Hilmar Pétursson is convinced virtual reality gaming will be mainstream in 2014. It’s a bold claim to put to people who, by next year, will have been exhausted by next-gen console purchases. But Pétursson has already tasked 20 engineers at his company, CCP, with creating what looks set to be the first major game designed solely for the Oculus Rift VR headset. EVE Valkyrie is a high-profile commitment: a Wing Commander-esque dogfighting title, which will tie into the same universe as CCP’s main PC and console properties, EVE Online and Dust 514. The question is whether significant numbers of gamers will choose to spend an estimated $300 on a pair of Oculus goggles. For a number of reasons — some immediate, some futuristic and others downright outlandish — Pétursson believes they’ll come up with the money. They won’t be able to stop themselves. Other games have been retrofitted to work with the Oculus Rift, but what’s the thinking behind making an EVE game that’s totally tied to this particular headset? EVE Online is about owning ships that you’ve spent time to create over many months or years. A ship is something you care about, and it can be taken away from you. That’s one of the core mechanics of the game. But that takes time. If you’re a core gamer, you’ve been trained over years and years to perceive value in virtual items. For a mainstream audience, it takes a longer time for them to care about items on this level. What I see when I put the VR goggles on is that it accelerates the curve of accepting that you are in a real place — you’re in a reality. And then you can generate emotions around virtual objects, just like real-world objects. You don’t have to destroy the Earth to feel those emotions.”These technologies may start off in one place, but then they meld into people’s behavior.”How much will EVE Valkyrie (formerly EVR) be a part of the EVE universe, rather than a separate experience?When the Oculus Rift Kickstarter project came about, a lot of the guys at CCP were backers at a personal level. They came up with this space dogfighting idea with cool head-tracking and aiming, but we knew it would be difficult to bring that to EVE Online, because EVE is more about strategy. We didn’t want to disrupt a game that half a million people enjoy. So we thought we could create something focused and fast-paced, with an entirely different game play paradigm, but still set in the EVE universe.In terms of tying Valkyrie to EVE Online, we haven’t really released a lot of information about that. But given how we’ve done it with EVE Online and Dust 514 — how a spaceship in EVE Online can shoot a laser down on a planet and it lands in Dust and affects the outcome of combat, and how there’s shared economics and social networks across the universe — it isn’t hard to imagine how we could add that level of connectivity across the three games. It could materialize that you’re one day flying a fighter that belongs to one of the larger carriers inside EVE. But right now, we’re focused on delivering the tightest experience, and we can add the connectivity as the thing progresses.Activision has suggested that the Oculus Rift is only good for “small doses” game play. Have you noticed any limitations like that? I’ve not seen a limit. Hundreds of people who go through the [Oculus] experience are super happy afterwards and they crave more. I myself haven’t had it on for hours and hours, but then again, we’re engineers — we’ve trained our eyes and our minds to look at a computer screen for hours and hours. We’ve just forgotten that we had to train ourselves to do that, or how to use a mouse. These technologies may start off in one place, but then they meld into people’s behavior. So I wouldn’t want to prejudge how people will use it.Some mods have tried to add a camera to the Oculus Rift to enable depth sensing. Have you developed anything in EVE Valkyrie that could make use of that? As soon as you can see your hand and put it in the VR, then you have a lot of interesting ways to be even more immersed. You can use your hands to interact with the world. There’s a guy in Orlando who has done that using Oculus and PlayStation’s motion controller [Note: video embedded below]. It paints a picture of what this could become, if you could really control your fingers.Do you expect the Oculus Rift to become an add-on for consoles eventually, even if it looks expensive for that type of market? $300 isn’t much less than the console itself.Well, consoles are changing. This is the lowest-priced generation of consoles, if you adjust for inflation. They’re also more like PCs than they’ve ever been. Microsoft and Sony are both doing a lot of accessory plays with their motion controllers. So I think it’s too early to say how it’s going to play out, but if Oculus works on a PC, I see no reason for it not to come on consoles.”… But the challenge with VR is that it’s very hard to explain it to anyone without them trying it out.”As for the right price, it will depend on how compelling the experiences are. Valkyrie is pretty compelling, but then you need five or six other super-compelling experiences; then it could take off in a big way. Core gamers have a big appetite to invest in their hobby, but the challenge with VR is that it’s very hard to explain it to anyone without them trying it out. So there’s a challenge with audience diffusion, because it’s hard for people to communicate that.Do you wish that others were also developing for Oculus Rift? We’re comfortable being pioneers, but I’d love for there to be more experiences to make the platform more compelling. I’ve seen some pretty cool YouTube videos, like that guy who had high-res scans of people in his living room, and he was walking around them wearing his goggles. It was kind of eerie to see that, and I think there will be a lot of innovation on that front. We’re going for something very simple, non-complicated, even obvious — you’re just a space fighter pilot — but there’s lots of scope for more human-to-human interaction in the future. [Editor’s