off their threats, but whoop-assthen, people in the office reported seeing menacing-looking groups of strange men in front of the building on 42nd Street, and some of the employees were fearful of leaving the office for lunch.”

[read the full text at National Review]

Simon called the cops, and as soon as the police showed up, the phone rang. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia wanted to speak to the creators of Captain America. Simon got on the line. “You boys over there are doing a good job,” the voice squeaked. “The city of New York will see that no harm will come to you.’”

That is how it’s supposed to work in a democracy. Read the rest of this entry »


Too Easy: How the West Was Lost

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A few days ago, the first reviews began to trickle in for the comedy The Interview, which depicts a shambolic attempt to assassinate the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Unfortunately, they were less than enthusiastic. One critic called it a ‘non-stop sledgehammer … bereft of satiric zing’, while the Hollywood industry paper Variety called it an ‘alleged satire that’s about as funny as a communist food shortage’.

“Trains could crash, pipelines explode, the financial markets risk going into meltdown, the National Grid might crash, hospitals could fall dark, cash dispensers might go dead and ordinary life might come grinding to a halt. Last year, the People’s Liberation Army’s Shanghai-based cyber unit was caught hacking into major American corporations such as the nuclear power company Westinghouse Electric and the United States Steel Corporation.”

Even the film’s makers probably imagined that having earned back its budget from its target audience of American teenagers, their picture would soon disappear into well-deserved obscurity.

Climb-down: Randall Park as North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un in The Interview, which has been pulled from release after Sony Pictures was hacked and confidential material leaked across the Internet

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Terrorists:Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju remembered the three year anniversary of the death of Kim Jong-il. If North Korea was to launch a cyber attack it could bring the West to its knees in 15 minutes

How wrong they were. For it now seems certain that The Interview will go down in history not as an indictment of Hollywood’s obsession with the lowest common denominator, but as a chilling symbol of the future of international conflict.

When, two days ago, the film’s parent company Sony announced it was cancelling its Christmas Day release, the decision was widely seen as an abject surrender to foreign pressure.

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All week, North Korean hackers have been leaking secrets found in Sony’s emails, from insider gossip about the star Angelina Jolie to the script of the next James Bond film.

In an attempt to shore up wavering cinema chains who were uncertain as to whether to screen the film, Barack Obama recommended that ‘people go to the movies’.

But as pressure mounted, it became clear Sony’s American bosses lacked the courage to stand up to Kim Jong-un’s cyber bullies. And when the hackers issued a terrifying warning to American audiences, telling them to ‘remember September 11, 2001’, Sony simply lost its nerve.

Thus, The Interview has vanished from the schedules, and it seems unlikely it will ever return.

In the meantime, Hollywood figures have been queuing up to denounce Sony’s decision as an awful setback for free speech. ‘Today, the U.S. succumbed to an unprecedented attack on our most cherished bedrock principle,’ said the director Judd Apatow.

The actor Rob Lowe went further: If Sony had been in charge of the Allied war effort in World War II, he said, then the Nazis would have won.

In many ways the story could hardly be a better metaphor for American foreign policy in the past few years.

After almost a decade of reckless, ham-fisted over-stretch under George W. Bush — typified by this month’s appalling revelations about the CIA’s torture programme — the U.S. has turned inwards.

Obama’s policy in Syria and Ukraine has been a shambles, his attitude to Russia is dithering and pusillanimous, and he seems entirely bereft of ideas about how to fight back against the jihadists of Islamic State. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama: Sony Made Mistake Pulling ‘The Interview’; U.S. Will Respond Proportionally At Time And Place We Choose — Update

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Deadline

Sony made a mistake caving to North Korean hackers, President Obama said bluntly this morning at his annual year-end news conference. The United States “will respond proportionally”  to the cyber attack on the studio, that included threatening to harm theater goers, “at a place and time we choose,”  he said, declining to elaborate. The studio’s handling of the hack was the very first question White House press corps asked Obama at the annual year-in-review, which speaks to how seriously the situation is being taken in Washington.

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don’t like, or a news report that they don’t like,” he said in an extremely strong answer to a question…

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Here’s One Way to Turn the Cyberattack on Sony Back on North Korea

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Drop ‘The Interview’ on Pyongyang

Sony might fear retribution if it did this, but an alternative would be for the U.S. government to buy the movie rights from Sony and release it into the public domain. 

U.S. officials are saying they think North Korea is responsible for the hacking of Sony Pictures, and perhaps also the threats that led the studio to cancel release of “The Interview.” Outsiders aren’t so sure, but the U.S. presumably has evidence others don’t. If the Obama Administration believes the evidence, the question is what it will do about it.

“Chinese netizens love to mock Kim, and North Koreans like to watch movies smuggled across the border from China. Perhaps the CIA could dub the movie into Korean to make sure it gets to its target audience.”

