Crackle Comes Home, PlayStation Style

November 22, 2011 -

We have often wondered why the popular and free video service Crackle has not been made available on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Perhaps because it is free... Anyway that has changed this morning, as Sony has added the service in PlayStation Home - it's virtual rest stop on the PS3. Sony has partnered up the service to bring free full-length movies - including the wonderful Final Fantasy: Advent Children - to PlayStation Home. Crackle is a free movie and TV show streaming service available via web browsers or a number of other devices - most notably Roku's various boxes.

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EPIX Coming to Xbox 360, iPad

November 22, 2011 -

EPIX, the premium entertainment service that is a joint venture of Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM, will soon be on some pretty familiar devices. The premium programming is already available on a number of platforms including Android and the iPhone. Emil Rensing, Chief Digital Officer for the company, says that the service will be available next month on Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Apple's iPad.

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Richard Garriott Documentary Hits Theaters January 2012

November 21, 2011 -

First Run Features announced the U.S. theatrical premiere of the award-winning documentary Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott’s Road to the Stars, a documentary about Richard Garriott’s lifelong quest to become the first son of an astronaut to go into space. Man on a Mission opens January 13, 2012, in theaters and VOD platforms nationwide. Man on a Mission is directed by Mike Woolf and produced by Brady Dial.

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Immortals in the Wake of Skyrim, Modern Warfare 3 Release Week

November 11, 2011 -

The Company Town Blog on The LA Times web site poses an interesting question: will the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim today cause problems for any movie that just happens to be hitting theaters today? If you asked anyone who purchased either of these games and has settled in to start playing them, the answer would be a resounding "yes."

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SyFy President on The Convergence of TV, Video Games

August 9, 2011 -

SyFy President David Howe sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for an exclusive interview to discuss the cable television network's big move into the video game space. Over the last few years Howe has been instrumental in establishing relationships with such game publishers as THQ and Trion Worlds to create partnerships that extend games into the entertainment world.

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Netflix Now Available on 3DS

July 14, 2011 -

Starting today, Nintendo 3DS owners in the United States and Canada can download a free application that allows Netflix members to use their unlimited streaming plans. In announcing the news, Nintendo said that the "service adds a huge value to the Nintendo 3DS portable system, and again demonstrates how Nintendo 3DS continues to present new and different experiences for owners almost every day." We'll take them at their word on that.

Naturally, Netflix is delighted as well. Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings said that "Nintendo is a terrific partner with Netflix," and that the company is "excited to extend the partnership to include streaming on Nintendo 3DS."

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Big Changes for Netflix Subscribers Sept. 1

July 12, 2011 -

Netflix is sending out an email alert to customers who have streaming plus DVD plans letting them know that things will change on September 1. The popular entertainment steaming company said that it plans to separate Disc-based DVD plans from its unlimited streaming plans. Netflix says that it is doing this to "better reflect the costs of each."

As an example, someone who has a $19.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and 3-disc at a time will be split into 2 distinct plans:

Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 3 out at-a-time (no streaming) for $15.99 a month

The new price for these plans will be $23.98 a month ($7.99 + $15.99) plus any aplicable tax..

Other plans at a glance:

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Netflix Launching in Latin America by Year's End

July 5, 2011 -

Netflix will be making its way to Latin America and the Caribbean later this year. All told the popular streaming movie and television service will be available in 43 countries by year's end. The news follows rumors and hints from Netflix about its future expansion plans. While many predicted that Netflix would break into the European market, the company decided to stay on this side of the planet and expand southward.

Netflix said its streaming entertainment services would launch in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Netflix did not give specifics on which countries in the Caribbean it would launch in first. Netflix in these regions will be available in English, Spanish and Portuguese languages. Much like its launch in Canada last year, Netflix will only offer streaming video in these new markets.

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Sony Pictures Content Disappears from Netflix

June 21, 2011 -

While it is probably only a short-term problem, Sony Pictures and Netflix are in negotiations to continue their relationship related to various movies and television shows. Unfortunately, while they sort out their "temporary contract issue" Netflix subscribers won't be able to stream any of the company's content. Subscribers that have Sony Pictures DVD-based content in their queues will not be affected. The content was pulled last Friday and affects much of the Starz content on Netflix.

