Posts tagged Gets

Europe’s Largest Public School Of Video Games Gets A Major Upgrade


Editor’s Note: This was originally published by our partners at Kill Screen

It’s a cold winter morning at Angoulême, a small town located at the Eastern side of France, and dozens of game developers, students and politicians are about to enter a huge building next to a river. The National Graduate School of Games and Interactive Media of France (ENJMIN) has a new home.

Since 2005, when the ENJMIN started offering graduate courses on game development, much has changed in the game industry. Games have, by and large, become more meaningful, they have a bigger audience now than ever, and they are crossing lines with other art forms more aggressively.

For more stories about video games and culture, follow@killscreen on Twitter.

These changes have also been part of the life of the school, which was founded under the hood of a bigger regional project that has built seven public schools dedicated to creative media in the same neighborhood of Angoulême, a city previously only known for its comics festival.

Building this school from an ancient cigarette paper mill cost 10 million euros ($11.6 million). It was funded by the Ministry of Education of France, the Regional Government and Pôle Image Magelis, the creative media cluster project that France started a decade ago in this town.

See also: Confronting Video Game Torture, After The CIA’S Report

At its inauguration, people gather in the school auditorium to hear game British video game designer Peter Molyneux give the opening speech. He talks about the importance of making mistakes and describes some of his errors when he began his new studio, 22cans, and while making Godus, his latest game. 

“Making mistakes is the most important ingredient in creativity,” he says. Molyneux is followed by a series of speeches by politicians that give their view on how games and other creative media are important to the economic development and cultural heritage of France. They also praise the founder and director of the school, Stephan Natkin, a stubborn professor that had a clear vision for the ENJMIN since its first years.

Apart from the high tech labs, large rooms and the beautiful river view from the project room, the most important elements at any school are the students. After a lunch break, the class of 2014 show game trailers and share some details of their games. 

From a virtual reality climbing experience using the Oculus Rift to a narrative exploring game where you interact with an A.I inside a spaceship, passing through an emotional journey of a fisherman, all of the games are surprisingly polished. The students are all at the end of their two-year Master’s program.

The inauguration ends with a speech by David Cage, one of France’s best-known game developers, and one of the vanguards of narrative video game experiences. After his talk, he decides to stay and spend some time talking to students. He might learn some new things.

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Google Translate App Gets Improved Picture & Conversational Translation

The new Google Translate app for iOS and Android brings real-time camera based translation and conversational translation to iOS.

The post Google Translate App Gets Improved Picture & Conversational Translation appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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SearchCap: Bing Launches Book Carousel, Google France Homepage Gets “Je Suis Charlie” Badge & Yahoo’s Firefox Deal

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Bing Launches Book Carousel, Google France Homepage Gets “Je Suis Charlie” Badge & Yahoo’s Firefox Deal appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Google Cardboard Gets Software Development Kit For VR Apps


Google Cardboard

When Google Cardboard, the virtual reality viewer constructed of corrugated paper, came out this summer, people thought it was a joke. But the company was serious—and if there was any doubt about it, you can nix it now that Google just released a software development kit for it.

See also: Google Cardboard Offers Virtual Reality On The Cheap—Really Cheap

The box-cum-VR headset, 500 million of which has shipped, gets its own SDK, just like the Oculus Rift and its off-shoot, the Samsung Gear VR. With this, developers for Android and Unity game developers can create apps for Cardboard that even support complex aspects of virtual reality, like head-tracking, lens distortion and side-by-side rendering.

With all those shipments of Cardboard, there’s no shortage of end users to develop for either. That 500 million figure doesn’t even cover the do-it-yourselfers who made their own. Google released instructions at launch, and it also just updated those blueprints.


The new specifications allow for a variety of cutting tools—from big implements that can slice through mounds of cardboard to a wee utility blade piercing a single piece. That should give everyone a chance to experience virtual reality without dropping a c-note or more on fancy hardware. In fact, even if you buy a kit, it will only run you about $22 to $25 from new retail partners DODOcase, I Am Cardboard, Knoxlabs, and Unofficial Cardboard.

If you haven’t given it a go yet, you may be amazed at what has already come out to work with Cardboard—including a Volvo virtual test drive, a 3D performance by musician Jack White and an app that lets you virtually hang out onstage with Paul McCartney, as well as other 3D games and other apps

That selection could balloon, now that there’s a proper SDK available. The company also organized Cardboard apps for easy discovery in the primary Cardboard app in Google Play, so users can find and keep tabs on them. 

Nothing invokes the spirit of play like cardboard boxes. But that’s surely not the sum total of Google’s VR ambitions. Think of Cardboard more like a fundamental building block in a much bigger plan, the vision for which hasn’t fully come into focus yet.  

