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27Feb/150

Google search results to show more mobile-friendly sites on phones

Google believes you'd want to see more mobile-friendly websites when you do searches on a phone or tablet. That's why on April 21st, it'll start giving online destinations with mobile versions higher placements on the results page, assuming you're also using a mobile device. Google's updated algorithm will even parse info from indexed apps, if you have them installed on your phone/tablet and (in case it needs log-in credentials to work) if you're signed in. The company has long given ranking points to websites that are optimized for new computers and devices, and it also made finding mobile-friendly ones easier last year, so the change isn't entirely surprising. If you run a website and need to know if Google recognizes its phone/tablet version, though, you can run it through the company's mobile-friendly test tool. You can never be too sure, especially since the company believes this change "will have a significant impact in [its] search results."

http://www.engadget.com/2015/02/27/google-page-rank-mobile/?ncid=rss_truncated

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27Feb/150

Year of the Goat: 11 Chinese smartphone brands to watch

2014 has been a wonderful year for the ever-competitive Chinese smartphone market. We saw the birth of new brands, the record of world's thinnest phone broken three times, and a couple of companies entering India with great reception (although not without some struggle). So with MWC following right after Chinese New Year, what better way to celebrate both than to look at the top Chinese smartphone brands? Granted, not all of these companies will be on the show floor next week (not Xiaomi or Oppo, for instance), but there's no stopping us from saying "ni hao" to them, anyway.

The Year of the Goat: Look out for these Chinese smartphone brands

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27Feb/150

EE kicks off 400 Mbps 4G trials at Wembley Stadium

EE was the first 4G network operator in the UK, and it's now hell-bent on staying the fastest. After launching its LTE-A network (aka 4G+) in central London last October, it's trialling new spectrum configurations that could boost speeds even further. If you haven't been keeping up with all the network developments, here's a quick primer: standard 4G can offer theoretical download speeds of up to 150 Mbps, while LTE-A doubles that hypothetical maximum to 300 Mbps. To achieve this, EE added an extra 20MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum on top of its existing 1800MHz band, and now the carrier's testing a three-band approach that leverages another 15MHz, boosting top download speeds to 400 Mbps.

The new trials are taking place in Wembley Stadium, where EE is creating the world's most connected stadium. Delivering these speeds is a first for both the UK and Europe, though customers won't be able to fully utilise such a network until Cat 9 smartphones enter the market next year. It might sound like a way off, but EE is determined to stay ahead of the competition. Only Cat 9 devices can aggregate all three bands, but older smartphones will still benefit from the new spectrum. It should ease the burden on each individual band, meaning your smartphone is more likely to hit its maximum download speed.

To show off its 400 Mbps network, EE has set up a digital art installation inside the stadium. In a dimly lit room, 25 Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones are suspended in mid-air, with six 4K TVs hung vertically behind them. A Kinect sensor looms overhead, tracking your body as you approach the wall of screens. Walk forward and you'll hear some of Mr. Brightside (yes, that track) by The Killers and see a few smartphones spring to life with pixellated videos. Move even closer and the entire experience hits a crescendo, showing different viewpoints of a concert originally performed inside the stadium. Moving from side-to-side introduces the roar of the crowd and crystal-clear shots of the stage.

A video posted by Nick Summers (@jetsetnick) on Feb 27, 2015 at 7:56am PST

All of the content is being streamed from an external server over EE's 4G network. As you move closer to the installation, the quality and quantity of the recordings increase, placing additional strain on EE's reinforced infrastructure. The carrier says its network is "effectively maxed out" once all of the screens and recordings are activated, but it never appears to buckle under the pressure. The purpose of the unusual demo is to highlight how EE's network will be able to cope with the evolving demands of its customers, even in an area like Wembley Stadium where up to 90,000 spectators could be accessing the internet simultaneously. Glance at the monitor in the back of the room and, as promised, you can see an independent speed test clocking a fairly stable 400 Mbps connection.