note: the video of the human models is embedded below, and it has a smattering of nudity to go with its eeriness.]If everything goes as you hope for VR, where could the technology take us in five years? Within five years, we’re going to see things like Google Glass and VR headsets becoming much smaller, and they’ll also become more of a replacement for screens and televisions. This is frankly just a much more effective way to interact with your retina than staring at a PC monitor half a meter away from you, or staring at a large and very expensive TV screen four meters away from you. I can imagine taking an airplane ride two or three years from now and spending the whole flight in virtual reality. It’s no longer a drag to be on the airplane because you’re having a connected human experience, or some kind of telepresence with your friends, or you’re playing a mech game or something. I fly a lot, so I look forward to that time, and I think that can all happen within the next five years.A connected human experience — such as virtually “meeting” passengers sitting on other rows of the aircraft, perhaps? Yeah, a space where people can choose to get together. Like a virtual nightclub on the plane. It’s a good idea!More InfoVorpX translates existing games for Oculus RiftOculus explains battles against latency and motion sicknessHands-on with the Oculus Rift HDWhat about further into the future? Further away, maybe 15 years from now, as we’re already helping blind people to “see” by feeding information straight to the brain, maybe we can just skip our eyes and connect directly to the image generation part of the brain. Then you connect to the internet and you just think about Wikipedia and all of a sudden it’s superimposed onto your reality. We can do all of this, but it’s going to be about what’s commercially viable and I think VR headsets will define that commercial viability a lot. They will get smaller, cheaper, faster, lower-power and investment will eventually go away from big screens and come into this instead.
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you’ve come to the right post.Feeling behind in EverQuest II? SOE’s taking away that excuse this week by handing you the reins of a free level 85 heroic character. If you’re at a loss of what to do with that toon, don’t fret, because we’ve got the answer for that too! The studio’s also making EQII’s free-to-play model more attractive by removing item restrictions. It’s hard to thumb your nose at free, right?We’ve got the rest of the week’s top stories after the jump! WildStar’s Gaffney on why the game isn’t free-to-playWildStar unveils the details on ability mechanicsWildStar Wednesday reveals shiphand missionsOpinion: WildStar’s big missed (business) opportunityStar Citizen crowdfunding campaign breaks $20 millionRoberts debunks Star Citizen ‘feature creep’ theories, announces next stretch goalStar Citizen’s AMD trailer sizzlesRoberts on Star Citizen’s exploration gameplay, publisher-free developmentA second look at Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm RebornFinal Fantasy worlds collide as FFXIII’s Lightning joins FFXIVOpinion: Hybrid penalty, Elder Scrolls Online?Dragon Ball Online has reached its final formNeverwinter’s Velasquez on lockboxes, Foundry, and Module 2Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2’s dragon evolutionResearch suggests MMOs may ‘encourage pathological game use’Opinion: Will Star Citizen or Elite harm EVE?EverQuest’s Call of the Forsaken lands October 8thEVE Online: Rubicon coming November 19thBlizzard drops details on Hearthstone beta wipeTen places you see in every MMOJagex introduces RuneScape bonds, new business modelOpinion: WAR’s biggest battle was with itselfAnd from our sister site, WoW Insider…WoW Trivial Pursuit now availablePvP Gear: The Season 14 fiasco explainedSiege of Orgrimmar LFR Wing Two opensEngineering pet changes mean Pierre can be caged
Valve has revealed a new controller optimized for Steam and Steam Machines devices, concluding this week’s string of announcements aimed at bridging the gap between PC gaming and the living room. The peripheral will support the full catalog of Steam games released to date, and will include legacy support for older titles that lack controller support.Contrasting “traditional gamepads,” Valve’s peripheral uses two trackpads, rather than the dual-analog setup common to consoles. Balancing the lack of physical sticks, Valve’s controller uses haptic feedback, “allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement.”The controller additionally features a touch-enabled surface with a high-resolution screen. The screen can also be clicked as a button. When a player taps the touch screen, its display overlays on top of the game itself, eliminating the need to look down at the controller during gameplay. According to Valve, “The screen allows an infinite number of discrete actions to be made available to the player, without requiring an infinite number of physical buttons.” Valve’s peripheral announcement follows up on the recent unveiling of SteamOS, a dedicated Linux-based operating system capable of streaming Windows and Mac games from Steam to a user’s television. Valve later revealed that its Steam Machines hardware lineup would incorporate SteamOS, noting as part of its beta signup that pre-production units are bundled with a unique controller.”We set out with a singular goal: bring the Steam experience, in its entirety, into the living-room,” Valve explains. “We knew how to build the user interface, we knew how to build a machine, and even an operating system. But that still left input – our biggest missing link. We realized early on that our goals required a new kind of input technology – one that could bridge the gap from the desk to the living room without compromises. So we spent a year experimenting with new approaches to input and we now believe we’ve arrived at something worth sharing and testing with you.”A detailed look at Valve’s controller, with sample key bindings, is below.
