Archive for the ‘Nintendo Wii, Wii U’ Category

Weekly News Roundup (1 March 2015)

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Again, apologies for not having anything to talk about last week. And apologies for having too much to go through this week. No time to waste, so let’s get started …

Copyright

Net Neutrality

A big win for Net Neutrality, no surprises that ISPs didn’t like the FCC ruling, nor did Republicans

So while last week was super quiet, this week was anything but. The most exciting, and perhaps important news of the week came via a source you don’t usually associate with excitement – the FCC. This week, the FCC voted (3-2 on party lines, 3 Democrats vs 2 Republicans) to reclassify Internet access as an utility under Title II of the Communications Act. What this means is that, after the setback in the courts which seems to have doomed Net Neutrality, the new strategy by Net Neutrality proponents to seek a Title II reclassification appears to have worked. The FCC can now implement their Open Internet rules via regulation that’s designed to protect consumers, much like how the government does so in regards to electricity or water access.

What I found most interesting were the Republican responses, many slamming the ruling as “big government overreach”. But when it comes to protecting the free (more as in money, than freedom) flow of information on the Internet, I will side with big government any day of the week over big corporations and monopolies – corporations like Comcast and Verizon who want to toll up the Internet, relegating those who cannot pay to second class net citizens. The choice is not between regulation and no regulation, the choice is between government regulation designed to protect the consumer, or big business regulation designed to enrich themselves.

The funny thing was that many of these big business anti-regulation politicians took to social media platforms like Twitter to vent their outrage, the very same social media platforms, and indirectly free speech itself, that will be harmed if Net Neutrality is destroyed. The “market knows” mantra doesn’t work when in effect there is no market, just monopolies – in this instance, the only thing the market knows is how to line their pockets with money at the expense of everyone else.

The fact that most big Internet businesses, like Netflix and Microsoft and Twitter and Tumblr, are all hailing the ruling should be giving these so called pro free market politicians some pause for thought. Sometimes by being anti-regulation simply means you’re supporting one business or industry at the expense of another, and when free market politicians active campaign and legislate for this, aren’t they the ones, in government, doing all the regulating and altering the results of what was supposed to be a free market? Add in the fact that the market and its participants are often not rational at all, it all adds up to the idea that you sometimes cannot have a free, healthy market without strong regulation (designed not to stifle it, but to protect it).

Google DMCA Stats

Google removes so many results due to DMCA requests, but how many invalid requests do they receive?

Now I know the story above is less to do with copyright and more to do with the Internet in general (didn’t stop the MPAA from somehow tying the ruling to their anti-piracy crusade), but this next story definitely is a copyright story, and had it gone the wrong way, could have had an even bigger impact than Net Neutrality. The Internet was one bad DMCA takedown request away from having the world’s most popular downloads all being blocked on Google, if Google had been sleeping on the job. Everything from Java, to Skype, to WhatsApp, to Redhat/Apache/MySQL server software, could have been removed from Google’s index if the DMCA request from Total Wipes Music Group for an obscure music album would have been processed without intervention. Luckily, Google’s system is designed to prevent this type of false positives, although right now, there appear to be no punitive action for companies that continue to submit bad requests.

To be fair to Total Wipes Music Group, they accepted total responsibility and vowed to never let it happen again (apparently it was a software error that, instead of grabbing links related to the name of the music album, grabbed links related to the word “download” instead – no wonder then that the most popular downloads in the world were all listed).

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I suppose, being in Australia, I should talk about the new industry code of conduct to deal with the piracy problem here. The proposal calls for a three-strikes system, but one that appears to be full of loopholes and watered down actions. For example, those on business plans are exempt, while you can get away with two infringement notices every year without any sort of punitive action (the three-strikes counter resets every 12 month). And even when you do get that third strike, it’s up to Big Content to get a court order to compel the ISP to hand over customer details – whether Big Content wants to go down the “sue the downloader” route again, after already admitting that it was largely a mistake, I don’t really know.

What I do know is that our no good, universally despised and most likely to be voted out of office government has been putting a lot of pressure on ISPs and content owners to come up with an industry solution, with the threat of government intervention if talks fail. This is the same government that failed to consult ISPs and consumer groups, and instead, only talked to content owners before coming up with the idea that everything must be done to ensure US companies can continue to rip off Australian consumers by charging more for less. Why am I not surprised?

Gaming

In all my excitement last week about the, um, total lack of excitement, I actually forgot to talk about the January NPD results. But they weren’t that exciting though, with the PS4 once again back on top after the Xbox One sales event ($50 off) ended, before bringing the discount back half way through the month.

