The Videogame Killer

Are iPhones the end - or beginning - of videogames.

1 min read

I've blogged quite a bit about the impact of the iPhone on gaming.   In my opinion, it's a good thing - fostering the kind of independent development we saw back in the days of the Commodore 64 and Apple II (funny how Apple was behind the first wave of game innovation too).  Instead of needing $50 million and a team of dozens of programmers, two guys in a garage can code and distribute the next big thing on their own.

But for established publishers/developers, this kind of bottom-up revolution could be a killer.  By porting their Triple-A titles to mobile platforms like the iPhone (in effort to cash in), they may actually be devaluing their content.   This is something on the mind of game industry analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan, who tells Bonus Round that "the iPod touch is the most dangerous thing that ever happened to the publishers, ever, and they don’t get it for two reasons.  One, if you put Madden on the iPod touch for $10, you just cheapen the value of Madden. Whether it’s the same experience or not, and it’s not, why would I ever spend $60 for Madden if I can get it for $10 on my iPod touch?”

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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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