Leisure

Valve took a major step in growing its Steam digital distribution platform today by adding movie rentals to the mix. The addition of movies to Steam's catalog is a first, and it was made possible through a deal with Lionsgate Entertainment that immediately fleshes out the service with more than 100 flicks. This is a big deal for Valve and its Steam platform, one that hints at the company's plans of expanding Steam into an entertainment juggernaut. Steam is already the biggest digital distribution platform on the planet for games, and while it has a long way to go before it can claim the same for... Read more...
When Valve announced that it was holding a news conference on March 3 at 3PM, it was quite apparent what was rolling around in the our brains: Half-Life 3. The mythical Half-Life 3 has reached almost legendary status among gamers, and leave it to Valve to tease us once again as we grab for a cold beer from the fridge to rest against our forehead. But while there was no Half-Life 3 announcement made today, Valve did have plenty to share with us including the successor to the Source engine. The Source engine has been the driving force behind Half-Life 2 and Counterstrike: Source, but Source 2 will... Read more...
Alienware's new Area 51 gaming desktop PC arrived late last year and it certainly turned heads, including ours, due to its somewhat radical design. Sure, we've seen some wild chassis designs out of Dell's Alienware gaming PC division in the past, but their new, redesigned Area 51 machine really broke the mold. In fact, if you're stuck on the old gray or black box design of most legacy systems, the "Triad" chassis of the new Area 51 may be too much of a departure for you to wrap your head around. We think, with a little investigation into the mechanical engineering and simple physics of the... Read more...
The announcement that Facebook bought Oculus VR felt like a suckerpunch to the gut for many ardent fans of the Oculus Rift and all the amazing work that the Oculus team has been doing, and even more people have bemoaned the acquisition as a death knell for the once-promising VR project. However, you can count Valve veteran Michael Abrash among those who believe that this move is actually very much a good thing. Abrash has left Valve and gone to work for Oculus VR as its Chief Scientist--this, just days after the acquisition was announced. In a lengthy and fascinating blog post, Abrash discussed... Read more...
TV is about to get a lot more social. Twitter has made no bones about its ambitions to become the go-to source when it comes to mapping out popularity of television programming, and now, Viacom + Twitter have announced a partnership to deliver social video advertising campaigns around the most popular shows and biggest events throughout Viacom's network portfolio. That portfolio is mighty robust, including MTV, VH1, CMT, Nickelodeon, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV Land, Spike and more. Viacom is the latest media company to join the Twitter Amplify program. The partnership will launch with the 2013 MTV Video... Read more...
It’s way too early to see if Vine is going to mean long-term success for Twitter, but it’s certainly getting off to an auspicious start. The video service, which lets users embed 6-second videos in their tweets, has already broken into the top 15 apps in the iTunes App Store. On top of that, Vine may have already made enemies with Facebook, as evidenced by an “error” now preventing Vine users from copying their Facebook friends into their Vine directory. Right now, Vine is only available for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Android... Read more...
Not all that glitters is gold, right? Maybe not. Verizon Wireless' biggest phone launch of the year already has a problem: a signal strength problem. That was confirmed today through the wireless operator's "Support" account on Twitter, which noted the following: "The signal strength issue is currently being investigated. We don't have an ETA, but a software update is being developed." What's somewhat unusual about this is that there has been no huge outcry from users concerning the issue. Of course, VZW may be acting proactively before that outcry occurs. Either way, at least you now know that... Read more...
If you plan to do some skiing in Powder Mecca this year, otherwise known as Colorado, check out Vail Resorts clever new use of on-mountain RF tracking technology dubbed "EpicMix." It turns an RF-enabled lift ticket into a combination of ski-run tracker and a homegrown version of Foursquare. It will also be available in Tahoe at Heavenly. Vail has been using RF-enabled lift tickets for a few years now -- so skiers can tuck their passes somewhere in their coats where they won't flap around, and lift operators can still scan the ticket. This year, the company will use that RF technology to monitor... Read more...
Facebook is a popular way to communicate with friends. However, one form of communication is lacking from Facebook: voice. That is, it was lacking until now. Recently, Vonage launched a new mobile application that will let Facebook users make VoIP calls. The app is currently available for iPhone and Android smartphones. To use the Vonage app, you must download and install the app from the App Store or Android Market and enter your Facebook log-in. After this, you'll be able to instantly start making free calls by tapping a friend's name. The app will even show which of your friends have installed... Read more...
Whenever AMD or Intel release a new processor and chipset platform, you can bet there’s going to be a good amount of excitement surrounding the release, along with anticipation as we eagerly await the arrival of systems that incorporate the new technologies. Velocity Micro’s new Edge Z55 Intel Core i7 Gaming System is out and we’ve had the chance to run it through our tests to see just how it stacks up. As you’ll see, the new Intel Core i7 CPU and X58 chipset enables the Velocity Micro Edge Z55 Gaming System to hold its own against the elite PCs of just a few months ago.The new Core i7 brings with... Read more...
Unlike the enthusiast system manufacturers, Alienware and VoodooPC, Richmond, Virginia-based Velocity Micro is still an independent, privately held company. In fact, Velocity Micro is doing well enough on its own to have even purchased the enthusiast, boutique system maker, Overdrive PC last year. On top of that, Velocity Micro is one of the few (if only) independently owned, U.S.-based, high-end gaming systems manufacturers that--in addition to selling direct--also sells its systems at Best Buy and Circuit City. That's a claim that even Velocity Micro's competitors, Oregon-based Falcon Northwest,... Read more...