This week did yield something a bit more interesting, with Nielsen releasing the results of a survey that shows just exactly why people choose the console they choose.

PS4 with controller and PS Eye

“Better graphics” is the most common reason why people choose the PS4 over the Xbox One (and Wii U)

“Better graphics” was the number one reason behind PS4 buyers choosing to buy Sony’s latest console, while Xbox One buyers said that the Xbox brand was what attracted them the most.

And just to show how perception really is 90 per cent of reality, both PS4 and Xbox One owners cited “faster processing power” behind their choices (although I guess both could have been referring to their consoles of choice being faster the Wii U) – both Xbox One and Wii U owners also cited “exclusive game content” as a top reason.

Showing that Kinect isn’t the dead horse that many others believe it to be, the number two reason for Xbox One owners choosing Microsoft’s console was the console’s “innovative features”.

For Wii U owners, the “fun factor”, “better for kids” and better value nature of the console were key drivers, something that makes perfect sense.

Also very interesting was the question of which last-gen consoles the respondents owned. 59% of PS4 owners previously owned an Xbox 360, compared to only 43% of Xbox One owners who had owned a PS3 – the difference here perhaps explains the reversal of fortunes between Microsoft and Sony’s consoles in this generation. 86% of Wii U owners owned the Wii, showing Nintendo still has a group of loyal fans.

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All very interesting stuff. It’s just one of those things I guess, sometimes all the interesting stuff happen all at the same time. Sad stuff too. R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy. I’ll leave you with his very last tweet:

“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”

Dif-tor heh smusma, Spock.

Weekly News Roundup (18 January 2015)

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Things are finally starting to come back to normal in terms of news, I guess people are just starting to get back into work (earlier only physically, but now mentally as well). I’m the same too, so it’s very likely that it wasn’t the lack of news, but my lack of interest in reading and writing the news, that was the cause for the shortened WNR from previous weeks.

Okay, enough waffle, let’s get on with this week’s roundup.

Copyright

Hotline Miami 2

Banned in Australia, so the game’s makers says it’s okay to pirate

When is piracy okay? When the content creators says it’s okay, apparently. The banning of the ultra-violent Hotline Miami 2 game (banned not for the violence, but for sexual content) in Australia has so angered one of the game’s designers, that he has urged Australians to pirate his game and play it that way (and don’t even bother sending donations or anything like that, just enjoy the game, says Hotline Miami designer Jonatan Söderström).

While at first this seems like quite a controversial move by someone who is directly harmed by piracy, if you actually think about it, it’s not that controversial at all. With the game banned in Australia, it will be very difficult for gamers here to buy the game legally (they can still use VPNs to access overseas online stores, like Steam). With no expected income to come from Australia, why not let fans and gamers pirate the game? It can only help to promote the franchise, and really, comes at very little financial cost for the publishers.

Just goes to show that the effects of piracy isn’t always black and white, and there are many instances where piracy is not harmful, or it can be even helpful in some situations.

The Pirate Bay

Not long to go before we find out if The Pirate Bay will be making a comeback

While Hotline Miami 2 has not been released yet, by the time it is, and if Australians still can’t buy the game, they might be able to download it from The Pirate Bay. “But wait a second DVDGuy,” I hear you asking, “isn’t TPB dead?”

It might be right now, but it looks like the world’s most popular piracy site will be making a comeback. The clue comes from an encrypted message left on the site, which was finally cracked last week, revealing a link to a YouTube video. The video was a super cut of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature “I’ll Be Back” line, thus providing a vital clue as to whether The Pirate Bay will be back or not. The key to cracking the code (is in the actual decryption key, wearetpb) was found in the HTML source code for the page (it’s still here, if you want to take a look), and Reddit user “dafky2000″ who was first to crack the code.

The countdown timer on the site, which counts down to zero around the 1st of February, might indicate the time and day when TPB will make its much anticipated comeback. Not too long to find out if this is the case …

High Definition

Netflix

Everyone loves Netflix, apparently

Netflix leads all competitors not only in market share, but also in user satisfaction, according to a new survey. Netflix users watch far more than other users, watching an average of 7.7 hours per week, compared to 4.1 hours for Hulu Plus users and 3.5 hours for Amazon Prime Instant. The same users also enjoyed their watching experience far more on Netflix, with the streaming platform receiving a 4.1 out of 5 score. Amazon Prime Instant Video and HBO Go scored 3.4 each, cable/satellite providers 3.2 and Hulu Plus was fairly far behind with only 2.9.

