Archive for August, 2012

Microsoft hosting mixer for former OnLive employees

Microsoft will be throwing an industry mixer for the 50-ish percent of OnLive workers affected by the streaming company’s recent restructuring madness this Monday, August 27, at its campus in Silicon Valley. Hiring managers will be on site, scouting for Xbox-oriented positions at Microsoft’s offices in Mountain View, CA and Redmond, WA.

“We are eager to speak to individuals and teams affected by the OnLive transition,” reads the event’s public invitation. “We are looking to add key players who want to make a real impact in creating groundbreaking new products and services.”

Whether this is indicative of an expanded streaming presence in Microsoft’s future is anyone’s guess; it could simply be an example of the tech industry taking care of its own. An Xbox Kinect bundle will also be raffled off during the event, though we assume those attending will be more interested in finding gainful employment than winning a door prize.

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Metareview: Madden NFL 13

As the latest in EA Sports’ ongoing pro football series, Madden NFL 13 introduced the hard-hitting Infinity Engine and Connected Careers mode this year as noteworthy additions among a fair amount of issues. Our review saw the game as “the foundation for eventual excellence.” Here’s what other critics around the web had to say about this year’s Madden:GamesRadar (4.5/5): “It’s not often that a stalwart franchise like this reinvents itself so significantly, but Madden NFL 13 has pulled this off with aplomb. Brimming with innovation on the field and off, it’s the best Madden of the generation.”

EGM (8/10): “All in all, it’s clear the team at Tiburon took a hard look at ways to bring the franchise back to its former glory. Some annoying bugs persist here and there, but overall, Madden NFL 13 stands as one of my favorite football experiences of this generation.”

Polygon (8/10): “Madden 13 gives players a ton of options without explaining them in detail, and that’s an issue. But Madden NFL 13 represents a giant leap over its predecessors. It’s easily the best Madden title of this console cycle, and it’s notable for the ways in which it clearly sets the stage for Tiburon to make a graceful transition into the next generation.”

OXM (7.5/10): “The engine shows a great deal of promise, and Connected Careers features a lot of interesting ideas, but there’s no question that this is a rebuilding year. The best news is that EA finally seems to be on the right track. Give it another year, and Madden may at last be a true contender.”

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New app helps parents decode kids’ text messages

LONDON: Scientists have developed a new app which will help parents decipher the modern-day text message lingo their kid uses.

TextGenie, a new app created by a UK-based software solutions company, DCML deciphers text language and slang from incoming SMS messages and translates them into plain English for confused parents, The Telegraph reported.

Research by DCML claimed that 84 per cent of parents with teenagers admit to receiving text messages from their children which they simply do not understand.

Parents often find messages littered with abbreviations and text speak hard to understand – such as 2go2 (to go to) or 2nyt (tonight).

Drawing on an existing catalogue of 1,500 abbreviations, TextGenie allows people to build up their own database of words and phrases often used by their children.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 63 per cent of teenagers now send text messages every day – compared with just 39 per cent using their phone to make calls.

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Now, a website that sells ‘FB likes, Twitter followers’

An Australia based social marketing company named getwithsocial, is selling Facebook likes and Twitter followers.

The site created by Mathew Carpenter is one of a growing number of platforms that sell online followers.

Outsourcing websites like Fiverr, Freelancer, Odesk and Elance have long had people posting on them wanting to buy or sell popularity.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Carpenter’s site not only sells Facebook likes, but Twitter followers, YouTube views and Digg votes, all of which can be purchased under different packages that vary in the quantity of followers, views or votes required.

For example, if a company wants 50,000 Facebook likes it would pay 3400 dollars.

Similarly, 50,000 YouTube video views costs 590 dollars and the same amount of Twitter followers will set a company back 1750 dollars.

According to the paper, critics of buying likes argue that it’s not worth paying for them as they are often not valuable.

Carpenter, of Newcastle, New South Wales, however, disagrees.

“There are a lot of stigmas attached to buying Facebook likes and Twitter followers etc, and many are simply not true,” he said.

According to the paper, NSW Fair Trading said it was not unlawful to buy or sell social media followers, but it might breach the contractual terms and conditions of using a social network.

Australia’s competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said concerns could arise when an artificial social media fan base was used to influence consumer choice.

