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  • Alienware Alpha Steam Machine

    Eager to get a truly TV-oriented gaming PC without waiting until the official Steam Machine launch in 2015? Alienware is more than happy to oblige: at long last, it's shipping the Alpha console. You can now shell out $549 or more to get a living room-friendly Windows PC with a custom interface designed to work with an included Xbox 360 gamepad. Don't expect an ideal Far Cry 4 machine out of the box, however. Every system can play some modern titles thanks to GeForce GTX 860M graphics, but that base system comes with a modest Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive; you'll have to pay $699 if you want more memory and storage, and at least $799 if you want a faster CPU. This doesn't include a mouse and keyboard, either. Nonetheless, the Alpha could be a solid pick if a PS4 or Xbox One just won't cut it.

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    Source: Dell (1), (2)

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  • Since the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One launched in North America last year, our readers have had plenty of time to get to know both systems. Last week, we took a look at what you had to say about the PlayStation 4 one year in. Now, we're shining a light on what you think of the Xbox One on its first anniversary. What works and what doesn't? And what still needs improvement?

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  • After a few months of testing, the feature that allows Chrome OS users to stream videos from Google Drive storage -- like the free 1TB allotted to new owners -- to a Chromecast is now available to (almost) everyone. An update on the stable channel this week pushed it to most people, with the exception of a few devices: the Dell Chromebook 11, HP Chromebook 14, Acer C720 and the Toshiba Chromebook. One thing everyone with the Chromecast dongle can appreciate are additional backgrounds, this time provided by NASA. To access them, pop open the Chromecast app on your mobile device, select "Backdrop", go to settings and choose NASA.

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    Source: Chrome Releases, Google Chrome (G+)

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  • What a long, strange trip it's been. Microsoft's effort to document the excavation of all those fabled E.T. The Extraterrestrial game cartridges from a New Mexico landfill -- and Atari's downfall -- is finally watchable on Xbox Video. As Variety reports, you can check out Atari: Game Over on your Xbox One, Xbox 360 or even on the web and see where those carts came from before they hit eBay. Perhaps most notable is that it's one of Xbox Entertainment Studios' scant few projects to actually see the light of day, getting a release a few months removed from Redmond shuttering its original-TV-programming experiment. So there's that, too. Need a refresher on Atari's Spielberg-infused saga before turning on your flatscreen? We've got you covered.

    [Image credit: John Thien for Engadget]

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    Via: AV Club

    Source: Variety, Xbox Video

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  • 2014 NBC Upfront Presentation

    Last year, NBC announced it would be home to a new show written and produced by Tina Fey (30 Rock, SNL) and starring Ellie Kemper (The Office), but now that show's going straight to Netflix. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will premiere across all of Netflix's territories in March with its 13-episode first season, and Netflix has already signed it up for a second. According to NBC exec Rob Greenblatt, the move is a result of the network's "very drama-heavy mid-season schedule", and he calls Netflix's two-season pickup an "instant win-win for everyone." Coincidentally, it comes days after Hulu announced it ordered the series Difficult People, produced by Amy Poehler. The comedy series is about a woman who starts over in New York after leaving the cult where she's lived for the last 15 years, armed with "a backpack, light-up sneakers, and a couple of way-past-due library books." In case 30 Rock fans needed any more reason to tune in, Jane Krakowski and Titus Burgess will be appearing as well. That should help fill the gap until Judd Apatow's Love in 2016, and will arrive around the same time as Netflix's new drama series Bloodline.

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  • What is Super Smash Bros.? It is Nintendo at its most referential, its most detail-oriented. We already said all this once before, actually. Right here. Anyway, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (that's seriously the full title) has finally arrived on Nintendo's home console. You can play it right now! So that's just what we're going to do. Today! For about two hours!

    The stream starts at 2PM ET/11AM PT sharp, and can be found below. Follow Engadget on Twitch to be notified when we go live!

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    Source: Twitch

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  • "Who would win in a fight?" is the lighthearted crux of the Super Smash Bros. series, and it's impressive how extensive that conversation has become. Pitting beloved video game characters in unlikely rivalries seems as amusing as it did during the series' 1999 debut, especially when it involves a mix of iconic faces and left-field picks. With fresh contenders, several new competition types and a lite resemblance of Pokémon training in the form of Amiibos, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a meaty talking point that proves the "Who's the best?" debate is still well worth having.