Netflix was so liked, that 62% said they would still continue subscribing after a price increase, with 21% saying they were willing to pay up to $3 more. What’s most interesting was that the same question when asked in July 2013 only yielded a 9% result, suggesting that Netflix has seriously improved their content offering (very likely via original programming) in this time to make it a much more attractive and, in the minds of viewers at least, a much more valuable service.

Gaming

The Wii U has just had its best month ever in terms of sales, but that’s only because it has been struggling badly in all the months after its original launch (and now, it’s doing less badly). It’s still far behind the PS4 and Xbox One in terms of sales, and almost can’t even be considered a current-gen console, given its hardware limitations and low sales numbers.

Which is probably why Nintendo may already be well into developing the successor to the Wii U, and it may be here next year. According to the analysis done by Digital Foundry, based on information they’ve gleaned from talking to various people, the console is much more likely to continue Nintendo’s philosophy of doing things differently than Microsoft and Sony. The new console is much more likely to continue the Wii U’s attempt to fuse mobile and home gaming, with the Japanese company linking up with the makers of the iPhone/iPad’s PowerVR chip for new console’s hardware.

Whether it can be the Microsoft/Sony killer that the Wii was, or the “too little, too late” feeling that you get with the Wii U, we’ll have to wait and see.

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There’s no more wait however for the end of this WNR, which is coming right now, right here. See you next week.

Weekly News Roundup (30 November 2014)

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to those in North America, and Black Friday to those that took part. Remember when I used to do a lot of coverage of Black Friday Blu-ray sales here? Back when Blu-ray deals were still rare on the ground, and that paying $12 for a movie was considered a great bargain. Black Friday isn’t as special any more though, and we should have the sales stats in a few weeks to see if others feel the same way as well.

Here’s the news from the week.

Copyright

Google may be taking a hard line stance against DMCA requests that are not specific enough. In a recent example, Google decided not to take action against home and category pages on potential “piracy” sites, despite these pages often providing list of links to copyrighted titles.

Traditionally, Google prefers each DMCA takedown request to contain one specific copyrighted title, and a URL that corresponds to that title. For category and homepages, these not only feature more than one title, they also often don’t offer direct downloads, and only link to another page that has the download. Google is more than willing to remove a page with a direct download link, but it seems they’re not too sure about category or homepages.

You can sort of see why the likes of the MPAA and RIAA feel frustrated in their dealings with Google, because for them, it would be a lot easier if they could simply get homepages and category pages deleted, as these pages are far more important to the site and are harder for the site admins to change URLs for. But you can also see why Google has drawn a line here, since technically, these pages aren’t “directly” offering any pirated content on them.

BayFiles

Bayfiles has disappeared, no reasons have been given …

But just because Google doesn’t think that a page is worthy of a DMCA removal, it doesn’t mean that Google won’t punish the page in its own way. This could be through piracy demotions, activated when a site receives too many DMCA removal requests and all pages on the site are demoted. Or it could be something else entirely, and unrelated to piracy at all. This is what appears to have happened to Bayfiles back in June, when most pages on the site were removed from Google’s index. What is more mysterious is that that Bayfiles appears to have disappeared entirely, shortly after its co-founder and former Pirate Bay operator, Fredrik Neij, was arrested in Thailand (unrelated to Bayfiles, but related to the sentenced handed to Neij in the Pirate Bay trial.

No reason has been given for the closure of the site, and for now, the site simply redirects to the main Pirate Bay website (which still links to Bayfiles). Some files on the site (for example: http://bayfiles.net/img/logo.png) still appear to work, but almost everything else has been redirected. Something strange is happening here, and we may hear more about it in the future.

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LG Android Wear

Digital watch face piracy is a thing now, apparently

Here’s a new form of piracy that’s only been possible recently – pirated digital watch faces. With the hype over smart-watches, there’s now a demand for digital watch faces from the most famous watch brands from around the world, including Rolex, Tag Heuer, Omega, Armani and Swatch. Users can download these faces to their watch, often for free, and they would instantly have a digital replica.

These luxury watch brands that have had their designs digitized, however, aren’t so happy. And according to TorrentFreak, several have started taking legal action against sites that offer watch face downloads.For now, the sites hosting watch face downloads, many of which are original and very creative works, are complying and have implemented ways to prevent future uploads of “stolen” designs.