Netflix said the situation is a "temporary contract issue" between Sony and Liberty Media Corp.'s pay-TV distributor Starz. Starz has been negotiating with Netflix over a renewal of its digital distribution deal with Sony, which runs through early 2012. Starz said in a statement that "all parties are working diligently to resolve the issue."

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No Disc-Based Movie Playback for Wii U

June 15, 2011 -

So you want to watch a disc-based movie on your Wii U when it is released sometime next year? Well apparently Nintendo's new console won't support DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities. Unlike Sony and Microsoft's current generation game consoles, Nintendo apparently has no interest in creating a multi-purpose entertainment machine that does anything beyond gaming.

This news was revealed during an investor Q&A:

"We feel that enough people already have devices that are capable of playing DVDs and Blu-ray," explained Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president, "in such that it didn't warrant the cost involved to build that functionality into the Wii U console because of the patents related to those technologies."

Iwata also addressed weak sales of its 3DS hand-held. Iwata admitted that sales of the system have not met Nintendo's expectations, adding that he expected more early adopters to buy the system.

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Sony: All Qriocity Services Back Online June 9

June 9, 2011 -

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and Sony Network Entertainment International announced that they will "fully restore" all Qriocity by day's end on June 9 in "all serviced territories, excluding Japan." That means that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services which were shut down on April 20 due to a massive security breach are available and working as they were prior to the incident.

SCE says that Video On Demand and Music Unlimited services powered by Qriocity are now "fully functional" on all compatible devices. PlayStation Network has been up for a few weeks in most territories, and last week SCE relaunched the PlayStation Store and gave users access to free games as a "thank you" for their patience.

An announcement related to the restoration of the remaining services on Qriocity in Japan will be made at a later date, said SCE.


Tennessee Passes 'Web Entertainment Theft' Bill

June 2, 2011 -

The Associated Press is reporting that Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill that makes it a crime to login into to another person's account to listen to songs or movies from services such as Netflix and Rhapsody. The law doesn't make a distinction between logging in with or without the account holder's permission either.

The bill only needs the governor's signature to become law. The AP reports that Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to sign the bill. As you can probably guess, the law was heavily pushed by the music industry in the state, looking for a new way to fight against illegal music sharing. 

While the bill was supposedly meant to target hackers and those that sell passwords of such services online, the bill's sponsor admits that it could be used to target those who use a friend's or relative's subscription.

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Report: Netflix-Miramax Deal Nearly Complete

May 27, 2011 -

Netflix has finalized a deal to bring right around 700 of Miramax's films to its streaming service on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Wii. Given the current staleness of Netflix's streaming options (yeah I said it) some new movies will keep subscribers coming back for more. According to Shacknews, Netflix will add such movies as Clerks, Pulp Fiction, Swingers, Scream, Black Hawk Down, Bowling for Columbine, and The Animal.

The Miramax deal was announced on May 16, though at the time only 83 films were mentioned. A Wall Street Journal report drops the 800 film number, and claims that the five-year deal is worth about $100 million dollars.

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PSN Hulu Plus Users Gets One-Week Credit

April 27, 2011 -

Streaming media service Hulu has decided to compensate PlayStation Network Hulu Plus users with one-week credits via email today. The company said in a letter to customers that the credit can be redeemed any time over the next two weeks and pointed out that "no personal Hulu Plus account information was compromised as part of the Sony intrusion." The letter:

Hulu also mentioned the obvious: Hulu Plus users can use other devices to view media content. No doubt many subscribers had no choice over the last 6 - 8 days. On a related note, later this week Hulu Plus subscribers will have another out to watch content on: Xbox Live. Hulu Plus goes live on Xbox Live April 29.

The letter being sent to customers below:

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Will Wright Talks Bar Karma on April 26

April 22, 2011 -

A live chat with Will Wright (who you may know better as the founder of Maxis and the creator of such hits as SimCity, The Sims, and Spore) will be held on April 26 from 8:00 - 9:00 PM EST. Wright won't be there to talk about games; he's answering questions from attendees about his community-developed television series, which is inching towards the season finale.

This might be the last chance for viewers to ask Wright questions about the show this season, so if you want to participate log in here on the aforementioned date and time, and post your questions to the Bar Karma page.

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Grammys Don't Leave Out Games in Reshuffle of Categories

April 11, 2011 -

While the organizers of the Grammys might have eliminated well over 30 categories to streamline its awards this year, one category that remains is video games. Speaking to IndustryGamers, Bill Freimuth of The Recording Academy said that this is a first step in getting video games their own special category.

