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Electronic Entertainment Expo Recap: Day 3

by Categorized: games, Microsoft Date:

By Jesse Tucker

 

For day 1, click here, and day 2 here.

Although all of the big announcements are typically over before Day 3, sometimes a few interesting nuggets of info do come out, especially about specific games.  Here’s what we found out today.

  • Many new indie games were shown off at the Horizon Indie Game Conference, including Fez II.
  • Microsoft detailed their new achievement system for the Xbox One, explaining that achievements can be earned outside of games now, but only game achievements earn gamerscore.  Additionally, there will also now be “challenges” that are time-based, can be community based, and can apply across several games.  Developers will be able to continue adding achievements and challenges after a game’s launch.
  • E3 2014 will be held June 10-12 at the L.A. Convention Center, where it will remain until at least 2015.
  • New interviews, trailers, gameplay demos and more have been added for many of the games on the show floor.  Check out the full list with links to all the info in IGN’s guide.

Electronic Entertainment Expo Recap: Day 2

by Categorized: games, Microsoft Date:

By Jesse Tucker

 

For day 1, click here.

With all of the press conferences over, day 2 didn’t bring nearly as much excitement as day 1, but there were a few new announcements of note.

  • It has been discovered that the touch pad on the PlayStation 4 controller is clickable.  What function this may cover is yet to be seen, but it never hurts to have an extra button.
  • Sony showed off prototypes for PS4 peripherals, including a headset, controller charging station, and the PlayStation Eye camera (similar to the Xbox Kinect).  So far, it seems all of these items will have to be purchased separately from the console itself.  This news somewhat lessens the Ps4′s $100 price advantage over the Xbox One, which comes bundled with both the Kinect camera and a headset, provided those peripherals are important to you.
  • Nintendo revealed in a financial briefing that it plans to release a free-to-play game before April 2014.  No further details were released except that it would not be a Mario or Pokemon game.  Nintendo is experimenting with new forms of software marketing, and might also release low-priced games and those that require monthly subscription fees in the future.
  • New interviews, trailers, gameplay demos and more have been added for many of the games on the show floor.  Check out the full list with links to all the info in IGN’s guide.

Electronic Entertainment Expo Recap: Day 1

by Categorized: games, Microsoft, Uncategorized Date:

By Jesse Tucker

 

E3 is officially underway and all of the biggest game and hardware developers are showing off their new stuff.  This is a handy guide of highlights for those without the time to sit through hours of press conferences and interviews.

Sony Press Conference

Sony has revealed in their press conference that the PlayStation 4 will launch at $399.  Unlike the Xbox One, the PS4 will not restrict the buying, selling, or lending of used games in any way, and will never require an Internet connection to play single-player games.  Existing PlayStation Plus accounts will carry over to the PS4, but PlayStation Plus will now be required in order to play games online.  For previously revealed details on the PS4, check out PlayStation 4: Rumor & Reality.

Newly revealed PS4 exclusive games:

Killzone: Shadow Fall

inFAMOUS Second Son

The Order: 1886

Driveclub

For a constantly updating list of all confirmed and rumored PS4 games, check out IGN’s guide.

Microsoft Press Conference

Microsoft has revealed in their press conference that the Xbox One will launch in November and cost $499.  Xbox Live Gold members will now receive two free game downloads every month, beginning with Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed II.  Xbox has also now partnered with streaming service twitch.tv so that gamers can stream their play sessions in real time and even view comments beside the game while they play.  For previously revealed details on the Xbox One, check out Xbox One: Rumor & Reality.  Microsoft also revealed a new, slightly smaller model of the Xbox 360.

Newly revealed Xbox One exclusive games:

Quantum Break

RYSE: Son Of Rome

Killer Instinct

Sunset Overdrive

Forza Motorsport 5

D4

Project Spark

Crimson Dragon

Dead Rising 3

Below

For a constantly updating list of all confirmed and rumored Xbox One games, check out IGN’s guide.

Nintendo

Although Nintendo did not hold a press conference this year, they did have an online presentation.

Newly revealed Nintendo games:

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Super Mario 3D World

Mario Kart 8

Super Smash Bros. (for Wii U and 3DS)

Other Games

There are tons of big games being revealed and detailed at this year’s E3.  Destiny, Titanfall, Metal Gear Solid V, Thief, Assassin’s Creed IV, Mirror’s Edge 2, Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts 3, The Witcher 3, Bayonetta 2, Battlefield 4, Dark Souls 2, The Elder Scrolls Online…  This is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are way too many games to list here, so check out IGN’s constantly updating guide to the games of E3 and see what catches your eye.

 

 

 

Xbox One: Rumor & Reality

by Categorized: Uncategorized Tagged: , Date:

By Jesse Tucker

Following Sony’s PlayStation 4 press conference in February, Miscrosoft held their own event on May 21st to announce their new console, the Xbox One.  Like with Sony, Microsoft left many holes in their presentation that Internet speculators are now trying to fill.  Here’s a handy guide to help you sort out what’s reality and what’s rumor.

