August 29, 2014, 6:05 AM —
Here in the US we're about to roll into Labor Day Weekend. For normal people that means cook-outs and trips to the beach or a secluded cabin. For us geeks though, it means PAX in Seattle and DragonCon in Atlanta.
If you're on your way to one of these events you're probably not reading this, but what about those of us who can't be there in person? Well there are some streaming options.
Of the two events, DragonCon is a little bit more analog. There is a DragonCon TV YouTube channel that you can check out but I haven't found any kind of a schedule for it. I also found Daily Dragon section which should keep us all somewhat updated over the course of the weekend.
DragonCon is about all kinds of wonderfully nerdy things, but PAX is focused squarely on gaming, so it will probably come as no surprise that Amazon's new acquire, Twtich.tv, will be streaming live from the show. You'll want to park yourself in front of the Twitch PAX Portal, preferably after stocking up on cold drinks and tasty snacks. On the left side of that page, under Members, is a list of all the PAX-based Twitch streams for the weekend.
If you're looking for something else to watch that is still game-related, check out GOG.com's new movie section. They've got 21 titles (they call them movies, I'd call them documentaries) having to do with gaming. They're all DRM free and most are $6, but to get you started GoG is offering two of them (TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard and The Art of Playing) for free.
GoG (the name used to stand for Good Old Games; the site got its start selling PC games from yesteryear for cheap) also has a few new features they want to tell you about:
I like GoG, both because they games they sell are DRM free, and because I think Steam needs some competition. GoG is 'the scrappy underdog' and I feel like they're working hard to win customers from Steam.
In other gaming news, Microsoft has announced that the stand-alone Kinect Sensor will be available on October 7th for $149.99. That's a $50 premium over buying a $500 Xbox One SKU with Kinect bundled in, but the stand alone version does come with a 10 track version of Dance Central Spotlight.
Personally I like Kinect, but not for gaming. I find the voice control stuff works really well. I realize I'm one of the few tech bloggers who'll go on record as saying Kinect is worth it, but there ya go. That said if all you're going to do with your Xbox One is play games then you don't need it. But for TV, Netflix, Hulu and things of that nature, it's great.
It also makes recording gameplay a lot easier. You just say "Xbox record that" and the console saves your last 5 minutes of gameplay. You can do the same thing with a controller but it feels pretty cumbersome; you have to go to the home screen and then load an app and tell it to record. Or something...it's so cumbersome I've forgotten how to do it, but if you don't have Kinect there's been no other option.
Until now. Microsoft has updated SmartGlass according to Engadget, and you can now control gameplay recording from the Smartglass app. This should be very welcome news to folks who bought an Xbox One without Kinect (assuming you have an iOS, Android, or Windows Phone device to run Smartglass on).
The SmartGlass update arrives alongside the September Xbox One update which is supposed to start rolling out over the next few days. The Major Nelson blog has all the details, or you can watch this:
That media playback feature is arriving just in time to let you watch your DRM-free GoG movies on your Xbox One!
And that's about it for this week. If you're in the US I hope you get to enjoy a 3-day weekend this week. I know I'm going to enjoy my virtual PAX experience!
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.