"I think this could be viewed as a first step in the direction of video games getting their own category," said Bill Freimuth of The Recording Academy to IndustryGamers. "Many people from the game community have been asking us to create a special category for games over the years, but the main reason we haven't is because we have received very few entries from game publishers."

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Dan Houser on Making Movies, Games as Art

April 6, 2011 -

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser weighed in on whether games are art and if the studio responsible for Grand Theft Auto will ever switch gears and create movies instead of games. The question is a viable one as more details emerge about its latest project LA Noire. Frankly, LA Noire is as close to being a movie production as you can get the way Houser describes it:

"The game, like many of our recent games, has been an absolutely enormous production," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "With 'L.A. Noire,' we employed a massive number of actors in the game – over 400 – along with hair and make-up artists, a great television director, and as the game is set in the golden era of Hollywood, a lot of original costumes, props and other research from the studios themselves."

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Breaking Down Walls: L.A. Noire Selected for Tribeca Film Festival

March 29, 2011 -

Rockstar Games’ upcoming crime noire thriller, L.A. Noire, is officially the first video game to be honored as an official selection for the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. It cannot be emphasized enough that, with this selection, Rock Star's game is the first to ever be chosen as an "official selection" in a festival reserved for film.

"We’re thrilled that L.A. Noire is being recognized by the Tribeca Film Festival in this way," said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. "It’s a real honor, and another step forward for interactive entertainment."

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Lorne Lanning and Spencer Halpin Headline New Media Film Festival

March 16, 2011 -

Lorne Lanning (Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey), and Spencer Halpin (director of the documentary MORAL KOMBAT) will be joining founder/director Susan Johnston for the second Annual New Media Film Festival, to be held May 20-21. Showcasing the best in new media and featuring award nominated and winning filmmakers, the New Media Film Festival is dedicated to the creation, development, and distribution of new media content in all forms and across all platforms.

Spencer Halpin's Moral Kombat is a documentary that offers both those for and against video games a chance to speak their minds. The documentary explores whether violent games should be banned or be protected as free speech under the First Amendment. Lorne Lanning is the creator of the Xbox launch title Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey and co-founder of the video game development company Oddworld Inhabitants.

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Minecraft Short Released, Feature Film Funding Wanted

February 23, 2011 -

2 Player Productions has released a teaser for its upcoming documentary Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, and have launched a Kickstarter page to raise money to finish the project. The creators are calling the short a proof of concept and are looking to raise around $150,000 in the next 30 days to continue their work. while that might seem like too lofty a goal, anything is possible.

The video gives a good taste of what the documentary will offer and a glimpse into the studio responsible for the breakout indie hit. The filmmakers are offering special edition copies of the film, a Box Pig piggy bank, and a walking Creeper wind-up toy, to those that donate to the Kickstarter project.

Check out the video to your left. Find the Kickstarter page here. The groups previous film work includes Reformat the Planet and Penny Arcade: The Series season 1.

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Netflix DVD Queues Cut from Streaming Devices

January 20, 2011 -

Netflix announced via its blog that it would discontinue adding selections to DVD Queues for steaming devices. Netflix claims that they are doing this so that they can put more of a focus on dealing with instant streaming content and that users can still manager their DVD selections by visiting the Netflix site. Full statement below:

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Games v. Movies: The Numbers

December 28, 2010 -

Update: We mistakenly attributed the post in the story below to David Bordwell. It was actually written by Kristen Thompson. Corrected story below.

Kristin Thompson picks apart the numbers in the November 15 issue of Newsweek, which compares sales of the movie industry with the video game industry. The article appears in "Back Story," the one-page article that comes at the end of each issue. The article, "How Super Is Mario?," puts a brave face on the video game industry. We have heard analysts and research firms say that the video game industry has surpassed movies.

Thompson dissects the numbers in the article and finds that the, while the video game industry is catching up to the movie industry, it still has a long ways to go:

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Report: Madden Curse Could Be EA's Blessing

December 21, 2010 -

Forget about a game based on the Madden NFL games, EA is looking to make a movie based on the curse that goes with each new edition of the game. If you are a fans of the series then you have probably heard of this curse. The folklore goes that anyone who appears on the cover of the game has seriously bad luck. Some get injured, some get fired, some go to jail, etc.

