Microsoft officially purchases Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5 billion

Michael Hatamoto | Gaming | Sep 15, 2014 12:22 PM CDT

Microsoft has confirmed it will pay $2.5 billion to purchase Mojang, the company responsible for Minecraft. Minecraft has sold more than 54 million copies across the world, and the three founding executives of Mojang will reportedly leave the company. The game is the top paid app for both the Google Android and Apple iOS, and with only 4 employees, brought in $287 in revenues during 2013

"At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people," the company said in a press statement. "Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms. Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise."

News of the acquisition sent shockwaves through the Minecraft community, with many gamers worried about which direction Microsoft would take. Meanwhile, Microsoft hopes to draw gamers mobile platform instead of focusing on the Xbox One or PC.

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Apple quietly retires iPod classic

Ben Gourlay | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Sep 12, 2014 7:08 PM CDT

Amidst the hub bub of this week's Apple Event which saw the company, as expected, officially launch both the iPhone 6 and its larger brethren along with the long rumoured Apple Watch, the device that started it all - the original iPod, now dubbed 'iPod' classic' was being quietly shuffled off stage before being put out of its misery.

Apple quietly retires iPod classic

Officially discontinued as of September 9th, the sixth generation 160GB iPod will no longer be manufactured and once inventory has cleared, will no longer be available for sale. The news will hardly come as a shock to Apple fans - the writing has been on the wall for some time, with Apple CEO Tim Cook confirming that the iPod product line was "a declining business". Apple have removed the device from online listings.

The iPhone 6 line goes on sale worldwide next Friday.

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Oculus VR CEO donates $31 million to a University for a VR lab

Oculus VR is pushing for the future of VR to be awesome, so what better way than donating millions of dollars to a University to build a new VR lab? That's exactly what Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus VR has done, donating $31 million to the University of Maryland.

The money will be used to build a new computer science building that will feature a VR lab. Iribe had the idea of donating the funds after the acquisition made by Facebook in March of this year for $2 billion, after he met with Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, where he walked around the University and noticed that not much had changed around the place.

Iribe met Michael Antonov at the time, who is now the Chief Software Architect of Oculus VR, who will be donating $4 million the university to help with the construction of the building, and establish a scholarship. Iribe spoke with Business Insider, where he said: "It will have a big focus on robotics and computer vision, computer graphics, and human computer interaction. In the past, computers have been used regularly as a tool, so you don't need to bring in psychologists or the biotech side of things to understand how the computer affects the brain in order to make a great operating system. But in VR, you actually do".

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iPhone 6 benchmarks spotted, barely faster than iPhone 5S

When Apple announced the iPhone 6, we had confirmation that Apple's next generation iPhone would be powered by the company's A8 processor. We heard it was a 20nm design, one of the first on the market at this process, and that we should expect a decent bump in performance over the iPhone 5S' A7 processor.

At the time we didn't know what clock speed the A8 would be clocked at, but we knew it be another dual-core processor, the same amount of cores found in the A7. Apple's A7 chip runs at 1.3GHz, so most expected the A8 to be clocked much higher - maybe 1.5-1.6GHz - to provide the jump in performance, but now we know: the A8 processor in the iPhone 6 runs at 1.4GHz, just 100MHz more than the A7 chip in the iPhone 5S.

The news is coming from Rightware's benchmark database, with Basemark X being run on a slew of devices. Apple's A7-powered iPhone 5S scores 20253.80 while the A8-powered iPhone 6 scores 21204.26 - barely any difference. We will have more benchmarks on Apple's latest smartphone when ours arrives next week, so keep your eyes peeled on TweakTown.

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Assassins Creed film casts Robert Downey Jr as Leonardo da Vinci

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Sep 11, 2014 8:35 PM CDT

Ubisoft Motion Pictures have been working diligently behind the scenes for a number of years to get their maiden production - a big budget feature adaptation of the 'Assassins Creed' video game off the ground. However, today they might have just enacted a huge casting coup, by signing none other than 'Iron Man' himself - Mr Robert Downey Jr' in the role of the the famed Italian renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci.

Assassins Creed film casts Robert Downey Jr as Leonardo da Vinci

The casting looks to also sheds some light on the films plot, which might take some cues from 'Assassins Creed 2', which prominently featured da Vinci's designs and contraptions.

Actor Michael Fassbender has long been attached to the title role of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, but has repeatedly stated that script problems have been the source of delays. With the latest news of casting, hopefully the wheels will move just that little bit faster.