EE's 400 Mbps Demo

The installation is a bit of a gimmick, but the network technology underpinning it all is the real deal. EE is running the trial in a specific part of the stadium, but the plan is to expand coverage across the entire venue. An LTE-A upgrade in March will get the ball rolling, and it's hoped the three-band setup with 400 Mbps max download speeds will be live within the next year. Wembley Stadium is only a tiny part of the UK, but these tests highlight EE's willingness to invest in infrastructure. It might not advertise when the new speeds are available, but it hopes that over time, subscribers picking up Cat 6 and Cat 9 devices will notice the network getting faster and more stable throughout the UK.

http://www.engadget.com/2015/02/27/ee-400-mbps-4g/?ncid=rss_truncated

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27Feb/150

Aereo gets only $2 million from selling assets to TiVo and other companies

Aereo was expecting to sell its assets for at least $4 million (and up to $31 million) at a bankruptcy auction, following its loss in a protracted legal battle against broadcasters. Sadly, luck wasn't on its side yet again: the company has managed to raise a mere $2 million from the auction, which has only attracted 10 bidders. "We are very disappointed with the results of the auction. This has been a very difficult sales process and the results reflect that," one of Aereo's lawyer's, William Baldiga, said in a statement. The company has long planned to use the amount it will raise from the event to pay its creditors, and $2 million might not be enough.

One of the buyers is DVR company TiVo, which snapped up Aereo's trademark and customer lists. Other assets sold include its patent portfolio and old equipment. The New York City-based startup began offering people a different kind of TV service back in 2012. It rented out tiny remote antennae in its headquarters, which transmitted live TV to customers' laptops and mobile devices. Also, it recorded shows on DVR machines for customers who wanted to watch them later on.

Due to the services it offered, broadcasters argued in court that it was operating as a cable company without asking for permission and paying fees. And because it employed a novel technology, even the US government wasn't sure whether to classify it as a cable company or not for quite some time. The Supreme Court decided that it was indeed a cable company that was violating copyright laws, before completely banning it from streaming live TV.

In November last year, the startup filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as the legal fees it had to pay was bleeding its coffers dry. It apparently even had to fight for the right to sell its assets, as broadcasters opposed the liquidation, worried that other companies will end up buying and then using them again, thus repeating the cycle. Besides the assets it has sold in this auction, Aereo also offloaded 8,200 hard drives used for its DVRs last week for $300,000 -- after broadcasters made sure all their contents were deleted, of course.

[Image credit: AP]

http://www.engadget.com/2015/02/27/aereo-auction-tivo/?ncid=rss_truncated

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27Feb/150

Swatch Touch Zero One tracks your beach volleyball skills

Swatch's first foray into the fitness-tracking business is the Touch Zero One, a touchscreen watch built with beach volleyball in mind. This is an upgrade to the barely readable Swatch Touch, introducing features that track the ferocity of your spikes and bumps, how many steps you take and the number of calories burned during those all-day volleyball matches. It even counts the number of times you clap, finally settling the debate about who is the best sport on your team. The Touch Zero One then sends all of this information to a smartphone app, which ranks your volleyball performance from 0 to 100, beginner to professional. There's no need to charge the Touch Zero One each night -- the standard Swatch battery lasts for "months and months," the company promises. This baby should cost around $160, according to A Blog to Watch. Swatch hasn't set a release date, but it would make sense for its spike-tracker to show up on beaches by summer.

Swatch Touch Zero One

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27Feb/150

‘Star Trek’ star Leonard Nimoy passes away at 83

The Star Trek and sci-fi world at large suffered a great loss today, as Leonard Nimoy has passed away at the age of 83. Best known for his role as human/alien Spock in the TV and movie series, he had been hospitalized two days ago for chest pains. His wife Susan Bay Nimoy told the New York Times her husband died of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which he attributed to an old smoking habit. In recent years, he'd returned to our TV sets on Fringe playing the scientist William Bell, and made a cameo appearance as Spock Prime in Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013.