But what EA wants created is a comedy based on "the curse" of being on the cover of its Madden series. Here's some more on the story (unconfirmed as of yet):

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Entertainment Industry Trade Groups: Lawsuits Don't Protect Property

December 13, 2010 -

Trade groups including the Recording Industry Association of America, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Motion Picture Association of America say that currently copyright law gives too many excuses to service providers to do nothing about copyright protection. The statement is part of a response to a Notice of Information on copyright policy issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce. A Notice of Information is a request for information from interested parties and anyone else that wants to make comments about a particular issue. That request garnered responses from nine trade groups.

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OnLive Not Competing With Netflix

December 8, 2010 -

In an article called Don't Believe What You Read: OnLive and Netflix, GamePro catches up with Onlive CEO Ron Perlman to set the record straight after both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal erroneously reported that Onlive had its sights set on competing with Netflix.

OnLive President and CEO Steve Perlman spoke to GamePro yesterday about those stories and said that his quotes about Netflix were taken largely out of context. The quote he is referring to is "OnLive can deliver any experience that Netflix can."

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Netflix Changes Coming Your Way

November 23, 2010 -

Netflix is changing and it is being blamed -- or if you prefer, attributed to -- the viewing habits of subscribers. Today Netflix informed subscribers that soon they would have to pay $1 more a month for the basic one-DVD-at-a-time plus streaming content subscription. The company also announced a $7.99 streaming-only option for consumers. The reason, they say, is that more users are streaming content via various devices -- Wii, Xbox 360, Ps3 -- than watching it via DVDs. The company predicts that by the end of 2010 streaming content consumption will finally outpace disc-based viewing.

While that may very well be true, Netflix's challenge is getting that streaming content to be more robust and current- a complaint voiced repeatedly on its blog today in the midst of this announcement. That being said, you can check out all the changes coming your way by visiting blog.netflix.com.

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UTV: From Film to Games

August 5, 2010 -

An Indian firm known for creating movies is making a big movie into the videogame industry. Ronnie Screwvala, chairman of media & entertainment company, UTV Group, says that his firm has invested £75m (5.5bn rupees) in three game titles. The first - an action game called El Shaddai, was inspired by the Book of Enoch and is due for release later this year.

The company sees this move as "the next logical step" for its business, but analysts - including Piers Harding-Rolls from Screen Digest - sees the move into these markets as "tough" for a company trying to launch new brands.

The company is probably in a better position than most, though; two years ago it bought an Indian development studio specialising in mobile gaming, UK developer Ignition and launched a separate development studio in Gainesville, Florida. All told, the company has three console titles currently in development and is looking to secure a publishing deal before the games are released.

Source: BBC


Prince of Persia Director Bags on Games, Gamers

July 30, 2010 -

While Prince of Persia director Mike Newell may have the magic touch when it comes to creating a decent movie based on a video game, his actual understanding of video games is almost embarrassing. In a recent interview with Computer & Video Games, Newell had a number of disparaging things to say about games and gamers that have made him this week's whipping boy among the video game chattering classes. But in between slamming gamers and games and even his own son's zombie-like devotion to some unnamed action game, Newell said one thing in particular that ticked a lot of people off: that game's can't convey human emotion that a film can.

But let's pull back the curtain a little more and examine his comments; Newell admits that he can't play games, and that, while making Prince of Persia, he had to rely on an assistant to play through the game while he watched. He said that while he watched the game, he felt nothing - just like when he watched his son play some unnamed action game.

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Netherlands Minister Proposes Ban on Violent Imagery (Update)

July 12, 2010 -

GP denizen PHX Corp pointed us towards a Netherlands petition started in reaction to positioning from the Dutch Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin (pictured), which indicated that Ballin is seeking criminal prohibition of extremely violent imagery, including videogames.

Ballin seemed to specifically focus on games in his proposed banning, according to an article from Dutch gaming site Bashers (translated). In a letter to the house, Ballin, who intimated that banning violent games would be easier—and draw less resistance— than banning violent movies, wrote (bad translation, sorry):

Mortal Kombat Film Producer Sues Midway Over IP Rights

June 25, 2009 -

The man who brought Mortal Kombat to the big screen has sued Midway in U.S. Bankruptcy Court over what he claims are his intellectual property interests in the franchise. The suit may interfere with a proposed  $33 million sale of Midway assets to Warner Bros.