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WeeUp File Hosting

Recently, a new file hosting website has been released know as WeeUp. The service is good because you can upload files with one click. Your friends can download the file by justing clicking on the link they don’t have to wait to download the file.

URL: http://weeup.x10.mx/

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Yakuza 5 to feature Dance Battles alongside the regular punching ones

One of Yakuza 5’s subplots is about series hero Kazuma Kiryu’s adopted daughter, Haruka, trying to find success as an idol. The usual street combat would be an odd fit for this storyline, so instead Haruka will have dance-based battles, according to leaked Famitsu info.

Haruka’s “battles” take the form of a rhythm game in which you compete against rival dancers. As you perform, you’ll build up a gauge, much like the “Heat Gauge” in the series’ non-dance fights. And, like in those fights, you’ll be able to perform special moves when it’s full ? in this case, Dance Heat moves.

There’s even a parallel RPG mechanic, in the form of “expression power,” which is awarded at the end of every battle by spectators.

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Halo 4 soundtrack lands Oct. 22, Special Edition runs $75

Two versions of the Halo 4 soundtrack will become available on October 22, but only one of them will cost more than the game itself. Composed by Massive Attack alumni Neil Davidge, the standard edition Halo 4 soundtrack will encompass 15 tracks from the game’s score in both physical and digital formats for $13.98.

The Special Edition 2-Disc Box Set, on the other hand, will set you back quite a bit more. At $75, the package includes the standard soundtrack, a 14-track remix album (sorry, no Skrillex), a behind-the-scenes “Making of Halo 4 Music” DVD and accompanying hardcover book with “composition notes from Neil Davidge plus exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and exclusive artwork images.” The kit also comes with a 12-inch art print signed by Davidge, an honest-to-goodness vinyl record with Cortana and Master Chief on the disc itself, and a special shirt for your Xbox Live avatar.

Whether your Halo-music monetary threshold is $14 or $75, both versions will be available at Halo Waypoint. Show full PR text
“Halo 4” Original Soundtrack and Special Edition Remix Album Coming Oct.22
In addition to the original soundtrack from famed composer/producer Neil Davidge, renowned electronica musicians DJ Skee, Sander Van Doorn, Apocalyptica, Hundred Waters and more contribute to first ever “Halo” Remix Album as part of a Special Limited Editionof unique music, marks the first time a new composer has taken the reins for the iconic series’ musical score since the launch of the original “Halo” game more than a decade ago.

The “Halo 4” individually numbered and limited Special Edition 2-Disc Box Set will consist of the “Halo 4” Remix Album, produced by Davidge in tandem with fourteen of the world’s most renowned electronica producers and artists, including DJ Skee, Sander Van Doorn, Gui Boratto, Caspa, Apocalyptica, Hundred Waters, and more. A first for the “Halo” franchise, the landmark remix project is a premier example of a video game drawing from the breadth and caliber of talent in the electronica music world, breaking new ground for the blockbuster franchise that has sold over 43 million game copies worldwide and generated nearly $3 billion in revenue.

“It was an honor to compose and produce the ‘Halo 4’ score,” said Davidge. “I am so proud of the way the OST has turned out and to have had the opportunity to evolve the great legacy of ‘Halo’ music. To be able to then collaborate with these talented DJ’s and musicians on various remixes was a real bonus as it is always fun and interesting to see how others interpret and reimagine what you have created.”

Pushing the musical envelope, Davidge and his production company enlisted popular electronica producers DJ Skee, Caspa, Sander Van Doorn & Julian Jordan, Gui Boratto, KOAN Sound, Matt Lange, Andrew Bayer, Norin & Rad, Alvin Risk, Bobby Tank, Maor Levi and Hundred Waters, in addition to rock maestros Apocalyptica and ex-Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, to create a 14-track remix disk based on the Original Soundtrack (samples available on Halo Waypoint). When approached to work with Davidge, these artists not only took his work on the “Halo 4” score and shaped it into their own unique sound, but kept true to the roots and feel of the “Halo” franchise.

“I have been a fan of ‘Halo’ since day one, and when I heard Neil’s epic compositions for ‘Halo 4’ I was blown away,” said DJ Skee. “When we got the opportunity to remix and add our style, I wanted to create something just as epic that could stand alongside both the original composition and ‘Halo 4′ itself.”

