Though Microsoft's Xbox brand has been synonymous with gaming since the original console's launch in 2001, the software giant is shifting its focus to entertainment.
"Xbox is the gateway to games, music, movies, and TV shows--in short, it is central to entertainment," Frank Shaw, Microsoft's vice president for corporate communications, wrote on his company's blog yesterday. "Put simply, Xbox [equals] entertainment and is core to our entertainment strategy."
It might make some sense when one considers the importance of non-gaming activity on the Xbox 360. According to Shaw, 40 percent of all … Read more
Lady Gaga's new album "Born This Way" sold more than 1.1 million digital and physical copies in its first week and set a new record for digital sales, thanks in part to a pricing scheme from Amazon.com.
Testing the waters of digital music prices, the retail giant offered the pop singer's new album for a mere 99 cents for one day on Monday, May 23. Hoping to lure more than the usual Lady Gaga fans, Amazon threw in 20GB of cloud storage as part of the deal. After technical problems due to overwhelming demand on that day, Amazon tried once more last Thursday, offering the 99-cent MP3 version of the album for a single day.
Boosted by Amazon's retail push, "Born This Way" hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 1,108,000 copies altogether and making it the 17th album to sell a million in a single week since 1991 when Nielsen's SoundScan started tracking such data, according to Billboard.
Amazon itself accounted for more than 440,000 of the total 662,000 digital downloads of "Born This Way," according to Billboard.… Read more
A group that made headlines for hacking the PBS Web site earlier this week is apparently turning its attention to Sony.
The group known as LulzSec has been promising Sony attacks since this past weekend when it posted to its Twitter account that it is engaged in an operation it calls "Sownage," shorthand for Sony Ownage. The group stated at the time that it was working on hatching a plan that would be the "beginning of the end" for Sony. It has yet to reveal what it has planned. But yesterday the group said that the … Read more
Miramax and Hulu have signed a multiyear deal that will see some of the studio's top films come to the streaming-video service.
Starting today, Hulu Plus subscribers will have access to hundreds of ad-free Miramax films. Many of the titles will be available in HD, the company said, while the remaining titles will be available to users in standard definition. In addition, those who access the free Hulu will find a selection of 15 Miramax films to choose from. Those films, which will be rotated each month, will be ad-supported, the companies said.
Roku has inked a deal with Angry Birds creator Rovio to bring the company's video games to its set-top boxes.
The companies have entered into a "strategic partnership" that will see Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, and Angry Birds Rio come to Roku's Channel Store, Roku said late yesterday. An Angry Birds video channel with game-themed animated shorts, as well as a marketplace to buy game-related merchandise, will also be available in the Channel Store.
However, a Roku representative confirmed to CNET today that the games will not be available on the company's current hardware. Instead, the titles will be made available to owners of new hardware expected to launch this summer.
Roku has come a long way since its initial set-top box launched in 2008. Earlier this year, the company announced that more than 1 billion content streams have been sent to TVs through its set-top boxes, which currently range in price from $59.99 to $99.99. It currently offers more than 250 entertainment options in its Channel Store, which basically acts as an applications store, allowing people to add those channels to their personal menu and watch the content associated with them.
Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and NBA Game Time are among the channels Roku offers.… Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Call of Duty, meet the social network.
Today, Activision announced Call of Duty: Elite, a dedicated social experience for players of the long-running and extremely popular video game franchise.
The service will be initially available this summer to limited numbers of Call of Duty: Black Ops players in beta, and on November 8, all Call of Duty fans will be able to access it when it launches formally alongside the next iteration of the game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Earlier this month, Activision held an invite-only presentation on the Elite service.
The service will be accessible across a number of digital platforms, including all the major video game consoles, Web browsers, and some mobile systems. … Read more
Retro gamers who use Android devices to play classics from old-school systems like Atari, Nintendo 64, and Sega took a hit this week when emulator apps for those consoles and a handful of others were removed from the Android Market.
Yongzh's (also known as Yong Zhang) emulators have been among some of the most popular and highest rated in the market, but the emulator creator reports that his developer account has been terminated without warning.
The removal of yongzh's account comes just weeks after PlayStation emulator PSX4droid--the work of another developer--was also deleted from the market in the lead-up to the release of Sony's Xperia Play. Yongzh, who lives in China, took down his Genesis emulator last month after receiving a complaint from Sega, but apparently it wasn't enough to placate Google and/or those console makers who may have lodged complaints with Mountain View. … Read more
Why is it that we seem to be so fascinated by past visions of how the future would look?
There are probably many reasons (some simple, some complex), but one might be that such visions cause us to experience a kind of nostalgia for the forms of our own present--as they never turned out to be.
Nvidia, an emerging power in the world of ARM processors for smartphones and tablets, has published a demonstration game called Glowball the company says shows what can be achieved with its quad-core Kal-El mobile processor project.
In the demo, an internally lit ball rolls around a playing board. With "dynamic lighting," shapes on the ball's exterior casting shadows on stacked barrels, lurking jack-in-the-boxes, hanging rugs, and a creepy clown face. The game's physics engine is wired into the tablet's accelerometer to determine how the ball rolls, the rugs hang, and the barrels tumble.
To celebrate its 190th anniversary, the U.K.'s Guardian (known at its 1821 founding as The Manchester Guardian) has concocted a very-old-school version of the front--er, home--page of today's edition.
The page uses serifed and black-letter Web fonts; copious vertical and horizontal rules; vintage engravings; and a background image of a pulpy, papery texture to re-create the thrill that awaited one who clapped a copper into a newsboy's palm and flapped open a newly purchased copy of the Latest Edition.
In explaining the project, the page's developers also have some fun with Georgian/Victorian-era prose stylings:
"This new edition is available in the following establishments: the Flaming Fox public house; the Verdi & Traviatta at the Royal Opera House; the African Expedition outfitters and the recently-constructed Silver V8 engine foundry," they write in a blog post. When readers click the included links, the rather exotic appellations become clear:… Read more