Nimoy had notable accomplishments behind the camera too, serving as director on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and 3 Men and a Baby (the top grossing movie that year), among others. He brought an exceptional depth to the stoic character of Spock, and everyone from NASA to former co-stars have chimed in to say how much they'll miss him, and consider him an inspiration. Live Long and Prosper, indeed.

[Image credit: Associated Press]

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27Feb/150

Masquerada’s gay characters are defined by humanity, not sexuality

In Masquerada: Songs and Shadows, the city of Ombre resembles a fantastical, medieval Venice: elegant stone towers are lined with heavy wood furniture and the people dress in lush fabrics, wielding swords and spears. But Ombre is not Venice; it's an entirely secular society whose citizens put no stock in the idea of an afterlife, and it's a land where powerful magic stems from a collection of rare masks. The Inspettore, Cicero Gavar, returns from exile to investigate an earth-shattering kidnapping, with the help of spells, weapons, his team -- and his sexuality.

"While having the main character be gay and allowing a romance, as BioWare does, is very empowering to a gay player, we hope to serve them in another way -- to show our audience the beauty and humanity of a gay character and how it would translate to real world situations," lead developer Ian Gregory says.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows

Masquerada's world reflects the lives of its developers in a few ways. It comes from Witching Hour Studios, a development company in Singapore, and the world of Ombre is based on Singapore's own mutli-cultural, diverse population. The game is a "pause for tactics" RPG, meaning players can stop in the middle of battle and plan out efficient attacks. The art and mechanics are inspired by Bastion, The Banner Saga and Baldur's Gate, a collection of narrative-driven and innovative tactical titles, all sprinkled with a dash of brilliant neon color.

But, these are the surface aspects of Masquerada. Beneath the gorgeous design lies a deeper message about what it means to be human, shaped by Gregory's dissatisfaction with the portrayal of gay characters in video games.

"I'm tired that gay characters in games are portrayed [as] oversexualized," Gregory says. "While some have depth, they seem to be defined by their sexuality and not enough by their humanity. If we're gonna constantly harp on how different they are just by their bedroom habits, that's all society will latch on to. We'd like to show the perspective of a gay character whose choices and behaviors are profoundly affected by others' conflicting attitudes to their sexual orientation -- and to do so in a way where the conversation isn't about romance."

Basically, Gregory treats Masquerada's characters as full, flawed and talented people first, rather than approaching each one from the view of a single, limiting trait. Gregory's goal is to make his characters relatable and accessible without relying on stereotypes or exaggerated tropes.

"We're going to explore fear, guilt, loss, redemption," he says. "A situation where a player would take on the role of a good friend instead of a lover. Perhaps something more familiar to those of us not of the orientation."

Of course, Masquerada has to be a solid game in order for its characters -- gay or otherwise -- to have any impact on players or society at large. To that end, Gregory says Witching Hour Studios has partnered with Ysbryd Games, a publisher that provides enough funding for the developers to craft an expansive game with rich lore and no compromises. With support from Ysbryd, the full game is due out on PC and unannounced consoles in early 2016, with no need to turn to crowdfunding or other financing options.

"We're unlikely to take this to Kickstarter unless we suddenly have a need for half a million to get Daft Punk involved or something," Gregory says. For what it's worth, a Daft Punk game soundtrack would probably be awesome.

Witching Hour isn't concerned about funding and the studio has a clear idea of who Masquerada's characters are -- that doesn't mean Gregory has zero worries overall.

"If we were worried about anything, it wouldn't be about the resources to make the game, but it'd be about overcoming the hurdles of visibility with our intended audience," he says. "It's not something you can plan for. It would suck to be drowned out by the next cadre of 'I Am Call of Battlefield Creed Roguelike Simulator 2016s' because we 'didn't follow trends' about what's hip these days. Exhibiting at PAX can only do so much."

