Gaming news summary for June 22, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN and Electronista. In today's edition, World of Warcraft gets new content in a patch, Dota 2 Reborn's beta becomes available, Batman: Arkham Knight fans in Europe have issues with their collector's editions, and season 2 of Evolve is about to begin.
Lego Dimensions combines real minifigs, models with console game
Warner Bros. is using the popularity of The Lego Movie franchise to produce a game that uses Lego figurines. Lego Dimensions will compete directly against the similar Disney Infinity and Skylanders games and play systems, by allowing players to bring specific Lego figures and models into the game using an accompanying kit of parts that constructs a "portal" between the worlds.
Preorders for Warner movies become available again on Amazon
Amazon has started to allow preorders of upcoming Warner Bros. DVD and Blu-ray releases on its online store. The two companies are reportedly close to completing negotiations over DVD pricing, a dispute which saw the retailer blocking the early sales of some prominent movies, including The Lego Movie and Transcendence, in an attempt to gain some form of leverage over the media company.
Lego Movie, 300 sequel pre-orders affected by contract negotiations
Amazon has halted pre-orders of some movies heading to DVD and Blu-ray in the coming months, as part of a dispute with Warner Home Video. In a move echoing that of its spat with the Hachette Book Group, the retailer is no longer accepting pre-orders for The Lego Movie, 300: Rise of an Empire, Transcendence, and other titles, in an attempt to gain leverage against the company.
Amazon's Lovefilm gains more Warner Bros programming
Lovefilm has signed an agreement with Warner Bros International TV Distribution, adding more content to its on-demand roster. The Amazon-owned British subscription streaming service will now offer a number of extra TV series, including seasons one to seven of The West Wing, all nine seasons of One Tree Hill, all seasons of Nip Tuck, and episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Archive-based catalog could serve niche audience
Warner Bros has opened up its catalog of historic movies and television shows on a new site for streaming subscribers, rather than more modern shows and theater productions. The Warner Archive Instant offers a selection of vintage films to watch instantly, and expands on the studio's existing Warner Archive store for DVD and Blu-ray discs. Currently, the service is only available in the US.
West Wing, Fringe to come to Amazon Prime
Online retailer Amazon announced today an agreement that will see Warner Bros. content appearing on Amazon's Kindle Fire media tablet. The deal will bring shows like Fringe and The West Wing to Amazon's Prime Instant Video catalog. The deal represents another step by Amazon to strengthen its content library as the retailer is thought to be preparing to a successor to its Kindle Fire tablet this summer.
Dark Knight, Happy Feet, others now in max HD
Warner Bros. has begun offering parts of its movie catalog in 1080p HD on iTunes. Shoppers can now buy titles such as 300, Batman Begins, Clash of the Titans, Happy Feet, Speed Racer, and The Dark Knight for $15.
Appeal against iiNet rejected 5-0 in High Court
The High Court of Australia has ruled against an appeal filed by major Hollywood studios in a three year-old copyright infringement case. The studios sued Internet service provider iiNet Ltd. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the case was brought on by 32 members of the Australian Federation against Copyright Theft (AFACT) that include Warner Bros., Disney, Fox, and Paramount Pictures, among smaller, independent distributors and TV networks. The court found that iiNet had no responsibility for copyright infringements perpetuated by its customers and had no technical means of preventing it.
Kim Dotcom calls indictment MPAA-sponsored
Kim Dotcom, the MegaUpload founder who was arrested and his site shut down by the US government, is now speaking out quite vigorously against the government and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). He stated that Megauplaod wasn't a host for pirates, but instead a legitimate service that was likely shut down for political reasons, TorrentFreak reported. He goes on to call his indictment as being MPAA-sponsored and allegedly has evidence that will prove his innocence.
Good news for BSkyB, deadline extended to July
UK satellite TV service BSkyB was given a reprieve as the Competition Commission pushed back its deadline on ruling that BSkyB's deals with six major Hollywood studios were uncompetitive, according to The Guardian. The government watchdog extended the date of its final ruling to July because it has added Netflix and LoveFilm to its investigation. Netflix launched in the UK and Ireland in January, while LoveFilm recently added a streaming service to its rent-by-mail service.
Walmart kicks of UltraViolet service, now in beta
Walmart has officially announced its UltraViolet conversion service, letting users digitize their existing DVD and Blu-ray movies. Viewers will have the ability to bring a movie into one of the more than 3,500 participating stores in the US and have their movies added to a Vudu account, after which they can stream it at any time.
Warner exec hints at UltraViolet movie conversion
Warner Bros.' home entertainment president Kevin Tsujihara used time at a Morgan Stanley technology conference to outline in more detail how his studio would steer viewers towards converting their videos from DVD and Blu-ray discs to the UltraViolet format and cloud video access. It would start with in-store conversion like that planned by Walmart, he said, but stores would eventually automate this and provide digital copies automatically. The discs themselves would eventually provide the option, which he implied would be like ripping a CD and would upload the movie itself.
Netflix users hit with new delay
Warner Bros. has altered the terms of its deal with Netflix yet again, throwing up another barrier to users looking to get their hands on a recent release rental. While Netflix users were just getting used to the 56 delay in getting a recent release rental, they will now have to also wait 28 days after a new DVD has been released before they can even add it to their queue. An anonymous insider has tipped the LA Times that the new arrangement takes effect on February 1.
Amazon may put Instant Video on UltraViolet
Movie studios are trying to get Amazon Instant Video on to the new UltraViolet cross-platform movie rights system, insiders divulged Wednesday. At least Sony and Warner Bros. were said by Bloomberg sources to be negotiating a deal. In ideal circumstances, a viewer could buy a Blu-ray or a digital format movie and have rights to play it on the Kindle Fire or another Amazon-friendly device.
Netflix to stream CW TV shows for four years
The CW Television Network, owned by CBS and Warner Bros., agreed on a four-year deal to stream its TV shows on Netflix. This will allow subscribers to stream previous seasons of scripted series that aired on The CW until the 2015 season. More than 700 hours of older CW episodes will be available on Netflix.
Warner Bros. buys Flixster for digital everywhere
Warner Bros. started off Wednesday with a deal to buy Flixster. The takeover will use the site's movie discovery service and overall technical experience to push its Digital Everywhere initiative, which will eventually provide a "studio-agnostic" way of finding, loading, and managing their media collections regardless of where they are. Flixster would run independently and keep Rotten Tomatoes at arm's length from Warner to avoid bias towards the studio.
Bypasses regional iTunes limitations
Warner Bros. has taken the unusual step of launching "App Editions" of some its movies. The only titles on the App Store so far are Inception and The Dark Knight, but each is a universal app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and presents the option of either downloading the movie or streaming it over Wi-Fi or 3G. Included with each app is a collection of DVD-like extras, such as videos, games, music and wallpaper.
Blockbuster kiosks wait 28 days for Warner Bros
Blockbuster on Friday said that its Express kiosks would have to wait 28 days before getting new movies from Warner Bros. to rent. Despite having trialed same-day launches as recently as the past few weeks, such as Fox's Knight and Day, the company has agreed to stall the $1 DVDs in return for closer contact with Warner Bros. as well as a lower distribution cost and healthier supply. It already had similar deals with Fox and Universal.
Starz negotiations with Disney to affect Netflix
Walt Disney is engaged in private negotiations with cable channel Starz, which is owned by Liberty Media Corp, say sources close to the talks who wish to remain anonymous. The conditions of the deal may mean Netflix is no longer able to offer Disney's movies online. According to the Bloomberg tip, Starz wants five years of access to Disney films on its cable channel and digital rights.