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2024-05-24 16:00:00| Marketing Profs - Concepts, Strategies, Articles and Commentaries

Hot take: All that content youve been creating? Its not thought leadership. Or at least most of it isnt, especially if you leave the writing to AI. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-05-24 15:00:41| Engadget

Is it blasphemous to call a survival horror game cozy? Maybe so, but while thinking back on my playthrough of Crow Country, the word popped into my mind more than a few times. From the jump, there's no question about Crow Countrys PlayStation 1 influences, which its creators at SFB Games have been upfront about: it is very intentionally the creepy-cute child of Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Final Fantasy VII. The game, which was released on Steam, PlayStation 5 and Xbox X/S on May 9, just about checks all the boxes for survival horror, but it takes a gentler approach to the genre, making it feel more like a test of mental endurance against some all-consuming bleakness than a constant fight for your life. (A Hard Mode, however, is apparently on the way). You play as Mara Forest, who must painstakingly make her way through an abandoned amusement park in the year 1990 to find its elusive and evidently corrupt owner, Edward Crow. Resources, like ammo and health kits, must be scavenged. Skinless monstrosities may emerge from the shadows at any turn to grab at you and puzzles of varying complexity promise to stall your progress. There is an ensemble of characters who including the protagonist each seem to have questionable motives. Its a familiar formula paired with a familiar style of character design paired with a familiar unsettling atmosphere, yet Crow Country manages not to feel like its being propped up by nods to its predecessors. With more of an emphasis on mood and mystery than violence (and some humor sprinkled throughout), its just unique enough to stand on its own as a distinct work. The entire experience has this air of reflectiveness to it, and I think the developers describe it perfectly in their own synopsis of what Crow Country offers: a beautiful, uncanny blend of tension and tranquility. The nostalgia did indeed hit me like a truck as I took my cautious first steps around the eponymous Crow Country theme park as Mara. Naturally, she walks at a snails pace and comes to a full stop whenever firing a weapon. Her running speed is fine, though, and you have 360-degree control of the camera angle, so it doesnt weigh you down entirely with PS1-era limitations (a blessing). I was prepared to be frustrated for the duration of the game by the stop-to-shoot bit, but I got over it once I realized the monsters are also slow as hell. Well, most of them. You can run right by them in almost every situation if you want to. That made killing a choice rather than a necessity, and immediately dialed down the sense of urgency Id gone into my first enemy encounter with. This is not at all a bad thing. With the stakes lowered, I treated those fleshy monstrosities like target practice and picked them off mostly for the fun of it. That, along with the gradual realization that there werent going to be jumpscares every 5 seconds, sucked me into a much cozier experience than I was expecting. Without anxiety fueling my every decision, I was able to take my time to pick through all the nooks and crannies of the amusement park, making sure to stop and read every notebook or piece of paper and examine every object on the ground or hanging on the walls. I could focus completely on the puzzles before me, some of which were really challenging. I even had to bust out a pen and paper at one point. It also wasnt very difficult to stay stocked up on necessities like ammunition, health kits and poison antidotes, which could be found randomly all over the park and at vending machines, where theyd sometimes regenerate so I could return for more later. The soundtrack by Ockeroid (which just got its own separate digital release) is eerily soothing, and helped to create an atmosphere that fully engrossed me. Crow Countrys save mechanism leans fully into the games contemplative ambiance, too: you can find respite at different sources of fire, which Mara will stare into before reciting a wistful thought about hope and dread in the face of uncertainty. I played Crow Country on a Steam Deck, snuggled up with my cats on a gray, stormy day, and I cant think of a better way to take it all in. SFB Games In typical survival horror form, the environment gets increasingly hostile as you advance in the game; creatures start showing up in heavier numbers, a faster one joins the mix, it starts raining, it gets darker, someone shoots at you from the shadows. But any real heaviness in Crow County is balanced by just the right amount of playfulness. The characters are often so unserious, going back and forth with irreverent dialogue. And you cannot ignore the goofy crow-themed objects that are all over the place you rely on some of them for resources and insight. Initially, Crow Country hints that theres more to Mara than were being told but makes no explanation as to who she is or why shes really in this abandoned theme park. Nor does it explain early on why that park is filled with writhing abominations and conspicuously prevalent references to the number 2106. Those mysteries served to hook me, and keep me progressing deeper as things unfolded. The ending tied everything together in a way that felt really satisfying. Its short but not too short, taking in the ballpark of 5 to 10 hours to complete depending how thorough (or slow to figure out puzzles) you are, and has a lot of replay value. This game is full of secrets that arent vital to the plot but can make your life a little easier there is even a map showing you where they are, if you can find it and these add another layer of challenge to the overall scavenger hunt. The upcoming Hard Mode could also make revisiting it even more interesting. The game currently gives you the option to play in Survival Horror mode (the version I played), or Exploration Mode, in which you will not be attacked. I missed a couple secrets on my first playthrough, so my main goals for the next run are to find the rest of those and hit 100 percent of the achievements. Im also curious to find out how different choices in my interactions with other characters could affect how the story plays out. In the end, I found myself moved by Crow Country for reasons that had almost nothing to do with nostalgia.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/crow-country-is-a-darkly-meditative-callback-to-survival-horrors-past-130041405.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-05-24 14:05:23| Engadget