Release Date

Update:  Microsoft reported in their E3 press conference that the Xbox One release is “November 2013,” but gave no specific day.

The only official word from Microsoft is “later this year,” but some investigation reveals that one of the Xbox One’s confirmed games, Call of Duty: Ghosts, is set for a November 5th release date.  This would suggest that the console will be out by then.   An online retailer, Zavvi.com, has the U.K. release date listed as November 30th; however the accuracy of this date is unknown, and it is possible the console will release in the U.S. earlier than the U.K.

Specs

From what’s known so far, the Xbox One is almost identical to the PS4 in terms of computing power.  It sports an 8-core AMD main processor, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, a Blu-ray drive, and plenty of USB 2.0 and HDMI ports.  Little is know about the GPU at this point, but it is heavily speculated that it will be very close to the AMD Radeon 7790, which is actually a bit weaker than the PS4′s GPU.  Ultimately, they’re both pretty powerful machines, and it is believed the games will look very similar on both consoles.

The 8-core processor should to be central to the Xbox One’s ability to run multiple apps simultaneously and switch between them seamlessly.

Additional Hardware

The controller sticks to the familiar design of the current generation, but with several upgrades.  Programmable trigger buttons can alter their feedback level with different games, and all fighting game fans will welcome the new, more responsive D-Pad.  Also, there is finally an integrated battery, so no more burning through those AA’s.

The new controller for the Xbox One. (Getty Images)

The new controller for the Xbox One. (Getty Images)

Every Xbox One also comes packed with a Kinect 2.0.  The camera has been upgraded with a wider range of vision, better response, and the ability to see in the dark.  It is supposedly so precise and sensitive now that it can even measure the player’s heartbeat.  In addition, enhanced voice recognition and commands will reportedly allow for complete control of the console and its functions via voice commands while performing any task.

TV Connectivity

One of the most heavily touted features at the reveal event was the console’s ability to hook up to a cable box through an HDMI cable and broadcast live TV straight through the Xbox.  This not only eliminates the need to switch between multiple different inputs for TV and games, but also allows you to run Xbox One apps alongside your TV shows and control your shows with the Kinect’s voice and motion commands. 

Price

Update:  The E3 press conference confirmed the price will be $499.

Microsoft has not yet confirmed a price for the Xbox One, but online U.K. Retailer Zavvi.com lists a hefty £399.99 price tag.  That’s a little over $600.  However, GameStop chief financial officer Rob Lloyd believes the console will retail far less than that, and even less than the Xbox 360 at launch, which was $300/$400, depending on the hard drive size you wanted.  Since Microsoft has already announced the Xbox One’s hard drive at 500GB, it seems less likely there will be different versions of the Xbox One at launch, and thus only one price.

Games

Update:  Microsoft has outlined several new rules for how games function on the new console.  Follow the link for the official list.

There are too many unconfirmed Xbox One games to list here, but check out IGN’s convenient, constantly updating guide for both confirmed and rumored Xbox One games.

What I can list, however, is the all of the Xbox 360 games that will be playable on Xbox One.  That is to say, there won’t be any.  It is confirmed that the Xbox One will not be backwards compatible with any of your 360 discs or Xbox Live Arcade games.  Your Gamertag and Gamerscore, however, will transfer.

Used Games

Update:  Microsoft has confirmed that selling and buying of preowned games will not be limited by the Xbox One in any way; however, individual publishers may choose to disallow this option for their games or charge a fee for it.  It was also confirmed that the console will need to connect to the Internet at least once every 24 hours to play games, or once every hour if playing your games on a different Xbox One.  Live TV, DVD, and Blu-ray watching will not be subjected to this requirement.

How the console will handle used games is currently a heavily speculated issue with little definitive evidence from Microsoft.  The company has stated that their new console is definitely “designed to support the trade in and resale of games,” but any information beyond this is purely rumor.  It was originally rumored there would be an activation fee to play secondhand games, but new sources state there will be no such fee and that the console will simply require an Internet connection to regularly confirm the authenticity of games.  Other sources state that used games will only function if bought from an approved retailer which must give a portion of the sales to the game developers and Microsoft.  There is so much varying speculation at this point, so I would suggest ignoring anything that doesn’t come straight from Microsoft.

East Hartford Company’s GPS Pro Named Best GPS Device At CES

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:
gps

Bad Elf GPS Pro

A GPS device developed for flying, boating and other outdoor activities was recognized as TechRadar’s Best GPS Device at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The GPS Pro, developed by East Hartford-based Bad Elf, LLC, has the ability to connect up to five iOS devices using Bluetooth so that everyone can share the same GPS receiver and position data whether they are in a plane, boat, or car.

Bad Elf was founded in 2010 and joined the business incubator program at the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology.

