Vine video app closing down as Twitter culls staff

The Independent - Tech

Vine, the six-second video app, is shutting down completely. Owner Twitter has decided to discontinue the mobile app, apparently as part of its plan to rescue itself from its ongoing crisis. The app and its looping, six-second videos helped define some of the aesthetic of the videos that now flood social networks like Facebook. And it helped launch a range of new stars, many of whom have now branched out into other places like Snapchat. An employee shows a Samsung Electronics' Gear S3 Classic during Korea Electronics Show 2016 in Seoul, South Korea Visitors experience Samsung Electronics' Gear VR during the Korea Electronics Grand Fair at an exhibition hall in Seoul, South Korea Amy Rimmer, Research Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, demonstrates the car manufacturer's Advanced Highway Assist in a Range Rover, which drives the vehicle, overtakes and can detect vehicles in the blind spot, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire Chris Burbridge, Autonomous Driving Software Engineer for Tata Motors European Technical Centre, demonstrates the car manufacturer's GLOSA V2X functionality, which is connected to the traffic lights and shares information with the driver, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire In its facilities, JAXA develop satellites and analyse their observation data, train astronauts for utilization in the Japanese Experiment Module'Kibo' of the International Space Station (ISS) and develop launch vehicles The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to the music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight.


How virtual streamers like Kizuna Ai became Japan's biggest YouTube attraction

The Japan Times

Kizuna Ai, the most popular streamer in Japan, is an anatomically exaggerated, perpetually adolescent girl in frilly thigh-high socks and a pink hair ribbon. She's also an entirely virtual character, given life by the actions and voice of an invisible actress. In the home of anime and "Ghost in the Shell" futurism, millions now follow Kizuna Ai online, and that success has spawned thousands of copycat acts and a cottage industry catering to so-called virtual YouTubers, or VTubers. Defying the Western streamer blueprint of young male gamers like PewDiePie and Ninja, Japan has invented a new class of streaming star that's equal parts digital avatar and interactive anime. "What separates VTubers from regular anime characters is that you can believe they actually exist," said Takeshi Osaka, founder of Activ8 Inc., the Tokyo-based company behind Kizuna Ai. "That presence is an important part of what makes them so appealing."


Nintendo Shares Soar as Mario Comes to Smartphones

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

TOKYO-- Nintendo Co. NTDOY 28.79 % 's share price surged on Thursday after the Japanese videogame powerhouse said it would introduce Mario the plumber, its most famous character franchise, to smartphone platforms beginning with Apple Inc. AAPL 0.61 % 's iOS. The smartphone game "Super Mario Run" will come to iPhones and iPads first by December, followed by a planned launch for other smart devices running Google parent Alphabet Inc.'s Android OS, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto said at an Apple event in San Francisco on Wednesday, during an introduction of the new iPhone. Nintendo's share price opened 18% higher at 29,195, while DeNA Co. 2432 12.29 %, Nintendo's partner in developing smartphone games, saw its stock price rise 21.5% to hit its daily trading limit of 3,955 shortly after the market opened in Tokyo. The new Mario game will be free to download but will require payment to unlock full game features, Nintendo said. Investors have called on the Kyoto-based company to bring its well-known game franchises to smartphones, the game industry's fastest-growing source of revenue.


How Pokémon Go hooked millions in just days

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

"Pokemon Go," a new smartphone game based on cute Nintendo characters like Squirtle and Pikachu, has quickly became the top grossing app just days after its release. But the game's popularity has led to some bumps and bruises. Dozens of people dressed up as Pikachu, the famous character of Nintendo's videogame software Pokemon, dance with fans as the final of a nine-day "Pikachu Outbreak" event takes place to attract summer vacationers in Yokohama, in suburban Tokyo (Photo: AFP/Getty Images) By now you've likely heard of Pokémon Go, the insanely popular mobile game downloaded 7.5 million times since Thursday. It's taken social media by storm since its launch, with users reporting that it's helped them get outside, exercise and meet new people – even helping with anxiety and agoraphobia. So how did a game about cartoon monsters capture us so quickly?


Best apps and devices for 2016, so far

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Dozens of people dressed as Pikachu, the famous character from Nintendo's video game software Pokemon, dance with fans as the final of a nine-day "Pikachu Outbreak" event takes place to attract summer vacationers in Yokohama, in suburban Tokyo, on Aug. 16, 2015. Warning: Most of the really cool stuff for 2016 hasn't come out yet. We'll have to wait for the fall. Last year at this time, we already had the Apple Watch, the Google Pixel laptop and the Meerkat and Periscope apps, which pioneered the use of smartphones for live mobile broadcasting. The product more of us were talking about than any other, the Amazon Echo connected speaker, actually came out in 2015.