In a complaint filed yesteday, Lawrence Kasanoff, through his company, Threshold Entertainment, asked the Court to preserve his IP rights including copyrights to certain MK series characters. Kasanoff also wants to retain the right to create derivative film and television projects based on the popular fighting game franchise.

Kasanoff claims that it was he who made Mortal Kombat more than just a video game:

In 1993, Kasanoff visited Midway... with an idea to launch the Mortal Kombat concept in a totally new direction. Specifically, Kasanoff proposed to develop... a full feature-length motion picture, a television series, and other productions. Midway was initially skeptical, as Kasanoff's idea was revolutionary at the time...

 

The Mortal Kombat series, as it stands today, is far more a creation of Threshold and Kasanoff than of Midway. Midway's creative input was almost entirely limited to the videogames. On their own, the videogames provided only minimal back-story and mythology, and only flat, "stock" characters... Kasanoff and Threshold were responsible for virtually all of the creative input that went into turning the videogame concept into a multimedia enterprise.

In his lawsuit, Kasanoff also claims credit for making MK characters like Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Scorpion into recognizable names. The suit estimates that the franchise has grossed more than $4 billion over the years.

In petitioning the Bankruptcy Court, Kasanoff seeks to block the proposed sale of Mortal Kombat assets to Warner Bros.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of Kasanoff's complaint here.

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MattsworknameIm kinda torn goth, on one hand , the effects look cool, but im not sold on sandler as the star07/30/2015 - 3:54am
Goth_SkunkBut did the film specfically take elements of Space Invaders and dedicate scenes and acts to it? No, they didn't.07/30/2015 - 3:49am
Goth_SkunkThe whole film is kinda centered around a Space Invaders theory.07/30/2015 - 3:49am
MattsworknameInfo: What dictionary says and what people today use that word for are not the same07/30/2015 - 3:30am
Sora-ChanPixels was a movie I was interested in for a week. A week after it got announced it was announced Sandler was in it and i went "... naw"07/30/2015 - 3:13am
Infophile@Goth: Apparently you're in the minority, from what reviews I've seen. Haven't seen it myself though, so I can't say how valid the reviews are. One question: Did they do Space Invaders at any point?07/30/2015 - 3:05am
Goth_SkunkJust came back from Pixels. Loved it. I knew I would.07/30/2015 - 2:33am
InfophileFor reference, see https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/accountable - It just means you have to answer for it. It has nothing to do with being punished for it.07/30/2015 - 1:47am
Mattsworknameohh, gods that game is pretty, just not my style these days07/29/2015 - 11:49pm
Andrew EisenUbisoft's Child of Light.07/29/2015 - 11:45pm
MattsworknameEnjoy man, Im gonna be playing split second myself07/29/2015 - 11:45pm
Andrew EisenSorry. That just slipped out. Off to play.07/29/2015 - 11:43pm
Andrew EisenWords have meanings, people! Use the damn dictionary! They're online! They're free! Arrggghhhh!07/29/2015 - 11:42pm
Andrew EisenThis is just depressing. I'm gonna go play video games.07/29/2015 - 11:42pm
Mattsworknameproliferation of the whole "internet movment" thing, people dont debate, they try to attack and go after peole to shut them down, casue it's easier then trying to debate the issues07/29/2015 - 11:39pm
MattsworknameWhen you break it down, what it is is the shifting of the media lanscape and how it effects news sites and other groups. once upon a time, you could have run that same article and it would have created debate, not online campagns, now, cause of the07/29/2015 - 11:38pm
MattsworknameCall it waht you wil, but thats how its viewed, not just by me, but by just about EVERYONE right now. Media, new networks, they dont' want to call it what it is, soe they call it "accountability"07/29/2015 - 11:34pm
Andrew Eisen"Gamasutra... had to pay" Yes. That's EXACTLY what it was. "Accountability" is and always was horse poop.07/29/2015 - 11:29pm
MattsworknameSo to speak07/29/2015 - 11:28pm
MattsworknameThats why this happened, you get people who felt hurt, marginalize, bettrayd, or otherwise offended, and they don't actually look at teh facts, they just attack and try to get there Blood for Blood07/29/2015 - 11:28pm
 

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