Challengers, the tennis movie starring Zendaya, Mike Faist and Josh O'Connor, is not the first movie you'd think of for visual effects. But the film uses them to a surprising extent: One shot in particular, a 24-second volley between two of the protagonists from the perspective of the ball, used extensive digital and practical effects, as VFX supervisor Brian Drewes explained on X.  The live plates were shot with an Arri Alexa LF on a 30-foot technocrane during a period of five hours with stunt doubles, according to Drewes. 23 individual shots were stitched together to create the final sequence.  Love it or hate it, you have to admit, its a new way to see tennis! I oversaw all VFX on Challengers and thanks to great direction from Luca and amazing artists @ZeroVFX its unlike any sports movie ever made! More breakdowns to come. Go watch the movie on Prime!!! pic.twitter.com/eu4lnlnhaD Brian Drewes (@BrianVFX) May 23, 2024 "Highly detailed LiDAR and photogrammetry scans of the tennis court environment were captured to help create the final models. 100+ actors and background extras were also photoscanned to populate the stands of our CG environment," according to Drewes. After that, CG was used to smooth camera motion and correct time of day changes. The stunt doubles' faces were then replaced "with a combination of full CG heads and additional photography," Drewes added.  So why do all that? The sequence appears designed to convey the speed, chaos and passion in the sport, matching the movie's overall themes. It's also just a cool and exciting way to convey what would otherwise be a routine tennis match. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/challengers-vfx-artists-show-how-they-did-that-tennis-ball-pov-scene-120523596.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-05-24 13:50:48| Engadget

In the midst of beach trips and grilling sessions this weekend, it's worth briefly turning to the internet to see if you can save on any tech you might need. Memorial Day tech deals may not rival those of Black Friday (or even Amazon Prime Day, coming up in July), but they present decent opportunities to save on things like earbuds, chargers, robot vacuums and even season gear like fire pits and pizza ovens. To help you avoid spending too much time indoors on your phone or computer scouring for deals, we collected the best Memorial Day sales on tech here so you can keep your shopping trip quick and efficient. Our top picks Best Apple Memorial Day sales Best outdoor Memorial Day sales Best vacuum Memorial Day sales Best Memorial Day sales on Anker charging gear Best Memorial Day sales on streaming services and devices Best Memorial Day sales on headphones and earbuds Best Memorial Day sales on tech gear Best Apple Memorial Day sales Best outdoor Memorial Day sales Best vacuum Memorial Day sales Best Memorial Day sales on Anker charging gear Best Memorial Day sales on streaming services and devices Best Memorial Day sales on headphones and earbuds Best Memorial Day sales on tech gear Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-best-memorial-day-sale-tech-deals-we-could-find---save-big-on-apple-anker-and-ooni-gear-115046991.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-05-24 13:30:37| Engadget

Microsoft is leaning even more into AI after launching a new Copilot+ AI PC initiative earlier this year. It's a new set of standards for PCs with powerful neural processing units (NPUs), and it could be just as significant for Windows as Apple's move towards its M-series chips. In this episode, Cherlynn and Devindra discuss Copilot+ and the potential rise of Arm-based Windows systems, and we dive into the new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop. Listen below or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcast, Engadget News! Topics Microsoft announces a new chapter with Copilot+ and NPU-powered Surface Pro and Surface Laptop 0:51 Scarlett Johansson vs. OpenAI is just getting started 37:17 Sonos Ace headphones take aim at Apples AirPods Max 42:15 US Department of Justice makes its first arrest for AI-generated CSAM 45:50 Bloomberg Report: Humane AI seeks a buyer for $700m$1B, but will they get it? 47:21 Listener Mail: Could you port the new ARM-based Windows to your Android handheld? 51:42 Working on 53:11 Pop culture picks 54:19 Subscribe! iTunes Spotify Pocket Casts Stitcher Google Podcasts Livestream Credits  Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra HardawarProducer: Ben Ellman Music: Dale North and Terrence O'BrienThis article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/engadget-podcast-microsoft-goes-copilot-crazy-113037153.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-05-24 13:15:08| Engadget