Park Sang Hak, a North Korean defector now living in the South, has an idea. Mr. Park, whom we profiled last year, puts information about the outside world along with movies and television programs on USB drives, which he floats into the North on balloons. The Kim Jong Un regime has labeled him “enemy zero” and sent an assassin to kill him with a poison-tipped pen. For real.

Mr. Park wants to include “The Interview” on future balloon launches. But there is another way to make sure that the movie gets the giant audience that Kim fears, even in North Korea: Make it free. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr. K: Sony Made the Wrong Decision to Pull ‘The Interview’

On Thursday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said Sony Pictures made a bad choice to scrap the release of The Interview.

 “I think this is not sort of rocket science, Sony made exactly the wrong decision. What you do is…you put it out on the Internet for free. So it’s a gesture, but also it doubly screws over Pyongyang.”

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New York Post Cover: ‘America Smokes a Cuban’, ‘Kim Jong WON’ Dec 18, 2014

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[VIDEO] Former Anonymous Hacker: ‘North Korea Doesn’t Have Capability’ For Sony Attack

“For something like this to happen, it had to happen over a long period of time. You cannot just exfiltrate one terabyte or 100 terabytes of data in a matter of weeks.”

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A former hacker for Anonymous doesn’t believe North Korea has the infrastructure to be behind the Sony hack attack.

“Do you really think a bunch of nerds from North Korea are going to fly to New York and start blowing up movie theaters? No. It’s not realistic. It’s not about ‘The Interview.’ It’s about money. It’s a professional job.”

Hector Monsegur told CBS This Morning that the communist regime doesn’t have the technical capabilities to pull off the hack.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People's Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People’s Army (KPA) Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. AFP

“In my personal opinion, it’s not. Look at the bandwidth going into North Korea. I mean, the pipelines, the pipes going in, handling data, they only have one major ISP across their entire nation. That kind of information flowing at one time would have shut down North Korean Internet completely…They don’t have the technical capabilities.”

— Hector Monsegur

He continued, “They do have state-sponsored hackers very similar to China, very similar to Russia and very similar to our good, old USA.”

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Sony Pictures Entertainment took the unprecedented step of canceling the Dec. 25 release of the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview.”

A former CIA official, though, believes that North Korea could pull of this type of cyberattack.

“North Korea has significant cyber capabilities. They use them quite frequently against South Korea. For a backwards state that might be a little surprising but they also have a nuclear weapon. They are capable of achieving things when they focus on them.”

— Mike Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA

The cancellation announced Wednesday was a startling blow to the Hollywood studio that has been shaken by hacker leaks and intimidations over the last several weeks by an anonymous group calling itself Guardians of Peace.

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“This attack went to the heart and core of Sony’s business — and succeeded. We haven’t seen any attack like this in the annals of U.S. breach history.”

— Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at research firm Gartner

A U.S. official said Wednesday that federal investigators have now connected the Sony hacking to North Korea and may make an announcement in the near future. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to openly discuss an ongoing criminal case.

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“It doesn’t tell me much. I’ve seen Russian hackers pretending to be Indian. I’ve seen Ukrainian hackers pretending to be Peruvian. There’s hackers that pretend they’re little girls. They do this for misinformation, disinformation, covering their tracks.” 

Monsegur stated that Sony’s hacking had to have happened over a long period of time. Read the rest of this entry »


Is North Korea mad at, hacking Sony Pictures?

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Q13 FOX News

NEW YORK — Following a vast hacking attack that targeted Sony Pictures, several of the Hollywood studio’s films, including Brad Pitt’s “Fury” and the remake of the musical “Annie,” have become available on illicit web sites.

Screener copies of at least five unreleased Sony films have made their way online, and the FBI is involved in the investigation into the apparent leak.

“The theft of Sony Pictures Entertainment content is a criminal matter, and we are working closely with law enforcement to address it,” a Sony Pictures spokesperson said in a statement.

Sony is “exploring the possibility” of a North Korean link to the hacking, according to Re/code and other reports. That’s because Sony is about to release “The Interview,” a comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen. Its plot entails an attempted assassination of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

The regime in Pyongyang has been fuming about the…

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[VIDEO] Christian Bale to Play Steve Jobs

Aaron Sorkin has confirmed that Christian Bale will play Steve Jobs in Sony’s upcoming biopic about the Apple co-founder. Sorkin penned the script and Danny Boyle is attached to direct….(more)

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8 Most Expensive Pieces of Gadget History

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After last week’s auction of an Apple I motherboard for hundreds of thousands of dollars, we wondered: Just how much could you wind up paying for a technology relic?

For PopMech, Jared Newman writes: The Kenbak-1 doesn’t bear the mark of any industry heavyweights. You might not even have heard of it. But the machine, which debuted in 1971 for a reasonable $750, is widely considered to be the first “personal computer.”

