Mojang say 'no' to a 'Goonies-style' movie about Minecraft

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Dec 13, 2014 10:32 PM CST

Mojang and Warner Bros. have been having discussions about a Minecraft movie, with Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy walking away from the project. Levy was brought on to work on a Minecraft movie, but Mojang didn't like the idea of an adventure movie similar to 1985's The Goonies.

Levy talked with The Wall Street Journal saying: "How might this ever be a story for a movie? Because it's not a narrative game. And we came up with an approach that felt good to us, and I discussed it with Mojang". Levy continued, saying that his idea wasn't exactly a comedy, but "It had a bit of a Goonies flair. ... It was an adventure movie, and I thought it could have been a lot of fun and fulfilled a lot of the qualities that people love about the game".

The director said that Mojang didn't see it that way, with Levy continuing: "And they're like, 'That doesn't sound like what we want. If we're going to see a movie get made, we don't know what we want, but that doesn't feel right". Levy had four other movies to work on going into the New Year, where he added: "The truth is there is a long history of trying to make great movies out of games, and they're rarely done well. Mojang is still figuring out what they want. We gave it a shot and it wasn't the right fit, so, these things happen".

Continue reading: Mojang say 'no' to a 'Goonies-style' movie about Minecraft (full post)

Oculus VR acquires hand-tracking company Nimble VR

It looks like Facebook has been spending big on its most exciting acquisition, Oculus VR, to acquire two companies that would better position Oculus VR as the absolute champion of VR technology... when the Rift launches that is.

Oculus VR has acquired two companies this week, the first being Nimble VR while the second one being 13th Lab. Nimble VR is a two-year old company that took to Kickstarter a while ago, developing skeletal hand tracking and software, as well as a depth-sensing camera dubbed Nimble Sense that would see the hands of Oculus Rift users in the VR world, all with gesture recognition. 13th Lab is the other company Oculus VR acquired, which makes accurate, maker-less augmented reality tracking and real-time 3D construction framework technology.

Oculus VR talked about its acquisition of 13th Lab in a blog post saying: "The ability to acquire accurate 3D models of the real-world can enable all sorts of new applications and experiences, like visiting a one-to-one 3D model of the pyramids in Egypt or the Roman Colosseum in VR". Oculus isn't finished just yet, as it also announced it has hired motion capture expert Chris Breglar, who is a professor of Computer Science at New York University and contributor to motion tracking special effects in big Hollywood films like Star Trek Into Darkness and The Lone Ranger. Bregler will lead a vision research team at Oculus VR.

Continue reading: Oculus VR acquires hand-tracking company Nimble VR (full post)

COD: Advanced Warfare sales down 27% against COD: Ghosts in the US

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Dec 13, 2014 8:35 PM CST

You probably thought Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has been selling millions upon millions of games, and with it being better received than the last Call of Duty outing - Call of Duty: Ghosts - most would think the sales would've been beating Ghosts, but that's not the case.

When it comes to retail copies in the US, Advanced Warfare has sold around 27% less than Ghosts did last year. Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson has noticed the downward trend based on figures from stat-tracking firm NPD. According to NPD's November report, Activision sales were down 22% for the month, with Advanced Warfare seeing a 27% year-over-year decline in sales compared to Ghosts.

Olsen said: "This is disappointing data following first week Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sales showing a year-over-year increase. NPD data does not include digital copies or international sales, which, if included, would lessen the year-over-year decline, but we believe this data suggests potential for Q4 revenue upside is now very low". While a 27% drop might sound bad, consider that Advanced Warfare has been the best-selling retail game of the year in the US. Activision announced earlier today: "In only its first month of release, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is already the number one top-selling console game of the year through November in the U.S. overall, as well as individually on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3".

Continue reading: COD: Advanced Warfare sales down 27% against COD: Ghosts in the US (full post)

Sony enjoying PlayStation 4 success, looks ahead to cloud gaming

Michael Hatamoto | Gaming | Dec 13, 2014 7:23 PM CST

The Sony PlayStation 4 - and the company's overall gaming portfolio - has done well, while Sony struggles company-wide with six financial losses over the past seven years. Specifically, Sony looks to transition gamers to PlayStation Now, a streaming game service available for its consoles, and that has required large investments and careful preparation.

Sony has increased efforts to purchase surfers and investing more in cloud technology, so it will be able to increase stability of PlayStation Now. Even though Sony could cannibalize its own PS4 hardware - the company understands it should work towards embracing cloud-based gaming as soon as it feels ready to. Gamers only need game controllers and PS Now provides around 200 game titles that are sent directly to any high-definition TV.

"If you look at other forms of entertainment and the dramatic impact streaming has had on those, that says to us that there's clearly a strong consumer satisfaction with the instant gratification that's provided by streaming experiences," said Andrew House, Sony Computer Entertainment president, in a recent statement published by Bloomberg Businessweek. "We think that has a role to play in the future of games, as well."

Continue reading: Sony enjoying PlayStation 4 success, looks ahead to cloud gaming (full post)

Facebook drops Microsoft's Bing search, will unveil its own tool

Michael Hatamoto | Internet & Websites | Dec 13, 2014 6:20 PM CST

Facebook has quietly decided to stop showing Microsoft Bing search engine results on its social networking site, as the company continues to develop its own search engine. Facebook plans to roll out a new search tool on Monday so users are able to find past comments, posts and other data published by their friends.