This is a Snapshot, a quick, un-scored review of a game we think you should know about.I have a problem with “found footage” horror movies. No matter how good they are, almost all of them end the same way. Whoever has the camera gets attacked by something, and the camera falls to the ground, inevitably on its side. Either you get a final glimpse of the pretend cinematographer as their life ebbs away, or you get to hear their off-screen cries of agony as some unseen terror eviscerates them.It’s not that the device doesn’t make sense (how else could it end, really?), it’s just not a very satisfying way to wrap up a story. It’s abrupt and disappointing and, at this point, trite. What indie horror game Paranormal has taught me, however, is that all of that changes when the camera is placed in your own virtual hands. The tired movie trope suddenly becomes interesting – and you can’t yell at the idiot with the camera, because the idiot is you. Gallery: Paranormal (9/18/13) | 11 Photos 11 +7 Paranormal – Kickstarted last year – borrows liberally from found footage horror movies, most notably the Paranormal Activity franchise. As artist Mattel Clark, you’re out to prove to the world that your house is haunted. Armed with only a video camera, your job is pretty simple: wander through your home at night and wait for things to go bump. And bump they will. Paranormal is essentially an interactive haunted house, filled with randomized scares that you stumble across or inadvertently trigger.These range from slightly creepy things like cardboard boxes moving of their own accord to panic-inducing moments where unseen entities shove you to the ground. The simplest scares are the best: loud knocks from nowhere, a stranger standing in the dark. More than a few of these made me jump out of my chair, involuntarily yelling. Just the environment is unsettling enough. As an artist, Mattel’s house is littered with sinister sculptures, bizarre paintings and faceless posing mannequins. (Did that one just move? I think it moved.)You’ll also uncover notes that detail the house’s history, providing an explanation for the haunting. You won’t find the same notes every time you play, making the story shift ever so slightly, though it’s always centered on the same characters.A single mechanic ties everything together: Mattel has to go to sleep to let his camera recharge. Fail to do this, and a dead battery will result in a dead Mattel. What makes it fun is that Mattel’s death will change based on where he is in the house. If the camera runs out of juice in the kitchen, for example, Mattel may be impaled by poltergeist-thrown knives (and yes, the last thing you will see is the camera falling to the ground). Getting to sleep on time and recharging the camera moves things along, beginning a new day of evidence gathering and bringing about a new set of hauntings. As the days pass, hauntings become progressively more pronounced and aggressive, eventually working their way into Mattel’s bedroom itself, lending a sense of urgency to Mattel’s quest to solve the mystery behind it all. (In keeping with horror tradition, just heading out the front door and never looking back isn’t an option.)I suspect that the effectiveness of Paranormal’s tricks will probably fall along the same lines as that of its clearest inspiration, Paranormal Activity. Either you will be abjectly terrified, like me, or you’ll find the whole thing kind of ridiculous. Like any horror story, it’s silly if you’re not in the right frame of mind. Headphones and low light are recommended.The only other thing that stands in the way of full enjoyment is the fact that Paranormal isn’t finished. It’s currently available via Desura and Steam Early Access, but developer Matt Cohen has made it clear that Paranormal is still in active development. That means you may encounter a few bugs. During one session I managed to walk through a solid door, and a persistent, pulsing sound effect refused to stop. Some surface textures don’t look right under the glow of Mattel’s flashlight. The glitches are all bearable, but definitely noticeable. The story is pretty thin, and you can complete it in under an hour, but the randomized hauntings make Paranormal good for several runs – and of course you can inflict it upon your friends after that (Protip: Bring a camera). Cohen is also working on a free expansion called “The Town” – again, recently Kickstarted – which promises to expand Paranormal’s random hauntings to a large scale town.Some horror fans may want to wait for Paranormal to become a more polished experience, but even unfinished it’s packed with frightful and inventive ideas. It’s rough around the edges, but if you can look past the occasional bug, and if you have a talent for suspending disbelief, you’re in for a scary good time.
