The Batman sequel The Dark Knight was a smash hit at the box office,
with $400 million in U.S. ticket sales in its first 18 days after
release and more than $1 billion in sales globally so far. But the
title achieved another significant milestone: It amassed over one
million illegal downloads on BitTorrent in less than seven days.
Ok, we admit it, there are ways to get Half-Life for free, you may even
have a copy in a graphics card box in your closet (at least I do in the
box of the original ATI Radeon AIW), but we felt it was worth noting
that Valve’s Half-Life game turned 10 today and the company is
celebrating the birthday with a 98 cent edition of the game.
Microsoft updated its Xbox firmware and upgraded Xbox Live service
today. The new software+service combination, called the New Xbox
Experience, is released in 26 countries and is available in 11
languages. The software maker considers the product a milestone release
with the hope to make the firm’s game console the center piece of home
entertainment, replacing rival consoles and set-top boxes. A
cornerstone of this strategy is the unlimited Netflix HD streaming
feature. However, early user reports indicate that Netflix streaming
did not work for at least a certain portion of users who updated their
Making video games is serious business, but creating the
world’s most popular MMO, World of Warcraft, is a monumental feat
requiring hundreds of developers, programmers, artists and
videographers. It’s easy to forget these people because they usually
aren’t publically recognized, but today you’re getting a special treat
that we’re pretty sure has never been done before. During last night’s
launch of the World of Warcraft expansion: Wrath of the Lich King at
the Electronic Fry’s store in Anaheim, we snapped photos of 140 WoW
developers and you can see all of them in the three slideshows below.
Google Earth remains one of the most impressive 3D applications
available today. A new highlight for Earth is a layer visualizes
ancient Rome as it is believed to have looked like in 320 A.D. It
includes buildings that have withstood test of time, like the famous
Coliseum, in addition to objects that no longer exist, as well as roads
and terrain. Users can experience a breathtaking Rome in 360 degrees,
fly though streets and even see the detailed interior of some
My thumb is numb from taking hundreds of photos and I
can't even feel my feet anymore. But that doesn’t matter because I own
the newest World of Warcraft expansion pack Wrath of the Lich King.
After interviewing the first people waiting in line at the Anaheim
Electronic Fry’s store on Tuesday, I headed back Wednesday afternoon to
capture the launch.
We knew people were going to line up for the next World
of Warcraft expansion, but we didn’t think it was going to be this
early. On Tuesday November 11th, we headed over to the Anaheim Fry’s
Electronics and saw several people already in line. In fact, these
folks are pros at this sort of thing and were also one of the first
people in line for the initial launch of World of Warcraft and the
Burning Crusade expansion pack.
YouTube may be the world’s most popular video sharing site and it even
may be the world’s second largest site in terms of search traffic, but
there is no doubt that YouTube completely missed the boat on hosting
full-length movies. Now, the service seems to be catching up with
ad-supported movies and TV episodes. Just don’t expect current
It appears that Microsoft had a blockbuster title in stores just in
time for Christmas once again. Gears of War 2 could not quite match
Halo 3, but 2.1 million boxes sold on day 1 means that Microsoft’s game
studios and Epic received an early Christmas present and the Xbox 360
should see a nice bump in unit sales.
About a year ago, Google implemented video filtering on YouTube in an
effort to prevent the uploading of unauthorized content and to aid in
the monetization of videos. ZDNet reflects on this anniversary with a
15 page PDF (available only to registered users), in which Rick Cotton,
NBC Universal Chief Counsel, discusses the filters on YouTube. Cotton
states that monthly the filters are improving and are now capable of
capturing 75-80% of all of the uploads that are not legal.
In its seemingly never ending quest to make YouTube profitable, it
appears that Google has landed a deal to start offering feature films
on the site. According to an executive at a major entertainment
company, we could see movies appearing within the next months.
Microsoft seems to have a real good handle on introducing critical
features and content for the Xbox 360 when it counts. Gears of War 2
will be released to 20,000 retailers this week and should also have a
positive impact on Xbox 360 and should help jumpstart Christmas sales.
Entertainment is going to make its first careful steps in cloud
computing as Half-Life creator Valve is rolling out a free cloud-based
extension to its Steam network that will enable players to store their
game settings and controller configurations online.
Chicago (IL) - Netflix has begun the first phase of what appears to be a carefully orchestrated roll-out of a major movies streaming service called “Watch Instantly”. Paired with Microsoft's Silverlight technology, Netflix aims to deliver a next-gen platform for HD video rentals over the Internet. If it succeeds, it may give Apple's iTunes a serious run for its money.
Netflix appears to be unstoppable these days: Following recent
additions of Netflix streaming to Blu-ray players, Mac Computers and
the Xbox 360, the company is expected to announce a long awaited
partnership with Tivo today.
Apple Corps is not quite ready to release the song catalog of The
Beatles as digital downloads as we had hoped for yesterday, but
announced a significant step into this direction nevertheless: MTV and
Rock Band developer Harmonix are working on a new music video game
title that intends to leverage “the entire span” of Beatles songs
ranging from the first album Please, Please me, released in 1963, to
Abbey Road, released in 1969.
Viacom’s MTV Networks as well as Apple Corps, a company formed by The
Beatles in 1968, will unveil a global music “project” on Thursday, the
two companies announced today.
Starting November 19, Microsoft will be coming a lot closer to its goal
to turn the Xbox 360 into the universal home entertainment most of us
will ever need. Microsoft’s deal will open up the Xbox 360 to an
all-you-can-eat video streaming fest that covers more than 10,000
movies and TV shows. What is unique about the Xbox-Netflix relationship
is the fact that the console will get HD content, which not only
pitches it against Apple’s hobby project Apple TV, but also against
Blizzard said that the subscriber base of its massively multiplayer
online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft has surpassed the
11 million mark, which is about the same as the population of New York
City and Chicago combined, the population of Ohio – or more than the
entire population of Greece.
Wal-Mart relaunched its MP3 store with more than 3 million DRM-free
songs in a much cleaner layout and new store navigation features. As
Wal-Mart’s overall music sales are falling behind Apple’s iTunes, the
company knows it will not be able to compete in terms of content
selection. Conceivably, pricing will be the next battlefield – an area
where Apple is vulnerable and possibly the only opportunity for one
Wal-Mart to score wins in the near future.