The rise of eSports might be overlooked in the United States, but is growing rapidly worldwide - and online gambling websites are jumping into the fun. Pinnacle, E-Sport Bets, Datbet, and several others have seen eSports gambling interest increase, with a specific interest in League of Legends and Dota 2 matches.
Here is what Phil Hudson, from the online betting website Pinnacle Sports, recently mentioned to NBC News: "E-sports is definitely our fastest area of growth. It's quite big in Asia and Eastern Europe, but e-sports is really a phenomenon across the world."
eSports has risen to become Pinnacle's eight most popular sport to gamble on, with more than 350,000 bets so far in 2014 - and while that doesn't come close to soccer or American football, the company has seen placed bets double each year since 2011. There are now eight employees dedicated to determining the lines and wagers of eSports.
During NVIDIA's earnings call a few days ago, the company teased its upcoming next-gen GPU, even though it only released its GeForce GTX 900 series a couple of months ago - cards that are still kick ass. These cards are based on the GM204 GPU, but the new one coming is the GM200 core, which should provide a big boost in performance.
Previously, we thought that NVIDIA would release this GPU on 16nm, but the 16nm process is being chewed up at TSMC. NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture is so efficient, it could fit on the 28nm process, and be re-released next year, or early 2016 when the 16nm FinFET process is ready for it. This would allow for even more performance, allowing NVIDIA to strike at AMD twice, and probably still win all sides of the battle.
Just how fast should we expect these new GPUs to be? We could expect around 50% more performance than the GeForce GTX 980, which is already a damn impressive card, but 50% more performance? Yes, thanks, NVIDIA.
Skateboard legend Tony Hawk confirmed he's working with Activision on a new skateboarding console game that should be released in 2015. It's unknown if the title will be available for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360, or for next-generation consoles only.
Here is what Hawk confirmed via Twitter: "I'm currently working with Activision on a console game for 2015 (along with a new mobile game). I think fans of THPS series will be hyped."
Additional details will be made available later down the road, and it doesn't appear Activision is ready to spill the beans on exact game details just yet.
The recent report from Palo Alto Networks that disclosed the WireLurker malware targeting Apple iOS and Mac OS X was a sudden wakeup call to users. Even though it was isolated to China, and Apple has blocked the malware, cyberattackers are finding new ways to compromise iPhones and Mac OS systems. The company has done a great job to keep its software ecosystem secure, especially if devices aren't jailbroken, but cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their research strategies.
Here is what Ryan Olson, Palo Alto Networks intelligence director, recently told eWeek: "We will continue to see new malware for both Mac OS X and iOS, and they will incrementally get better and better. I would be most worried about high-value targets," with a focus on government officials and political rivals.
Cyberattacks targeting Google Android and Microsoft Windows will remain more prevalent, but Apple users - many of them used to being relatively secure - could also be caught off guard when major security issues are released in the wild.
Medical researchers are developing new robots with the ability to fight Ebola and other dangerous viruses that could pose future health risks across the world. Development is advancing rapidly, but very few models are available to actually fight these risks - but doctors can deploy telepresence robots to remotely communicate with medical patients, along with clean up and decontamination of hospital rooms and other locations.
"People have an expectation that the robots are going to go in and do something dramatic," said Ken Goldberg, University of California, Berkeley engineering professor. "The capabilities are limited right now. There's a lot of research that needs to be done. We just want to set expectations. This is not going to save the day. These are some tools that we hope will be useful in both the near term and long term."
The United States Air Force is using an Ebola-zapping robot at a Langley hospital to help kill the virus and prevent it from spreading. In addition, the Xenes Disinfection Services robots are being used in private hospitals, as a method to prevent the spread of Ebola - by ensuring ultraviolet rays help kill the virus.
After publicly unveiling Overwatch during Blizzcon 2014, the public video demo shows 12 heroes - all with unique skills and fighting styles - battling through multiple environments. The design team wanted "limitless diversity" in the gaming environment, which will continue to need adjustments during internal testing - and when the beta opens up next year.
Here is what Bill Petras, Blizzard Art Director said: "We want to have a world of diversity, so that's something we're really excited about. Looking at all the heroes, there is a lot of iteration back and forth when I work with the heroes."
The Overwatch beta will begin 2015, but interested gamers can now sign up for a test of team-based shooter. Blizzard doesn't have a scheduled release date for the game, and will continue to work to ensure the product is well polished before release.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has been available since last week, and Sledgehammer Games is preparing a patch that will resolve bug problems and fine-tune other issues, based on input from the gaming community. Since launching on November 3, the game was met with mainly positive reviews from game sites and gamers, and Sledgehammer Games wants to continue appeasing customers with fast changes.
The update will address: in-game chat notification location, prestige reset problems, optimize connections, resolve leaderboard stat problems, fix round-based game modes that affect Win/Loss ratios, and other
"Our team has been working hard on improvements to the game," said Michael Condrey, studio head and Sledgehammer Games co-founder. "We've also had our ears to the ground, listening to your feedback. Our commitment to continuing to support the game and community is as strong as ever, and we have the whole team focused on making the experience the best it can be."
Humans will find signs of extraterrestrial life within the next 24 years if current science developments and research breakthroughs continue, according to senior astronomer Dr. Seth Shostak. Shostak leads the Center for SETI Researcher in Mountain View, California, and recently spoke to students at Deer Valley High School about the current hunt for aliens in outer space.
"If there are at least a few thousands of those 100-billion star systems out there - a few thousand that have some society that's broadcasting signals that are reaching us today - then we're going to find E.T> within two dozen years."
Researchers will directly find life nearby, discover microscopic life, or end up finding evidence of intelligence life somewhere in space.
The current console market is fully consumed by the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One devices, though many often overlook Nintendo's Wii U. It's true that there are similarities in the game catalogs for both the PS4 and Xbox One, but that's because game developers want their titles on the two more popular consoles.
Here is what Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said: "If you look at the other two competitive platforms, fundamentally, what's the difference? They have a lot of shared content. Look at it from the standpoint of, what don't they have? They don't have our games. They don't have Mario and Zelda. I'd much rather be where Nintendo is, with a differentiated platform, differentiated set-up experiences that we can provide uniquely to the consumer."
It's true that the PS4 and Xbox One don't have Mario or Zelda - but a counter to that argument is that many game studios would rather develop games for Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo relies heavily on a small handful of game franchises, while the PS4 and Xbox One can provide a diversified product offering.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been vocal regarding the current state of surveillance, with governments increasingly using technology to snoop on users. Snowden said FBI director James Comey's statement regarding using front-door, legal intelligence gathering as nothing more than "rhetoric, noting "there is no real difference."
"One of the most significant things that was not well understood about the events of last year was that it's not entirely about surveillance," Snowden said. "We have seen a trend towards governments that are affording themselves, in secret, greater powers and more and more authority without the consent or awareness of the public."
The FBI, NSA and GCHQ believe they need to be proactive - using questionable tactics against a wide net of Internet users - and that will continue to upset many privacy experts and regular Internet users.