This week’s Super Joystiq Podcast looks amazing in a 3-piece suit, no matter the weather.It’s the return of Grand Theft Auto 5, in online form, sorta. Ludwig, Dave, and Jordan kick things off this week with the trials and tribulations of getting GTA Online working. Jordan recaps his trip to Japan, and Ludwig transports us into the next-gen a little early with an overview of his time with Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag on PlayStation 4. Also, Gravity is a cool movie– even if Dave thinks a Lazarus Pit must somehow be involved.If you are wanting a more personal look into Jordan’s Japan experience, don’t miss his 6-part vlogiary Aromatic Train Cafe on YouTube.Listen to the Super Joystiq Podcast:Subscribe to the Super Joystiq Podcast in iTunesAdd the Super Joystiq Podcast feed to your RSS aggregatorDownload the MP3 directlyPodcast timestamps and relevant links are available after the break. Listen to the MP3 Show BreakdownHosts: Ludwig (@LudwigK), Dave (@davehinkle), Jordan (@Jordan_Mallory)00:00:00 // Intro00:01:44 // GTA V Online00:08:55 // Hatsune Miku and Japan00:22:15 // Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag00:48:08 // Gravity00:59:48 // Wrap-upCreditsTheme Music: Satsuma Audio and Whitaker Blackall – “A Basstastic Undertaking”Segment Bumpers: Go Cart, Blown Away, Rocket – Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)Social MediaPodcast Twitter: @JoystiqPodcast – Have a question? Use the hashtag #QJoystiqWebsite Twitter: @JoystiqFacebook: Joystiq Facebook PageSubscribe to Joystiq’s YouTube ChannelFollow Joystiq on Twitch.tv for game streams and giveawaysBreaking News and FeaturesGrand Theft Auto Online First Impressions VideoRockstar still tending to GTA Online connectivity issuesGrand Theft Auto Online title update hits tomorrow, Rockstar hopesHatsune Miku: Project Diva F review: Rhythm and huesAssassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag Video PreviewPodcast ProductionJonathan Downin (@jonathandownin)
After its slow but steady implementation of companion features in its mobile and web services, ESPN is ready to go live with its first dedicated second screen sports app. With its ESPN Sync, the broadcaster will focus first on its Spanish-language channel, ESPN Desportes, delivering real-time news, sports scores and interactive live videos for major sporting events. The company has trialled all manner of real-time features in the past — from tickers, to fly-bys and other additional goodies — but ESPN Sync is the first to tie them all together. It’s chosen a great time to launch too: the app will debut just in time to distract you during the Mayweather vs. Canelo fight on September 14th. ESPN’s new web platform will also play host to more than 60 events over the next year, streaming games from the MLB World Series, NFL Playoffs, NBA Finals and football soccer matches from the world’s biggest leagues. ESPN Sync is available on iOS, Android and desktop devices, but be warned — you’ll only get the most out of it if you know your fuera de juego from your contraataque. Show full PR textESPN Deportes Launches ESPN SyncThe first Spanish-language sports TV companion debuts during Mayweather vs. Canelo Sept. 14ESPN Deportes launches ESPN Sync – the first Spanish-language web-based app that enhances sports viewing with a unique second-screen experience during live sporting events. ESPN Sync debuts during the Mayweather vs. Canelo fight on Saturday, September 14.ESPN Sync provides users with a real-time experience synchronized with live sports events, while also supporting ESPN Deportes’ news and information shows before, during and after events via a dynamic second screen. The interaction features live streams that focus on analysis and discussions of live sports event as they happen, a timeline with real-time scores and stats that allows users to interact synchronously with the event; and videos, polling/trivia, and access to information available in numerous ways, all while connected to the social world.syncESPN collaborated with Tapestry, a division of SMG Multicultural, in signing multiple brands as exclusive, yearlong advertisers on ESPN Sync. Up to four brands will rotate for each event using integrations via display, video, and product and logo placements. In addition to regular digital assets, ESPN Sync will feature sponsorship functionalities that allow connecting linear TV advertising with the second screen experience, in real time. When an ad airs on television, it triggers the appropriate interactivity on ESPN Sync where users can engage with the brand.”The launch of the first Spanish-language sports TV companion shows our commitment to offering multiplatform access to the most relevant sports content and analysis during live events,” said Lino Garcia, ESPN Deportes General Manager. “Hispanic fans are spending more time on our digital properties and the simultaneous use of TV and mobile is rising – ESPN Sync provides a second screen experience for fans and unique marketing opportunities for advertisers.”The September 14 debut will present comprehensive content around the Mayweather vs. Canelo bout that includes a video stream with live reactions and discussions, during the fight, from ESPN Deportes’ boxing experts Delving Rodriguez, Leopoldo Gonzalez, Alex Pombo, and Pablo Viruega. Live stats and updates around the bout will also be featured while Puerto Rican referee, Joe Cortez will be providing his unofficial Scorecard during the big fight. The social conversations will be branded under the hashtag #MayweatherCanelo for fans to interact with others on Twitter and Facebook.Live streaming and content is already scheduled on ESPN Sync for close to 60 events within the next year including MLB World Series, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, World Cup Qualifiers, UEFA Champions League, Liga MX, Copa MX, NFL Playoffs, MLB, NBA Finals, Super Copa and the ESPY Awards.ESPN Sync is available at www.espnsync.com on any platform, iOS, Android or Windows without the need to download any supporting software.
