Producer: Jon Turi
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Producer: Jon Turi
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Keiji Inafune's been making games for nearly 30 years. He's the man behind one of gaming's most iconic characters (Mega Man) and several huge franchises (Dead Rising, Onimusha). After 23 years working at Capcom, one of Japan's largest game publishers, he suddenly quit back in 2010. "Settling down means death for a creator. As long as you are a creator, you cannot settle down," he announced on his blog. Just six months after being appointed Capcom's Global Head of Production (overseeing the company's entire gaming catalog, from Resident Evil to Street Fighter), he quit.
With that, he set off on his own and created two new companies: Comcept and Intercept. When we talked with Inafune last week at DICE 2014, he spoke of his plans for Comcept in detail. "I was a publisher for 20 years, so you'd be right in thinking I brought some ideas from there into Comcept," he said. That means, first and foremost, retaining ownership of IP. That's a major component of going with Kickstarter for the latest Comcept game, a Mega Man-esque action game titled Mighty No. 9.
The project sailed past its target goal of $900K and took in $3.8 million. Without a publisher, of course.
Many people were excited by the announcement that this year's Super Bowl would be streamed online. But this came with a catch on smartphones -- the need to go through Verizon's NFL Mobile service rather than the Fox Sports Go app. And that's nothing new, as most networks often require some sort of subscription for access to live or on-demand content. A&E, CNN, MTV, NBC Sports -- they all do it, and the list goes on and on.
Last week, the NFL announced Now, its new network tailored for the era of the internet. However, despite the league trying to do something novel, a quick look at the comments from our recently published article about the release tells you that on-demand content isn't enough, particularly for those who have decided to cut the [pay-TV] cord. For those people, the lack of live games overshadows most everything NFL Now will bring to the table when it launches in July -- namely, an online channel with a personalized experience accessible on different platforms all over the world.
Super Bowl XLVIII is just around the corner, and the NFL's taking advantage of the week leading up to it by using it as a platform to reveal its next venture: NFL Now. Today, at a press event in New York City, the National Football League introduced a newly created digital network, dubbed NFL Now, which it says will focus on delivering a "personalized stream of content" to fans of the sport worldwide. While the online service won't be streaming football games live -- not at the time of launch, at least -- it will have full on-demand clashes to offer, as well as highlights and other content produced by teams across the league. In addition to all of this, there's also going to be an abundance of extra video from across other NFL properties, including NFL.com, NFL Network and NFL Films. And, better yet, it will be free.
However, don't expect Now to act only as a hub for all that aforementioned stuff: The NFL says we can anticipate a ton of original programming to be available as well -- though it hasn't gone into detail about what type exactly. Once it actually gets rolling, we're told the user experience on NFL Now is set to be extremely personalized and easily customizable. For example, users can select from a number of preferences, like favorite team and fantasy players, and NFL Now will show a stream of content based on those choices. "Eventually, no two users should get the same experience on NFL Now," a league representative said to us. NFL Now is set to have applications on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, Xbox One and "across select consoles and streaming devices."
While "hanging ten" may be out of the question for those in the Northeast this time of year, it's still a great time for a SURFboard. ARRIS, the telecommunications company that acquired Motorola Home early last year, has jumped in to offer a Motorola-ARRIS SURFboard SBG6782-AC Gateway, along with a new Slingbox 500 to help make some waves in one lucky Engadget reader's home media center. The SURFboard is the first retail cable modem that also offers blazing fast WiFi 802.11AC, and it has MoCA networking for sharing multimedia across compatible smart devices. With the Slingbox 500 and its My Media feature, your movies, videos and photos will be accessible to you even when you're away from home. All you need to do is head on down to the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win.
Winner: congratulations to Jacob G., Telluride, CO
The Beats empire has officially expanded beyond its humble headphone roots. Beats Music has officially launched (download it from the iTunes App Store here), and become the latest contestant for your streaming music dollar. Of course, the market for such services is already pretty crowded. Between Spotify, Google Play and Rdio (just to name a few) one might wonder "why bother?" Well, the company thinks there's plenty of fish in the sea who haven't jumped aboard the music subscription bandwagon just yet. While we're sure execs are hoping to convert a few listeners along the way, they're more concerned with broadening the pool of customers. After two years of plugging away, with a little help from Trent Reznor and its MOG acquisition, Beats feels it has something unique to offer; something built around curation, emotion and a personalized user experience. It all sounds good in theory, but the real question is whether or not the reality lives up to the promise. As usual, the answer is complicated and it awaits you after the break.
After all the time we've spent with Oculus VR's latest Crystal Cove prototype last week -- our first Best of CES award winner! -- you might think we're all VR'd out. You'd be wrong, and when the folks at GameFace Labs offered us a chance to check out their Android-based, standalone VR headset, we jumped at the chance.
The Mark IV model of GFL's unnamed headset is a 3D-printed proof of concept, and it serves that goal fantastically. We put on the headset, were handed a paired Bluetooth gamepad (Sony's DualShock 3) and were instantly transported to a lower-res version of the Tuscany demo we've seen running previously on the Rift. Only there's one major difference here: no wires.