Photos courtesy of Google

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How To Write A Meta Description That Gets Click-Throughs

I feel sorry for meta descriptions. Google has long held that meta descriptions do not impact search engine rankings. From a 2007 post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog: Google reiterated this point yet again in 2009 in a post stating that the meta keywords tag was not used as a ranking signal:…



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SearchCap: Google Knowledge Graph Gets Social, Scrollable Google Answers & Google News Suggested Stories

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: 20 Ways B2B SEOs Can Leverage Schema.org Markup Structured data markup can improve search visibility, yet few websites use it. Columnist Derek Edmond provides…



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Facebook Gets Its Hallmark On With New “Say Thanks” Feature



<em>Editor’s Note: This story was originally published by our partners at <a href=”http://www.popsugar.com/tech/New-Facebook-Say-Thanks-Feature-36099269″>PopSugarTech</a></em>

What’s the most important element of Facebook? Your friends, of course. That’s why it makes perfect sense that the social network is rolling out its new Say Thanks feature, which allows you to create personalized video cards for your friends.

The cool part about Say Thanks is that you’ll be able to select from different themes and customize which photos and posts from your Timeline are used to represent your friendship with the intended recipient. Then click “share” on the video that Facebook populates for you, and it will post on your timeline.

Your friend will be tagged, so it will show up on his or her timeline too. It’s an awesome feature that is a perfect way to show how grateful you are for loved ones. Will you be using Say Thanks? Check out the video below and let us know!

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Game Of Thrones Hodor Character Gets His Own Google Search App Easter Egg

Along with recent updates including new Now cards and a “flip a coin” feature, Google’s Search App also includes an Easter Egg designed especially for “Game of Thrones” fans. Saying, “Ok Google, Hodor” or tapping the Search App microphone icon before…



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Chromecast Gets New Gaming Powers, Plus Showtime and Starz


Google really, really wants Chromecast to get on your gift shopping list. So to sweeten the deal, the company just announced some brand new functionality for its $35 TV-streaming stick. Say hello to casual gaming and new premium channels.

If you already own a Chromecast TV-streaming device, congratulations! You have a new way to entertain (or distract) relatives on Turkey Day. Just call up a board game app on your mobile and fling it to your television. Compatible titles include Wheel of Fortune, Hasbro’s Monopoly Dash, Scrabble Blitz, Connect Four Quads and Simon Swipe. Or clear the furniture for Just Dance Now, test Grandma’s Web knowledge with Emoji Party, or crown the king or queen of useless knowledge with trivia game Big Web Quiz, which uses Google Knowledge Graph to create questions. 

See also: How To Send Videos On Your Android Device to Chromecast

The game selection isn’t very extensive yet, and the offerings aren’t exactly console-worthy. But this debut set makes it easy to put some family-friendly fun on the big screen for your family and friends, while they use their mobile devices as directional or motion controllers.

The thumb-sized streaming gadget also boasts support from two new premium TV channels. Showtime Anytime and Starz join the fold, which is great news if you want to binge-watch Homeland or want to catch Outlander. Like the HBO GO app, these new streaming channels require a cable subscription—for now. Also like that competitor, Showtime will also debut a standalone streaming service independent of cable packages next year. (Starz may also do the same.)


Chromecast development has been ramping up this year, with literally hundreds of compatible apps now. To make it easier to wade through the pile, Google organized its Chromecast apps page with new categories covering compatible iPhone and Android apps. Now they’re sorted into New, TV & Movies, Music & Audio, Games, Sports, Media & Video and More. 

Harking back to its launch, when Google bundled free Netflix services for Chromecast customers, the company’s sweetening the pot again—this time with two free months of Hulu Plus and 90 days of the Google Play All Access Music service. (Limited to Chromecast users who newly sign up for the services.) 


Looks like Chromecast just leapt out of the stocking stuffer category and earned a primo place on primary gift lists. 

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OpenStack Gets A $100M Vote Of Confidence—But Amazon Is Waiting


Only one open-source company that’s so far managed to break $1 billion in annual revenue. But that’s not stopping venture capitalists from spreading billions around in the hopes of helping create the next Red Hat.

See also: The Open-Source Cloud Takes A Step Toward Simplicity

Too bad Amazon Web Services (AWS) is out there waiting for them. 

Let The Venture Money Flow!

Over the past two years, the sums pouring into open-source enterprise software companies have been remarkable. Last year MongoDB (full disclosure: my employer) raised $150 million at a reported $1.2 billion valuation, while NoSQL peer DataStax took in another $106 million, valuing the company at $830 million.

Meanwhile in Hadoop Land, investors handed Hortonworks $100 million at a reported $1 billion valuation, after which Cloudera pulled in a monster $900 million round, most of it from Intel, at a nosebleed valuation reported to be around $4.1 billion. 