Every week, a new and interesting human being tackles our decidedly geeky take on the Proustian Q&A. This is the Engadget Questionnaire.Our regular smattering of questions returns this week with Android Central’s Phil Nickinson. The editor-in-chief chats technogological milestones, clever codenames and much more. Join us after the break for the full collection of answers. What gadget do you depend on most?Smartphone, for sure. Keeps me in contact with everyone at work, and everyone at home when I’m away working.Which do you look back upon most fondly?The Treo 750 — my first smartphone and the one that ultimately led me to this job.Which company does the most to push the industry?Probably Google (and Apple, though not quite as much lately) because of services. Google really ushered in the cloud for normal folks. Apple changed the world with iTunes. Maybe toss Skype in there for consumer-friendly VoIP.What is your operating system of choice?I was a Windows guy for years, but hopped over to OS X a couple years ago. Android for mobile, natch.What are your favorite gadget names?The internal codenamed ones used by HTC and Sony often end up being better than the release names. (Especially when the US carriers get involved.)What are your least favorite?Anything thought up by BlackBerry. Too many numbers. ASUS has done its part to add to the confusion as well (even if the products are great).Which app do you depend on most?Gmail. Always Gmail. (And then TripIt for keeping all my travel straight.)”I still remember the Apple //e being rolled into my kindergarten class. Couldn’t take my eyes off it.”What traits do you most deplore in a smartphone?Half-assed cameras. It’s inexcusable. It’s not really the phone’s fault, but the way we buy phones in the US is beyond broken. If you’re theoretically going to use something that much over two years, you need to buy something good. Not something free.Which do you most admire?When manufacturers add features without getting in the way of the overall experience. That’s not easy to do, either.What is your idea of the perfect device?Something short of five inches, with curves in all the right places. Doesn’t have to run “all day,” but 12 to 15 hours is about right. Has to have a camera that doesn’t make me wonder if I should be carrying a second device. Running Android, of course.What is your earliest gadget memory?I still remember the Apple //e being rolled into my kindergarten class. Couldn’t take my eyes off it.What technological advancement do you most admire?Fire, then the wheel, then electricity. Skip ahead to the internet, I reckon. Maybe add booze into that timeline somewhere, too.Which do you most despise?Anonymous comments.”Moto X needs a better camera. HTC One needed better manufacturing, QA and a lighter touch on software.”What fault are you most tolerant of in a gadget?Little design flaws. Parts that don’t quite fit as well as they should because of the manufacturing process.Which are you most intolerant of?Bad cameras, poor battery life, unusable displays.When has your smartphone been of the most help?It became ever more important after I had kids. Helps me feel a little closer (yet simultaneously farther away) when I’m on the road. Oh, and it lets me do work and get paid, too. That’s also important.What device do you covet most?Is a Tesla Model S a device?If you could change one thing about your phone what would it be?Depends on the phone, of course. Moto X needs a better camera. HTC One needed better manufacturing, QA and a lighter touch on software.What does being connected mean to you?Back to the family thing. I can be on the other side of the world and see my wife and kids, even if but for a few minutes.When are you least likely to reply to an email?Either right away, or maybe not at all. I’m really inconsistent about that.When did you last disconnect?The nine-hour flight last week from Paris to Atlanta.