To keep costs down, the Kenbak’s program-running capabilities were limited to a handful of standardized input switches and output lights. Nevertheless, it was a hard sell to non-professionals, and creator John Blankenbaker only produced 40 machines, mostly for schools, before folding his company a couple years later. Read the rest of this entry »


Steve Jobs wanted Sony VAIOs to run Mac’s OS

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UnknownJoseph Volpe reports:  If Steve Jobs had gotten his way, that VAIO in your lap could’ve been running OS X, Apple’s operating system. It sounds like fiction, but consider the source: former Sony president Kunitake Ando. The revelation, which stems from an interview Ando gave to Japanese journalist Nobuyuki Hayashi in 2011, highlights the close relationship Jobs reportedly shared with Sony’s co-founder Akio Morita — a relationship that led Jobs to make an exception to Apple’s walled off ecosystem. And according to Ando, it was on a 2001 golf trip in Hawaii that Jobs decided to surprise Sony executives with a version of Mac OS X running on a VAIO, four years before the Intel transition was made public.

As we all now know, that Apple/Sony partnership wasn’t meant to be. For Sony, the proposal was simply a case of bad timing, as it ran counter to not only the success the VAIO line was experiencing at the time, but also the wishes of its engineering team.

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After having spent so much time optimizing VAIO for Windows, Ando says Sony’s engineering team saw OS X on VAIO as a diversion of resources and were “opposed [to] asking ‘if it is worth it’.” It was because of these two factors that Sony never pursued the prospect of Mac-compatible VAIOs any further…

Read the rest of this entry »


Amazon Needs Heavyweight Content if It’s Developing a Games Console

amazon-logo-HTAmazon’s mystery set-top we keep hearing about like an elusive whale that surfaces distantly for moments before plunging into unlit nether regions is making a few new ripples off reports — rumors, to be sure — that the company’s still toiling and troubling to develop a game console that might compete with, well,everything.

It’s an obvious (if too often glossed-over) point, but the one that matters most in the end: If Amazon (or anyone else, Roku to Apple to Android-based game box X) wants to compete with established industry players like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, it needs what so many have tried and failed, deleteriously, to secure — broad, mainstream, third-party developer support.

Read the rest of this entry »


Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4: the End of Gaming as We Know it?

Sony and Microsoft release their first video-game consoles in seven years, but they’re battling for a world of play that is rapidly changing

game.consolesx299Simon Parkin reports: This month marks a milestone in the turf war for the space beneath our television sets: it’s the first time that Sony and Microsoft have released new video-game consoles within a week of one another. The PlayStation 4 launched in the U.S. a week ago (and launches in Europe next week), while Microsoft’s Xbox One is available around the world as of today. Both systems are Blu-ray-playing supercomputers squeezed into similar-looking black plastic casing; both are designed to usher in a new era of high-definition, online-enabled video games.

The consoles are a technological leap over their forebears, with broadly similar internal specifications (eight-core CPUs, eight gigabytes of RAM, 500-gigabyte hard drives). Each has a powerful external camera that facilitates facial recognition and allows some games to be played with the human body rather than a controller. Sony’s focus is on the core “gamer”: the PlayStation 4’s multimedia capabilities are still present but are pushed to one side in favor of games (both the hulking Hollywood-style blockbuster games and the smaller independent variety). By comparison, Microsoft’s more expensive Xbox One ($500 compared to $381) has a broader aim, acting as an HDMI-enabled set-top box as well as offering a vast array of non-game apps, from streaming TV and movie services to a camera-enabled fitness program.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple TV: The Time for an Upgrade is Now

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Another day, another Apple TV challenger. Weeks after Google introduced the world to Chromecast, it was Sony Corp.’s turn, unveiling Sony Playstation Vita TV on Monday. The tiny set-top box will bring video and games to TV sets in Japan beginning in November, with a broader rollout likely still to come. Read the rest of this entry »


Woody Allen movie quotes William Faulkner, Faulkner estate sues

Sony Pictures has decried the suit as frivolous:

In Midnight In Paris, Gil Pender, the disillusioned Hollywood screenwriter played by Owen Wilson, says, “the past is not dead. Actually, it’s not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party.” The rightsholder[s] say the slightly paraphrased quote could “deceive the infringing film’s viewers as to a perceived affiliation, connection or association between William Faulkner and his works, on the one hand, and Sony, on the other hand.”

David Olson, a professor of law at Boston College (and no relation), disputed the notion that a license was needed just because the movie was intended to make a profit. “Commercial use isn’t presumptively unfair” he said. He said no one watches “Midnight in Paris” as a substitute for buying “Requiem for a Nun.” [Deadline.comWashington Post]

via Overlawyered