The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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The "Seismic Shift" in Gaming

Digital distribution is the talk of the gamer cons.

1 min read

Last week, I attended the NY Games conference, where developers talked at lenght about the impact of digital distribution on the industry.  The talk is spreading.  The buzz building for the upcoming London Games Conference has a similar theme, reports Spong.  Speakers are focused on what they call the "seismic shift" at play.

As Spong puts its: "...the conference speakers will reveal that 40 per cent of companies in the sector will also be 'under prepared' for the sheer pace of the digital model's takeover."

What does "under prepared" mean?  We'll have to see.  But most publishers are still operating under the old model of selling huge games on plastic discs.  The future is heading toward the opposite - small games digitally delivered.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  If you think about it, some of the most played and enduring games require little bandwidth - Tetris, Scrabble, Bejeweled.  The bigger games can still exist in this ecosytem, but need to be reinvented so that they can be consumed in bite-sized portions. 

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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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