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January 31st, 2014
03:35 AM ET

Saving Nintendo

Nintendo is in trouble.

It's hard to disagree with that after it slashed its forecast for Wii U sales from 9 million to just 2.8 million. Less dramatic but perhaps just as troubling: It also cut its forecast for its market-leading 3DS handheld. Nintendo now expects to sell 13.5 million of them, down from the 18 million they originally expected.

But what's up for debate is how Nintendo can climb out of this hole. By far the most common solution suggested: Nintendo should put games like Mario and Zelda on smartphones and tablets.

I disagree.

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Filed under: Games • General • Personal musings • Technology
January 1st, 2014
11:21 AM ET

Looking back at 2013

News Stream usually brings you stories about the power of technology to improve our lives. But in 2013, the top tech story was more ominous.

Since June, revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance programs have come to light. The fallout has been felt in Washington and the rest of the world.

Tech companies have expressed outrage over the U.S. government's spying practices. Listen to Google's chairman Eric Schmidt in Part 1 (above).

In Part 2, hear from Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales and examine the new generation of gaming consoles.

Finally in Part 3, astronaut Chris Hadfield speaks about his popular videos from space. And we ask what the future holds for mobile technology.

We hope you enjoy these highlights from 2013. We look forward to the year ahead!


Filed under: Gadgets • Games • Mobile World Congress • Technology • Titans of Tech • Viral Videos
September 6th, 2013
02:08 PM ET

LEGO: Getting more girls to build with bricks

With sales soaring 13% during the first of this year, LEGO is now the second-biggest toy company in the world.

Revenue growth was driven largely thanks to customers here in Asia, where the new "Legends of Chima" line has performed particularly well.

The company also says its LEGO Friends line is going strong. The franchise is unabashedly girly with its pink-hued boxes and sets like "Heartlake Pet Salon." When it launched, many said it reinforced sexist stereotypes.

So if "Friends" is more Barbie than LEGO, why is it such a huge hit for the Danish toymaker?

"It's really hitting at the heart of that particular consumer interest," LEGO CFO John Goodwin tells me.

"For a long period of time we had our evergreen products - the LEGO City line and LEGO Star Wars. But we felt there are a number of children out there, particularly girls, who were not getting themes relevant to their interest."

Goodwin goes on to say, "We are also seeing more girls' purchases of evergreen lines on the back of the Friends introduction because that whole experience of construction is getting more relevant for them."

So is a predominantly pink, gendered toy a bad thing if it gets more girls to build with bricks? I'm starting to think otherwise.

As for other female fans of LEGO who still can't stomach the series, there's always this - LEGO's first female scientist minifig.

August 30th, 2013
07:10 AM ET

Game Faces: Josef Fares

Video games aren't always seen as the best medium for storytelling. But I think they should be, for one simple reason: interactivity.

As the player, you're experiencing the story first-hand. Whatever happens to the protagonist of the story is happening to you as a player. How you act and react forms part of the story.

I think interactivity should, in theory, allow people to have a greater connection with the story. But too many games use non-interactive, cinematic sequences to show their most important scenes. At a time when games could hammer home the advantage they have over movies, the player instead puts down the controller to passively watch it unfold without his input.

So it's funny that it took a Swedish filmmaker to make a game that avoids cinematic tricks to tell his story.

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Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Personal musings
August 29th, 2013
10:48 PM ET

Nintendo unveils the 2DS

It's safe to say few saw this coming: Nintendo's latest version of the popular 3DS handheld game console is ditching the 3D screen.

The Nintendo 2DS will play all 3DS (and DS) games - they just won't be in 3D. The upside? The 2DS will cost just $129 in the United States, $40 cheaper than the existing 3DS.

Kristie Lu Stout spoke to Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime about the 2DS, the Wii U's struggles, and Nintendo thinks you should swap Nike FuelBand for Wii Fit U.

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Filed under: Games • General • Titans of Tech
June 14th, 2013
09:06 AM ET

Game Faces: Brian Provinciano

There are festivals dedicated to independent film. Indie musicians are celebrated. But what about independent game developers?

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Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Technology
June 14th, 2013
03:20 AM ET

Game Faces: Cliff Bleszinski

Cliffy B. Dude Huge. Or just Cliff Bleszinski. Whatever you call him, he's one of the closest things there is to a celebrity video game designer.

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Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Technology
June 13th, 2013
04:59 PM ET

Game Faces: Ken Levine

Like most forms of media, video games are linear. They have a beginning and an end. But the path doesn't necessarily have to be a straight line. That's what makes video games unique.
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Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Technology
December 29th, 2012
04:02 PM ET

Looking back at 2012

Technology isn't just part of News Stream, it's also something we love to cover.

So when we were asked to put together a special edition of the show with the top tech stories of the year, it was both very easy to pick the stories we thought were important... and very hard to leave out stories we loved but just couldn't fit.

You can watch the whole show here, divided into six parts.

PART 1: Breaking down the smartphone Patent Wars with The Verge's Nilay Patel; Microsoft launches Windows 8

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Filed under: Gadgets • Games • General • Science • Social networking • Space • Technology • Titans of Tech
March 22nd, 2012
01:48 PM ET

Rovio's Next Frontier

My grandpa loves the Angry Birds. He can play it for hours. And he is not alone. The popular game has been downloaded 700 million times by people young and old.

Now Rovio is releasing Angry Birds Space. The Finnish firm has pulled out the stops to promote its latest offering.

Rovio teamed up with NASA for what it calls the first-ever game announcement from space. (For those of you still unsure why these birds are so angry, take a moment to watch astronaut Don Pettit.)

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Filed under: Games • General • Space
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