Gaming is once again a thing at CES! Since splitting from the Consumer Electronics Show in 1995 and creating E3, the game industry has sat out much of the past 20 years. Between last year's big news from Valve and this year's reappearance of Sony's PlayStation, it's never been a better time to be a journalist covering gaming at CES.
In case the resurgence of gaming news wasn't enough to solidify our belief, the first ever Engadget-hosted Official CES Awards Best of Show trophy went to Oculus VR's Crystal Cove Rift prototype. Gaming, as it turns out, is more innovative and exciting than the curved TVs and psuedo-fashionable vitality monitors of the world -- not exactly a surprise, but validating our years-long assertion feels so, so right.
CES 2014 saw Steam Machines third-party support go official -- we even told you about all 14 partners a full 24 hours before Valve loosed the info -- a new, crazy/ambitious project from Razer and Oculus VR's latest prototype. And that's to say nothing of Sony's PlayStation Now and Huawei's China-exclusive Android game console, or the dozens of interviews we did.
There's a technological revolution going on; innovation is at all-time high; and we've seen it all before. While many of the devices we've seen this week are new and even exciting, the unending hymn of hyperbole that echoes through the halls of the LVCC is an old standard. For months leading up to the big show, small startups and tech giants flood the inboxes of tech journalists, attempting to catch their attention with bold and often ridiculous claims. And on the show floor, sprawling booths from the likes of Samsung and LG boast laundry lists of "world's firsts." Each year, we put all of that aside to bring you only the freshest goods CES has to offer -- until now. It's time to unleash the hype beast!
The jury's still out on Android gaming (exhibit A: OUYA), but that's not stopping Huawei from taking a dive into that niche corner of the industry. Its Tegra 4-based Tron mini-console, announced here at CES 2014, pairs a cylindrical-shaped hub with a Bluetooth controller that hews quite closely to the Xbox 360 mold OUYA also went after. Before we get your hopes up though, take note that Tron's for China only -- at least, for now anyway. A Huawei rep did say that the company's looking into further market expansion, but given its track record with smartphones in the US, we have a hard time believing Tron will see these shores anytime soon.
The Tron console itself runs a half-skinned version of Android JellyBean (version 4.2.3) that presents a clean menu overlay with feature tiles for access to games, Huawei's store, video, application, settings and featured titles. That slick menu selection comes to a screeching halt, however, as soon as you attempt to select anything other than games, bringing you face-to-face with Android's ugly underbelly -- much like on the OUYA.
Kogan's name may not roll off your brain as easily as some companies we could mention, but the Australian outfit is attempting to bring premium technology to the masses with a focus on low prices. In fact, there's probably a comparison with Vizio to be made here, considering that Kogan's first 4K TV retails for $999 AUD, or around $890 USD. Then there's the Agora HD Mini 3G, a 7.85-inch tablet with a 3G modem that retails for $199 AUD, or about $180 in the US. Considering how frequently our antipodean friends are gouged by technology companies, it's good to see the locals fighting back.
Sure, you could buy a projector for your apartment, or maybe even a TV; people still use those, we're told. Or, you could get an Android-powered projector instead. Solving a problem that not many people seem to have, Keecker is a smartphone-controllable robot that moves around your home, projecting video onto the walls. In particular, it runs Android with Google Play access, allowing you to stream from built-in apps like Netflix or YouTube. (Fun fact: the company's founder, Pierre Lebeau, is a former product manager at Google.) As you can imagine, Keecker also has a built-in speaker, meaning you could use this as a giant music player if you were so inclined.
Some might be disappointed by the 1,280 x 800 resolution (especially with a target price of $4,000 to $5,000), but the 1,000-lumen light is at least bright enough that you can watch even with the lights on. (See our hands-on photos from the company's CES booth to see what we mean.) The thing is, even with clear picture quality, the robot is kinda big. At 16 inches wide and 25 inches tall it has a relatively large footprint, so it'd be a stretch to argue that this offers any space-saving benefits, per se. If you buy this, it's going to be because you want the freedom to watch TV on any wall in the house, or because you like the idea of having a projector with streaming apps built in (a better reason to splurge, if you ask us). At any rate, this won't ship until Q4, so you have plenty of time to think on that -- and start saving your pennies.
The Norwegian company is still best known for its alternative browser, but Opera's been increasingly making a push toward new platforms, including perhaps most notification, TVs. We'll be speaking with Aneesh Rajaram, the SVP of TV and devices about exactly that.
Here's yet another option for wirelessly mirroring your computer screen to another display, but don't worry: This one is rather impressive. Airtame, the creation of a group of Danish folks, is an HDMI dongle that links your PC -- be it running Windows, OS X or Linux -- to whatever display it's plugged into over WiFi. Installation is a breeze: All you need on the PC side is just the software, and from there you can choose which dongles to beam your screen to. Yes, dongles, because you really can beam one PC to multiple screens, thus beating Miracast. We also played a game on one of the laptops, and the response time on the remote display was surprisingly good.
Airtame's Indiegogo campaign has long reached its $160,000 goal, but you can still pre-order this $89 dongle in the remaining nine days left. Do also check out our video from the CES show floor after the break.