Back in June, Google revealed Cardboard: an open-source attempt at mobile virtual reality. Heck, even the "hardware" is open source --here are instructions to make your own, right now!

But the concept is more than a low-tech solution to mobile VR. It's emblematic of Google's approach to virtual reality: use the phone that's already in your pocket. Samsung's taking the same approach later this year with Gear VR, only it's also partnering with Oculus VR on the software side.

This stands in stark contrast to the PC-dependent, ultra-high-res experience Oculus VR and Facebook are aiming to achieve. The Oculus Rift headset both literally and figuratively kickstarted the re-birth of virtual reality in modern technology. It remains the peak of technological achievement in virtual reality. And now, the medium is splintering into two distinct futures: one of entertainment, the other of immersion.

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Rumors of an assault on Europe have circled for quite some time, but today BSkyB has finally made a move to expand its pay-TV empire outside of the UK. The company today announced it has agreed to pay 21st Century Fox a total of £4.9 billion ($8.33 billion) to acquire Sky Italia and buy the majority share (57 percent) of Sky Deutschland. If the deal is given the green light by regulators, the newly-formed Sky Europe would emerge with almost 20 million European customers.

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Despite the popularity of its music service, Spotify's presence on connected TV platforms is still spotty. It's on Apple TV via AirPlay, Roku, LG and Samsung, but not Xbox, PlayStation or Chromecast (officially). We can add on one more today, as Vizio says it's coming to their VIA Plus enabled TVs. The only bad news? That list is currently limited to just a few models consisting of the 2014 E- and M-series TVs, and you'll need Spotify Premium to tune in. If you don't have Spotify Premium you can try it free for 48 hours -- check out some favorites from our editors if you need musical suggestions.

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YouTube comments typically fill one with shame and disappointment in the human race, but here's one that just might make you cry. Below a video from PBS about video games as spiritual experiences, a user going by the online handle 00WARTHERAPY00 has written a touching story about the time they spent gaming with their dad. 'THERAPY00 says that when he or she was four years old, they'd play Xbox with his or her father and had tons of fun up until a few years later when their dad passed away. It was ten years before the commenter could bring him/herself to boot Microsoft's first game console and when they did, there was a surprise waiting for them. Rally racer Rallisport Challenge features a function that records the best lap-time for a given circuit with an apparition-like version of the car used. Meaning that, quite literally, there was a ghost of 00WARTHERAPY00's father waiting to compete against him or her.

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Back at this year's E3 we learned that Halo: Nightfall would tell the origin story for a new character in Halo's sci-fi universe, and we're finally getting to see some of the show in motion. And, well, there are a couple of instances where it looks pretty similar to the Alien not-a-prequel, Prometheus. That almost assuredly isn't a coincidence given the fact that Prometheus' director Ridley Scott is serving as executive producer for the show. It's hard to tell exactly how the episodic series is going to turn out based on a teaser trailer (embedded after the break), but we can tell you that in its 74 seconds there's a distinct lack of Master Chief and a whole lot of talk about an element that "selectively kills humans." How's that for mystery? You'll be able to check out the exploits of Agent Locke and his crew after Halo: The Master Chief Collection releases this November.

Update: Video of the entire Halo: Nightfall panel from Comic-Con is also embedded after the break.

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Let's say you wanted to give Bungie's latest shooter, Destiny, a go before the game comes out in September, but the idea of pre-ordering video games goes against the very core of your being. Well, Bungie's just announced that it's opening the floodgates on the test-phase for the game and is letting everyone get in on the fun. At 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific, you'll be able to head to the digital marketplace on your gaming platform of choice (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One) and grab the multi-gigabyte file for yourself and see what everyone's been raving about. And remember, on Saturday at 5 p.m. Eastern, 2 p.m. Pacific, Bungie is promising a special reward for whoever is playing, and that it'll carry over to the game's final version come September.

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What's the internet's most popular game-streaming service worth? About $1 billion, if VentureBeat sources have their story straight. Earlier this year, Variety and the Wall Street Journal reported that Google was in talks to acquire Twitch, but conceded that the two companies were only just starting negotiations. Now, sources familiar with the deal say an agreement has been reached, though its unclear when the reported acquisition will be officially announced. Naturally, there are some concerns that a Google acquisition of Twitch would stifle competition for rival services, but the tried and true platform could certainly bolster Mountain View's own streaming efforts. If nothing else, perhaps the deal will validate emerging market shared gameplay in the eyes of its doubters. Both Google and Twitch have declined to comment on the report.

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Apple's set-top hobby has come a long way since its major refresh in 2010, thanks largely to a variety of services bringing different content to the platform. When it comes to gaming, however, the Apple TV isn't exactly a powerhouse, despite being able to support it through AirPlay features -- something similar to what Real Racing has done in the past. Another developer that's made use of this particular second-screen kind of experience is Rolocule Games, and it just announced a new free title (with in-app purchases) dubbed Dance Party.