Manufacturers may hate independent repair stores, but Samsung and Apple appeared to accept the direction the political wind was blowing in. Sadly, Samsungs warm-hearted embrace of third party repair may not have been as loving as had originally been suggested. Details of the contract the Korean giant asks repair stores to sign include some pretty user-unfriendly rules. That includes sending your details and device identification to HQ, including all of the details of your repair issue. And, if your phone is found to be using an aftermarket, or non-Samsung part, the store has to instantly disassemble it and raise the alarm. Thats quite problematic, and also probably in violation of US laws around the right to use third-party parts for repair. The repair gurus at iFixit announced that it was ending its partnership with Samsung around the same time. iFixit said there were irreconcilable differences between the pairs philosophies, like the high price of replacement parts and the mostly-unrepairable nature of Samsungs phones. Dan Cooper The biggest stories you might have missed OpenAI scraps controversial nondisparagement agreement with employees Meta and Google want to make AI deals with Hollywood studios Netflixs cozy take on Animal Crossing hits Android and iOS in June Robocaller behind AI Biden deepfake faces charges and hefty FCC fine Google plans to run a fiber optic cable from Kenya to Australia Atari just bought Intellivision, putting an end to the very first console war The next Call of Duty is Black Ops 6 Leica takes on Fujifilm with the compact D-Lux 8 Microsoft's Azure AI Speech lets Truecaller users create an AI assistant with their own voice You can get these reports delivered daily direct to your inbox. Subscribe right here! Ticketmaster owner sued by DOJ and 30 attorneys general over alleged monopoly Its alleged control of the live ticket marketplace harms consumers. The Justice Department and 30 state and district attorneys general have slapped a big pile of legal documents down on Ticketmaster owner Live Nations desk. They allege the company has the live entertainment industry in a chokehold, harming fans, promoters and artists. And, if this lawsuit really was prompted by the issues people faced while trying to get tickets to Taylor Swifts Eras tour, then we all know who to thank if Live Nation gets broken up. Continue Reading. Spotifys Car Thing will soon transform into Spotifys Car Brick Gee, thanks guys. Billy Steele for Engadget Spotifys Car Thing, a hardware product bringing streaming audio to less well-equipped cars, will soon be no more. The company announced that the product will stop working on December 9, as an attempt to streamline its offerings. If you bought a Car Thing, for the admittedly cheap price of $90, before they were discontinued in 2022, theres not much you can do about it. Continue Reading. Kobo Clara Colour review: Judging books by their covers is now more fun Its sure to provoke envious glances from Kindle users. Amy Skorheim for Engadget Color e-readers arent new, but Kobo has managed to beat Amazon to the punch with its Clara Color. Weve put this model through its paces and found that it beats the socks off any of its rivals with fast processing and a great display. Unfortunately, the downside is the same as always: Its not a Kindle, and so youre losing out on the vastness of Amazons library. Continue Reading.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-samsungs-secret-war-on-repair-111508423.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-05-24 06:37:50| Engadget

