My favorite toy when I was a kid was a bright red Power Wheels Jeep. Even though I never left the sidewalk, the driveway, or the yard with it, that Jeep gave me my first taste of the open road. Five miles per hour felt like 100 behind that plastic wheel.
But then I turned 5. I hit a growth spurt and found myself above the recommended weight limit for the Jeep. I tried to scrunch myself into the drivers seat and ignore the fact that my size was making it almost impossible for the tiny electric motor to do anything. The joy it gave me was replaced by seething anger as I watched my kid brother inherit the Jeep.
Dave Bell, the CEO of startup Actev Motors, has a solution to my problem, even if he is about 25 years late. “By the time [kids]…
Gabe Newell is a wonderful human being. I’ve never met him, so I can’t back that statement up with any sort of concrete anecdotal evidence, but I can just feel in my heart that he’s one of the good ones. Whenever I see him I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside, he makes me feel important and special, like the kid in the Werther’s Original advert.
He’s one of the few people that can do something clearly designed to make him sack loads of cash or market a product, and make it endearing. Take his appearance at the Unity Vision Summit, for example. During the VR/AR summit, the avuncular games entrepreneur appeared on a giant screen in front hundreds of gathered developers and announced Steam VR support will be included in the Unity game development engine for no extra cost. He then said Valve will release a rendering plugin that’ll improve “both visual fidelity as well the performance.”
Then, in his third announcement, he transformed into a beautiful video game Santa. His beard seemed to become extra luminescent, in that moment, as if the sun’s rays were spreading across a blanket of pure white snow.
“And our third announcement, I get to have my Oprah moment, all the developers at the Vision Summit get their own Vive. You get a Vive. You get a Vive. [Crowd bursts into applause and cheering] You get a Vive. And you get a Vive. I’m very excited to see what you guys come up with and I hope you enjoy it.”
Watch it happen in the video above.
Valve co-developed the Vive headset in collaboration with HTC, and pre-orders for the device will open on February 29. On January 5, HTC revealed the second-gen dev kit for the device. Called the Vive Pre, the redesigned headset features a front-facing camera that also functions as a peephole, allowing users to see what’s ahead of them.
I’ll probably get one, if only to be closer to Gabe.
Vevo is continuing its push to improve its standing among the many music services online. The company is today releasing updates to its Android and Apple TV apps, and just like last year’s iOS refresh, they focus on personalization and ease of use.
According to product VP Mark Hall, the revamps are all about making the apps “more relevant and more useful for more people.” That means improving the interface with the same sleek UI iOS received in November. Most importantly, the “Favorites” section and “Spotlight” feed have both been ported over, allowing the user to create individual playlists and also watch videos curated according to his or her individual taste. The Apple TV app in particular is designed to let you sit back and relax…
Google is moving forward with its plans to allow Bluetooth beacons to broadcast location-based information and URLs to your phone. The Bluetooth-based technology is designed so that a subway can tell you when the next train is coming, or a nearby parking meter can alert you how to pay when you park. This seamless interaction with, what Google calls, the “physical web” has long been promised, but an upcoming update to Chrome for Android will make it more of a reality.
XCOM 2 publisher 2K Games has addressed concerns regarding performance issues in its PC strategy game, and assured players it is both looking into them and will continue to support the game with updates.
“We are aware some players have experienced performance issues while playng XCOM 2,” community manager Dave Hinkle said on the 2K forums. “We are looking into them and gathering more information from users.
“We want everyone to have the best experience possible, and will continue supporting the title with upcoming patches.”
Since its launch on February 5, players have reported drops in framerate, stutters, and stalls, particularly during cinematic moments or when the camera moves around the battlefield.
In the mean time, 2K has referred players to FAQ on common issues. Take a look at it here.
In GameSpot’s XCOM 2 review Mike Mahardy noted there were “some performance issues during cinematic moments.” These problems weren’t severe enough to impact the overall experience, however, and the sequel earned a 9/10.
Top Gear has gone from a triumvirate of presenters to a full house, with the show confirming its final lineup of seven presenters today. Last week, it was announced that actor Matt LeBlanc would be Top Gear‘s new co-host alongside British presenter Chris Evans, adding, in the words of one anonymous BBC source, “a boost when selling [the show] internationally, particularly in the US where it is due to air on BBC America.”
Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3 is all about offering an electric car for the mass market, and price is obviously a big part of that. And after a bit of uncertainty last night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the Model 3 will start selling for “around $35k” — judged by some to be the ceiling price for an affordable new car (the average price is around $31k).
During an earnings call yesterday, Musk described the “default plan” for the company when selling new car models: put out fancier, pricier versions first (early buyers tend to also be enthusiasts) in order to recoup costs. But this morning, the Tesla CEO tweeted that there will be “no signature series for [the] Model 3.” Reservations will start from March 31st in Tesla stores and…
Serato is best known inside the DJ world for making some of the most popular mixing software out there, but now the company is trying to make DJ tools that are accessible to everyone. Its first effort is an iOS app called Pyro, and it’s basically an automatic DJ for parties. You just load up a playlist, and Pyro will automatically fade from song to song so the music never stops.