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When a broadcaster logs off for dinner or puts down the controller for some shut-eye, Twitch now lets them keep the game streaming going with its new Host Mode. The function keeps a channel's chat up and running, but embeds a video of the action from another user's session or event while the host takes a breather, or a nap, or goes outside. Viewing stats are still compiled for the original broadcaster and the option can be triggered with a simple chat command. For now though, Host Mode is only available via the web interface.

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It seems as if this week is a good one to get stuff on the cheap or even for free. First, Marvel announced a promo yesterday which gave access to its Unlimited comics service for 99 cents, and now EA has quietly revealed that it's giving away copies of The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection. You'll need to have Origin, EA's software distribution platform, installed on your machine to take advantage of this deal, but it's as easy as entering a code for old and new users alike. Just don't expect EA to keep supporting the classic game after you install it, since the publisher brought closure to that a few days ago. The Windows download on Origin will be available until July 31st at 1:00AM ET, which means there's plenty of time to let it all sink in and cancel whatever you had planned for the weekend.

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It's hard to believe that it's been a year since Google's streaming dongle arrived on the backs of TVs, bringing easy streaming chops to the masses. As a proper celebration, the folks in Mountain View are thanking both current and new Chromecasters with three free months of Google Play Music All Access -- starting today through September 30th. The company has been keen on adding new features to the accessory regularly, and in the festive announcement teased the ability to beam content while away from your WiFi and customizable homescreens as upcoming additions. Heck, with that bit of subscription savings, you'll almost have enough for a second unit.

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We're not sure how many of the new Oculus Rift VR kits have shipped out to developers already, but it looks like a healthy amount are in San Diego right now. That's where Comic-Con is happening this week and, following the X-Men VR demo we already heard about, Legendary Pictures and Oculus have teamed up for Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot. It lets attendees take control of the 250-foot tall Jaeger "Gipsy Danger" (no drift connection necessary) and do battle in a virtual reality combat simulator against the kaiju Knifehead (the first one you see in the movie). The whole experience is built in Unreal Engine 4 using the same assets Industrial Light & Magic worked with for the movie. Sure, you've seen the movie, and maybe even in IMAX 3D, but we're pretty sure even Guillermo del Toro's directing tricks can't add up to feeling like you're there, fighting an 8,700 ton monster off the coast of Alaska. It's all in Legendary's booth #3920 for all four days the show is open, from Thursday through Sunday. Don't have a ticket? There's a video preview embedded after the break, but it can't compare to diving into a VR world with Oculus -- maybe we'll be able to enjoy it at home by April 2017 when Pacific Rim 2 arrives.

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A couple of months back, Sky revealed that it was working to bring Now TV to Sony and Microsoft's latest consoles. Today, it finally started that rollout with the PlayStation 4, ensuring Sony fans have all of their bases covered in the process. Although the Xbox One app is still in development, the broadcaster notes that it will become available in the coming weeks. Neither the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One require a subscription to access the Now TV app, meaning you'll only need to put money down for Sky's movie, entertainment or sports packages to get streaming.

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We were expecting to see the new iteration of the Oculus Rift arrive on developer's doorsteps earlier this month, but unfortunately it hit a couple of delays. Road to VR points out a Reddit thread where pre-orderers confirmed their credit cards have been charged ahead of shipping. Community manager cyberreality confirmed in the thread that it's happening, and the "DK2" hardware we (and Mark Zuckerberg) were so impressed by is ready to roll. The initial production run is only supposed to cover some 10,000 of the 45,000 units ordered, so for some your wait is just beginning (until next month). In the meantime, you can check out our hands-on video of the latest and greatest in virtual reality after the break (or the new X-Men related Comic-Con demo) -- hopefully Sony's Project Morpheus team responds to this as quickly as they did on Blu-ray 3D.

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That was fast. After Microsoft announced the Xbox One is going to get Blu-ray 3D support in an update soon, Sony's PlayStation Europe arm has responded by finally revealing the same feature is coming to the PS4. There's no word yet on any other other home theater related features we'd love to see make the jump from PS3 to PS4 (Bluetooth remote, DLNA, MP3 playback), or a specific release date, but software update 1.75 is the one we're looking forward to. It's hard to say which is the bigger coincidence -- that this feature is confirmed just days after the XB1 or that it comes as we're finding out about the PSN outage settlement. Hey, at least it's not another stability update.

Update: The PlayStation US Twitter account has chimed in and done one better -- mentioning that firmware 1.75 will arrive next week. Still no word on any other changes, but that will probably put it ahead of the Xbox One, and give you enough time to order Gravity in 3D from Amazon.

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