OpenAI will not enforce any nondisparagement agreement former employees had signed and will remove the language from its exit paperwork altogether, the company told Bloomberg. Vox recently reported that OpenAI was making exiting employees choose between being able to speak against the company and to keep the vested equity they earned. Employees could lose millions if they choose not to sign the agreement or if they violate it. Sam Altman, OpenAI's CEO, said he was "embarrassed" and didn't know that the provision existed, promising to have the company's paperwork altered.  According to Bloomberg, the company notified former employees that "[r]egardless of whether [they] executed the agreement... OpenAI has not canceled, and will not cancel, any vested units." It released them from the agreement altogether, "unless the nondisparagement provision was mutual." At least one former employee said they had lost their vested equity that was equivalent to multiple times their family's net worth by refusing to sign when they left. It's unclear if they're getting it back with this change. The company also talked to current employees about this development, easing their worries that they will have to be careful with everything they say if they don't want to lose their stocks.  "We are sorry for the distress this has caused great people who have worked hard for us," Chief Strategy Officer Jason Kwon said in a statement. "We have been working to fix this as quickly as possible. We will work even harder to be better." This wasn't the only controversial situation OpenAI has been involved in as of late. The company recently revealed that it was disbanding the team it formed last year to help make sure humanity is protected from future AI systems, which could be so powerful they could cause our extinction. Before that, OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who was one of the team's leads, left the company. Another team lead, Jan Leike, said in a series of tweets that "safety culture and processes have taken a backseat to shiny products" within OpenAI. In addition, Scarlett Johansson accused OpenAI of copying her voice without permission for ChatGPT's Sky voice assistant after she turned down Altman's request to lend her voice to the company. OpenAI denied that it copied the actor's voice and said that it hired another actor way before Altman contacted Johansson. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/openai-scraps-controversial-nondisparagement-agreement-with-employees-043750040.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-05-24 01:14:43| TRENDWATCHING.COM

In May 2024, Tencent and China Library for the Blind jointly launched Barrier-Free Theater, a free online movie-streaming service for visually impaired users. The accessible versions of films function like radio dramas, providing detailed narration and spoken descriptions to help people visualize what they can't see. Tencent Videos large-scale AI model boosted production efficiency, reducing the time it takes to make a film accessible from 30 to 10 days. Barrier-Free Theater is set to release over 600 popular titles, including YOLO, The Long Season and The Three-Body Problem.

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-05-24 00:00:33| Engadget

Meta and Google are offering Hollywood studios millions of dollars with the hope of striking licensing deals that could improve their models for AI-generated video, according to a new report in Bloomberg. The companies have reportedly offered tens of millions of dollars, though its unclear what will come from the talks. According to the report, Netflix and Disney arent willing to license their content but have expressed interest in other types of collaborations. Warner Brothers Discovery has reportedly indicated a willingness to license some of its programs. A spokesperson for Meta declined to comment. Google didnt immediately respond to a request for comment. The companies, it seems, are hoping such deals would help advance their video generation tools. Google recently showed off a text-to-video model, called Veo, and tapped Donald Glover to promote its capabilities. Meta is also researching AI-generated video. Theres been something of an arms race among AI firms to forge licensing deals with media companies. OpenAI and NewsCorp announced a multi-year deal to bring news content to ChatGPT earlier this week. Meta is also considering paying publishers to access news, photo and video content to train its AI models, Business Insider reported. But, as Bloomberg points out, Hollywood studios may have some reservations about such deals. Though AI-editing tools may be appealing, there has been widespread concern in the entertainment industry about how AI companies might use their creative work. That tension burst into full view this week when Scarlett Johansson accused OpenAI of copying her voice for its Sky assistant in ChatGPT after she declined to partner with the company herself. OpenAI has denied claims that it tried to mimic her voice, though the company has yet to explain that one Sam Altman tweet.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/meta-and-google-want-to-make-ai-deals-with-hollywood-studios-220033138.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-05-23 22:49:05| Engadget

Netflixs mobile gaming lineup will soon have one more entry. Cozy Grove: Camp Spirit, the sequel to the 2021 Animal Crossing-esque Cozy Grove, will arrive on Android and iOS on June 25. The Cozy Grove sequel is the first game from developer Spry Fox since Netflix bought the studio in 2022. In the game, youll embark on the high-stakes mission of helping ghostly bears upgrade their haunted island. The developer describes it as a heartwarming adventure where youll experience new activities, new ghost stories, new furry companions with stories and abilities of their own and much more. Netflixs mobile gaming portfolio has grown exponentially since it began dabbling in the arena in 2017 with its Stranger Things tie-in. Netflix now has a roster of nearly 100 mobile games. Cozy Grove: Camp Spirit will be the third game from an in-house studio after the streaming service began scooping up indie studios, including Spry Fox, Night School Studio, Boss Fight Entertainment and Next Games. Its also building studios in Helsinki and Los Angeles, where its working on a AAA game. You can pre-register for the game on Google Play and the App Store and check out the trailer for the chillaxing title below. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/netflixs-cozy-take-on-animal-crossing-hits-android-and-ios-in-june-204905615.html?src=rss

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