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EA pushing cross-platform 'single identity' system, prepares for next-gen consoles, PC and Mac platform integration

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 4:15 am

EA has sat down with VentureBeat to talk about a future of gaming with EA under a single identity across multiple platforms, even if that platform is Xbox 360, iOS, or Mac. This move will see EA follow gamers across all platforms, where they can track their activity and even move into new business models that would better target consumers. EA's chief technology officer, Rajat Taneja, said:




Our strategic vision at EA is to create a single backend system so that we can truly embrace the secular trends in our industry that are creating massive growth for games. And we will be able to embrace all of the new business models that come with that.


All of this is the work of 1500 engineers, and more than 18 months of pure time. It's all part of a major investment that EA chief executive John Riccitiello has made, in order to help the company bridge from being just a game publisher, to a multi-platform digital games company.


I think it was all inevitable - EA doing this, will only see gamers embraced instead of fenced off in their respective platforms. Being able to game on the Xbox or PlayStation, and then quickly jump up and get on the bus or train for school or work, and continue gaming under that identity on your smartphone or tablet, is going to be great - for everyone.

Study says illegal music sharing decreased 17% in 2012

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 12:34 am

According to a study by The NPD Group, the number of consumers engaging in illegal music sharing via the P2P protocol decreased by 17 percent in 2012 from the previous year. Other forms of music sharing also saw a decrease in 2012, which NPD Group attributes to the rise of free alternatives, such as Pandora and Spotify.




Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD:


For the music industry, which has been battling digital piracy for over a decade, last year was a year of progress. Among other factors, the increased use of legal and licensed streaming services has proven to be an alternative for music fans who formerly used P2P networks to obtain music


The volume of P2P music files downloaded decreased by 26 percent, CD ripping by friends and family fell 44 percent, the number of files transferred via hard drives fell 25 percent, and the volume of music downloaded from digital lockers decreased 28 percent.

Apple stock surges on rumor of a stock split

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 12:04 am

Douglas Kass, a contributor for The Street, has tweeted that a stock split will be announced at tomorrow's shareholders meeting. We'd caution everyone that this is just a rumor and that he hasn't backed it up with any sort of hard evidence that a split will actually be announced.




High above the Alps my Gnome is hearing a rumor that Apple will announce a stock split at tomorrow's shareholder meeting


Apple's stock (AAPL) is up 1.38 percent to $448.90 after being down earlier this morning.

Razer Edge will go on pre-order on March 1, starts at $999

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 26, 2013 11:32 pm

The Razer Edge, Razer's Windows 8 take on the tablet, will go on pre-order March 1. This Windows 8 tablet will start at $999, though the price can go as high as $1,500 if you want the ultimate machine. The base unit will come with an Intel i5 processor and 64GB SSD with accessories being sold separately.




The upgraded version, Razer Edge Pro, will come with an Intel i7 processor and either a 128GB or 256GB SSD. The optional gamepad controller, home console dock, and extended battery accessories will all go on pre-order at the same time as the Edge. Pre-orders will start at 12:01 a.m. PST at Razer's website.

Staples now selling Apple accessories

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Peripherals | Posted: Feb 26, 2013 11:01 pm

Staples is now selling Apple accessories just a week after executives confirmed the chain would. The office supply chain is selling all sorts of different Apple accessories, including Smart Covers, Magic Mice, Apple TVs, and Time Capsules, which are now all available through the retail chain's online store.




The products will likely be coming to physical outlets as well. This could end up being great news for Apple as many companies have corporate accounts with Staples. These accounts would allow companies to easily purchase Apple products as they are coming from a source the company is used to dealing with.


So far, US Staples do not sell any actual Apple hardware, such as the iPad or iPod, but the executives hope that this will change.

Rovio launching 'Angry Birds Toons' on March 16, is a web cartoon featuring the Angry Birds

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Online Video | Posted: Feb 26, 2013 10:30 pm

Rovio continues to expand its marketing of the Angry Birds franchise and will be releasing "Angry Birds Toons" on March 16. Angry Birds Toons is a new animated cartoon that will take place on Piggy Island and feature the characters from the Angry Birds games. It will be released on the web only and lead up to the Angry Birds movie set for 2016.



Angry Birds Toons is an all-new animated series that throws the doors to Piggy Island wide open! For the first time ever, you can get up close and personal with your favorite characters. Join us every week starting the weekend of March 16th for a brand new episode featuring the latest adventures of the birds and pigs!


A new episode will be released each week on the Angry Birds Toons' website. It's not clear if the characters will talk, as in the preview above, they don't. This is likely a cartoon show aimed at little kids, though it's not clear how many little kids will know how to find it online.

Continue reading 'Rovio launching 'Angry Birds Toons' on March 16, is a web cartoon featuring the Angry Birds' (full post)

Slaker brings Xbox 360 to town, free to download for Xbox Live Gold subscribers

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Feb 26, 2013 10:03 pm

Xbox Live Gold subscribers living in the US and Canada now have access to a Slacker app that will allow them to stream music to their Xbox 360. The 116.17MB app is a free download for Xbox Live Gold members, though they could be on the hook for subscription fees and other costs.




Craig Rechenmacher, Slacker's Chief Marketing Officer:


Slacker brings the world's most complete music service to Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers in the U.S. and Canada for free. Whether you're into country, hip hop or want to listen to the soundtrack from your favorite game, Slacker's team of music experts make it easy to find and discover the world's best music from the comfort of your living room.


The app makes use of voice control via the Xbox Kinect and brings access to hundreds of radio stations. More information about Slacker can be found on the company's website. Slacker is also available on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry.

Google invites kids to take a virtual tour of how it makes its Doodles

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 26, 2013 9:34 pm

Google, as part of its Doodle4Google contest, is inviting kids to take a virtual tour behind-the-scenes to see how Google makes its famous Doodles. The event, which will be live from the Googleplex on March 1, can be registered for by heading to the event registration page put up by Google.




Join the talented group of illustrators and engineers LIVE on Friday, March 1st for an exclusive behind-the-scenes view into how Google doodles are created. Two illustrators will even participate in a live doodle-off - determined by your votes!


The broadcast will take place at 1 p.m. ET or 10 a.m. PT.

Adobe patches Flash vulnerabilities, some of which are being exploited in the wild

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Software | Posted: Feb 26, 2013 9:02 pm

Adobe has issued updates to its Flash product to patch some security vulnerabilities found in the product. At least two of the vulnerabilities are currently being exploited in the wild against Firefox, meaning that you should be sure to update to the latest version of Flash immediately.




The attack works by tricking a user into clicking a link. The link leads to a website that features a malicious piece of Flash content designed to exploit the security holes in Flash Player for Firefox. Head over to Adobe's website to download the latest version of Flash Player.


Those using Flash Player in Google Chrome or Internet Explorer 10 should be automatically updated to the latest version.

Instagram soars past 100 million active users

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Feb 26, 2013 8:31 pm

Instagram, the mobile picture sharing social netowrk, has finally passed 100 million active users. This feat took around two and a half years and comes just a month after Instagram began releasing active user counts. Instagram was forced to start releasing active user counts after the terms of service fiasco that started back in December.




Comparing the service to other similar services, we can see that Instagram has done a better job at gaining user base. It took Twitter around six years to reach 200 million active users. Facebook likely helped boost Instagram's active user count.


CEO Kevin Systrom in the company's blog post:


It's easy to see this as an accomplishment for a company, but I think the truth is that it's an accomplishment for our community. Now, more than ever, people are capturing the world in real-time using Instagram-sharing images from the farthest corners of the globe. What we see as a result is a world more connected and understood through photographs.