It will be curious to see how Facebook develops its own search tool, as Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo have continually revamped their own search offerings. Furthermore, Facebook has more than 1 billion users and a whopping 1 trillion posts - and despite initial difficulties - will be a crucial endeavor for the No. 1 social networking website.

"We're not currently showing Web search results in Facebook Search because we're focused on helping people find what's been shared with them on Facebook," a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters. "We continue to have a great partnership with Microsoft of lots of different areas."

Continue reading: Facebook drops Microsoft's Bing search, will unveil its own tool (full post)

The Pirate Bay have been taken down, but didn't drop piracy levels

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 13, 2014 5:34 PM CST

It very well could have been a symbolic victory and nothing else, after The Pirate Bay was shuttered, but digital piracy levels didn't significantly drop. Piracy torrent statistics have been made available courtesy of the anti-piracy Excipio firm, which tracks movie, TV shows, music, video games, and software torrent downloads - and on Dec. 8, the day before Pirate Bay servers were seized, there were 101.5 million IP addresses engaged in torrent downloads.

The number dropped to 99 million on Dec. 9, then down to 95 million on Dec. 10, and 95.6 million downloads on Dec. 11, according to Excipio. However, the number again topped 100 million on Dec. 12, which noted that the daily average of torrent downloads worldwide since Nov. 1 was 99.99 million.

For interested Internet users, there are dozens of other websites that allow access to torrent downloads, and Internet piracy will continue to be a thorn in the side to governments and copyright holders.

Continue reading: The Pirate Bay have been taken down, but didn't drop piracy levels (full post)

FBI warns US companies to be aware of potential cyberattacks from Iran

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 13, 2014 4:14 PM CST

US companies need to be aware of increasingly sophisticated Iranian cyberespionage operations, according to the FBI, with targets ranging from educational institutions, energy firms, defense contractors, and additional critical infrastructure.

As part of Operation Cleaver, there have been 50 victims in 16 countries reported so far, according to cybersecurity company Cylance. The FBI's "Flash" report also included technical details about sophisticated malware and attack strategies that are likely being used by Iranian cybercriminals. "It underscores Iran's determination and fixation on large-scale compromise of critical infrastructure," Cylance CEO Stuart McClure reportedly noted.

Potential victims have been asked by the FBI to speak with them, especially if potential links point towards foreign cybercriminals.

Continue reading: FBI warns US companies to be aware of potential cyberattacks from Iran (full post)

NASA being given extra funds in 2015, as space research accelerates

The House of Representatives issued the "Cromnibus" bill that will give NASA an $18 billion budget in 2015, a 2 percent increase than 2014, while also giving NASA more than $500 million it requested. Pres. Obama's original $17.5 billion budget request asked for $4.79 billion to be used for the Science Mission Directorate, $1.28 billion to planetary sciences research - the Science Mission Directorate will receive $5.24 billion and $1.44 billion towards planetary sciences.

The additional budget should be welcome news for the US space agency, which has fallen short of federal budget targets in past years. This is good news for NASA, which must spend at least $100 million of the budget to launch a robot probe to Jupiter's icy moon of Europa.

"They added nearly $300 million to the entire science mission directorate," said Casey Dreier, Planetary Society advocacy director, in a statement to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). "No one paid the price for restoration of the cuts to planetary science. That's a big deal."

Continue reading: NASA being given extra funds in 2015, as space research accelerates (full post)

Apple OS X users in the United States faced largest number of attacks

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 13, 2014 2:35 AM CST

Apple OS X users in the United States faced a large number of cyberattacks, with almost 100,000 users being targeted, according to a Kaspersky Lab report. Not surprisingly, that accounted for 39 percent of total Mac OS X cyberattacks - largely because the US has the largest number of Apple product owners - as cybercriminals pay more attention to iOS on smartphones and tablets, along with OS X on desktop computers and laptops.

AdWare programs were the most popular method of attack against OS X users, accounting for almost half of the top 20 list, according to Kaspersky.

OS X users are strongly urged to install some type of anti-virus and anti-malware software solution, as cybercriminals pay more attention to compromising Apple products.

Continue reading: Apple OS X users in the United States faced largest number of attacks (full post)

Windows 7 update wreaks havoc on user software

Chris Smith | Software & Apps | Dec 12, 2014 10:54 PM CST

The Windows KB3004394 update was issued on December the 10th and has just been confirmed by Microsoft as a major problem causer for many users - reportededly effecting only Windows 7, not Windows 8, users.

This update will not only possibly stop you from installing newer updates, but AMD's Robert Hallock has claimed that this update will prevent you from installing new software like graphics drivers - severely effecting the roll-out of their new AMD Catalyst Omega drivers which were launched on the same day as this update blow-out.

There have been many more reported issues on Microsoft's support forums, with users complaining that they are unable to run programs such as Windows Defender, VirtualBox and are receiving constant User Account Control errors.

Continue reading: Windows 7 update wreaks havoc on user software (full post)