While everyone involved seems to be taking appropriate action, I do wonder if this is also another example of a lost opportunity. If these luxury watch companies offered a way to purchase official watch faces (especially at a more than reasonable price), then perhaps there wouldn’t be a need for pirated downloads.

It’s all about anticipating demand, if you can anticipate where pirates will be doing next, then perhaps you can also anticipate the next business opportunity too.

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An update on a story from a couple of weeks ago, regarding the MPAA’s WhereToWatch.com website – enterprising hackers have made a browser script that adds torrent links to WhereToWatch movie and TV listings, turning the useful legal content search engine into also a torrent search engine.

The team that released the script, PopcornCab, says they’re actually big fans of the MPAA’s new site (even if they’re not big fans of the MPAA, normally), but that adding a torrent options will help users (even if the MPAA won’t be fans of their work either).

High Definition

Apple TV Movies

How we watch TV in 2030 might be far closer to Netflix than NBC

Is broadcast TV doomed? That’s what Netflix’s boss thinks, and he thinks that 2030 is when broadcast TV (that is traditional “linear” network and cable TV) will finally come off the air. His prediction isn’t entirely groundless – a recent study found that broadcast TV viewership dropped by more than 50% in the ten years between 2002 and 2012.

While I’m certainly a big fan of “on-demand” TV, there is still something quite reassuring about “linear” TV. Someones makes the decision for you regarding what to watch, and that’s a comfort sometimes. After a hard day’s work, the last thing I want to do is to spending an eternity flicking through Netflix, unable to decide on what to watch (until it’s too late to watch anything and I have to go to bed). And finding something interesting to watch while channel surfing is its own kind of reward.

And there will always be live sports, which so far only really works on a linear fashion, although I think more interactive viewing options (multi-angle, commentary, player cams …) might be welcomed.

So I hope that while on demand and Internet TV will take over as the dominant form of television by 2030, part of me still hopes that linear TV, and other “quaint” things like physical media, will still be around by then.

Meanwhile, have a look at this article to find out just how much Netflix’s subscribers are loving their original programming, and this one which looks at the tricky situation with second screen usage during TV viewing, looking at what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to user interaction, lost eyeballs and advertising.

Gaming

October’s NPD results did not provide any real surprises. The PS4 was still the top selling console, and the other gaming companies are still choosing not to be specific when it comes to releasing sales data.

What is interesting though is that if you look at the top selling games data, you’ll usually find that for the top selling franchises, the PS4 version will usually outsell the Xbox One version. For October, this was true for ‘NBA 2K15′, ‘The Evil Within’, ‘FIFA 15′, ‘Madden NFL 15′ and ‘Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’. The Xbox One was only ahead of the PS4 for ‘Destiny’ (and ‘Skylanders: Trap Team’).

This is a dangerous development for Microsoft, who had gotten used to the Xbox 360 beating the PS3 for multi-platformers. It’s dangerous because it means more and more developers will simply follow the money and make the PS4 their lead development platform for games – this could mean slightly better versions of the games on the PS4 than on the Xbox One, and it’s these “little” things that wins console wars.

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That’s the end of this week’s WNR. Hope you enjoyed this issue, see you next week.

Weekly News Roundup (23 November 2014)

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

A bit sleep deprived today, so please let me apologize in advance for the “quality” and brevity of this week’s WNR.

Copyright

BitTorrent Logo

BitTorrent users are also big spenders

With BitTorrent Inc having just made a major move in monetizing the techology for content creators via its BitTorrent Bundle network, where artists can distribute their content via BitTorrent technology and still get paid, the company responsible for inventing the file transfer protocol (and not responsible for how people use it) has released the results of a survey that shows BitTorrent users are also big spenders.

In keeping with the theme of this WNR, I’ll leave you to read the details of the survey in the actual news report (link above), but suffice to say, it reinforces what we already know about big downloaders – that they are big content consumers, sometimes illegally downloaded content, but also a lot of the legal variety.

People who really love music, movies or games, will find ways to consume them even when they’ve run out of financial resources to pay for it legally. People who don’t download pirated stuff, on the other hand, probably also don’t buy a lot of stuff in the first place. And yet, the creative industries love the second group, and want to kick the first group off the Internet. Piracy is not a black and white issue, and it’s not in anyone’s best interest to simply label pirates as criminals.

And just as pointless and a potentially dangerous course of action would be the censorship option. An option that has been tried elsewhere with little success (considering how easy it is for anyone serious about pirating to circumvent the block), but still an option that Australia’s government may put into action soon. The only pirates that censorship stops are those that that technically inept, and I would assume that these users are the definition of the casual, infrequent downloader.

