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Activision Blizzard breaks up with Vivendi in a deal worth $8.2 billion

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Jul 26, 2013 10:06 am

Activision Blizzard have just broken off their relationship with Vivendi in a deal worth $8.2 billion. Activision will be purchasing $5.83 billion worth of shares back, combined with a share purchase totaling $2.34 billion from an independent investor group led by Activision CEO, Bobby Kotick and co-chair Brian Kelly.

 

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This might just sound like yet another move for a big company, but Activision Blizzard own quite a lot of hot gaming properties, such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and more.

 

What will this mean for gamers? Well, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has said that his company "should emerge even stronger -- an independent company with a best-in-class franchise portfolio...The transactions announced today will allow us to take advantage of attractive financing markets while still retaining more than $3 billion cash on hand to preserve financial stability".

Continue reading 'Activision Blizzard breaks up with Vivendi in a deal worth $8.2 billion' (full post)

Ouya: 73% of Ouya owners haven't purchased a game yet

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jul 26, 2013 9:31 am

I received my Ouya console a few weeks ago, but it just hasn't excited me that much. I feel like it's just a half-baked product, and it seems like I'm not alone. Ouya CEO, Julie Uhrman, has said that the console is performing well, but game sales are very slow.

 

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Slow enough, that only 27% of Ouya owners have purchased a game, leaving the other 73% playing the free titles. I'm in that group of 73%, as there's nothing that has caught my fancy on Ouya just yet. Uhrman, when talking to The Verge, said: "Monetization on Ouya is so far better than we expected. It takes time to build what traditional consoles have had decades to build."

 

She continued: "There are a lot of social and mobile app developers that would kill for an eight percent attach rate on a platform that's 30 days old. These numbers will grow as more gamers pick up consoles, and as we attract more developers, and I believe that by the end of the year, we'll see a few developers telling us they've made more than a million dollars on Ouya."

We finally get some more details on Battlefield 4's second screen abilities

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 26, 2013 8:24 am

I'm waiting for Battlefield 4, but I really didn't expect them to go this far with its second screen functionality. In the video below dubbed "Battlefield 4: Official Battlelog Features Video" we get a much better look at the second screen abilities of Battlefield 4.

 

 

Players will be able to use their mobile devices, such as an iOS- or Android-based smartphone or tablet, as a huge accessory to BF4. Not only that, you could use your tablet as a second display, which would show your map with gamers being able to use them for in-game tactical moves, such as tapping your tablet screen to set a meeting/bomb drop point.

 

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Commander Mode would make the best use of the second screen, but I can't wait to just have a large-sized map to the side of my monitor.

Intel provides some details on their SSD 530 Series of drives, includes four M.2 form factor models

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Storage | Posted: Jul 26, 2013 8:03 am

Intel have provided some details on their new SSD 530 Series of drives, which include some M.2 form factor models. There will be four M.2 form factor models, coming in at 80GB, 120GB, 180GB and finally, 360GB. The 80GB drive will be capable of up to 540MB/sec sequential read speeds, and up to 480MB/sec writes. We'll have 24,000 IOPS for random 4K reads, and up to 80,000 IOPS for writes.

 

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When it comes to the 120GB, 180GB, and 360GB drives, Intel kicks it up a notch by offering up to 540MB/sec sequential read speeds, and up to 490MB/sec writes. As for random 4KB read/writes, we can expect 41,000 IOPS and 80,000 IOPS for the 120GB and 180GB drives, and we see a big drop to 37,000 IOPS for random 4KB writes on the 360GB model.

 

There will be plenty of other models, with four mSATA-based models coming in at 80GB, 120GB, 180GB and 360GB and six models in the usual 2.5-inch flavor. We should expect the 2.5-inch form factor to see 80GB, 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and the biggie: 480GB. All six of these drives are capable of 540MB/sec and 490MB/sec for sequential read/writes and 41,000 IOPS and 80,000 IOPS for random 4KB read/writes, respectively.

A group of MIT scientists have planted false memories in mice

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jul 26, 2013 7:26 am

Now this is a scary piece of news. A group of MIT researchers have successfully implanted false memories into the minds of test mice, with a study published in the journal, Science.

 

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The experiment was designed to look at the phenomenon known as "false memory syndrome", where the brain creates recollections of events that have never actually happened: you know, like seeing a black cat twice in The Matrix. By playing with the memory engram-bearing cells in the hippocampus, the MIT researchers convinced a bunch of mice that they had experienced shock to their feet, without physically doing anything different than just standing there.

