Square Enix and Blacknut Announce New Game Streaming Partnership Gamers will be able to play Deus Ex GO, Lara Croft GO, Hitman GO, and Hitman Sniper on various devices supported by Blacknut.

Square Enix and Blacknut Announce New Game Streaming Partnership

Square Enix and Blacknut just announced a new partnership, which allows Blacknut to distribute and stream some critically acclaimed titles.

Read moreSquare Enix and Blacknut Announce New Game Streaming Partnership Gamers will be able to play Deus Ex GO, Lara Croft GO, Hitman GO, and Hitman Sniper on various devices supported by Blacknut.

Elgato Cam Link Review: Transform Your Camera into a Webcam

Elgato Cam Link Review: Transform Your Camera into a Webcam

Elgato used to be known exclusively for their quality video capture cards, but in recent months their lineup of products has branched out into being many Twitch streamers’ one stop shop for a full professional grade streaming setup at a relatively affordable price. One of those new products happens to be the Elgato Cam Link, a USB 3.0 dongle that transforms your favourite video camera into your new webcam.

Elgato Cam Link Review: Transform Your Camera into a Webcam 1
Elgato Cam Link (Review image credit: CGMagazine).

Retailing for $173 CAD, the Elgato Cam Link takes the HDMI output of a video device, whether that be a camcorder, DSLR or action cam, and displays the captured video at 1080p 60FPS to the user’s PC without any latency. While that sounds like an incredibly simple device, there’s more to the process of how the Cam Link achieves these results then you may initially think.

First, the Cam Link takes the RAW quality video signal from the camera and transcodes it in real time, compressing the footage while maintaining a sharp image. Without this encoder technology the user’s CPU would be under a great deal of stress trying to multitask the webcam, the stream, and the game being played, all at the same time. Lastly, the Cam Link plays well with every kind of recording or broadcast software out there, instantly recognizing my DSLR as a webcam in OBS and XSplit after downloading two small sets of drivers from Magic Lantern and Elgato. The ease of use of this product is great and I can see why professionals are flocking to it as the next upgrade path for their setup.

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Elgato Cam Link (Review image credit: CGMagazine).

The Elgato Cam Link does its job to near perfection, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great addition for every streamers setup. This product is ideally for the “professional” streamer, the kind of user who utilizes two PC’s to broadcast their content and sees benefits from upgrading their webcam because it increases the visual quality of their product. It also doesn’t hurt that these users more than likely make money when they go live for thousands of people to enjoy. That’s a niche market of people when you consider the massive oversaturation of streamers on Twitch that don’t even manage to make it to the affiliate level.

I would recommend amateur streamers on a budget to stick by their trusty webcams for a while longer and consider the Elgato Cam Link as more of a luxury item down the line until they grow large enough to justify the purchase and expand their setup. Professionals, on the other hand, are always looking to get an edge on their competition and should see worthwhile benefits upgrading their broadcast using a powerful video camera paired with the Elgato Cam Link.

Elgato Cam Link Review: Transform Your Camera into a Webcam 2
Elgato Cam Link (Review image credit: CGMagazine).

A retail version of this device reviewed was provided by the manufacturer. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Cole Watson’s reviews of the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Microsoft Surface Laptop!

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Danganronpa V3 will feature streaming and screenshot restrictions on PS4

Danganronpa V3 will feature streaming and screenshot restrictions on PS4

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony will have streaming restrictions upon launch on PlayStation 4, preventing players from streaming and creating videos of the game beyond the first chapter.

These restrictions are in the interest of preventing spoilers, a representative of publisher NIS America told CGM, and have been imposed directly by developer Spike Chunsoft.

What this means is that both streaming through the PlayStation 4’s share features to stream the game, as well as screenshots, will be blocked beyond the first chapter. Streaming is blocked once the player reaches the first class trial, which is roughly four to five hours into Danganronpa V3’s story. According to NIS America, Spike Chunsoft will be taking down any videos with content beyond the first chapter.

NIS America said in a statement it will be releasing updates about relieving these restrictions in the future, implying streamers and content creators will be able to stream and take screenshots beyond the first chapter at some point.

Spike Chunsoft did not respond when reached for comment.

Earlier this year, Persona 5 had similar streaming restrictions, with developer Atlus preventing any native streaming or screenshots whatsoever, and requiring those streaming through third-party methods to only stream up to a certain point in the game or face consequences. The controversy ultimately forced Atlus to extend the point streamers could stream to a later point in the game within the first month of the game’s launch.

