The Geek News Roundup is rather late this week and I debated not doing it at all. Since I took the time to round up various links I’ve decided to go ahead and type up a post. Lesson learned: when keeping WordPress plugins up to date make sure they work and play nice together. Otherwise bad things will happen and fixing them will eat into precious writing time.
The week started off with a huge announcement from Comcast and Netflix. The cable company and the streaming video provider agreed on a networking deal. In other words, Netflix will directly connect its servers to Comcast’s network in order to provide customers with a huge service boost. Subscribers using Comcast will notice a difference in overall video quality. The deal isn’t a direct result of the loss of Net Neutrality but it does change the relationship between content providers, internet service providers and the consumers who purchase these products. The skeptic in me says this change is for the worst especially given Comcast’s intent to purchase rival Time Warner Cable.
On the subject of content, things are looking good for Sony’s video game division. During the weekend of the PS4’s Japanese debut over 300,000 units were sold. In comparison the PS3 only sold 80,000 units during its first weekend. The PS4 is off to a strong start in Japan and is doing well around the world. Microsoft has definitely taken notice and is cutting the price of the Xbox One to match the PS4 in the UK. As of this writing there is no word on if the price cut will be applied beyond the UK in the near future. If you’re a diehard Nintendo fan and still use online play for the Wii and DS your fun will come to an end on May 20. Other services such as the store, the browser, YouTube, Hulu and Netflix will continue to function for the foreseeable future.
It wouldn’t be fun to only talk about video game hardware so let’s get into some developer news. The PS4 may be doing well but first party developer Sony Santa Monica has seen better days. The studio has instituted a round of staff layoffs and an unnamed project was cancelled. Sony Santa Monica was responsible for the wildly successful God of War games. Nevertheless, time has shown us again and again how easily a studio’s fortunes can change. Sega is probably the poster child of gaming in that respect. Unfortunately, the developer is going through rough times (even after acquiring Atlus) as sales of its pachinko and amusement machines have slowed. Sega is expected to cut profit forecasts by 36-percent. On the mobile development side King (best known for creating Candy Crush Saga) is withdrawing their trademark of “candy.” The move means developers are free to once again create mobile games using the word candy. The trademark abandonment only applies in the United States and King will continue to pursue the trademark in Europe.
Mobile phones can be used to do things beyond playing games. Such uses include buying and spending bitcoins. If you do use bitcoins hopefully you didn’t use Mt. Gox to store your digital currency. If so, the news isn’t good. The bitcoin exchange was hacked and millions of dollars worth of coins were stolen over a two year period. Ouch. Security holes are major concern and even Apple isn’t immune. Fortunately, the company has patched vulnerabilities on its mobile devices and OS X. So if you’re an Apple user you should probably grab that software update.
It wouldn’t be a complete Geek News Roundup without some mention of anime. The Wind Rises earned $306,000 in its opening weekend. In TV anime one long-running shonen series is coming to an end. Saint Seiya Omega, the 2012 sequel to the original 1986 Saint Seiya, will end its run in March.
For this week’s video we have Netflix taking a jab at Amazon Prime: