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Five Game-Changing Trends in Online Games

At the annual NY Games Conference, it's all about being fast, free, and mobile

4 min read
Five Game-Changing Trends in Online Games

It’s a blustery fall day at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, but the people gathered inside aren’t talking about the past. Engineers, programmers, and business execs are here on 5 October for the annual NY Games Conference, an event focused on divining the future of the US $32 billion worldwide video-game industry.

More than ever, the future is online. It’s impossible to grab a coffee without hearing about digital distribution and social networking. Though online games have been around for decades, this year—despite the recession—will go down as the tipping point for disc-free gaming. Whether they’re playing virtual Scrabble with friends on Facebook or downloading Sheep Launcher onto their iPhones, consumers want their games fast and free, which requires a radical shift in both business and technology. ”It’s quite frightening to change to a completely different business model,” Jay Baage, the NY Games director, told the crowd.

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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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