    Smash's bouts remain layered -- newcomers can focus on throwing basic attacks by combining button presses with tilts of the joystick, learning deep-cut mastery of evasions and timing in-air knockouts as they add matches to their career. Whatever nuances your play style adopts, everyone's victory involves launching opponents from shared platforms, heaping damage on them to make banishing them to the oblivion beyond the screen's edges more feasible.

    Click here for the full review!

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    Source: Joystiq

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  • In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., stands next to a server array of antennas as he holds an antenna between his fingers, in New York.  Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. Past efforts have typically been rejected by courts as copyright violations. In Aereo’s case, the judge accepted the company’s legal reasoning, but with reluctance. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

    When a company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it means that it's mere moments away from being torn to pieces by its creditors. That particular regulation also provides room for a turnaround, but given that the Supreme Court has essentially made its business model illegal, it's not looking good for Aereo. In a letter posted to the TV-streaming service's website, CEO Chet Kanojia tells former users that the challenges the company faced were "too difficult to overcome." In what can only be described as a farewell note, the CEO adds that he's hired restructuring expert Lawton Bloom, presumably to help sell off everything that isn't nailed down to pay off debt. So, farewell then Aereo, you tried to make watching TV easier and for that, you'll always have a place in our hearts.

    [Image Credit: Bebeto Matthews / AP Photo]

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    Source: Aereo

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  • Blinkbox

    Unlike mobile books and games, video streaming is completely dependent on an internet connection. That's fine when you're at home, but if you're on your way to work or generally on the move, viewing your favourite movies and TV shows can be quite a hassle. Recognising that people might want to keep kids quiet in the back of the car or enjoy a quick episode on their way to work, Tesco's Blinkbox is now letting customers download films and TV episodes for offline use. Currently, you'll need an iPad to take advantage of the feature, and even then you'll still need to actually buy or rent the video you want to watch via a browser (instead of in the app). However, once you've done that, it's a simple case of hitting the little download arrow next to your chosen title before heading out of the door (assuming you're already connected to WiFi).

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    Via: PC Advisor

    Source: Blinkbox

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  • Looking for a new computer monitor? If you're rocking an AMD-sourced graphics card, you may want to wait a few months. Samsung just announced the UD590 and UE850, the first two monitors with support for FreeSync -- AMD's open-source answer to NVIDIA G-Sync. Both technologies sync GPU output to the monitor's refresh rate, a trick that eliminates visual stutters and tearing. Samsung hasn't announced pricing yet, but says the monitors will be available in 23.6, 27 and 31.5-inch variants.

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    Source: AMD

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  • Fans of A&E's Longmire were pretty vocal when the network announced it would part ways with the series after a massive cliffhanger at the end of season 3. Well, the show will live on at the hands of Netflix. The streaming service nabbed the rights to the fourth season that's set to include ten episodes arriving in 2015. As Deadline Hollywood reported back in August, the show's demographic is much older than most A&E shows, but Longmire had the highest viewership of any scripted series on the channel. If you aren't familiar, the plot centers around rural Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire and his crime-fighting chronicles based on the novels of Craig Johnson -- including a series-spanning search for his wife's killer. The set of new episodes will air in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand when they stream next year.

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    Source: Netflix

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  • Who doesn't like fighting dragons? That's a serious question. If you excitedly answered "I do!" then this edition of Playdate is just for you. Today we're going to be streaming the first big role-playing game of this new set of consoles, and it's none other than Dragon Age: Inquisition from the folks at BioWare. You know, the studio behind the Mass Effect series and Baldur's Gate. It's a sort of choose-your-own adventure affair in a mature medieval world where decisions made in previous games affect how the story plays out in this third entry. It's also the first RPG running on publisher Electronic Arts' extremely impressive (and apparently pretty versatile) Frostbite toolset that's perhaps best known for powering the Battlefield franchise. And if you're wondering how it all looks, you've come to the right place. We'll be streaming gameplay from the PlayStation 4 starting at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific on this very page.

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    Source: Twitch

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  • The Joystiq staff tried to package and send out boxes of love to everyone on the internet, but shipping costs were crazy. So we helped prepare this Humble Weekly Bundle instead!

    The Humble Weekly Bundle Joystiq edition includes Beat Hazard Ultra (plus DLC), Intake, Dungeon of Elements and The Dream Machine chapters 1 - 4, all for whatever price you care to pay. For $6 or more, add on Slender: The Arrival and Primal Carnage. Pay at least $15 and also get Costume Quest 2.