See also: Red Hat May Be Stacking The Deck Against Its OpenStack Rivals

And we’re not done yet. On Tuesday, Mirantis—which offers software and support for OpenStack, a collection of open-source tools companies can use to build their own clouds—raised $100 million from a variety of investors including Intel Capital and Ericsson. Nobody disclosed a valuation.

This kind of Oprah money has fewer companies to flow into these days. Many standalone OpenStack and open-source cloud startups have already been gobbled up by large vendors, mostly for nominal sums. Oracle scooped up Nimbulus last year. HP recently bought Eucalytpus, EMC acquired Cloudscaling and Cisco bought Metacloud.

That leaves Mirantis standing in an industry with some very big players as competitors, in a market that seems to be Amazon’s to lose. 

Mirantis, of course, is not the only open source company competing with Amazon. In a world increasingly gone cloud, every software vendor, open source or otherwise, competes with AWS.

Amazon: The New Microsoft?

There must be something in the water around Seattle, as the area keeps breeding hegemons. Microsoft dominated desktop and data center computing for decades. Now it’s Amazon’s turn.

Amazon Web Services is perhaps the fastest-growing software business in history, ramping to $1 billion and beyond at a torrid pace, as Pacific Crest Securities estimates:


Now that Amazon CTO Werner Vogels has made it clear that Amazon is in the “enterprise pain management” business, and won’t be content to merely provide infrastructure services, no area of software is safe from AWS’ deflationary grasp. Yet hard as it may be to compete against AWS with a proprietary licensing model, in some ways it’s harder with an open source model. 

Just ask MySQL, once a burgeoning developer of the popular open-source database of the same name.

At the time of its $1 billion acquisition by Sun in 2008, MySQL was doing roughly $100 million in sales. That’s not bad, but it pales in comparison to how much AWS was making on that same MySQL code, both in terms of RDS and MySQL-related EC2 revenue

While there are no official numbers from AWS on its cloud business, I’ve heard from inside sources that AWS made several hundred million in revenue at the time of the MySQL acquisition, and I would venture that its RDS + MySQL-related EC2 revenue is now approaching the $1 billion mark.

It’s not just MySQL, of course. Amazon is also the world’s largest Linux vendor, the largest Hadoop vendor and so on. Importantly, AWS has done what no open source company has ever managed to do: make money off all otherwise free open-source software. By turning open source software into managed services, AWS can turn any open-source code into cash.

A Quixotic Mirantis Counterattack


Adrian Ionel

Now Mirantis and its investors hope to stem that tide. The good news is that Amazon has no interest (so far) in selling OpenStack private cloud services. 

That’s also the bad news.

When I talked to Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel about why VCs would pour money into an AWS competitor, he didn’t hold back:

We have seen strong customer traction and out-sized business results, and we are working with some of the best brands in the world, including Home Depot, Wells Fargo, and PayPal. Earlier this year, we closed the largest OpenStack deal in history with Ericsson (more than $30 million in software licensing revenues over five years). We are becoming known as a the breakaway independent OpenStack leader, and it’s exciting to see the momentum build.

That may be true, but it’s not yet clear that Mirantis and its 450 engineers have much chance against AWS. Ionel is quick to point out that Mirantis can hold its own against other OpenStack contenders like VMware, HP, Oracle, Red Hat and possibly Cisco-via-Metacloud: “We already have the largest OpenStack customer base of any vendor, and dominate Web/SaaS, service provider, and enterprise markets.” 

He further notes, “Customers routinely tell us that they chose Mirantis because there was no proprietary agenda, which means so that they can avoid the lock-in of traditional IT.” But those same customers are actively embracing AWS, with GE the latest poster child.

Fighting The AWS Beast

In fact, as I’ve argued before, OpenStack’s best chance at relevance is likely Red Hat, which has the broad open source portfolio to make it a potential contender against Amazon’s array of services. Ionel disagrees, saying that “The ‘benevolent dictator’ model may be past its prime,” and that “Other models can be more powerful, like an open, market-driven meritocracy combined with deep user engagement in R&D.”

This still doesn’t answer the AWS threat. To that Ionel retorted, 

OpenStack lets them fine-tune their cloud to their needs. By contrast, AWS is a much simpler “one-size-fits-all” platform which standardizes everything to the lowest possible denominator for its customers. Although this makes sense for some enterprises and workloads, it cannot make sense for all of them.

Maybe, maybe not. But I seriously doubt most enterprises today are concerned with the “one-size-fits-all” epithet and instead view it as a convenient way to get to the cloud fast. Until OpenStack can deliver a deep cloud experience as easily as AWS does, $100 million isn’t nearly enough.

Lead photo by kayugee

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