It may not result in much, but Witching Hour is doing it anyway: Masquerada will be in booth 8236 at PAX East 2015, the game convention held in Boston from March 6 - 8. Fans of Bastion, The Banner Saga or fully formed characters, check it out.

http://www.engadget.com/2015/02/27/indie-game-gay-characters-masquerada/?ncid=rss_truncated

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27Feb/150

Smart liquor bottles can keep tabs on your bourbon collection

A close friend of mine returned home from vacation to discover his house sitter -- his brother-in-law -- had downed an entire bottle Pappy Van Winkle 20 year bourbon. A tragedy, really. However, if an alcohol tech duo in Europe has its way, keeping tabs on your stash while you're away could become much easier. Diageo (an alcohol company) and Thinfilm (a printed electronics maker) teamed up to create a "smart bottle" that serves up cocktail recipes and can detect when a bottle has been unsealed. Thinfilm's OpenSense label sensor tags pair with a smartphones NFC chops to run the system that's also capable of tracking supply chain, in-store stock and promotional offers for brands and retailers. The pair constructed a prototype Johnnie Walker Blue bottle that'll be on display at next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but there's no word on when a similar solution could make its way to your local liquor store. Maybe the final version will be able to determine how much is left in a bottle, keeping sneaky house quests at bay.

http://www.engadget.com/2015/02/27/smart-liquor-bottles/?ncid=rss_truncated

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27Feb/150

Deconstructing the method to Nintendo’s madness

It's easy to hate on Nintendo. With the Wii U, the company played right into negative consumer expectations by releasing a product derided for its kid-friendly appeal, Fisher-Price toy-like looks, less-than-bleeding-edge silicon, confusing branding and (initially) clunky operating system. The message to the market at the system's launch seemed clear: The gaming giant had fallen behind the times. But that's not quite the truth.

There's a well-reasoned and deeply entrenched philosophy behind the often baffling, public-facing decisions Nintendo makes and that's to deliver high-quality and accessible entertainment experiences on cheap-to-produce (often older), innovative hardware. It's the Nintendo recipe for success as concocted by the domineering former president Hiroshi Yamauchi. It's the reason why Nintendo sits on billions of dollars of cash; why its famed first-party studio -- the home of Mario and Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto -- is called Entertainment Analysis and Development, or EAD. The company quite literally agonizes over ways to innovate the concept of "fun."

The trouble is you'd never know it. The stubbornly traditional Kyoto-based company has communication issues; issues that have created quite an image problem, and not just externally either. Sure, the streamed Nintendo Direct presentations are a step in the right direction, but overall the company's marketing remains either nonexistent or tone-deaf. Consider how often you engage with Nintendo the brand on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr. You don't. Ask someone from the non-gaming population who bought a Wii what the Wii U is and they'll likely stare at you blankly. Ask those same non-gaming folks who've actually bought a Wii U to call the system by its name and they'll likely call it the "Wii."

But contrary to popular internet belief, Nintendo is not blissfully unaware of its conservative reputation and deep-seated issues. Nintendo knows it needs to change. For evidence of this, look no further than comments made by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. In a recent QA with investors, an uncharacteristically candid Iwata had this to say about the company's internal identity crisis:

"[The] real issue seemed to be that people inside the company appeared to be obsessed with the belief that Nintendo is a company that makes video games and should make nothing else. This is one of the reasons we revised our definition of entertainment and why I announced that Nintendo's goal for the next 10 years is to 'improve people's QOL in enjoyable ways.'"

That investor talk is a goldmine of insight into the company's ongoing internal transition, future business direction and refusal to adopt certain trends. So let's dive right in and read between the lines, shall we?

Amiibo is a new platform, not a line of figurines

"While under development, it was internally referred to as 'NFP (Nintendo Figurine Platform).' In other words, we were spreading the message inside the company that Amiibo would be a 'platform.' What we are offering with one Amiibo figure is the ability to experience a range of entertainment with a variety of software."

Linear thinking is not the Nintendo way and thus Amiibo is not your typical "toys to life" line of figurines. In fact, Amiibo isn't actually a line of figurines at all -- it's a new platform. Iwata himself stresses this point. Future Amiibo will take the form of trading cards, as well as the tantalizing prospect of something "other than plastic figures." And in addition to its ability to unlock bonus content and store data for a customizable figurine player a la Smash Bros., Amiibo will also be used as "cartridges" to download vignettes of select NES/SNES game stages.