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LG unveil first 4K OLED displays in U.S

Ben Gourlay | Displays & Projectors | Sep 11, 2014 6:48 PM CDT

With the home entertainment industry's attempts to prolong the lifespan of plasma and then LCD by the introduction of 3D technology falling flat on its face and the move to force 4K as the next best thing being resisted, in part due to little content and high prices has seen some manufacturers redouble their efforts into OLED technology. Now, LG has bought both technologies into one device for the first time.

LG unveil first 4K OLED displays in U.S

LG will ship two models to the US next month, coming in 65 inch and 77 inch varieties, for $10,000 and $25,000 respectively (although will be expected to be discounted significantly) both utilising the faddish 'curved' design. There has been no word yet on availability in Australia.

OLED technology has been in deployment for some years in smaller devices, such as mobile phone displays and in the initial PlayStation Vita model and has been heralded for its spectacular image quality and brightness, superb black levels and lowered power consumption but has proven difficult and costly to manufacture at bigger sizes at a large scale, whilst also battling poor half-life life expectancy.

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MPAA seeks re-education and not new legislation to fight piracy

Michael Hatamoto | Internet & Websites | Sep 11, 2014 1:30 PM CDT

Music and movie copyright groups tried to fight Internet piracy by suing individual file sharers, shutting down peer-to-peer networks, and creating new anti-piracy legislation. However, as Internet piracy continued to evolve, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), tasked with movie copyright issues of the top six Hollywood studios, wants to adjust its tactics.

"The world is changing at warp speed," noted Chris Dodd, MPAA CEO. "We are not going to legislate or litigate our way out of it. We are going to innovate our way by educating people about the hard work of people."

Although it's refreshing to hear the MPAA isn't interested in creating new legislation or potential court litigation - many Internet users are weary that any new efforts could still end poorly for the community. But hearing that copyright groups understand there are new ways to provide content in a legitimate manner proves a shifting focus towards the future.

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Destiny hits $500M in sales in one day, largest game franchise launch

Michael Hatamoto | Gaming | Sep 11, 2014 12:30 PM CDT

Destiny shook up the gaming industry after launching earlier this week, topping $500 million in sales to retailers during launch day. The game title was made by Bungie and published by Activision, with hype surrounding the game building over the past few months. Sales to retailers doesn't provide an exact tally of game sales to consumers, but indicates retailers expect it to continue to be a sought after game title.

"Since the beginning, we've been confident that our investment and belief in Destiny would pay off," said Eric Hirshberg, head of Activision game publishing. "But not many people believed we'd be able to say it did so on day one. We have more confidence than ever that Destiny will become one of the iconic franchises of this generation, and Activision's next billion dollar brand."

Video game blockbusters are big money, with gamers often preferring to continue playing storylines as they develop over multiple titles. Some analysts predict Destiny could sell 10 million units to consumers before the end of the year, indicating it could become a major influence to help push console sales.

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Report: Microsoft rebranding mobile, no more Lumia, Windows Phone

Microsoft is reportedly phasing out Nokia and Windows Phone branding, as the company wants to move ahead with its Microsoft Lumia smartphones. The multi-billion-dollar purchase of Nokia's devices division gave Microsoft access to the company's phone portfolio, but Nokia is still a different company.

Dropping Windows Phone might prove to be a puzzling choice, however, recent Microsoft smartphone marketing referred to devices as "Windows." The upcoming Windows 9 desktop should be designed to cross both smartphones and tablets with a single OS, as Microsoft won't try to promote three separate OSes for desktop, smartphones and tablets again. Microsoft's commercial for the Lumia 930 didn't refer to Windows Phone, only referring to the device running Windows.

Marketing efforts aside, Microsoft faces an uphill battle to compete in the mobile market, dominated by Google Android and Apple iOS software - and led by Apple, Samsung, and other manufacturers.

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Star Wars set accidentally stumbled upon by aerial photographer

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Sep 10, 2014 6:20 PM CDT

There's a lot of reward that comes from filming in real locations, including a tangible sense of reality that was undoubtedly missing from the 'Star Wars' prequels, due to all the blue screen digital backlots. But with that reward comes a lot of risk, such as the set being found and leaked to the public.

On a stock photography mission, Matthew Myatt from Airbourne Aviation accidentally found an 'Episode VII' set at the picturesque Greenham Common - a former Royal Air Force station in Berkshire, England. A partially completed Millennium Falcon and an X-Wing can be seen in the shot, which suspiciously looks to be a new rebel base.

'Star Wars: Episode VII' is on track for a December 18 2015 release.

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