    Click here for more

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    Source: Humble Bundle

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  • After many, many promises, HBO Go is now available on Xbox One. The app is already available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but the Xbox One launch marks the first time the premium streaming service is accessible from a current-gen console. The app supports voice and gesture controls through Kinect, Microsoft says. As always, users will need to have a valid HBO subscription through their cable provider to watch shows, though that's likely change with the launch of the network's standalone streaming service next year.

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    Source: Microsoft

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  • Sony's PlayStation 4 may be off to a heady start in terms of sales, but the console's exclusive content this holiday is on the light side. Driveclub, which was plagued by connectivity issues, makes up 50 percent of the PlayStation 4's exclusive lineup this holiday. The other 50 percent is thankfully adorable and, as of yesterday, critically-acclaimed: LittleBigPlanet 3. This year's LBP is the first major console release not created by the team of Brits behind the first two (Media Molecule); rather, it was created by another team of Brits at Sumo Digital. We're taking a wild guess that LBP 3 retains the cheeky British humor from the first two games, but we're also checking for good measure with a stream just below the break. Join us at 2PM ET and we'll find out together!

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    Source: Twitch

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  • Nielsen, the holy vanguard of television ratings, has finally figured out how to track viewership from Netflix and Amazon's streaming video services. And when it launches next month, it could fundamentally change the sorts of shows you see from them. Since neither Netflix or Amazon offer detailed viewership data, Nielsen has developed a way for its rating meters to track shows by identifying their audio, the Wall Street Journal reports. While it won't track mobile viewers, it will help level the playing field for content owners when negotiating streaming deals, who have so far been clueless about how their shows are performing on Netflix and Amazon. That might lead to some of your favorite shows disappearing, but it could mean streaming data will help decide wether that show you've been binge watching gets cancelled.

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    Source: The Wall Street Journal

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  • Amazon Fire TV Stick

    Did you plunk down $39 for Amazon's Fire TV Stick as soon as you heard about its promise of low-cost, full-featured streaming? If so, we have good news: as promised, Amazon has started shipping its Chromecast rival to people who ordered early. Unfortunately, those are the only people who can expect to get a Fire TV Stick in the near future... or any time this year, for that matter. Amazon is telling new customers that their orders won't ship until at least January 15th, 2015, or well after everyone has unwrapped their holiday presents. Unless your gift recipients are cool with IOUs, you'll have to snag a Chromecast, a Roku Streaming Stick or another "close enough" alternative.

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    Source: Amazon (1), (2)

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  • EE has evolved rapidly since it became a household name two years ago after switching on the UK's first 4G mobile network. Today, it's more than just a carrier, with a home broadband business and a selection of own-brand mobile devices, among other things. And now, EE's decided to turn its hand to home entertainment, having recently launched the EE TV set-top box. Free and available only to customers of EE's mobile and broadband services, it's essentially a Freeview DVR with a few tricks up its sleeve. Tying into EE's primary focus on mobile, one of the fancier features is the box's ability to stream live and recorded video to multiple smartphones and tablets simultaneously. But is a free DVR with a couple of advanced capabilities enough of an incentive to get you signed up for the required services (which is sort of the point)? Not really, no. %Gallery-slideshow244906%

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    Source: EE

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  • Let's say that you aren't among the 3.5 million daily Destiny players, and you want to try the action out for yourself (for free) to see if its worth your investment. Well, developer Bungie wants to make your dreams come true. You can now download a sample version of the game on either generation of hardware and give it a go without dropping $60. Perhaps best of all, any progress made will transfer over to the full game -- something that members of the alpha and beta tests weren't afforded (but would have appreciated thank you very much). So really, there shouldn't be much stopping you from at least giving the former Halo-house's new jam a go by this point. Except maybe your data cap, that is: Sony says the PlayStation 4 trial weighs in at 40GB.