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita on September 26th. The game is the first to feature a new setting for the series, after Danganronpa’s original story concluded in the animated series Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School last year.

For more on Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, check out CGM’s review, and for more reading on the series overall, check out our reviews of the PlayStation 4 remasters of the original games.


 

Twin Peaks revival premieres May 21st on Showtime

Showtime's Twin Peaks revival drops in May

2017 is looking up, now that Showtime president and CEO David Nevins has officially set a date for the premium channel’s Twin Peaks revival. The double-length premiere event is currently set for May 21st at 9 PM, followed by episodes three and four going live on Showtime On Demand. That should give younger fans of the show plenty of time to figure out if their parents have Showtime, and if they know what their cable password is.

(My stepdad unironically likes Ray Donovan and my mom used to watch Homeland before that show got even weirder, so you know I’m all set for when May 21st rolls around)

Series creator David Lynch is back for the 18-episode revival (despite some initial uncertainty), directing from scripts written by Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost, featuring many of the original cast members. Although early reports suggested Twin Peaks might have a shelf life beyond the current 18-episode order, Nevins shot the concept down during Showtime’s TCA tour. “[Twin Peaks] is designed to be a one-time, closed-ended event,” Nevins said. According to Variety, Nevins didn’t rule out the concept of a renewal entirely, but of course he wouldn’t — if the show does gangbusters, Showtime is absolutely going to make more. If it doesn’t bring in the numbers they were hoping for, then “18 episodes was always the plan.”

The first two seasons of Twin Peaks are currently streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and the show’s new home, Showtime. Unfortunately, Fire Walk With Me is currently unavailable to stream — your best option is to rent it digitally on iTunes or Amazon. For returning fans who have already re-watched the show in anticipation of the revival there’s always Dual Spires, the Twin Peaks homage episode of Psych (also currently unavailable for streaming). If you like your weird Pacific Northwest towns a little more interactive, there’s also cult classic video game Deadly Premonition (available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, although the quality of the PC version is up for debate)

Action Against Hunger Launches Stream Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger Launches Stream Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger is a powerhouse of an organization. Since 1979, the non-profit has aimed to assist malnourished children, on top of giving communities clean drinking water and long-term plans to combat hunger. Now, they’re asking videogame players to lend their hand.

Launching in August, the organization has started Stream Against Hunger. The first campaign lasted for thirty-six hours straight, without breaks. Now, more have joined in, and even more are encouraged to join. Streamers can create a fundraising page, which they’ll direct fans, friends and family to in order to pitch in money. Participants will be able to use all sorts of streaming outlets, too, including Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Live.

The aim of this particular campaign is to provide aid to children in Borneo, Nigeria.

“The funds raised by these five gamers will be used to fund Action Against Hunger’s emergency programs in Borno State, northeast Nigeria,” says an Action Against Hunger press release, “where an estimated 250,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition: the UN has warned that 49,000 could die this year in Borno if they don’t receive immediate help.”

Numbers-wise, Action Against Hunger hopes to hit $45,000 (USD) by September 30. During the last major push, $11,500 was raised, which was then matched by Republic of Tea. This added up to a grand total of $23,000, which guaranteed over 500 kids getting aid they need.

If you stream games, you should definitely consider joining this event. If you don’t, now is a perfect time to start. One of the best parts of this community is when we can come together for a great cause, and help those less fortunate than us. Look for members of the CGM staff putting up streams in the coming days for this great cause, and consider putting one up yourself. Every little bit counts, and every little bit helps a kid get a shot they might not otherwise.

Click here to participate.

Roku announces new portable Streaming Stick

Roku announces new portable Streaming Stick

Roku Inc. has revealed a new, more powerful, Roku Streaming Stick for customers to sink their teeth into. The latest model of the pocket-sized device was developed with performance in mind, now featuring a quad-core processor and sporting an affordable price tag of $59.99 CDN.

The new stick is said to have 8x more processing power than the previous model and will deliver both a fast and smooth experience for consumers. The device will also run the company’s latest operating system, also announced today, Roku OS 7.1.

Roku announces new portable Streaming Stick 3

 

OS 7.1 enhances the user experience by providing new categories to the Roku feed, which already provides users in the U.S. with over 2,000 streaming channels and over 100,000 available movies and TV episodes.