A summary of the “Halo 4” soundtrack offerings is as follows:

“Halo 4” Original Soundtrack (available in physical CD and digital formats)

· Available for standalone purchase of $13.98 (U.S. ERP), the “Halo 4” Original Soundtrack features 15 themes from award-winning producer Neil Davidge, co-writer and producer of the pioneering trip hop group Massive Attack. This marks the first time a new composer has taken the reins for the iconic series’ musical score since the launch of the original “Halo” game more than a decade ago.

· Working in collaboration with 343 Industries, Davidge and his production team enlisted a 16-person hand-picked male tenor / bass choir plus 10 females from the London Bulgarian Choir, a full 50 piece orchestra and a whole host of other performers to bring the music of “Halo 4” to life through a massive production effort on par with a major Hollywood blockbuster.

· In addition, “Halo” fans who purchase a physical copy of the Original Soundtrack will receive a free download voucher for three exclusive remix tracks and three additional Davidge tracks not included on the soundtrack but featured in the “Halo 4” game. These game pieces will not be available on any other platform other than through the physical CD purchase.

“Halo 4” Original Soundtrack List and Titles (CD & Digital):
Awakening
Belly Of The
Soundtrack List and Titles (CD & Digital):
Awakening
Belly Of The Beast
Requiem
Legacy
Faithless
Nemesis
Haven
Ascendancy
Solace
To Galaxy
Immaterial
117
Arrival
Revival
Green And Blue
“Halo 4” Special Digital Original Soundtrack

· The Special Digital Original Soundtrack features the full content of the Original Soundtrack, a digital booklet, as well as six bonus remix tracks composed by renowned producer Neil Davidge and remixed as follows: “To Galaxy (Sander Van Doorn & Julian Jordan Remix),” “Awakening (Gui Boratto Remix),” “Revival (DJ Skee & THX Remix),” “Ascendancy (Caspa Remix),” “Requiem (Bobby Tank Remix) and “The Beauty of Cortana (Apocalyptica vs. Neil Davidge Remix).”

“Halo 4” Special Edition 2-Disc Box Set (available direct to consumer)

· Available for preorder today for $75 (U.S. ERP), the “Halo 4” Special Edition 2-Disc Box Set includes:

o “Halo 4” Original Soundtrack

o “Halo 4” 14-track remix album

o Exclusive “Making of ‘Halo 4’ Music” DVD containing over 70 minutes of unique behind the scenes footage, interviews and recording sessions from Abbey Road

o Exclusive hardcoverbook on the “Making of ‘Halo 4′ Music” featuring production and composition notes from Neil Davidge plus exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and exclusive artwork images

o Exclusive 12″ Neil Davidge signed art print

o Exclusive 180g heavy weight 12″ Vinyl Full color Picture Disk of Master Chief and Cortana in a uniquely designed Sleeve bag

o Exclusive Avatar T-Shirt download (Male & Female)

o The first 5000 orders will all be individually numbered in a limited series and personalized by Neil Davidge

o Preorder at: http://halowaypoint.com/halo4soundtrack

“Halo 4” Remix Album Track List and Titles:
>
1. Awakening ? Gui Boratto Remix

2. Green And Blue ? KOAN Sound Remix

3. Requiem ? Bobby Tank Remix

4. Ascendancy ? Caspa Remix

5. To Galaxy ? Sander Van Doorn & Julian Jordan Remix

6. Haven ? Hundred Waters Remix

7. Revival ? DJ Skee & THX Remix

8. Ascendancy ? Matt Lange Remix

9. Nemesis ? Alvin Risk Remix

10. Solace ? Maor Levi Remix

11. Arrival ? Norin & Rad Remix

12. Green And Blue ? Andrew Bayer Remix

13. Foreshadow ? James Iha Remix

14. The Beauty Of Cortana ? Apocalyptica vs. Neil Davidge Remix

All Soundtrack formats will be released by Microsoft’s new soundtrack partner, 7Hz Productions and affiliates: Friday October 19th, Australia & New Zealand (7Hz / Sony Music); Monday October 22nd UK & Eire, Europe & Japan (Essential), USA & Canada, South America (The End/RED).
Launching worldwide exclusively on Xbox 360 Nov.6, 2012, “Halo 4” is the next blockbuster installment of the iconic franchise that has shaped entertainment history and defined a generation of gamers. Developed by 343 Industries, “Halo 4” continues the story of the series’ iconic hero the Master Chief as he returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. “Halo 4” takes the series in a bold new direction by delivering its most epic and explorative campaign yet, alongside an emotionally resonant story and a groundbreaking multiplayer offering unlike anything before it ? setting the stage for an epic new sci-fi saga.