Not all Amiibo are created equal

"Some Amiibo have a more complex structure and a greater number of colors, which means they cost more to produce than others."

Translation: Your Samus Amiibo was more expensive to produce than Kirby, but Nintendo's not charging you for the difference and for a very wise reason: It doesn't want you to think one character is more valuable than the other. Scoff if you must, but Nintendo takes the protection of its IP and that IP's valuation deadly seriously.

Nintendo's next home console will have handheld DNA

"Technologies that were suitable for handheld devices or home consoles had nearly nothing in common, so it was reasonable to divide hardware development into two divisions. However, with recent technological advances, technologies for both systems are becoming more similar."

Handhelds have buoyed Nintendo's profits for some time now, so it's no big surprise that the company would seek to cross-pollinate that segment with its home console business. Nintendo's even gone so far as to merge its separate hardware divisions for consoles and portable gaming into one unit, a process that began two years ago. Iwata points to the Wii U's portable-ish GamePad as justification for this unified structure. Bear in mind, though, that you won't see the fruits of this strategy bear out until Nintendo rolls out its next-gen hardware. You can bet that whatever home console Nintendo creates next will be somewhat portable by default and run on a shared OS.

Nintendo's barrier to entry for games will remain 'friendly'

"In particular, under the recent circumstances surrounding the video game industry, what is highly evaluated does not always sell well. We have to create products that are easy to understand, do not cause consumers to feel stressed at any stage of the experience and that consumers are attracted to at a glance."

Exhibit A: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.

Nintendo's working on mobile apps, but it's not doing it for the money

"We recognize that we need to make changes in various areas, and consider how we can take advantage of smart devices and more actively use our character IP. Please do not take it the wrong way. It does not mean that we are going to proactively utilize smart devices and character IP because we are not making enough profits from our dedicated video game platforms."

Nintendo is not desperate for your dollars (or euros or yen). With nearly $10 billion in cash reserves, the company can endure a few product-cycle misfires. If Nintendo were seeking to merely cash in on its portfolio of IP, we'd have already seen classic NES titles saturate Google Play and iTunes. But because of that nest egg, Nintendo can afford to experiment in the mobile space on its own terms and that means no mobile games. Capisce?

Iwata doesn't talk about Nintendo's Blue Ocean strategy anymore because he's done talking about Blue Ocean

"I verbally used this term so often that even I myself was concerned whether the audience would be fed up with it. I did so because, as the leader of an organization, I believe that my message cannot soak deeply into people's minds if I do not repeatedly convey the same message to the point that the audience are fed up with it."

Iwata is sick of talking about Blue Ocean, Nintendo's Wii-era philosophy that sought to expand the reach of gaming beyond the traditional "core" audience; I suspect that's because the folks that swam in that water are now sitting beachside taking selfies and playing Candy Crush on their phones. It's a sore point for Nintendo and one the company intends to rectify by luring them back in with its Quality of Life initiative.

Iwata's Blue Ocean message was lost on Nintendo

"For the last few years I have been wondering whether people inside the company have a clear image as to exactly how we could expand the gaming population. ... We released "Wii Sports Club" and "Wii Fit U" for the Wii U system, but they did not have the same strong impact that the original Wii versions had. Those who have tried these Wii U games know that we have actually realized a variety of new things, but at a glance, they look just similar to their predecessors."

Iwata throwing shade at his own people.

'Pick up and play' is very important to Iwata because no one reads instruction manuals

"When you play a video game, we should try to create a situation that you can do so without reading the instruction manual. I am sorry to say this for the people who are working very hard to make instruction manuals for our games, but my impression is that only around 5 percent of consumers bother to read the instruction manual when they start playing a video game."

Exhibit A: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.