So, do you want to play Destiny? Go pre-purchase it and you’ll get some definite beta access. It’s an old plan, but it’s one that works out fairly well for everyone involved. The company gets a nice chunk of purchases and plenty of beta testers, the players get an easy pass into the game. Everybody wins. Aside from the people who buy the game and decide they dislike it after the fact. They sort of lose.Beyond that, the Hearthstone wipe took place, bringing in one more patch and the promise of more open beta testing soon. And, of course, we have the usual list of games in testing just past the break. As always, we strive for accuracy, so let us know if something has opened a cash shop or the like without us catching it. Some games do so like to let those creep in without notice. Massively considers a game to be in open testing if it has open, public signups and plans for a server wipe before its official launch. Self-described “open beta” MMOs that have soft-launched with functioning real-money cash shops will not be listed.Margonem (Garmory): SignupProject Gorgon (Project Gorgon): SignupSalem (Seatribe): Announcement, Signup, /r/SmashMuck Champions (Kis Studios): Announcement, Signup, /r/ (early access on Steam now)S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Online (CyberTime Systems): Announcement, Signup, /r/ (Russian-only)Taikodom (Gamersfirst): Announcement, SignupUFO Online (gamigo): Announcement, SignupWorld Alpha (World Alpha): Announcement, SignupWorld of Warplanes (Wargaming.net): Announcement, Signup, /r/ (launching Nov. 13th)We consider an MMO to be in closed testing if it features either future test signups or an ongoing semi-private beta/alpha that cannot immediately and freely be accessed by the general public. Some are restricted by NDAs.Earthrise: First Impact (SilentFuture): Announcement, SignupEldevin (Hunted Cow Studios): Announcement, SignupEnd of Nations (Trion): Announcement, Signup, /r/Grecca (Banbox): Announcement, Signup (in “open” alpha)Hearthstone (Blizzard Entertainment): Announcement, SignupHeva Clonia Online (OGPlanet): Announcement, SignupInfinite Crisis (Turbine): Announcement, SignupIngress (Google): Announcement, SignupLime Odyssey (Aeria Games): Announcement, SignupLine of Defense (3000AD): Announcement, SignupMU Rebirth (Webzen): Announcement, SignupOrigins of Malu (Burning Dog): AnnouncementOtherland (gamigo): Announcement, Signup, /r/ (development in limbo, possibly canceled)Starlite (Project Whitecard): Announcement, Signup (fka Astronaut: Moon, Mars, and Beyond)The Elder Scrolls Online (Zenimax): Announcement, SignupThe Repopulation (Above and Beyond): Announcement, Signup, /r/TUG (Nerd Kingdom): Announcement, SignupVenus Rising (FoxySoft): Announcement (fka Orgia Romanus; adult MMO, possibly NSFW)Warface (Crytek/Trion Worlds): Announcement, SignupWildStar (Carbine/NCsoft): Announcement, SignupSubreddit links helpfully provided by Steven Eyerman!Betawatch is Massively’s weekly report on the latest MMO alphas, betas, and other games still meandering toward an official launch. From ArcheAge to World of Warplanes, it’s covered here, complete with sign-up links so that you too can perform the unpaid quality-control work otherwise known as game testing. Drop us a comment if we’ve missed one!
The August smart lock was set to ship to customers beginning later this year, but for reasons unknown, it’s now delayed. The $199 Yves Behar-designed deadbolt, which can be controlled via a smartphone app connected over Bluetooth, is available for pre-orders beginning today, and will now debut with silver, bronze, black and red finishes. Additionally, August will also now support a feature called EverLock, which recognizes when you’ve closed a door behind you and automatically engages the bolt. Check out the new colors in the gallery below; if you like what you see, you can hit up the source link to place an order. Gallery: August smart lock | 12 Photos 12 +8
Microsoft has responded to questions raised by a recent Advertising Age report, which suggested that Xbox One users could offer up a “data treasure trove” for marketing and advertising purposes.Microsoft Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Yusuf Mehdi addressed the Xbox One’s potential for targeted advertising during a speech at the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing Conference last week. Mehdi hinted that the Xbox One’s bundled Kinect peripheral could track living room activity in order to serve users better-targeted dashboard advertisements.Responding to a request for comment from Eurogamer, a Microsoft representative linked to this forum post from Microsoft Director of Product Planning Albert Penello, regarding a previous marketing-focused interview. Penello assures that the company will not use the Kinect’s player-tracking features to collect data for its previously outlined Natural User Interface Advertisements.”[…] Someone was talking about how some of the new Xbox One Kinect features *could* be used in advertising – since we can see expressions, engagement, etc. and how that might be used to target advertising,” Penello wrote. “This is the point that seems to draw some controversy.”Penello continued: “First – nobody is working on that. We have a lot more interesting and pressing things to dedicate time towards. […] I’m not aware of any active work in this space. Second – if something like that ever happened, you can be sure it wouldn’t happen without the user having control over it. Period.”