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    Via: PlayStation (Twitter)

    Source: Bungie, Sony Entertainment Network

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  • The Far Cry series has long held a reputation as the thinking man's shooter, sidestepping the traditional run-and-gun play of a Halo or Call of Duty and offering freedom to approach a scenario from a few different avenues. After the debut game, the narrative became more ambitious, too, asking the player oft uncomfortable questions over the course of each campaign -- with 2008's Far Cry 2 standing out in particular. That brings us to Far Cry 4's wildly new open-world setting that replaces series-typical jungles with the Himalayas, and trades Far Cry 3's psychopath antagonist for the purple-loving despot pictured above, Pagan Min. Given the troubles with Assassin's Creed Unity, however, you might be curious how publisher Ubisoft's other big game of the season fares. Well, come back here at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific and find out as we livestream the game on PlayStation 4 and try to ride a few elephants in the process.

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    Source: Twitch

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  • Finally, viewers down under won't have to rely on proxies and other intermediaries to get their streaming video fix, as Netflix announced it will launch in Australia and New Zealand next year. There's no word on pricing, but the service will arrive in March with its slate of originals (including Marvel's Daredevil, shown above) and 4K video support. We'll have to see what the library looks like to know if residents will be happy with just what they're offered locally, but for now it looks like ISPs will have to offer more than a "Global Mode VPN" to attract customers.

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    Source: Netflix

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  • In July 2014, Lindsay Lohan sued Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games, claiming that Grand Theft Auto V featured a character who is allegedly based on the Mean Girls actress. According to the suit, filed in the New York Supreme Court, the cover of the game depicts a bikini-clad woman who bears a striking resemblance to LiLo. And the game itself apparently consists of more similarities, including the fact that the character runs from paparazzi, takes cover in the Chateau Marmont and incorporates Lohan's "image, likeness, clothing, outfits, [Lohan's] clothing line products, ensemble in the form of hats, hair style, sunglasses [and] jean shorts."

    Also in July, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega filed suit in California Superior Court against Activision Blizzard Inc., the makers of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, for using his likeness without permission. According to the complaint, Activision depicted Noriega as "a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state," (the audacity!) and the makers implied that he was "the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorized to use [his] image and likeness."

    Lohan's and Noriega's suits were filed in two different states, and because of this, the applicable laws vary a bit. Lohan's battle is ongoing while Noriega's has been dismissed. One involves a celebrity, and the other a political figure. On the face of it, these two suits don't have all that much in common. The thread that connects them both -- and most lawsuits involving the use of a person's likeness in a video game -- is the right of publicity.

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  • There's a moment in LittleBigPlanet 3 where Hugh Laurie's villainous Newton, an effete British lightbulb with an egg timer built into his bowler hat, faces down his conscience, berating him with his greatest fear: that nothing he creates will ever be good enough, has never been good enough. It's a fear that LittleBigPlanet players will be familiar with, given the creative possibilities presented by the series. The feeling is more pronounced this time around, and the overwhelming diabolical genius at work in LittleBigPlanet 3 is almost a cause for alarm.

    The first and second games in the series felt like a toy box, with developer Media Molecule providing about 3 or 4 hours of examples of how it could be utilized. In contrast,LittleBigPlanet 3, now helmed by Sumo Digital, is the first to feel like the pre-formed game at its core is meant to be a showstopper, an abundant showcase of greatness, a dare to the player to push the envelope even further. Lucky for us, for those who decide to rise to the challenge, they have never made creation easier or more satisfying than it is now.

    Click here for the full review!

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    Source: Joystiq

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  • HBO has just green-lighted J.J. Abrams Westworld series, a reboot of Michael Crichton's now-classic 1973 movie about robots gone bad. it announced the series launch via Twitter, with a creepy Vine (see below) confirming the 2015 date. The original plot revolves around lifelike robots that help amusement park guests fulfill their fantasies but cause havok when the park's central computer fails. Execs told the Hollywood Reporter that each robot can come back after being killed off, allowing the actors to play different parts on different episodes. That helped HBO attract a star-studded cast, reportedly including Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and Evan Rachel Wood. There's no exact air-date yet, but the concept and the cast look highly promising.

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  • Dragon Age: Inquisition is an immense fantasy epic, a sprawling adventure across the many landscapes of Thedas, unapologetically mature in its exploration of politics and brazen in its combat. Inquisition is also developer BioWare's redemption song. It's everything that a sequel to Dragon Age: Origins should have been, and time will slip by as players enjoy the hundred hours of escapades it delivers.

    The end of Inquisition's spectacular first act gave me chills. The last time I can recall that feeling is when the Normandy was reintroduced in Mass Effect 2. It's the chill of being at the beginning of a grand story and anticipation for what's to come.

    Click here for more

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    Source: Joystiq

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