10 hours ago

Gaming

Facebook buys VR studio Sanzaru Games, known for Sonic the Hedgehog and Marvel games

The internet monolith seems to want to corner the market before there is a market. Sound familiar?

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Facebook has acquired virtual reality gaming studio Sanzaru Games to join its Oculus group. Bloomberg News first reported on the sale, which was confirmed by Facebook in a blog post. The studio will remain independent from Facebook and continue to work out of its existing offices with the "vast majority" of employees staying on as part of the acquisition.

Sanzaru has produced games for the Sonic the Hedgehog and Marvel Studios franchises, as well as developed its own VR games including the critically-acclaimed Asgard's Wrath. Facebook says the studio has created four titles for the Oculus platform since 2016, and was the first developer to partner with Oculus Studios.

11 hours ago

Tech

The Windows Phone legacy takes another blow: Live Tiles are about to die

The idea was innovative, but didn't make a lot of sense on desktop.

Microsoft is reportedly planning to remove Live Tiles from the Windows 10 Start Menu, according to sources speaking to Windows Latest.

Live Tiles were originally introduced in the now-defunct Windows Phone and were intended to show useful at-a-glance information from your apps right on the homescreen. Instead of opening the Weather app, for instance, its associated tile on your homescreen would periodically "flip" to reveal the temperature in your area. The idea was that you could look at all the tiles on your homescreen and get up to speed without the need to open every app one-by-one.

12 hours ago

Tech

The Polestar Precept concept is sustainable, sleek, and Tesla's worst nightmare

It's packed with eco-friendly materials and looks like the speed-hungry offspring of a Model S and a Porsche.

The Polestar Precept “is a vision of the company’s future vehicle aspirations,” according to the Volvo sub-brand, known for its handsome, all-electric sedans. The Precept will be on display at the Geneva International Motor Show next month. Eschewing talk of the usual metrics like mileage and acceleration used to measure and market EVs, Polestar’s focus with the Precept is sustainability. Though, like most concept vehicles and most talk of sustainability, there’s more conversation about the ends than the means.

New, sustainable materials — In its release about the Precept, Polestar enthuses about new materials like “flax-based composites for interior panels and seatbacks” that are half the weight and use 80 percent less plastic than conventional equivalents. The seat upholstery, meanwhile, is made of 3D-knitted yarn created from recycled plastic bottles and made precisely to size. Then there’s the recycled cork vinyl used in the headrests and bolsters, and the carpets are made from reclaimed fishing nets.

12 hours ago

Tech

YouTube enlists a liason for creators to help communicate the 'complicated stuff'

Matt Kovalakides will help the brand and its creators stay on the same page.

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It’s no secret that YouTube has been on shaky ground with its creators for years. Changes to monetization and demonetization rules, sudden account terminations, and a general culture of consequence-free harassment have contributed to a mass exodus of old guard creators. One of those creators, Matt Kovalakides, has managed to stick around. Kovalakides used to make comedy videos as “Matt Koval” before becoming a content strategist at YouTube in 2012, according to CNBC. On Tuesday, he announced a promotion to Head Creator Liaison where he’ll serve as a bridge between the company and its creators.

12 hours ago

Gaming

Nintendo sent a brand new Game Boy to a 95-year-old fan in Japan

Where can we cop?

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Nintendo hasn’t manufactured the original Game Boy since 2003, but it looks like the company is keeping a stash of them in case of emergencies. A Japanese national newspaper reports that, when an ill 95-year-old Japanese woman’s favorite Game Boy stopped working, she hand-wrote a letter to the company’s customer service.

The company said they no longer had the parts to fix her device — but it also included a brand new Game Boy that had been found in a warehouse. The Japanese woman was able to play Tetris on her new Game Boy for four years before passing away at the age of 99.

13 hours ago

Culture

Disney CEO Bob Iger hands over the keys to the kingdom

Bob Chapek, the mastermind behind Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and Shanghai Disneyland, will be the next CEO.

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It's official. Bob Iger is stepping down as Disney's CEO and will be replaced by Bob Chapek. To be clear, though, this doesn't mean that Iger will completely bow out of company affairs. According to a press release circulated on Tuesday, Iger will be in charge of managing creative endeavors through December 2021.

Chapek as the sensible choice — This is the seventh CEO to spearhead Disney. Before Iger stepped down, names for his successor had already been circulating, including Disney's chairman of its direct-to-consumer division, Kevin Mayer. As a possible contender, Mayer had accomplishments like the growth of 28 million subscribers to Disney+'s platform under his belt. Still, Chapek ultimately won this round and that most likely has to do with having 27 years of experience in managing the company's parks, consumer products, and studio business divisions.

14 hours ago

Tech

Samsung creates 16GB RAM chips for phones, embarrassing 8GB laptops everywhere

But is it really necessary?

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Samsung announced today that it has begun mass production of 16GB RAM chips for smartphones. The company says that the new chips are 1.3 times faster than its previous best memory, 12GB LPDDR4X. They’re also 20 percent more power efficient than its 8GB chips.

“Samsung has been committed to bringing memory technologies to the cutting edge in allowing consumers to enjoy amazing experiences through their mobile devices. We are excited to stay true to that commitment with our new, top-of-the-line mobile solution for global device manufacturers,” said Cheol Choi, senior vice president of memory sales & marketing, Samsung Electronics.