Nintendo's QoL platform will reward users much the same way Pavlov rewarded his dogs

"For any video games, it is also very important to encourage the players to continue something. I think all the game players can agree that they voluntarily continue their mission because of the rewards they can receive in the form of output as a result of their input."

We game because there is a payoff for our progress. You kill enough bad guys and you progress to the next stage; you level up; you gain more powerful weapons; and you get to watch gorgeously rendered cut-scenes. Nintendo's planning to do the same with its QoL platform. And the first device to come from that will deal with sleep and fatigue. What those "rewards" will be are anyone's guess. Knowing Nintendo, they'll be delightful, engaging and worth putting in that full night of sleep.

Change is hard, but innovation is even harder

"If people inside the company think that Nintendo is a company which cannot make anything other than video games, and believe that video game controllers remain a certain way because that is the way they have been for 30 years, video games should be created in a certain way or video games must start with a tutorial, end in a particular way and have a lot of hard-at-work elements in between, a high mental wall would stand in front of us when we tried to create a brand-new video game genre with which many people would be amazed or when we try to create an unprecedented user interface that pleasantly surprises people. "

Preach, Iwata. Preach.

It will take 10 years of Iwata repeating himself until consumers realize that Nintendo's business has changed

"Our strategy for the next 10 years is to change the definition of entertainment and expand the area that Nintendo can do business in, and with this strategy, I believe we can capitalize on our strengths."

If you thought you were sick of hearing about QoL now, just wait and see how you feel in another five years when it's been beaten into your brain.

There was a lot of finger-pointing going on at Nintendo and it made Iwata mad

"If developers tended to think that even though they had created good products, incompetent marketing team members were the cause of poor sales or if, on the other hand, the marketing team members thought that the products were not selling well because the developers had made unappealing products, then we would be seen as a bad company with a culture in which everyone tends to lay the blame on someone else. ... Since such an organization should never exist, I have been encouraging everyone internally to first consider what more they themselves can do. A company is a group of people, so it is impossible to completely eliminate these kinds of opinions in challenging circumstances, so I repeatedly make this kind of remark internally."

If you thought only commenters or posters on NeoGAF got pretty heated about Nintendo's misfortunes, you were wrong. The company's own staff members were playing a bit of the 'ol blame game internally because it's easier to say, "S/he did it!" to Papa Iwata who, once again, is tasked with repeating himself ad nauseam.

You can kiss price drops for Nintendo hardware goodbye

"Consumers will purchase high-quality products even if they are expensive or, in other words, even if there are slightly reasonable discount offers, consumers will not purchase products unless they truly understand and are satisfied with the quality."

Remember when the GameCube was $99 and it still failed to move a significant amount of units? Yeah, that's never going to happen again. Nintendo knows you'll pay out the nose for something you deem good enough; the challenge is convincing you it's good enough.

Amiibo and mobile apps will be Nintendo's way of delivering DLC without calling it that

"There is a constant stream of breaking news on the internet and new videos are uploaded to it and are being played every day, and the content changes by the second. As for packaged video game software, however, the structure of video games in the past was that once the game software was developed, it is done with, and the only thing left to do was to deliver it to consumers. However, will our current consumers, who expect everything to change by the day, truly be satisfied with this structure? We cannot put unlimited amounts of energy and power into one product, so our challenge is how to embark on new endeavors efficiently with limited investment, while having consumers notice the difference. I plan to explain this topic when I talk about how we will make use of smart devices, and I believe that we have to undertake all of these efforts together as a set."

The most curious bit here is how Nintendo intends to deliver content updates via smartphones and tablets, especially when it's explicitly not making mobile games. What this likely means for consumers are applications on par with experiences akin to Animal Crossing/Tomodatchi Life, albeit pared down for a single Amiibo. Imagine this: You tap your Amiibo (be it card or figurine or non-plastic thingamajig) to your phone's NFC reader, download the Figurine Player data and then care for/level up that character before transferring the data back to the Amiibo for console/handheld play. Just a guess, but a likely scenario, non?

