The Morning After: Weekend Edition

about X hours ago from
The Morning After: Weekend Edition

And while there were plenty of eyes on the president-elect's questionable cabinet choices this past week, Obama still managed to make some headlines of his own. Among them was his decision to commute Chelsea Manning's prison term, which shaved 28 years off the original sentence she got for giving hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Chelsea's status as a transgender woman at a male prison -- and the dangers to her safety that entails -- doubtless was a prime motivator for the pardon. Still, the outgoing POTUS may have also hoped that Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, will now make good on his promise to agree to US extradition if Manning was ever granted clemency. If it works out, it'll be quite the White Housewarming gift from one president to another.

'Inside' team teases its next project following company turmoil

about X hours ago from
'Inside' team teases its next project following company turmoil

It's been quite the week for Playdead fans. First came some explanation for why the typically lock-jawed studio behind Limbo and Inside lost one of its cofounders last July. Then, the team tweeted out a teaser image for its next project. Absolutely nothing is known about the game other than it might have something to do with a comet and that its protagonist might be an astronaut of sorts. Oh, and it's using a subdued color palette and stylized visual motif. Par for the course here, really.

South Korean 'World of Warcraft' cooking show goes live tonight

about X hours ago from
South Korean 'World of Warcraft' cooking show goes live tonight

The seminal MMORPG World of Warcraft may have dwindled from its peak of 12 million players back in 2010, but Blizzard's still supporting the 12-year-old game with content and events. To celebrate the latest expansion, Legion, the studio built an elaborate cafe at Germany's Gamescom convention that served themed food and cocktails. But for everyone who couldn't fly out to Europe for some nerd cuisine, they've lined up the next best thing: A cooking show debuting tonight hosted by Choi Hyun-seok, a famous chef known for appearances on South Korean television.

Trump at 2AM: The new Oval Office in virtual reality

about X hours ago from
Trump at 2AM: The new Oval Office in virtual reality

Donald Trump stands before me with a grim look on his face, lightly leaning against the Oval Office's Resolute desk. Moonlight pours in through the office's rear windows as a phone quietly rings. It's 2am, and something has happened -- and a new President holds the weight of the world on his shoulders. I'm looking at this surreal, frozen scene through the lens of an HTC Vive. It's a free virtual reality experience called "Wide Awake," and it tells a simple, concise story: no matter who Donald Trump was before or what you may have thought of him, he's now the guy who answers the phone when shit hits the fan.

NVIDIA's new Shield TV is more of the same, with a better gamepad

about X hours ago from
NVIDIA's new Shield TV is more of the same, with a better gamepad

We expected NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang to introduce a revamped Shield TV at CES; what we didn't expect was for the new device to practically be a carbon copy of the original. Sure, it's a lot smaller, but inside it's running all of the same hardware we saw in 2015. And yet, NVIDIA claims it's still much more powerful than any other set-top box. That's a testament to how robust the company's X1 chip is, but it's disappointment new for anyone who was hoping for something fresh. On the bright side, the new $200 Shield comes with a new controller that's light years ahead of the last one. It's not revolutionary, but you can think of it as a refined spin on NVIDIA's original set-top box concept.

'Dear Angelica' from Oculus shows the power of VR illustration

about X hours ago from
'Dear Angelica' from Oculus shows the power of VR illustration

Illustration is an unusual choice for a virtual reality experience. After all, when you can build and render fully-realized 3D worlds, relying on drawings alone almost feels like a step back. But that didn't stop Oculus from pursuing a bold new animated style for its next short, Dear Angelica. In fact, the company had to build a new VR tool (Quill, its VR drawing software) to make the film. The end result is a truly unique short -- one that shows that virtual reality can be immersive even when you're basically looking at static images. It's premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and will be made freely available to Rift owners today.

PlayStation VR now supports 360-degree YouTube videos

about X hours ago from
PlayStation VR now supports 360-degree YouTube videos

PSVR is still a young whippersnapper in the virtual reality world, striving for parity -- and in games, superiority -- with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Today it's taken another step forward with support for 360-degree videos on YouTube. That means you can boot up anything on the platform, including a New York Times 'Daily 360' video, and move your head to change the perspective. You're stuck in one place, of course, but the experience is still fairly immersive, especially in comparison to the desktop YouTube experience (dragging around with your cursor isn't much fun).

Nintendo's Switch won't have video streaming apps at launch

about X hours ago from
Nintendo's Switch won't have video streaming apps at launch

We've been up close with the Nintendo Switch, tried some of its games and heard the company's pitch for the system. But still, questions remain. Thankfully, the folks at Kotaku have managed to prise some new information out of the house of Mario. Namely that the system does support multiple users -- up to eight accounts can be registered on a single system -- and that Nintendo's colorful Miis will be making a return. "There is a Mii Maker on Nintendo Switch," a spokesperson confirmed. "Mii characters can be used to represent a user profile, but are not required. [They] can still be used in games if developers choose to include them."

NPD estimates video game industry raked in $30.4 billion in 2016

about X hours ago from
NPD estimates video game industry raked in $30.4 billion in 2016

The video game industry tracker NPD Group has occasional releases throughout the year, tallying up things from the month's top-selling games to console vs. console sales to how many NES Classic Editions flew off the shelves back in November. But it's the annual revenue generation that draws real attention as a loose report card for the industry, and last year's has just come out. In 2016, NPD estimates that consumers spent $30.4 billion on games and accessories, which is a modest $200 million more than in 2015.