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ImageAmazon is finally launching its streaming device, dubbed “Fire TV”. And if the reviews are to be believed, Amazon may have something good on its hands.
Amazon seems to have looked closely at the competition and listened closely to the issues users of Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku were facing – and then they went and fixed those problems with Fire TV:

1. It’s fast (quad-core, Mimo dual-band wi-fi),

2. it’s easy (simple interface/search),

3. it’s open (Android ecosystem) and

4. it plays games (yay!)!

ad 1. Films and games load quickly.
ad 2. The Fire TV features voice search and offers search results across all platforms (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, Crackle…) as well as second screen functionalities.
ad 3. The Android ecosystem guarantees a huge varietey of Apps, amongst others, your Fire TV serves as a Karaoke machine.
ad 4. Several Amazon original games are in the pipe along with titles from publishers like EA and Disney. Don’t expect PS4 gaming, rather tablet games on a big screen.

Sure, it’s a little more expensive than one would have expected ($100 compared to Roku’s $50 stick or the $35 Chromecast), but the reviewer at Gizmodo was very impressed.

Watch a promo video for the Amazon Fire TV here.

Go here for more on the battle of the streaming devices (Roku vs. Chromecast).

Facebook Buys Oculus – Everybody Panic!

lawnmowermanThe tech world is abuzz because oft-maligned social network data gobbler Facebook is set on spending $2Bn on virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR. But what does it mean for all the developers who wanted to cooperate with Oculus on revolutionizing the gaming experience? What does it mean for everyone who thought the virtual reality dreams of the 80s were finally going to come true?
Techblog Gizmodo wants you to throw your worries overboard, predicting that the number of Facebook users will create a huge market for developing Apps for the Oculus Rift, leading to innovations in the field of immersive virtual reality. You can hang out with your FB-friends in a fun “holo-deck” environment.

The virtual reality platform of the future will be “A place for games, sure, but also for chat, for education, for literally anything that involves human interaction. If it seems farfetched that a goofy headset could achieve that kind of ubiquity, remember that Android and iOS didn’t exist 10 years ago; now they’re all-encompassing.”

A more pessimistic view is based on the fear (and experience) of what happens, when a small, smart, innovative company gets swallowed by a huge enterprise. Some tech people just don’t want to work with Facebook.

Go to Gizmodo for a great storystream on the topic.


OnLive is reborn with IGN founder as chief and two new cloud-based gaming services

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News from the Cloud Gaming Front

Originally posted on VentureBeat:

OnLive  has announced that former IGN chief Mark Jung is its new executive chairman, and today he is revealing a new direction for the company that starts with two new cloud-based gaming services.
Mark Jung of OnLive

Mark Jung of OnLive

The new services include CloudLift, a subscription service that lets users log in on any device to access their digital downloaded games from services such as Valve’s Steam service. It is also announcing OnLive Go, which lets users of online games such as War Thunder and Second Life play on mobile devices for the first time. In an interview, Jung said that OnLive’s strategy is more measured and complementary with the interests of game publishers and gamers.

“In this last year, we have been repositioning the company and redesigning our services for a positive business going forward,” Jung said. “We have rearchitected it to deliver a much higher value proposition for the users.”

View original 2,000 more words

Amazon Set Top Box Rumors

Amazon_AFPAmazon keeps on shooting down rumors related to an Amazon Set Top Box, which would take on game consoles like PS4/Xbox One and streaming boxes like Apple TV or Roku. It will allow cloud gaming and download, video and music streaming and download.

We are looking at a development where game consoles and streaming boxes become one box with the likes of Sony and Microsoft looking into streaming live TV through PS4/Xbox One, to go along with all the VoD services available on the latest generations of consoles.
Facing walled gardens on other gaming systems, it would make sense from a business perspective for Amazon to create a new vehicle besides the Kindle to sell their products and services, like Amazon Instant Video. Rumors suggest a price of around 300$ for the box.

Read a german article from Spiegel or check out Engadget’s Amazon stories here.

CES – Sony Goes Virtual

ImageJapanese consumer electronics giant Sony unveiled its plans to go virtual. Both a cloud-based video service, which will combine live TV, VoD and DVR as well as a cloud-based gaming service, called Playstation Now will launch in 2014.
The cloud-gaming service will feature access to games known from PS2 and PS3, across all devices, like TVs, tablets and smart phones, without having to buy a console.

The cloud video service will reach households via PS3 or PS4 as well as tablets and smartphones to ensure the “wherever, whenever, whatever”-promise of OTT video services.

Sony’s chief of Computer Entertainment, Andrew House, had this to say: “In a technology era that is defined by simplicity and improving people’s lives by making things more ­intuitive, personal and social, elegantly combining live TV, video on demand, and DVR content remains the last frontier.”

Read more here and here.

Konkurrenz zu PS3/XBoxOne

BildDie Spieleplattform Steam drängt mit der Steam Machine ins Revier der Konsolenhersteller Sony und Microsoft. Bislang bediente Steam vor allem PC-Gamer über einen Client, der Spiele-Downloads ermöglichte.

Die Steam Machine soll die Offenheit des PC Gamings mit der Wohnzimmerwelt zusammenbringen, die bisher von Spielekonsolen mit geschlossenen, proprietären Systemen besetzt war.

Nun präsentierte Valve auf der CES in Las Vegas 13 Hersteller, die Steam Machines zu Preisen ab ca. 500 US-Dollar in Umlauf bringen werden.

Die Liste gibt es hier.

The Last 40 Years in Gaming

The Last 40 Years in Gaming

An attempt to capture the evolution of gaming by genres as well as technological platforms.

Mobile Games versprechen Milliardenumsätze

Mit virtuellen Gütern wird in fünf Jahren in Deutschland doppelt so viel Geld umgesetzt wie derzeit, prognostiziert eine Studie. Ob mobil oder online, die Branche boomt.

Amazon bietet Games an

ImageUnter dem Titel “Games Connect” startet der Online-Händler sein Angebot an free2play Games zum Download und rückt immer mehr in Richtung eines allmedia Anbieters wie Google Play, allerdings vorerst nur in den USA. Mit “Games Connect” wird z.B. Cloudgaming-Anbieter Steam angegriffen. Zum Repertoire gehören auch bekannte Browsergames wie Drakensang Online, Battlestar Galactica oder Runescape. Über seinen Amazon-Account kann der Spieler dann auch sog. in-Game purchases vornehmen.

Hier gehts zum Artikel.

Sony kauft Cloud-Gaming Firma Gaikai

Der japanische Unterhaltungsriese Sony hat das Cloud-Gaming Unternehmen Gaikai für 380 Mio. Dollar in Aktien gekauft. Cloud-Gaming wird für Sony in Zukunft immer wichtiger, um z.B. die mobile Playstation Vita mit spielen aus der Cloud zu versorgen. Außerdem hat Gaikai schon Spiele für die Playstation in die Cloud gebracht, z.B. Need For Speed: The Run oder FIFA12. Darüberhinaus ermöglicht eine Integration von Gaikai auf Smart TVs eine Vergrößerung des Absatzmarktes für Spielelizenzen über das Playstation-Universum hinaus.

Hier geht’s zum Artikel.


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