News Hightech

Television with built-in Fire TV makes better use of your voice

One of the Element Fire TV Edition set's main hooks is clearly its Alexa voice control, so it stands to reason that the entire television stands to benefit the more you can use it, doesn't it? Sure enough, Element is trotting out an update that makes...

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Robots learn to walk naturally by understanding their bodies

The challenge with bipedal robots isn't so much getting them to walk at all (although that's sometimes a problem) as it is getting them to walk naturally. They tend to either step cautiously or quickly run into trouble. Swiss researchers think they...

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Office 365's revamped web launchers put you to work sooner

Sometimes, it's not your productivity apps that need a tune-up... it's how you get to those apps that needs work. And Microsoft knows it. The tech firm has redesigned the Office.com front end and Office 365's web app launcher. There's now a recommend...

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Maze-like chip helps spot aggressive cancer cells

It's difficult to spot cancer cells -- just one in a billion blood cells are cancerous. How do you isolate them to know the trouble someone is facing and eventually treat it? By drawing the kind of mazes you enjoyed as a kid, apparently. Researche...

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The best air purifier

By Tim Heffernan and John Holecek This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer's guide to the best homewares. When readers choose to buy The Sweethome's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that s...

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Television with built-in Fire TV makes better use of your voice

One of the Element Fire TV Edition set's main hooks is clearly its Alexa voice control, so it stands to reason that the entire television stands to benefit the more you can use it, doesn't it? Sure enough, Element is trotting out an update that makes...

Read more »


Video games

Sega Releases Earnings Report

Sega has released its financial report for the nine-month period ending Dec. 31, 2016, and it was a profitable period for the Japanese company. Sega sold 8.13 million games in that period, up from last year's 6.12 million, including a new Football Manager title and Yakuza 6. In its report, Sega said that consumers are expecting higher-quality mobile games, and as such the development time and cost is expected to increase. Net revenue in Sega's Entertainment Contents Business, which includes game software as well as arcade games and films, is at 155.4 billion Yen (about $1.4 billion) – a jump of about 14 percent. The division's operating income is at $15.4 billion Yen (about $137 million), which Sega says is an increase of 449 percent over the same period last year. [Source: Sega] Our TakeThere weren't any major revelations here, but it's nice to see that Sega appears to be doing well. The past few years have been tumultuous in the gaming industry, and I'll take anything approaching normalcy and stability as a good sign. 

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PSA: Free Elder Scrolls Online Homestead Update Available Now

Elder Scrolls Online is getting a free update today that allows players to own their own homesteads. The first major DLC of 2017 for the massively multiplayer game will allow players to buy and own their own estates, apartments, and even islands in Tamriel. With more than 40 instances homes based on the game's 10 playable races, there are plenty of options for players looking to set down some roots in Tamriel.   Homes can be bought either using in game gold, or through microtransactions via Elder Scrolls Online's Crown Store. Players can also customize  their property with more than 2,000 decorative items including furniture, books, and more.  The Homestead update is available now on PC and Mac, and will be coming to PS4 and Xbox One on February 21.  For info on Elder Scrolls Online's next big expansion, Morrowind, you can click right here. [Source: ESO Online Website]

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Square Enix Profits Up In 2016

Square Enix has released its earnings report for the nine-month period that ended Dec. 31, 2016. And thanks in part to releases including Final Fantasy XV and the PlayStation 4 version of Rise of the Tomb Raider, the company's profit and revenue are both up over last year. The company pulled in a total of 190 billion Yen (about $1.7 billion), which is up from the 152 billion in revenue it earned in the same period the year before. That's an increase of a little more than 24 percent. From that total, Square Enix's profit was 17 billion Yen (about $151 million) – a 26-percent jump from the previous 13.5 billion. In its report, Square Enix cited the Final Fantasy and Rise of the Tomb Raider releases, as well as "strong download sales of catalogue titles released previously" as having led sales on console. Its MMO revenue is steady, despite major content updates during the reported period. Additionally, mobile and browser-based games have been enjoying significant earnings increases. [Source: Square Enix]   Our TakeSquare Enix has a fairly long post-release plan for Final Fantasy XV, so it should be interesting to see if it helps pull its weight as we move into the next fiscal period.