 

Now, all this team has to do is sell me a dream pill that gives me the ability to "dream" some "memories". We could call it "iDream", should I go and get a patent on that?

Google end the three-month Netflix promotion for Chromecast in the first 24 hours after 'overwhelming demand'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 26, 2013 6:29 am

Google unveiled Chromecast just over 24 hours ago, but within those first 24 hours they had "overwhelming demand" for their promotion that offered three months of Netflix subscription for free.

 

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This caused the company to pull the promotion, and rightly so - Chromecast is just $35, and with three months of Netflix coming in at $24, it's win-win for those who jumped in and scored the promotion. Google said in a statement to The LA Times: "Due to overwhelming demand for Chromecast devices since launch, the 3-month Netflix promotion (which was available in limited quantities) is no longer available".

 

Google did state that it was a "limited time offer", but most people consider a "limited time" more than 24 hours. But, the demand for Chromecast seems to be huge, and at just $35 it's an easy impulse buy for any consumer. The Mountain View-based company have updated the Google Play page for Chromecast to remove the Netflix promotional offer.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is coming to the Nintendo Wii U, hits the console on November 5

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 26, 2013 5:32 am

Just when we thought Call of Duty: Ghosts wouldn't be coming to the Nintendo Wii U, we wake up to yet another day, and yet another surprise. Activision have come out to announce the news, where they say:

 

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Call of Duty: Ghosts - Featuring an all-new world, story, characters and experiences, all powered by a new engine, Call of Duty: Ghosts is a stunning leap forward for the blockbuster franchise. For the first time in Call of Duty, gamers play as the underdog, fighting as part of a single squad against an enemy that has superior numbers and firepower. Call of Duty: Ghosts' genre-defining multiplayer delivers gameplay innovations throughout, including dynamic map events, character customisation and other features yet-to-be-announced. The title includes Wii Remote and second-screen Wii U™ GamePad support and more. Call of Duty: Ghosts is scheduled for release on November 5, on Wii U and is not yet rated by the ESRB.

Apple have been buying quite a lot of their own stock in the last few months

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 26, 2013 4:30 am

Apple have been buying quite a lot of AAPL shares lately, a little after they jumped the iShark late last year. Their original plan was to buy 10 million shares in their third fiscal quarter of 2013, but instead, they've scooped up over 36 million shares.

 

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Apple did this in two parts, using $4 billion in shares, and $12 billion through an accelerated share repurchase program. Apple purchased the shares at between $444 and $488 a piece. This is quite a lot of money, but the Cupertino-based company do have large cash reserves, but for that type of money they could've spent it better, acquiring companies that would see them grow and evolve.

 

Oh well.

Amazon now have over 97,000 employees, tripling in size in just three years

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 26, 2013 3:31 am

I knew Amazon were big, but being based in Australia, I never see the true scope of them. Well, Amazon.com reported their quarterly earnings today, disclosing a $7 million loss for the company.

 

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But there was a bright side to this news: they employ over 97,000 people. This includes both full- and part-time employees as of June 30, and is a number that is three times larger than what the company reported in 2010 of just 28,300 employees. This number does not include temporary workers, or contractors.

 

Amazon's employee count does include workers at their fulfillment centers around the world, so it's not just Americans that we're talking about here. But it's a number that shows just how big Amazon have gotten in the last three years alone.

The FCC Shows us what is inside Google's Chromecast dongle

By: Charles Gantt | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Jul 26, 2013 2:45 am

Ever since Google's Chromecast media streaming dongle was announced yesterday, I have been curious as to what hardware lies inside. I am after all, one of the type of people who enjoy taking things apart to see how it ticks. Thanks to the FCC and Anandtech I do not have to wait for my Chromecast to arrive. The FCC Chromecast documents have been released and they contain images of the naked Chromecast PCB.

 

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Powering the device is a Marvell DE3005 chip while AzurWare silicon handles the Wi-Fi duties. For those interested, you can view the full FCC documentation along with the photos and even the devices user manual by visiting Source #3 below. I placed an order for a Chromecast unit shortly after the announcement yesterday. No shipping info has been provided yet, but we are hoping to have our unity by Monday or Tuesday and will have a full review up shortly thereafter.

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