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: 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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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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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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It was easy to scoff at Sony when the electronics giant said it had a 10 year plan for the PlayStation 3, but here we are almost a decade later and it's still supporting the console. Case in point: the firm's announced that it's bringing subscriptions for the PlayStation Now game-streaming service to Blu-ray's trojan horse. It all starts on May 12th, and beyond that a handful of new games are hitting the service too. They include F1 2014 , Farming Simulator and the ever-so-charming Fat Princess (that's an awful lot of "F" games now that I think about it), bringing total number of streaming titles to around 100.

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Apple TV Brings Digital Content To The Big Screen

Tired of losing your Apple TV's slim remote in the couch cushions? The New York Times reports that an updated version of the device will finally get a redesigned remote. The new control is described as being thicker, while also adding a touchpad for scrolling around, adding up to a size that's similar to the remote Amazon ships with its Echo wireless speaker. The Apple TV remote achieves the goal of stripping out everything it can for a minimalist design -- that's a launch unit from 2007 pictured above, you can take a peek at the current model after the break -- but with the number of apps and options available, it could probably use another button or two. Rumors have indicated the new model will arrive during Apple's WWDC event packing an app store and internet TV subscription packages, which probably also plays into any design changes.

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The NBA and NHL playoffs have moved on to round two, and Formula E is racing in Monaco. Of course, if you prefer virtual racing, this week PC gamers will finally get to experience the release of Project Cars (consoles wait until next week). Netflix debuts its new series Grace and Frankie that reunites stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, as HBO premieres a new Kurt Cobain documentary tonight. On Blu-ray, the acclaimed movie Selma is joined by several old-but-goodies, with new editions of Mad Max, Duel, Ladyhawke, Goodfellas and The Terminator. Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).

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It's no secret that people love live-streaming content to anyone who's willing to watch, whatever it may be. So, with this in mind, Comcast is introducing an app that will let its X1 subscribers record and push video streams from their mobile device to a TV in real-time. But there's more to it. The Xfinity Share application, available for iOS and Android, will also allow users to do the same with photos and videos from the camera roll. Better yet, you can share those (plus the livestreams) with other Comcast customers, so long as both the sender and receiver have a DVR-ready X1 set-top box and are subscribed to the Xfinity Triple Play package.

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Kraftwerk performs 'The Robots' in 3D

Good news if you missed out on Kraftwerk's 3D concerts the last time the band was in North America: you're about to get a second chance. The electronic music pioneers have announced a slew of American and Canadian dates that will let you see their immersive visual landscapes first-hand. This stint kicks off in Edmonton on September 16th, and reaches the US with a September 19th gig in Portland; you'll also get to see these 3D performances in cities like Austin, Boston and Miami. The tickets are likely to sell out quickly when they go on sale May 8th, so you'll want to act quickly if you just have to witness a spectacle like "The Robots" in person.

[Image credit: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images]

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HBO is trying super hard to dislodge Game of Thrones' crown as the "most pirated TV show" of modern times. It recently launched HBO Now, a non-cable-based streaming service, and today the company announced it would stop providing reviewers with DVDs containing episodes of its shows prior to their air dates. Instead, HBO will give reviewers early access to these episodes via a secure streaming service. The streaming policy starts this week with three new episodes of Veep, but it was spurred by a recent Thronesian leak: In April, four unaired Game of Thrones episodes found their way online, all of them reportedly linked to a review DVD. "Amazingly enough, it wasn't until just recently that a DVD was leaked online," HBO EVP of Corporate Communications Quentin Schaffer said in an email to reviewers.

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The new Collections tab on Google+ offers a way to organize and share your interests with other people on the network, a la the mother of all cutesy-sharing sites, Pinterest. You're able to create a customized Collection about anything that you like (suggestions: Hello Kitty accessories, Harry Potter spells, summer books, League of Legends champions), complete with photos, videos, links and commentary. Fellow Google+ users are able to follow any Collection set to "public," or you can start a private Collection and keep all of those adorable Hello Kitty backpacks and phone cases to yourself. The Collections feature is live for many users right now, and you should be able to find it in the dropdown tab on the left side of your very own Google+ page.

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Patrick Creadon wants to tell you about what he thinks is competitive gaming's Miracle on Ice moment. And to do so, he's employing the tool he knows best: a movie camera. Whereas before, the film director has focused on the national debt with I.O.U.S.A. or the (sometimes famous) people who love crossword puzzles in Wordplay, his latest project, All Work All Play, tackles the world of eSports. Specifically, League of Legends and two American dark horse teams quite literally going up against the rest of the world in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans packed into, ironically enough, hockey arenas.

"eSports teams don't have the respect that they so badly crave," he says. "These North American teams are not unlike the 1980 United States hockey team going up against Russia [in the Olympics]. Our movie really captures a similar story."

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Since it launched in February I've been a pretty big fan of the Saturday Night Live app, and the latest update should make it quite a bit better. Now there's native iPad support (hooray!) in addition to it being available on Android devices. NBC's also gone back and remastered some of the old sketches, added around 400 more (including some of the late Phil Hartman's "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" bits) and tossed AirPlay support in so you can watch the clips via an Apple TV. Curiously, Chromecast beaming is still missing in action, but at least now you can text the new Church Lady emoji to let a pal know they're speeeecial.

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Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Demonstrates Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

Rumors Microsoft would dump its Media Center feature have plagued the project for years -- in 2007 we worried if it still had a future, after it was largely pushed aside in Windows Vista -- and the company confirmed to ZDNet this week that with the launch of Windows 10, it's actually happening. While Media Center came to Windows 8 as an add-on and unchanged from previous versions, apparently "infinitesimal" usage statistics are the reason Microsoft is finally pulling the plug. Nearly ten years ago, the launch of the Xbox 360 suggested Media Center Edition had a bright future and a place in the living room. While the console went on to sell millions, HTPCs became an ignored and restricted niche for Microsoft, a missed opportunity after its hyped 2004 launch with Bill Gates and Queen Latifah.

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Grand Theft Auto V has a few mobile apps of its own, but one enterprising modder has taken the idea to its natural conclusion: an application that lets you control the in-game cellphone with an iPhone. With the application you can scroll through text messages on-screen, peep your current list of objectives and, among other things, even control the in-game phone's camera. The YouTube video's description (spotted by former Joystiq'r Dave Hinkle) does't offer much by way of details other than it's running on an Arduino Leonardo with an Ethernet shield connected to a PC, sadly.

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