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The Week In Tech

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With E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) launching tomorrow, we're taking a look at some news before the big announcements from the gaming giants come out. E3 is a conference dedicated to computer, video and mobile games (and their related products). Below we've got stories from the likes of Nintendo, Oculus Rift and (yup) Google. There's also a soft-launch app from Spotify to play around with, if you like your music with a touch of vintage.

Oculus Rift: Final Consumer Version & New Logo


Technology company Oculus are fast on their way to developing a virtual-reality headset called the Rift. There are other products on the market, but after being acquired by Facebook for $2 billion, there’s a buzz around this product that is unrivalled. They’ve finally realised the consumer version of the headset, coming Q1 2016, with higher quality materials used and customisable options. And there’s enough room for people with glasses to view, as well as a removable optics display, that allows you to install a pair of lenses that’ll fit your face. Perhaps the most evocative move is that every Rift will come with an XBox One game-pad and you’ll be able to stream the likes of Halo and Sunset Overdrive. The company are working on their own handsets (Oculus Touch). No word on how much it’ll be on the market, but Oculus have also announced it’ll contribute $10 million to help indie designers create games for the product.

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Oculus have also developed a sleek and simple calling card, their logo. The smooth, extended ‘O’ evokes the hardware and is stylised enough to really cut through the noise. Their previous logo, now looks old-fashioned in comparison, and we particularly like the change to lower-case letters. All in all, a sleek and definitive logo for a company who are looking to change the tech game.

 

Nintendo Release Game After 25 Years

A classic game, only released in Japan by Nintendo, has now been released worldwide. The brainchild of Shigesato Itoi, he developed Mother at a time when role playing games were a new genre. Now Mother, released in 1989, is now available on the Wii Us Viritual Console, renamed as EarthBound Beginnings. This marks the first time fans have been able to play an official translation. This could also be the beginning of an exciting re-release venture for Nintendo – whose treasure chest of vintage games must be fit to bust.

You play the game as a young boy, armed with a baseball bat and psychic powers to fight off enemies. Using random encounter techniques, you pick your options from a menu, before viewing action through a first-person perspective battle system. It’s drawn comparisons to Dragon Quest, and the small town setting takes you to karaoke bars, mountain cottages and robotic laboratories.

You can buy the game on Wii U’s eShop.

 

Spotify Soft Launch New Feature
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Spotify have come up with a new way of engaging listeners, which is potentially welcome news to those who miss the third-party apps that used to be hosted. Rewind is a way of taking the music you listen to now and applying it to a playlist from another decade. It’s a fun way of exploring Spotify’s extensive catalogue and comes hot on the heels of Apple Music’s recent announcement. The feature works for both desktop and mobile, although the desktop version is slightly easier to use and looks a lot better.

The premise is simple, log in and pick three of your favourite artists from a randomly generated list. Then you’ll be taken to a brief animation, before having your new playlists presented to you, taking tracks from the sixties to the noughties. It’s a great looking and engaging development for Spotify, bringing home the discovery aspect of their technology perfectly.

 

Google Launches YouTube Gaming App

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Moving into Amazon’s game territory comes Google with YouTube Gaming, a combination of app and website that seeks to keep gaming gurus connected to top games and other players. Arriving later this summer, it’ll consist of live streams and videos. And if you’re on the YouTube Gaming app, typing in ‘Call’ will elicit search results along the lines of Call Of Duty, rather than that 00’s Eric Prydz classic Call On Me.

The announcement suggests that the company are looking for new verticals to hone and won't be standing by as others take a slice of the action. The gaming market is a huge territory to move into, which Amazon made huge moves in after acquiring Twitch Interactive in 2014, for $970 million. They outbid Google. In a matter of months the site had an average of 43 million viewers. YouTube's huge library of content proves a valuble asset, as they begin to build into their random reccomendation algorithms. 

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