Media

2048 starts easy; gets hard. Here's how to make it easy again

Like the popular iOS and Android puzzler Threes, from which it borrows its core concept, 2048 is a game as much about numbers as it is about space.

You have a limited number of free squares, and each move introduces another tile into the mix. But combine like numbers into their sum and you've opened up the board for the new tile and simultaneously progressed a little further toward your goal of making a magic 2048 tile, a feat accomplished by combining two 128s into a 256 and two 256s into a 512 and so on.

The HTML5 game, … Read more

Phil Spencer on Xbox One 'always-on' debacle: 'We could have been more clear'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer, who heads up the company's video game production arm, reflected on the Xbox One's controversial always-on policies rolled back last year in an interview with Gamasutra editor in chief Kris Graft on the final day of the Game Developers Conference here Friday.

"We could have been more clear and concise about what our real soul around the product was," Spencer said. Touching on the topic briefly yet apologetically, Spencer outlined how it was a learning experience, but that the blame was deserved because Microsoft fumbled the communication with … Read more

Google: No, no. You've got Glass all wrong

Something I've learned over the last few years is that Google is always right.

It criticizes the NSA for snooping, when it quite happily crawls all over your e-mails. But it's right, because it's for your own good.

It pumps ads at you even when you're writing e-mails, but it's right to do so. Because these ads are far better than all the other ads you'll see on the Web.

And then there's Google Glass, which Google insists isn't a creepy, awkward intrusion into public and private life. So Google must be right.

Well, except that those who have so far resisted a Google chip being implanted into their brains still feel that Glass might be for the self-righteous, rather than the normal human being.

Of late, Google seems to have adopted a crouching posture, as the criticisms and humor have rained its way. … Read more

Billy Joel, Jimmy Fallon sing with an iPad app (No, it's really good)

Billy Joel didn't seem too sure at first.

One imagines he's a man of the old school: the dusty piano stool, the fool sitting in the corner talking into his beer.

He may be slightly less of a man for gizmos and apps.

Somehow, Jimmy Fallon, ever the boyish enthusiast, talked him into singing along with an iPad app called Loopy. This allows you to layer one track over another, so that you, too, can make like "Bohemian Rhapsody" (say).

Instead of "Bohemian Rhapsody," Fallon chose the "Boeem-a-weh" song. Yes, "The … Read more

Samsung, Fox announce expanded 4K content deal

Building on a content deal first announced at CES 2014, Samsung and 20th Century Fox today revealed what the companies are calling a "New UHD Content Ecosystem."

Said to deliver a variety of 4K (aka UHD) content using the Smart Hub platform built into Samsung's 2014 4K TVs, the partnership "will also explore additional collaboration opportunities in multiple areas of innovation."

Specifics beyond those vague buzzwords, for example timing, delivery mechanism, bandwidth requirements and cost, were scarce. We'll try to pry more details about the announcement from Samsung at its press event today in … Read more

Obama to Ellen: Your Samsung selfie was a pretty cheap stunt

President Obama and Ellen DeGeneres have both been recently promoted to sales associate.

The president is doing all he can to get as many young people to commit to his health care initiative, so that there's enough money to pay for those whose bodies are entering disrepair.

Ellen, on the other hand, turned presenting the Oscars into the opening of a Samsung store.

It was inevitable, then, that when the two met on her show, she would first mention the selfie she took with a number of famous stars -- the one that broke the retweet record held until … Read more

Creeping closer to TV channel, Netflix licenses 'Fargo' abroad

Netflix wants to be the world's hottest cable channel that isn't on cable, and it's creeping closer with another syndication deal for a high-profile show.

The online-streaming video site will make episodes of FX's upcoming series "Fargo" available on its platform in the Netherlands almost immediately after the shows air in the US.

The deal follows one Netflix secured earlier this year to make the final eight episodes of AMC's "Breaking Bad" available to Netflix customers in the UK and Ireland a day after the US airdate. Netflix said it was … Read more

Sony's Project Morpheus makes big bet on body tracking

There's one pivotal difference right now between the two most promising, best developed virtual reality headset prototypes, forming a simultaneously technical and philosophical barrier.

Oculus VR, while exclusively focused on smooth tracking and optics, has made an open-source darling out of its Oculus Rift headset, turning a radical crowdfunding idea into the face of an emerging industry. Its openness has spawned a movement with a wide breadth of third-party spinoffs, from the Virtuix Omni to countless motion-tracking suits and handsets. Its final, relatively affordable development kit -- announced Wednesday at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco ahead of … Read more

Alibaba leads $280M investment in messaging service Tango

Following Facebook's $19 billion deal to acquire messaging service WhatsApp, rival messaging app Tango announced a $280 million round of funding Wednesday led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, as the company also surpassed its 200 millionth user.

Tango netted $215 million from Alibaba with the additional $65 million from some of its prior investors. Tango's prior investors include Access Industries, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Qualcomm Ventures, Toms Capital, Translink Capital, as well as Bill Tai, Shimon Weintraub, Jerry Yang, Alex Zubillaga and others.

The Alibaba investment secured the Chinese company a minority stake in Tango and a seat … Read more

Epic Games opens Unreal Engine 4 to public for $19 a month

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a pivotal shift in how it licenses its massively popular and widespread game engine, Epic Games has made the next-generation version of that software, the Unreal Engine 4, available to the public as a subscription-based service. It will cost $19 a month and will involve a royalty agreement asking for 5 percent in gross sales. The engine is available for download today.

"We've always made this available to AAA game developers -- costs many millions of dollars, involves negotiating for weeks or months at a time -- but for the very big teams that … Read more