The Kinect will never die.
Microsoft debuted its motion-sensing camera on June 1st, 2009, showing off a handful of gimmicky applications for the Xbox 360; it promised easy, controller-free gaming for the whole family. Back then, Kinect was called Project Natal, and Microsoft envisioned a future where its blocky camera would expand the gaming landscape, bringing everyday communication and entertainment applications to the Xbox 360, such as video calling, shopping and binge-watching.
This was the first indication that Microsoft's plans for Kinect stretched far beyond the video game industry. With Kinect, Microsoft popularized the idea of yelling at our appliances -- or, as it's known today, the IoT market. Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana (especially that last one) are all derivative of the core Kinect promise that when you talk to your house, it should respond.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has been teasing its upcoming third map for a month now, and this weekend, players on all platforms will be able to test it out -- no invite required. The newly-named Sanhok (formed from the Thai word for 'fun' and the Tagalog word for 'chicken') features ruins and jungle inspired by areas in Southeast Asia. And like the game's unpopular second map Savage, this one is a much smaller 4km x 4km -- just a quarter of the size of PUBG's original arena Miramar.
Source: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds blog
If you thought Avengers: Infinity War was the ultimate pop-culture mashup, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has another cameo up its sleeve. Franchise villain Thanos will make a limited appearance in Fortnite: Battle Royale starting May 8th, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Source: Entertainment Weekly
The North American League of Legends Championship Series has a home for its summer finals... and you'll definitely recognize it. Riot Games has announced that the Summer Split finalists will play on September 8th and 9th at Oakland's Oracle Arena -- you know, the home of the Golden State Warriors. This isn't completely surprising when the Warriors are an affiliate of the league's Golden Guardians team, but it's still rare for regional eSports competitions to get such a prominent venue.
Source: League of Legends
Last year, Niantic hosted a day-long Pokémon Go festival in Chicago with 20,000 diehard fans of the smash hit mobile game. Unfortunately, it was a disaster, with both the local data networks, and the game's servers, unable to cope with that many players at once. It recovered from that initially bumpy (and expensive) start to host events in Japan, Korea and Europe, and now it's hoping to maintain that streak this year.
Source: Pokémon Go Live
NVIDIA has canceled the GeForce Partner Program (GPP) just two months after announcing it. The GPP began with little fanfare in early March, but it quickly became clear (thanks to work by HardOCP's Kyle Bennett) that it was more than a simple branding initiative. Bennett showed that GPP was encouraging manufacturers to solely produce PCs and laptops with NVIDIA GPUs inside. Manufacturers could still opt for AMD cards, but they would have to be sold through a different brand. Should a manufacturer not play ball, NVIDIA would at best not include it in marketing efforts, and at worst actively hold back inventory to exclude it from upcoming GPU launches.
It's a busy week coming up. Microsoft's Build conference kicks off today, then, with no time for a break, it's Google I/O. What to expect from Microsoft? This. What does Google have planned? Something like this. Oh, and then there's all the things from the weekend.
Today is the 15th anniversary of the legendarily fascinating virtual world EVE Online, a massively multiplayer spaceship game that has become famous for the incredible stories that sometimes emerge from the community about heists and wars between thousands of players.
EVE is so interesting that it even has its own historian, Andrew Groen, a video game writer formerly of Wired who studies the politics and sociology at work in EVE's virtual community over its 15-year history.
Groen raised $95,729 from a Kickstarter campaign to independently publish his first book, Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online, which has now sold 17,000 copies worldwide and is in its third printing. He's currently Kickstarting a sequel which has already brought in more than $115,000 in support and concludes this week.
Empires of EVE is half Star Wars, half Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. It is a true and fact-checked account of what happened inside EVE Online from the years 2003-2009 as player factions began to accumulate power and eventually wage a years-long war between more than 50,000 real players. It's a space opera that takes place on our own internet, and all the characters are 2003 internet users attempting to build their own digital fiefdom.
The excerpt that follows is chapter four of Empires of EVE, and takes place near the beginning of the story.
Why 'Stories' Took Over Your Smartphone
Why 'Stories' Took Over Your Smartphone
Snapchat may have created the monster, but in nearly every social (and some not-so-social) app you fire up, you'll be greeted with a feed of Stories. In fact, Facebook says the format is on pace to be more popular than a primary feed as the preferred way to share updates. The Atlantic explains how the ephemeral format took over your phone and why it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.