According to tech research firm comScore, gamers are heading online more and more for fast free play.  The study finds that 87 million Americans played online games in May, an increase of 22 percent from last year. At the same time, videogame sales are getting hit by the recession.  NPD Group, another tech research firm, expects June sales to dip by 20 percent compared to last year. 

So what's the takeaway?   Gamers want to play for free?   Of course - but there's something else going on here too.  Online games are fast and easy.  You boot up, log in, and start playing.  It's a diversion that doesn't require you to struggle with unwrapping plastic and handling a flat round object.  Small, quick, downloadable games are ideally suited for a new generation of players.  Think about the music industry.   Does any kid really care about buying an entire album anymore?  The future is built on singles.  The game industry is now feeling the tremors of this seismic shift.   Online games are the "singles" of interactive entertainment.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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