Iwata's mad that your crap, derivative FPS game sells so well

"When not only the marketing issues that you have pointed out, but also the product development and service operation issues are skillfully solved ... we should be able to return to a "content is king" situation, where the people who make genuinely interesting products sell more."

Nintendo makes critically acclaimed games that not many people are buying. This makes Iwata an unhappy man. But one day, you'll see; you'll all see who's king. Right, Iwata?

You won't be getting a PS Plus/Now-style game-streaming service from Nintendo anytime soon

"The tough issue for this platform is that the platform holders are not so interested in maintaining the high value of the content and instead feel that the cheaper the content, the better or even that the content should be free. ... Once [consumers] have regarded as a norm that they can digitally obtain content free of charge, we cannot easily change their minds regarding content value. ... Observing these transitions, we can say that the digitalization trend presents not only a promising chance, but also a huge crisis for us, so it can be said that we are faced with both an opportunity and a dilemma at the same time. Without thoroughly considering our business approach, the value of our content will instantly be damaged."

Nintendo saw what happened to the music industry with the advent of Napster and iTunes, and it's watching closely what's happening to the film and television industry as streaming stalwarts like Netflix and Amazon swoop in to disrupt the industry's business model. In Nintendo's opinion, any subscription-based streaming service would foster the perception that its games were worth less. And that's just not a proposition it's ready to risk.

"If consumers commonly expected content to be free or very cheap and as a result, if a price and service competition occurred on the similar-looking products, we would not have a bright outlook. Therefore, the most important points will be how we produce original content, how we create a way for value of our offerings to be well accepted and how we invent payment methods for new consumers."

Translation: If you want to pay less for Nintendo's brand of quality entertainment, you're going to get a smaller amount of that quality entertainment (read: shorter play times).

Iwata knows you think Nintendo is slow to evolve digitally, but he has a plan for change, so relax

"Since distribution costs are becoming very close to zero due to digitalization, the number of consumers who do not focus on the value of the content is increasing, based on their idea that content can also be free. How we deal with this situation where there is the pressure to decrease the value of any digital content will be the key point for us. If we find the right answer, Nintendo will prosper as a company that creates content. If we make a big mistake, on the other hand, our business structure will collapse. We know there is criticism that our decision-making or transformation is slow in this field or our activities are not sophisticated, but we would like to take forward steps by considering everything thoroughly and with confidence that our future approach will work. "

The internet has ruined everything. Without the need for a physical product or distribution channel, anyone with a broadband connection can buy a new game -- a formless thing that lives as 0s and 1s on that hard disk. We can't really see it or touch it, so it should be cheaper to buy, right? Wrong. Development teams spend years, countless hours of overtime and financial resources to meticulously craft that video game you're snarking on for costing more than you think it should. And this gives Nintendo agita; the kind of agita that keeps Iwata up at night and reaching for the Alka-Seltzer and wondering why can't everything be like it was in the '90s?!

[Image credits: Pete Maclaine / Alamy (Mario zombie); Bloomberg via Getty Images (Satoru Iwata); Associated Press (Amiibo); Nintendo (Kirby and the Rainbow Curse); Andy Dean/Getty (Senior couple); Peter Barreras/Invision/AP (Luigi on train); Casey Curry/Invision/AP (Shigeru Miyamoto)]

Nintendo Wii U

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27Feb/150

Lenovo strips some of the unwanted software from its PCs

Lenovo said it was rethinking its approach to pre-loaded software on PCs in the wake of the Superfish security fiasco, and it's now clear that the computer maker wasn't kidding around. It's promising that its home PC software bundles going forward will be limited to Windows, in-house apps and security software. The only exceptions will occur in certain countries, where some third-party apps are "customarily expected." That IdeaPad or Yoga won't be truly bloatware-free (that would limit you to Windows alone), but a lot of the annoying and potentially dangerous cruft will be gone. Just be prepared to wait a while before you see leaner, cleaner Lenovo computers. The system builder is starting to tidy things up right away, but its effort won't be in full swing until Windows 10 arrives.

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