A first look at Gear VR's motion controller

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A first look at Gear VR's motion controller

Samsung and Oculus are making sure their mobile VR headset keeps up with Google's DayDream VR. The partnership announced a new version of Gear VR and it has a controller now. In fact, that's the major difference, with the headset itself getting marginally lighter and getting a few cosmetic tweaks. I got to handle the controller for a brief spell here at MWC, and while there were no demos to try, Gear VR's take on the mobile controller feels closer the HTC's Vive peripherals more than anything else. That's certainly no bad thing.

The charity that wants video game karts in every hospital

about X hours ago from
The charity that wants video game karts in every hospital

In many ways, Jonathan Watson is like other 11-year-olds. He does his homework, dreams of becoming a doctor and plays video games when he can. Depending on the day, his favorite is either Minecraft or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Unlike most kids his age, though, Jonathan is at the hospital every three weeks for blood transfusions -- a procedure that can take up to six hours at a time. When I visited him at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he wasn't slaying dragons or building a pixelated fortress; he was replaying the opening levels of Rayman Legends on a kart that had just been wheeled in. The kart was donated by a local Eagle Scout who raised funds through the Gamers Outreach Foundation (GO), a nationwide charity that puts medical-grade gaming equipment in hospitals around the country.

The sequel to 'Shadow of Mordor' arrives August 22nd

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The sequel to 'Shadow of Mordor' arrives August 22nd

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was one of the most important blockbuster games of 2014, proving that an open-world title set in a very familiar fantasy world could still feel fresh and innovative. And apparently, it was popular enough to get a sequel... including on a platform that isn't even out yet. Warner Bros. has unveiled Middle-earth: Shadow of War, a follow-up that will be available on PS4, Windows PCs, the Xbox One and Project Scorpio -- yes, this is one of the first known titles for Microsoft's 4K-capable console. The publisher isn't saying what the Scorpio version will bring to the table, but it'll launch this holiday season. Every other edition arrives on August 22nd.

Twitch goes after Steam with direct game sales

about X hours ago from
Twitch goes after Steam with direct game sales

Twitch has a dilemma -- it can get you fired up about a game, but then you've got to head off to Steam or another site when it comes time to buy (insert sad trombone sound). However, the Amazon-owned streaming outfit has some big news that changes all that. Starting this spring, you'll be able to purchase games directly from Twitch -- if you're watching a stream about Tom Clancy's The Division, for instance, you can click on a "buy now" button directly below the stream, as shown above.

Streamer completes every NES game ever made

about X hours ago from
Streamer completes every NES game ever made

In May 2014, Piotr Delgado "The Mexican Runner" Kusielczuk wanted a new challenge. His Super Castlevania IV speed runs were leaving him burned out and he wanted to tackle something different for the entertainment of his Twitch followers. Friends suggested that instead of completing NES games as fast as possible, he should perhaps think about beating every game ever made for the platform. Starting with Whomp 'Em on May 28th, 2014, Kusielczuk methodically completed all 714 titles, eventually completing the final world in his final game, Super Mario 3, yesterday.

MIT's 'Super Smash Bros.' AI can compete with veteran players

about X hours ago from
MIT's 'Super Smash Bros.' AI can compete with veteran players

For expert players, most video game AI amounts to little more than target practice -- especially in fighting games, where it rarely accounts for the subtleties of human behavior. At MIT, though, they've developed a Super Smash Bros. Melee AI that should make even seasoned veterans sweat a little. The CSAIL team trained a neural network to fight by handing it the coordinates of game objects, and giving it incentives to play in ways that should secure a win. The result is an AI brawler that has largely learned to fight on its own -- and is good enough to usually prevail over players ranked in the top 100 worldwide.

Sony has sold nearly 1 million PlayStation VR headsets

about X hours ago from
Sony has sold nearly 1 million PlayStation VR headsets

Ever since PlayStation VR, speculation has been rampant: is console-based virtual reality here to stay, or will it die an early death? Apparently, its near-term future is secure. Sony's Andrew House tells the New York Times that the company had sold 915,000 PSVR headsets as of February 19th, just over four months after its October 13th debut. That doesn't sound like much for a company that has sold tens of millions of PlayStation 4s, but it's well ahead of expectations -- Sony had hoped to reach the 1 million mark by mid-April. Sales might have been better still if the company hadn't been purposefully cautious with production, leading to shortages centered primarily in its home turf of Japan.

Ben Heck makes a Zelda lamp by upcycling laptop screens

about X hours ago from
Ben Heck makes a Zelda lamp by upcycling laptop screens

Humans by nature can be a little bit wasteful. Recycling helps, of course, but some things are too good to throw away. That's where upcycling comes in. Karen has the idea to repurpose laptop screens to create a Legend of Zelda-inspired lamp. However, not just any laptop screen will do. As the team rips apart old hardware they soon discover the different types of panels that have been used in various laptops over the years. With the optimal screens identified, Karen gets down to business with Adobe Illustrator and designs suitable laser-cut frames. Watch the episode to find out tips and tricks to make the perfect design. Have you upcycled any old hardware? Think you could enter your project in a design competition? Find out more on the element14 Community.