“We knew from the enthusiasm of our existing customers, particularly pilots and boaters, that we had delivered a great product,” Bad Elf CEO and president John Cunningham said in a press release.  “However, winning the best in category award , at such a high profile industry event, in front of a global audience far exceeded our expectations.”

 

Suffield Startup Launches Online Marketplace For Landscaping Supplies

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Suffield startup SHARKMARX recently launched a new procurement engine that provides landscape professionals the ability to buy and sell landscape products over the Internet.

Buyers can post their needs on the site and the engine will automatically provide authorized sellers of the product.  Sellers can each submit their own bids.

“As a startup, we’ve had to be nimble and use dozens of sub-contractors to get the business operational,” George Beiter, co-founder and Suffield resident, said in a press release.  “As we hit some of our growth targets, though, we’ll need to add several-fulltime employees here in Connecticut and possibly add a data center as we look to expand into other vertical markets.”

Connecticut Exhibitors At CES: A Roundup

by Categorized: Connecticut Tagged: , , , Date:

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is wrapping things up today but not before Connecticut-based exhibitors made an impression.  They include:

  • Bad Elf, LLC of East Hartford presented their line of GPS accessories popular in the aviation, marine, outdoors, and fitness markets.
A Dan D'Agostino stereo amplifier

A Dan D’Agostino stereo amplifier

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3 Questions With Katherine Yarbrough, Founder Of Chic and Beautiful

by Categorized: 3 Questions With, Connecticut, Startup, Startup Weekend Tagged: , , Date:

Back in March at Startup Weekend Stamford, Katherine Yarbrough won second place for her pitch — Chic and Beautiful.  (Read my April profile here).

The site, an online wellness community and clothing exchange, has come a long way in a short time.  If you’ve lost some weight and have clothes that no longer fit or need to add to your wardrobe, Chic and Beautiful is now live for buying and selling.

Here’s more on where Chic and Beautiful’s been and where it’s going:

What have you changed or improved upon since Startup Weekend? 
Since we last talked, I hired a part-time web designer (who is in Texas!) that created my current website!  It is up and running, complete with inventory to be purchased, space for more inventory, and blog topics like “Rack the brain of an RD” (you can ask questions to a Registered Dietitian – coming soon), “Tasty Thursdays”  (I share recipe ideas and weekly meal planning menus and tips), and some health-related 
blog topics.  I am trying to get into a rhythm — I’ve never really blogged before — but am looking to post blogs regularly Mondays and Thursdays of each week.  I also really want to know what people are curious about — what health and wellness questions they have — so I can write blog posts that people want to read.  
Other than a part time developer it’s still just me on the team.  During my “daytime job” I work with a team of Registered Dietitians and PhDs with a background in nutritional science so that’s how I can pick their brain for accurate health and wellness information.  
What are you still looking to add, expand upon, or improve?

With such financial constraints (bootstrapping it now!) my growth plans are slower than I would like, but I am still hopeful.  I am designing an expansion to my website that will turn my website into a social platform for women to sell their own clothes and create their own wellness community.  I imagine the space being the “go to” place where women can gather to share their health and wellness goals, achievements, suggestions, tips, and ideas.  As they move through their weight change (or maintenance) and life changes they will also be able to sell their own clothes and earn more in return than at a consignment shop.  Chic and Beautiful, inherent in its name, is about women feeling beautiful inside and out throughout all the crazy moments in life.I am always in need of inventory. I am looking for women who have designer and brand name clothing they want to sell.  Right now, my sizes are limited (mostly smalls and mediums) so I want to add a greater variety of sizes, design styles, and brand names — and that can only come from sellers!

As demand increases, I also want to bring on more staff, with a focus on paid student internships in fashion, marketing, or web design.  I have had some outstanding mentors throughout my educational career (on campus jobs and internships) that were instrumental in developing me into the person I am, so I aspire to create a similar experience for other students.

What do you anticipate the next year or so will be like for you and Chic and Beautiful?
Within the next year, Chic and Beautiful will have the social component I envision, which will lead to growth.  During the year, I will also begin considering plans for expansion — a specific component for maternity and perhaps a brother site for men.

Connecticut Launches Four Startup Hubs

by Categorized: Connecticut, Entrepreneur Date:

From CTNewsJunkie: Entrepreneurs like being around other entrepreneurs. At least, that’s the idea behind the creation of four startup hubs that opened at the end of last month.

“We’ve learned that entrepreneurs want to be in places with the best networks – be they technical, financial or social – which enable them to explore and test great ideas and to find the partners, attract the investment, and connect with the customers they need to grow,” Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, said in a press release last month.

That’s why the state’s quasi-public agency, Connecticut Innovations, is investing $5 million per year in the creation of four hubs in Storrs, New Haven, Hartford, and Stamford. The hubs will act as incubators for entrepreneurs with an idea they don’t quite know how to turn into a business.

Check out the full story here.