Visiontrick Media’s “exploratory” game Pavilion will launch in spring 2014 on PS4 and Vita, as announced during Sony’s recent pre-TGS conference. The game features hand-painted, surreal 2D environments and “dreamy ambient music” by composer Tony Gerber.Visiontrick Media describes Pavilion as “a fourth person exploratory experience about guidance, influence and subliminal control.” In it, players manipulate the main character’s surroundings as well as his “sense.” Gallery: Pavilion (9/10/13) | 6 Photos 6 +2
Today is the big day you’ve all been waiting for since WWDC 2013. After months of reading about iOS 7, you can finally download this version of iOS and install it on your iOS device. Once you get settled in with the new features, you’ll want to install some apps. To get you started, here are five of our favorite apps that look great on iOS 7.7 Minute Workout “Seven” [iOS Universal; Free]No workout equipment, just seven minutes a day. Reach a goal of seven minutes a day for seven months using Seven, a seven-minute workout app from Perigree.Any.do [iOS Universal; Free]Simple, functional and pleasing to the eye. It embodies the design of iOS 7 and is worth every penny you spend on it.Around Me [iOS Universal; Free]Around Me is a location app that helps you find the nearest gas station or the best restaurant in the area. The latest version adds some color and a lot of iOS 7 style to the app.LetterGlow [iPhone; $1.99]LetterGlow is a newcomer to the photography category, and it made a big impression when it launched. The latest version of the text-over-photo app adds iOS support and a few new features. It’s a wonderful complement to the fancy new camera app in iOS 7, and I can’t wait to try it with the new iPhone 5s.TED [iOS Universal; Free]TED is known for its innovative talks from the world’s brightest people, so it’s not surprising the iOS app has a fresh new look to keep in style with iOS 7.
on-ear and in-ear headphones come out of Bowers & Wilkins’ labs for quite some time, but now the company has announced its first over-ear pair. The new P7s boast the style’s natural advantages, of course — ear-covering cushions that mold to the wearer’s head, improving noise isolation. B&W crafted new audio drivers for the cans too, which it claims are designed more like “traditional audiophile speaker” than a pair of premium headphones. The device’s leather and metal finish looks sleek, but it doesn’t come cheap — a pair will set you back $400 when it comes out this September. Too rich for your blood? Well, you can always opt for one of B&W’s relatively more affordable options. Show full PR textBowers & Wilkins launches P7 headphonesBowers & Wilkins’ P7 headphones deliver an enveloping, pristine listening experience. A combination of new drive-unit technology, luxurious materials, and a clever folding design, make the P7s Bowers & Wilkins best mobile hi-fi headphones yet.Bowers & Wilkins is proud to announce the P7 Mobile Hi-Fi headphones. Our first over-ear headphones, the P7s provide a truly immersive listening experience, combined with the luxurious comfort and impeccable build quality you expect from Bowers & Wilkins.With the P7s, everything is designed to allow you to lose yourself in music. Thanks to the technological advances we’ve made with these headphones, sound performance is a revelation. Bass is tighter, vocals are more defined, and there’s a wonderful sense of space, balance, and clarity across the entire frequency range.For the P7s we’ve drawn on everything we know about speaker technology and built it into a set of mobile headphones. New drive unit technology and Bowers & Wilkins famed attention to detail mean that the P7s offer a giant leap forward in sound quality. At the same time, the over-ear design and snugly fitting ear pads allow you to listen without unwanted interruptions.Because when you’re hearing sound this good, you don’t want anything to interrupt your enjoyment of it.The all-encompassing ear cushions not only provide noise isolation and high levels of comfort, their dual-cavity construction helps the pads mold to the contours of the wearer’s head. This design maintains a consistent volume of air between the drive unit and the surface of the ear at both sides of the head. Not only is stereo imaging enhanced – the sound is optimized for every listener.As with all Bowers & Wilkins headphones, no corners were cut in terms of the P7s’ build quality and choice of materials. Moving parts are constructed from brushed and stainless steel, as is the ingenious folding mechanism. The logo plates are crafted from brushed aluminum. The headband and ear pads are encased in luxuriously soft leather, making them a delight to wear even for long listening sessions. The P7s also features a detachable remote-control- and-microphone cable.The result of all of this attention to detail, advanced technology, and choice of materials is the best-performing Bowers & Wilkins headphones yet: the P7s.TechnologyWith most headphones, sound quality is compromised by the way drive-units are designed. To save space, the diaphragm must perform the dual role of sound generator and suspension system. But for the P7 we have created a headphone driver that works more like the drive-unit in a hi-fi speaker, with a diaphragm focused purely on the job it’s