High Definition

So while censorship may stop a few downloaders in Australia, it will not stop the frequent downloaders, which may very well be the same type of users that are also accessing legal services like Netflix. A recent Sandvine report found that, in the case of one fixed network in Australia, 2.5% of users were already accessing Netflix, despite the service not being officially available yet. This situation will change soon though, with Netflix officially landing downunder (and in New Zealand) in March 2015.

The introduction of Netflix (officially) in Australia could very well be the catalyst for a major reduction in piracy here though, but if the government can get their censorship regime in place before then, you just know they will spin any reductions on their useless actions, rather than proper consumer-led solutions like Netflix.

New Netflix UI

Netflix: All your bandwidth are belong to us

Going back to the Sandvine report on bandwidth usage, Netflix’s share of peak download traffic in North America grew, slightly, compared to the last report six months ago. It now accounts for nearly 35% of peak downloads, up from 34%. Amazon Instant Video, the second most popular SVOD provider, only accounted for 2.6% of traffic – and even this was up dramatically from 18 months ago. HBO Go continues to lag behind all the other services, with it being only 1% of traffic – HBO’s standalone streaming product can’t come sooner for HBO if it wants to catch up.

Sandvine also found that filesharing’s share of the bandwidth pie continues to fall in most regions around the world, with the losses become gains for services like Netflix. Nothing to do with website blocking, three strikes, or people being sued.

Netflix’s growing dominance is becoming a big worry for TV networks. So much so that Nielsen, the ratings people, will start tracking Netflix and other streaming usage so they can provide networks with a clearer view of how Netflix may be hurting their viewing figures. Considering that a lot of Netflix’s content comes from networks, this could mean higher licensing fees being charged to Netflix, which could also lead to less content (or more delays to releases). The fight between the old and the new continues.

Gaming

Walmart "cheap" PS4

Walmart selling $90 PS4s?

I don’t want to do too much on the NPD while being sleep deprived, so I’ll leave most of it for next week, but I just wanted to mention that, according to the NPD, Wii U sales have risen 47% since last year. While this may sound impressive, considering how poorly the Wii U was doing this time last year, it may not be so impressive after all. But with a release of a few more first-party must-have titles, like Mario Kart, and with prices dropping enough to make it a good choice for the budget conscious, it’s only natural that the Wii U’s popularity will grow. Will it be enough to keep Nintendo out of trouble financially, hard to say really.

The real problem for the Wii U is that the PS4 and the Xbox One are also getting better in the value stakes, with aggressive competition forcing down prices. Of course, there are also other factors that are allowing people to pay less for these two top consoles: fraud! Apparently, people are setting up fake Amazon Marketplace listings for impossibly cheap PS4s (like $89.99 cheap), and getting Walmart to price match based on their online price matching policy.

Walmart unfortunately did not clue up fast enough, and a few people did manage to grab a few cheap PS4s before Walmart bought down the ban hammer on Amazon Marketplace price matching. For what you’re getting, $400 is not that much, so I’d definitely recommend paying the normal sales price before contemplating this or other similar methods (which could land you in big trouble).

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Actually, the WNR wasn’t as short as I thought it would be, ramblings of a sleep deprived mad man as it may very well be. See you next week!

Weekly News Roundup (9 November 2014)

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Am I the only one who got pretty excited about the GTA V first person experience video? GTA V has always been a third person game, but adding a first person mode might elevate the game to a whole new level. I’m not sure the driving elements would be improved by a first person mode, but it would definitely make the shooting parts a whole new experience, and could make it rival other more well known FPS games. One more piece of evidence that the PS4/XB1/PC version of the game is going to be awesome.

Let’s get started with this week’s WNR.

Copyright

Google Auto-complete BitTorrent

Will Hollywood take on Google by making their own “piracy-free” search engine?

If you can’t change them, erm, beat them? Could movie studios, tired of demanding Google “do the right thing” and start censoring its own search results for other’s commercial interests, start their own search engine instead? Disney’s latest patent seems to suggest so, although patents being what they are, it could all be fairly meaningless. Still, even if the studios had plans to launch their own search engine, who would actually use it? Especially when, based on the patent filings, the search engine will demote not only piracy sites, but also sites that aren’t owned by the studios themselves (including the IMDb and Wikipedia). It all seems a bit silly to me, but again a patent application could just be one of those things that you throw out there in the small chance that one day you might get something back from it, not a sign of any real intent to take on the likes of Google and, erm, Bing, I guess. Okay, I admit, they may have a shot at beating Bing, but you know, still kinda pointless.