“The Roku Streaming Stick is one of our most popular models. Consumers appreciate having access to the complete Roku streaming experience in a portable, low-cost device,” said Sharad Sundaresan, SVP product management for Roku. “The new Roku Streaming Stick takes our popular experience to the next level with a significant upgrade in power and performance, as well as features that are specifically designed to get people to the entertainment they want to watch quickly and easily whether they’re at home or on the go.”

Features of the device are:
⦁ Only pocket-sized streamer with a quad-core processor; more processing power than Amazon Fire TV stick and Google Chromecast™
⦁ Private listening via a mobile phone or tablet using the Roku Mobile App for iOS and Android™ devices
⦁ Dual-band MIMO wireless for great connectivity
⦁ Included remote for easy navigation and control
⦁ Small, sleek design makes it simple to move between TVs in the home or use while traveling
⦁ Cast video from Netflix and YouTube mobile apps directly to the TV
⦁ Control with Roku Mobile App for iOS and Android – play personal video, photos and music on TV using the Play On Roku feature
⦁ Hotel and Dorm Connect for easy connection to wireless networks away from home

Roku’s new streaming stick is available later this month at Best Buy along with Roku’s 4k UHD Insignia TVs, which the retailer exclusively offers at BestBuy.ca.

Roku announces new portable Streaming Stick 1

 

The Roku Streaming Stick will also be available at other consumer electronics retailers such as Walmart, Staples and Londo Drugs. The device can also be purchased online at Amazon.ca or Shop.ca.

The Future of Anime is Now

The Future of Anime is Now 4

With Netflix, the age of watching TV changed forever. It allowed anyone with an account to have access to thousands of shows, movies, and documentaries. FUNimation, the leader in Anime localization, is trying to do the same for Anime. Their new FUNimation Now service will allow users in the US and Canada to gain access to the full library of shows and movies. With this new platform, FUNimation will launch a series of new apps and ways to watch while keeping the streaming service that Anime fans of the past would only dream about.

I was lucky enough to chat with Mike DuBoise about FUNimation Now. In a candid talk, he goes into what makes FUNimation Now so unique, how it will compete with other streaming services, and what fans of Anime should expect from 2016.

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CGMagazine: Can you tell me how the FUNimation Now streaming service will differ from what FUNimation already offers?

Mike DuBoise: I think, for us, a lot of what’s going to be different is we’re going to be able to add in a lot more ways for fans to customize what they want; to give them more control over their viewing and over their choices around what they purchase.

CGM: Can you explain how that customization is going to work?

MD: We’re not going to be rolling that customization out until the summer, so some of it is still being designed. There’s a lot of options that we’re testing right now. One of the big changes is being able to sign on seamlessly and be able to integrate the streaming service, the commerce service, and a social component, tying it all under a single sign-up.

CGM: Will the new FUNimation Now app allow you to sync your shows between all devices as you move between them?

MD: Yes, it’s going to be able to sync and pick up where you left off.

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CGM: Why the choice to completely drop the original FUNimation app and bring it to new devices rather than expand the existing app?

MD: For a couple of reasons. One: the apps we have out in the marketplace, certainly from a global standpoint, we didn’t feel could optimize the experience that we’re trying to design for the new service. The new service is going to be powered by an all-new engine, so what we’re doing right now is retiring those mobile apps starting in February, and then going to expand onto some devices we are not currently on. Then, later in May, we’ll be updating our console app. As the summer starts, we’ll be changing our entire web experience. Once we do that, it’s going to power the ecosystem that we’re putting in place right now. So you’ll see the mobile apps that come in February be much better apps from a functionality point of viewing experience than what we have today.

CGM: Now let me ask you, is the back-end going to be the same for the app that’s out now compared to FUNimation Now, or is there going to be a completely new back-end system that you’re implementing?

MD: We’re going to be retiring the whole back-end, and it’s going to be powered by an all-new system.

CGM: If people are already subscribers to FUNimation at this present time, will that transfer over to a FUNimation Now account, or how will that transition work?

MD: Yes, we’re going to transfer everybody to the FUNimation Now. Whatever service they have now, they will be seamlessly transferred over to Funimation Now.

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CGM: If people are already subscribers to FUNimation at this present time, will that transfer over to a FUNimation Now account, or how will that transition work?

MD: Yes, we’re going to transfer everybody to the FUNimation Now. Whatever service they have now, they will be seamlessly transferred over to FUNimation Now.