supposed to do: generate sound.The internal speaker baskets encasing the P7s’ drive-units are perforated with air vents covered with a resistive film. This unique design allows for precise control of the airflow from behind the drive-unit, resulting in a more uniform, piston-like movement. Plus, while the voice coil of most headphones are made from copper, the P7s’ voice coils are constructed from a lighter aluminum-copper compound. The decrease in weight means that the drive-unit can move more freely, improving high frequency dynamics.The P7’s speaker baffle plates are constructed from a polymer material that has been heavily braced and tuned to make it very rigid and inert. This limits any resonances that might color the sound of the headphones. Finally, damping material inside the speaker enclosure helps control and dampens internal reflections, further reducing coloration and distortion. All of this means a drive-unit with a more precise, controlled movement, capable of producing outstanding levels of performance.The Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones are available in September, priced at $399.99The Bowers & Wilkins P5 is available now, priced at $299.95The Bowers & Wilkins P3 is available now, priced at $199.99The Bowers & Wilkins C5 is available now, priced at $179.00
Gallery: Around Azeroth 3 | 796 Photos 796 +792 Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include “Azeroth” in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you’d like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.
IFA for a progress report on how the platform is doing on the eve of the PS4’s launch.Considering a 2011 security breach was arguably the largest hiccup the PSN and PS3 have experienced, we wondered just what the firm had done to shore up its defenses for the next-gen wave. As it turns out, operations have been re-tooled, but Hirai and Co. aren’t forthcoming with details. “As a result of that (the hack), we’ve instituted a number of measures, systems and protocols inside the platform, which you’ll understand why I can’t speak to that in any detail whatsoever,” Layden said. “We had our baptism by fire early in 2011, and we’ve come out stronger and with more users from that point forward.” In fact, Layden sats the PSN storefront saw more business the month it came back online than it had garnered up to that point. When it’s time to jump to Sony’s new console, SEN logins will keep funds, friends and other related data synced across the PlayStation 4, PS3 and PS Vita. Of course, the Sony Entertainment Network accounts are meant to string more than just gaming consoles together. As a clear part of Kaz Hirai’s plan to unify the company under the “One Sony” strategy, they’re intended to give entertainment content from Sony a cohesive and sweeping presence on all its devices. Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited, for example, let folks listen to streaming tunes or rent videos on their consoles, computers and smartphones. With so much emphasis being placed on indie developers with the PS4, we couldn’t help but ask if the firm would apply the same degree of concern for independent content creators, such as podcasters and internet networks like Revision 3, to the aforementioned services. While there aren’t concrete plans to bring such parties into the mix, the outfit is amenable to the idea.”We want to bring you the best video continent, music content and game content that we can, and if that means that we’re going to open up our tent to a larger array of content providers, we’re going to do that,” Layden explained. “If you’re talking about things like podcasts or gamer-specific channels, or the kind of content you would see in a more narrow-design, I think we’re looking for that kind of stuff all the time. If we can find that it has enough meaning and attraction to a goodly-sized part of our audience, we have no compunction — in fact, we look forward to those kinds of opportunities.When it comes to rolling in support for other providers including Google Play and Spotify, however, it appears that’s a taller order. “We’re always looking for ways to bring the consumer what they want,” Layden proclaimed. “On the other hand, if we let our platform be one to every service in the world out there, that’s not a differentiator for that because that’s called the PC.” Another obstacle remains Sony’s focus to tap sources that are globally available — though it is willing to make exceptions.If you’re banking on Video Unlimited to adopt a Netflix-like subscription option, you’re out of luck for the moment. “That’s a completely different business model — we don’t rule anything out, nothing’s off the table — but right now we want to concentrate what we can do in the on-demand, EST and rental business,” Layden said. Sony’s dedication to the á la carte model hinges on the fact that they often receive movies earlier than services with monthly fees, thanks to licensing terms associated with the sales model.The Sony Entertainment Network has been gathering steam, but it hasn’t helped the company reach its “One Sony” goal quite yet. “I think we’re well beyond halfway there,” Layden estimated. At any rate, if all goes according to Hirai’s plan, pairing SEN with the PS4 and other devices will help the firm fulfil its manifesto.