Instagram has shifted from a photo-sharing application, mainly for your food, to a video-sharing app to compete with other apps and social networks, but now there's news that the Facebook-owned company is working on a private messaging function.
According to "well-placed" sources of GigaOm's, the new feature would compete with Snapchat, who is rumored to be worth up and above $4 billion. The new feature would have group messaging functions, and would be baked into the upcoming new version of Instagram, which is expected to hit before the end of tthe year.
We should find this quite ironic, because Instagram is owned by Facebook, and we posted up a story about Facebook trying to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion, but were declined.
The developers of FlatOut did have a Kickstarter set up for their upcoming game, Next Car Game, but it looks like it has met a metal-crushing death. Not many gamers coughed up the funds to back the project, so Bugbear pulled the Kickstarter.
Bugbear will still continue Next Car Game through its Early Access program, going as far as offering a demo for early backers. Bugbear explained why it pulled the game from Kickstarter:
Although our Kickstarter campaign has attracted tremendous enthusiasm, during the last couple of weeks it's become obvious that we are not going to meet our goal. Because of this we have decided concentrate on our efforts on the pre-order campaign. As a thank-you to our faithful fans, we have decided to release a PLAYABLE technology sneak peek, and it's available RIGHT NOW to all our pre-order supporters. The sneak peek features a playground that we use internally to test various features various like car damage and environment destruction. The best thing about it is that you will get a chance to have fun and wreak havoc with an amazing 24 cars!
EA and DICE are offering up some double XP for Battlefield 4, which begins on November 28 and goes for seven days through to December 5. If you're like me, you haven't clocked up that much time on the game yet, and this is the perfect opportunity to clock those experience points up.
DICE has explained: "To show our appreciation for your patience as we work through these issues, we are announcing that from November 28 through December 5, we will reward all players with Double XP for every multiplayer match they complete. We understand that the launch issues may have impacted your progression, and we want to do everything we can to help you get back the XP that you may have lost."
It looks like DICE is apologizing to BF4 players through this double XP period, even offering the M1911 pistol scope on the 5th of December, which was previously something you could only own as a DICE developer. DICE added: "You are the heart and soul of Battlefield. We thank you for your support in these early days of the launch, and will continue to show our appreciation as time goes on."
Update: It seems that there wasn't 'someone' or a company that purchased these Bitcoins, but rather a transfer of Bitcoins. It could be that Bitstamp possibly moved its own funds around, which made this look (to a Bitcoin novice like myself) a massive transfer worth $150 million, and thus, major news - but it looks like it was not. Apologies.
Bitcoins have been going up and down in price, where we saw it rise past $600 in value just a few days ago, but now the price is beginning to stabilize. Bitcoin has been making the mainstream headlines quite a lot, but this latest transaction should see much more attention paid to the digital currency.
Someone in Germany must have quite a lot of cash on-hand, as they just acquired over 194,000 Bitcoins... which has a value of approximately $150 million. Yes, $150,000,000 in Bitcoins. Even the richest people around don't just have $150 million in cash to just spend, so are we looking at a central bank or government scooping up all these Bitcoins?
Also remember, that Germany has recently recognized Bitcoins as a "unit of account" which means it can be used for private transactions. This means that the German government can now tax owners of Bitcoins, and this new $150 million transaction will have quite the tax bill, won't it? Whatever has happened, and whoever has bought these Bitcoins, some serious money just changed hands.
Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, is one of the best-looking PC games on the market right now, with the developer coming out and saying that it is pledging its commitment to optimizing its games for PC.
We've just lived through the launches of both next-gen consoles, and now Sylvain Trottier, Associate Producer of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag has had some wise words on the Ubisoft Blog. Trottier talked about Ubisoft finishing up the R&D stages of Black Flag, where they began working on optimizing the PC version of the game first.
There are three reasons behind this: the first, is that every team member has a PC at their desk, most engineers are more experienced and familiar with the PC environment in the early stages of next-gen consoles, and finally, the PS4 and Xbox One are pretty much PCs with their x86-based architectures. He said: "It's not 100 percent linear, but at least it gives you an order of magnitude."
Microsoft has over 1 million Xbox Ones in the wild, but it looks like some of these next-gen consoles are having issues with the internal Blu-ray drive. Problem is, Microsoft has no solution just yet.
The problematic Xbox Ones are seeing a bad grinding sound when the Xbox Ones Blu-ray drive attempts to read discs. The other issue is, we don't know how many Xbox One units have been affected. Kotaku reported the issue earlier on this evening, seeing over 100 people e-mail them, with the problem on their Xbox One unit, or knowing someone with the issue.
Microsoft's launch of the Xbox One has seen 1 million consoles fly out the door, with the company calling it the "biggest launch in Xbox history". The Xbox One launched in 13 markets across the world, including the United States, Australia, parts of Europe and South America.
Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at Xbox, said in a statement: "We are humbled and grateful for the excitement of Xbox fans around the world. Seeing thousands of excited fans lined up to get their Xbox One and their love for gaming was truly a special moment for everyone on the Xbox team. We are working hard to create more Xbox One consoles and look forward to fulfilling holiday gift wishes this season."
We know that Sony sold 1 million PlayStation 4s in the first 24 hours of it being launched, but it is a more impressive number considering it was only in the US and Canada. This is a more impressive number, at least to me, because it's just two markets, and not the many more that Microsoft launched the Xbox One in.
When the world was first introduced to the modular smartphone concept, many industry analyst laughed and said that it would never happen, and that it was impossible. I was one of those people. Today Motorola has stepped up and partnered with 3D Systems to begin development and production of the Ara modular smartphone.
The deal is spread out over several years and 3D Systems will be tasked with developing a unique 3D Printing system that Motorola has dubbed "the factory of the future." The question is, how realistic will it be to 3D print anything other than the case or chassis of the phone? With today's 3D Printing technology, we are nowhere near printing a nano-scale circuit board, integrated circuits or even refined transistors capable of building other electronic components. This deal is a step in the right direction however and will lead to some interesting technology advances.
Today Pogoplug launched a new device for $49 that it claims will anonymize your entire homes web traffic. Named the Safeplug, the device connects to your router and uses the Tor network to hide all of your networks traffic to the internet. Pogoplug says that this allows users to privately access the internet without the need for special browsers.
The device does not require any software, or special programs to work, and simply requires being plugged in. Pogoplug does not guarantee that all of your traffic will be untraceable but it does include a built-in ad blocker, so you can forget about adblock for ever. There will also be a noticeable drop connection speed, and some websites may not work at all. The Safeplug retails for $49 and is available now at Pogoplug's website.
It seems that as every day passes, Bitcoins grow more popular with the mainstream, and today is no exception. This morning, Virgin Galactic announced that it has began accepting Bitcoin as payment for round trip flights into space. The announcement came from Virgin Galactic founder, Richard Branson in a blog post.
"Virgin Galactic is one of the universe's most exciting, futuristic companies. Bitcoin, the virtual currency, has really captured the imagination recently as one of the world's most innovative businesses looking to the future. So we think it is about time Virgin Galactic customers can choose to pay with bitcoins." said Branson in the blog post.
Branson went on to say that he has invested in Bitcoins himself, and that he finds it fascinating how a global currency has been created so quickly. "For people who can afford to invest a little in bitcoins, it's worth looking into." he said.