CGM: I didn’t see any word about FUNimation Now having a free option, are you getting rid of the free option in the move to the new service?

MD: We’ll still have the free option for FUNimation Now. There’ll still be an ad-supported option like what we currently have available.

CGM: Will you still have all the same kind of streaming options, where you have anime coming on the service a few hours after it appears in Japan? Will that be continued going forward with FUNimation Now?

MD: Yeah, we’ll continue that. So, we’ll have the simulcast within minutes or hours of when it was broadcast in Japan. We’ll also have the broadcast dubs, where we’re taking that simulcast and about four weeks later and taking several of the shows and dubbing them in English and streaming them to the fans.

CGM: Was the move to a new platform a result of the competition in the streaming space from places like Hulu, Netflix, etc?

MD: I think, for us, we felt like we wanted to deliver a much better experience to the fan and we felt like we could design it [better] knowing the fan the way we do and knowing what we wanted to give to them. We felt that retiring our site and launching a new one was the best way to go. I think that what Crunchyroll does, what Hulu does, what Netflix does is impressive. Those are all fine services, and they serve your needs. So this isn’t really about what they’re not doing; it’s really about our vision of the kind of experience we want to create for fans, beyond just the show. We know that our fans don’t just watch, they live the anime lifestyle, and we also went out and did a lot of research for what they want and what they need for a streaming subscription membership service. There’s going to be a lot of things that aren’t being done by anyone in the marketplace that we’re launching. We’re doing a lot of the things that Hulu and Netflix are; we’ll have 4K available, we’ll have simultaneous streams, a lot of the basics, but there’s some stuff that we’re designing for the anime fan in mind.

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CGM: Can you talk about any of that stuff right now, or is it more of the summer?

MD: Yeah, that’s stuff I can’t really [talk about]; that’s going to be later on, so stay tuned for more information.

CGM: The process of streaming dubs as the show is airing must be a hard one, but something that anime fans love. Why do you think you are one of the only companies doing this right now?

MD: We know from a lot of our research that our fans like the English dubs. Until we started doing the broadcast dubs, the only opportunity to get an English dub was when it came out on Blu-ray or DVD—and that’s some 15 months after the simulcast of the subtitled version. So what we’re trying to do is, again, respond to our fans. We, being the only anime studio that has a full production team in house (you know, we have voice actors and productions teams here everyday recording), we found a way to get to the market quick and turn these around. We changed a lot of our internal processes to put that dubbing and translating and scripting process up to get those out sooner and satisfy those fans that have requested an English dub with a streaming option.

Funimation Comes To PlayStation

Funimation Comes To PlayStation - 2015-04-01 19:20:25

If you’re an anime fan, then here’s a pleasant surprise. While the Crunchyroll anime service has been available on PlayStation consoles for quite some time, as of this week, Sony has added a new, familiar name to is streaming services roster; Funimation is now available as a downloadable app on consoles.

As with Crunchyroll, the Funimation service comes in both free and subscription flavours, although the free service here is not quite as all-encompassing as it is on Crunchyroll, giving users the option to only watch a few episodes in a given series, and, of course, there are ads. There are two additional subscription tiers, one at $5 per month which entitles viewers to ad free, subtitled content and access to some Funimation perks.The “All-Access” subscription at $8 includes all the same, plus access to English dubbed episodes and even more perks.

Personally, that plan seems a bit backwards to me, since I have a preference for original Japanese voice acting and avoid dubs like the plague whenever possible, but Funimation probably knows its core audience better than I do. A quick look at the content shows a service that is probably aimed at a slight more casual, less “otaku” fan than Crunchyroll. While there’s surprisingly little overlap in content (excepting big hits of course, like Attack On Titan), the Funimation service is clearly smaller and more selective, focusing mostly curating content for bigger Japanese hits with broader appeal. Crunchyroll tends to release as much as it can, covering diverse genres, whereas Funimation sticks to more familiar mecha/fantasy/action genres, meaning you won’t find Kids On The Slope or Shirobako here.

On the other hand, its archives are worth looking into for people that grew up with Funimation over the last 20 years, since classics like Cowboy Bebop, Bubblegum Crisis, FLCL, Ergo Proxy and even Serial Experiments Lain are in here. Basically a lot of the stuff Crunchyroll might have also had, if it had been importing anime into North America for more than 20 years. Still even MORE anime on your PS4 can’t be a bad thing, right?