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Comcast lit money on fire

Comcast's failed bid for Time Warner Cable didn't just leave egg on the company's face -- it was also horrendously expensive. The cable giant's latest earnings suggest that it chewed through a total of $336 million in "transaction-related costs" for the would-be merger, $99 million of which was spent in the last quarter alone. And, as Ars Technica notes, this only accounts for directly related costs like legal fees, hired contractors and immediately relevant lobbying efforts. Not that TWC emerged unscathed, either, as it paid $200 million.

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Steam launched its Early Access program in 2013, allowing developers to publish and sell incomplete, in-progress builds of their games on the internet's largest digital distribution hub. And publish they did -- by May 2014, more games had launched on Steam that year than in all of 2013, partially thanks to Early Access. This contributed to the gaming industry's ongoing digital revolution, where publishers shifted away from shipping physical products, indies were on the rise and Kickstarter changed how everyday players interacted with game creators. The revolution continues to simmer today and developers, especially independent ones, are still figuring out what to do with all of these new tools -- including Early Access.

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You won't know Erin Tomson by name, but she's one of the minds that helped build the tools that Pixar uses to make its movies. Now, the developer has left the studio to found Modulo Labs, a startup that wants to take the intimidation factor out of maker projects. Modulo is, in essence, a set of pre-made circuit boards that work with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, letting you build devices to your whims without a lot of messy soldering.

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Comments in Dropbox for iOS

If you've ever wanted to start a report on your iPhone and save it straight to Dropbox, you're in luck. The cloud storage outfit is rolling out an iOS update in the next few weeks that allows you to create Microsoft Office documents and save them online, not just edit them. The upgrade will also let you comment on files from the iOS app. And if you just can't wait to try something new, the latest version packs a redesigned home view that focuses on your recently opened files. There's no mention yet of corresponding Android releases, but those are undoubtedly in the pipeline.

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This week's giveaway goes out to all the Xbox One owners out there (and even future adopters). Polk Audio collaborated with Microsoft to fine tune some of its gaming-centric gear and we've got a set of prize packages for a few lucky Engadget readers. First off, we have the Striker ZX headset, which offers wireless connectivity for Xbox owners and an omni-directional boom mic for in-game chats or phone calls. Also, when the coast is clear, you'll be able to fire up Polk's N1 Gaming SurroundBar for open-air audio immersion. The company worked alongside designers from Halo and Forza to provide optimized sound experiences for the games in addition to its Music and Cinema settings. You can also connect to the sound bar with your Bluetooth devices and aptX support is on the menu. It has its own Sub Bass tech, but if you're a glutton for punishment, you can add your own subwoofer to the mix, too. It's a trifecta this week, with three pairs of speakers and headsets ready to ship out to a trio of lucky winners. All you need to do is head to the Rafflecopter widget for up to three chances at winning!

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GoatZ

Goat Simulator's offbeat, knowingly glitchy gameplay is about to invade yet another genre: zombie survival. Meet GoatZ, a not-so-subtle jab at DayZ and other titles where you spend as much time scrounging for supplies as you do fighting off the undead. Coffee Stain Studios' add-on is just as nuts as you'd expect (pink crossbows, anyone?), and is almost too on-point with its send-ups. It has "as many bugs" as other survival titles, and there's a "completely realistic" mode where you eat every few minutes -- because that's what you do in these sorts of games, isn't it? If that sounds at once hilarious and all too familiar, you'll be glad to hear that GoatZ will be available for $5 on Steam as of May 7th, with mobile versions also on the way.

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If Facebook's maps for mobile have suddenly gotten a whole lot more (or less) accurate, there's a reason. The social network is now sourcing its location data from Here, Nokia's soon-to-be-sold mapping division. According to TechCrunch's sources, only the mobile web version is using the new information, but Facebook is currently testing whether to roll Here's Maps out to all of its standalone apps like Messenger and Instagram. It's hoped that, with more accurate geolocation data, the company can offer advertisers even more minute control over who gets what product thrown in their face. Of course, Facebook is also one of the companies that is believed to be considering buying Here outright. Given this news, however, we'd imagine it being a lot less likely -- after all, why buy the cow if you're getting the milk for free?

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BOXBOY! did not hit the 3DS with the fanfare it deserved this spring. It's a brand-new game, with brand-new characters and it's published by Nintendo. Which is precisely the sort of thing the company's greatest detractors claim it's missing. Then again, even though the funny, little puzzle game is ingenious and addictive, it's also as quiet and unassuming as the studio that made it: HAL Laboratory.

Much like BOXBOY!, HAL does not have the reputation it should. For 35 years, the first-party Nintendo studio's pumped out games that are deeply traditional while remaining deeply experimental. The Kirby franchise, HAL's signature work, has been both a major sales success with more than 30 million games sold and a hotbed for creativity (as in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse) and old-school style (a la Kirby: Triple Deluxe.) That little pink puff Kirby tends to dominate HAL's output, which is what makes an original like BOXBOY! so exciting. So to get some deeper insight into the creation of this new Nintendo IP, I interviewed Yasuhiro Mukae, the director of HAL's first original in five years, via a translator through email. We discussed HAL's creative process, the secret to making expressive characters and what it's like making games at one of gaming's most consistent, if underappreciated, studios.

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LG Watch Urbane in mid-teardown

Think that smartwatches are tough to fix by their very nature? LG is seemingly determined to prove otherwise. The repair-it-yourself team at iFixit has finished tearing down the Watch Urbane, and it turns out that this Android Wear timepiece is surprisingly easy to maintain. You'll have to unstick the glued back, but it's usually a cakewalk after that -- there's little stopping you from pulling out the motherboard or the battery. The biggest challenge is replacing the display, which is fused to the glass. No, you probably won't need to pry apart your Urbane any time soon, but it's good to know that the wearable won't be reduced to a ritzy-looking paperweight if it breaks when you're out of warranty.

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It seems like just yesterday Good Old Games was giving away copies of Aliens vs. Predator to get folks to try its (optional) PC gaming service, Galaxy. Times have changed and leading into The Witcher 3: WIld Hunt's release -- the first major title debuting on the storefront -- the platform is moving from closed alpha testing into an open beta. The constant that's carrying over from the alpha is that you aren't required to participate in anything within the software. Not into automatic updates that might fix some of your favorite glitches in a game? That's totally cool; you can opt out and still keep playing. Steam and Origin aren't quite as keen on that.

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