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It’s that time of the year again and the EFF has filed submissions for DMCA exemption, specifically exemptions for certain cases where removing DRM would, under current laws, be illegal. Yet all these cases would still fall under fair use. This conundrum comes via the fact that the DMCA has a specific clause that outlaws all DRM circumvention, regardless of whether it falls under fair use or not. This means the EFF and other groups like it have to apply for exemptions every year (since these exemptions expire), or otherwise the DMCA could be used to strip away consumer fair use rights by corporations intent on controlling everything.

New this year is in-car software and the DRM that comes along with that. If used maliciously, in-car DRM could prevent non authorised repair and modification, thus locking car owners to service centers owned by the car manufacturer or dealer.

Public Knowledge - "Legal DVD Ripping" alternative

Can the EFF succeed in making DVD and Blu-ray ripping legal?

The EFF also wants gamers to be able to hack old and abandoned games to make them playable, even if it means removing copyright protection. Games that require online interaction, for example, might need to be hacked to point to new unofficial servers to keep the game going, when the publisher has given up on it already.

While these two exemptions might be granted, there are a few submissions that are more pie-in-the-sky. Like the attempt to make DVD and Blu-ray ripping legal, or allowing the DRM of streaming service like Netflix to be circumvented. Don’t think this is going to happen, not if the MPAA has anything to say about it (and they do, via their own submissions).

But you never know, and I wish the EFF luck in their pursuit of (consumer) freedom.

While the EFF’s (and the MPAA’s) actions on changes to the DMCA are mostly public, what’s not so public are the MPAA’s lobbying efforts on lawmakers in Washington. While the law calls on the MPAA and other groups to disclose the general topics of their lobbying efforts, the exact nature and detail of their lobbying efforts do not have to be disclosed. But from the MPAA’s latest lobbying disclosure forms, we can see that they’ve been particularly busy trying talking to politicians on the issues of Net Neutrality and an Internet tax.

While we can’t actually confirm for sure the MPAA’s position on these issues, one can make quite an intelligent guess at just how the MPAA could benefit from these two issues. First for an Internet tax, the benefits are obvious, especially when you consider that the Internet tax is also sometimes known as a piracy tax. Imagine a tax of a dollar on every GB of data you download (regardless of whether the download was legal or not), with most of that money going to rights holders like the MPAA, could be a very easy way to get your claws into the new Net economy without actually having to innovate. All in the name of fighting piracy, of course.

As for Net Neutrality, imagine if ISPs were allowed to throttle down your BitTorrent traffic (or even Netflix), in favour of MPAA approved distribution methods like UltraViolet. Wouldn’t that be nice? And again, all in the name of fighting piracy, of course.

High Definition

Windows 10

Windows 10 will play MKV files and those encoded with HEVC natively

Windows 10 is set to be a lot more HD video friendly thanks to the announcement that it will have native MKV and HEVC support. Windows Media Player in Windows 10 will be able to handle these formats without the need to install third party codecs, which is a win for users, but perhaps more importantly, for the HEVC format (which seems to already have secured its status as the industry standard codec, despite HEVC downloads being relatively rare at the moment).

Those of us who want a little bit more control over just how we play our videos might still rely on codec packs, VLC, MPC-HC and other similar tools, but for many, being able to play a video without having to install anything will be very attractive.

Gaming

Nintendo’s upcoming new 3DS console, schedule to be released in 2015, will still be region-locked. But to be fair, Nintendo did offer a pretty good explanation as to why region-locking is still needed today. In short, it’s more to do with marketing, licensing and localisation. Now, you may not believe this excuse, but Nintendo did offer a glimpse of hope by acknowledging that region-free is good for the consumer, and also be a benefit to themselves. But until the aforementioned problems gets solved, the new 3DS remain region-locked.

The Xbox One is already getting a temporary $50 discount for the holidays, but a permanent discount may also be on the way once Microsoft moves from its APU from a 28nm process to a 20nm one. In other words, once Microsoft can reduce the sizes of its processor, it could also reduce power requirements, which also means reductions to heat management – all of this will eventually lead to a “Xbox One Slim”, which will probably be cheaper to manufacture and be more efficient at the same time.

With that said, Sony will be working on something similar as well. So it bodes well for gamers. Both the PS4 and Xbox One are terrific value already, so cheaper versions will be even better!

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I think that’s it for this week. See you again soon.