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Elite Dangerous Dev Signs Game Deal With Hollywood Studio

Elite Dangerous (shown) and Planet Coaster developer Frontier Developments has announced that the company's third video game franchise will be based on an "enduring movie franchise of global renown" from a Hollywood studio. "We have chosen to license this particular IP to work with as our third franchise, because we believe we can create something very special. It is creatively stimulating, already has a high worldwide profile, and is a perfect match for our expertise." [Source: London Stock Exchange via Gamasutra]   Our TakeAny guesses?

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Scribbly Shooter Drawn To Life Gets April Release Date, In-Depth Dev Video

Drawn to Death is an usual-looking game, to be sure, but what sets it apart from other hero shooters on the market today is more than skin deep. Designer David Jaffe talks about the game's frantic four-player action, explaining why a pared-down player count helps keep the action more strategic than a twitchy free-for-all. In the video below, Jaffe explains how having fewer opponents lets you get a better sense of where your enemies are and what they're capable of – even getting a sense of the kind of player they are. He readily admits that it may seem like a turn off initially, but that players who have gotten their hands on the game have grown fond of both the game's finely tuned (and over-the-top) action. (Please visit the site to view this media) In addition to showing off the game, Jaffe and his studio, The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency, have announced a release date for the game: It's coming to the PlayStation 4 on April 4. For more on Drawn to Death, take a look at a preview we wrote way back when the game was first announced.

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Sega Releases Earnings Report

Sega has released its financial report for the nine-month period ending Dec. 31, 2016, and it was a profitable period for the Japanese company. Sega sold 8.13 million games in that period, up from last year's 6.12 million, including a new Football Manager title and Yakuza 6. In its report, Sega said that consumers are expecting higher-quality mobile games, and as such the development time and cost is expected to increase. Net revenue in Sega's Entertainment Contents Business, which includes game software as well as arcade games and films, is at 155.4 billion Yen (about $1.4 billion) – a jump of about 14 percent. The division's operating income is at $15.4 billion Yen (about $137 million), which Sega says is an increase of 449 percent over the same period last year. [Source: Sega] Our TakeThere weren't any major revelations here, but it's nice to see that Sega appears to be doing well. The past few years have been tumultuous in the gaming industry, and I'll take anything approaching normalcy and stability as a good sign. 

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News in brief

Merkel set for fourth term, far right to enter parliament for first time in post-war era

German Chancellor Angela Merkel secured a fourth consecutive term on Sunday after her Christian Democrats (CDU) and the allied Christian Social Union (CSU) won the largest parliamentary bloc with 32.5 percent of the vote, exit polls showed.

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French conservatives retain Senate majority as Macron's party suffers setback

French President Emmanuel Macron's La République en marche (LREM) party suffered a setback in Senate elections on Sunday as the conservative Les Républicains strengthened their hold on the upper house of parliament.

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Kurds vow to hold independence vote despite threats from Baghdad

Iraq's Kurds said Sunday they will hold an independence referendum "whatever the risk and price", despite threats of retaliation from the country's central government on the eve of the vote.

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Trump in escalating row with sports stars over anthem protest

President Donald Trump and the sports world engaged in an intensifying spat on Saturday after he called for National Football League owners to fire players who protest during the U.S. national anthem.

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Video: Tensions rise in Kirkuk ahead of Kurdistan independence referendum

In the disputed city of Kirkuk, hoisting the Kurdish flag is a controversial matter. Both Baghdad and Erbil lay claim to this oil-rich province.

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Merkel set for fourth term, far right to enter parliament for first time in post-war era

German Chancellor Angela Merkel secured a fourth consecutive term on Sunday after her Christian Democrats (CDU) and the allied Christian Social Union (CSU) won the largest parliamentary bloc with 32.5 percent of the vote, exit polls showed.

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News in brief

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