The standard edition of “Halo 4” will be available for $59.99 (U.S. ERP), and the Limited Edition, which includes an extended 90-minute version of the live-action digital series “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” and additional ERP), and the Limited Edition, which includes an extended 90-minute version of the live-action digital series “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” and additional bonus content, will be available for $99.99 (U.S. ERP). Fans can also pick up the Xbox 360 Limited Edition “Halo 4” Console Bundle for $399.99 (U.S. ERP) and a standalone Xbox 360 Limited Edition “Halo 4” Wireless Controller for $59.99 (U.S. EPR).

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Amazon launches Kindle store in India

SAN FRANCISCO: US e-commerce giant Amazon on Wednesday launched its Kindle Store in India, claiming to have the largest selection of any e-bookstore in the country.

The India Kindle Store offers over one million e-books, priced in Indian rupees, including 70 of the top selling editions.

“We are proud to launch this new Kindle store for Indian customers, offering Kindle book purchases in rupees and the ability to buy and read the work of many great Indian authors,” said Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle content for Amazon.

The Kindle reader will be sold exclusively in Croma stores across India at an introductory price of Rs 6,999 (around $125).

“Kindle is the bestselling e-reader in the world and has revolutionized the way people read,” said Ajit Joshi, chief executive and managing director of Croma.

Customers may also download and read books on the iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, and Android-based devices.

The India Kindle Store features new releases, best sellers and other works from a range of Indian authors, including Chetan Bhagat, Ashwin Sanghi, Ravinder Singh and Amish Tripathi.

Some exclusive Kindle books will be available and over one million classics can be downloaded for free.

Amazon also launched Kindle Direct Publishing for independent authors and publishers in India, allowing them to make their books available to customers worldwide on Kindle devices and reading apps.

Authors and publishers in India will be able to set prices specific for India and receive royalty payments in rupees.

Amazon has a number of Kindle stores for customers around the world in addition to its US store.

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Google extends Opera browser deal by 2 years

Google Inc has agreed with Norway’s Opera Software ASA to integrate Google as the default search partner for the Opera mobile and desktop browsers, the Norwegian firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

The deal, which the sides have been extending on a short term basis recently, will expire on August 1, 2014, Opera said.

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Iwata: Gamers need dedicated handhelds, have a desire for ‘rich and deep’ experiences

The argument for the 3DS has been precarious at the outset, price not withstanding. With the rise of the iPhone and Android devices, people are playing more games on their phones and tablets than ever before, cutting into a handheld gaming market dominated by Nintendo for more than a decade.

“I don’t think there’s not a bright future for handheld devices but I understand that the competition, again with the rise of smart devices is different, and I do recognize that,” Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told Kotaku during a frank discussion on the 3DS and current portable gaming ecosystem. Iwata offered insight, not only on his own company’s stance, but on the needs of consumers in general ? and how Nintendo isn’t trying to compete so much as offer value.

“Previously we had to think, ok, ‘How are we competing with Sony?, How are we competing with Microsoft?, How do we compete with all the other software titles and all the other publishers out there?’ That environment has changed. And the games available for smartphones, I’m not saying that none of these are interesting, rich or fun experiences, because I know that there are some. And one way we can ensure that there’s a market for handheld gaming devices is by continuing to bring out entertaining and engaging software that will provide users experiences that they cannot get on these other devices.”

Iwata expects the need for “rich and deep” experiences will remain consistent, even while consumers change the context in which they play games. “I believe that as environments change and as the world progresses we’re going to have different ways in which people want to spend their time,” he said. “That being said, I don’t think we’re going to see the desire to have, again, rich and deep sort of gaming experiences… we’re not going to see that vanish. That’s not going to go away.”

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