Facebook buys Oculus VR for $2 billion, but what does this mean for the future of the gaming industry?

So the news came out tonight that Facebook have bought yet another company, this time being Oculus VR – a company that creates virtual reality headsets for gamers. This latest cutting edge piece of tech is named the ‘Oculus Rift’. Although they aren’t available to the general public yet (I can imagine there’s a hefty price-tag to be included) well known Youtuber “PewDiePie” has showcased the device to much acclaim and reviews amongst the internet are hailing the rift as the next big thing in gaming. See the most-subscribed you tuber having a bit of a nightmare with the Oculus here (mind the swearing!)

 

 As fun as the Rift looks, I come to have a problem with the product itself. Remember when 3-D came back to our cinema screens not so long ago? No, me neither. This is where the entertainment industry is falling short, making huge investments in ideas that are, essentially, a novelty. 3-D sustained a short lifespan amongst big blockbuster films and 3-D television is still yet to find it’s feet amongst a large audience. Now Facebook have involved themselves in such a massive industry, how will gamers react to VR once it’s released? I can imagine there will be a good few sales upon the Oculus Rift’s launch (whenever they decide that to be – this year, 2015?) but is there really going to be a longevity in such a product? For what is an easy thumb movement on a controller, there will be a much more physical turn of the head, just for a change of camera viewpoint. After a long time using the rift, I can imagine most gamers would get bored of having to go to the effort! I know I’d get bored easily, not to mention the eye-strain of having the screen so up-close and personal. Despite there being physical drawbacks with the Oculus, I would absolutely love more social media integration and hopefully Facebook will take the lead in connecting a more social side to the gaming network. No matter how the Oculus Rift pans out now Facebook are involved, I just hope and pray that this advancement in gaming doesn’t affect the quality of games overall. Over the last year we’ve seen such a rise in fantastic gameplay, scriptwriting, cinematography, musical arrangements and graphics in games (The Last Of Us, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Gone Home, The Walking Dead to name a few of my favourites) The industry is also expanding, with gaming becoming more of a socially accepted form of entertainment as time progresses. I really do hope game developers don’t see the Rift as too much of a distraction over the next year or so and the quality of games continues in this lovely new cycle of next-gen!

Music and Regional Tastes: A Closer Look

Nice bit of audio streaming data collected in the USA. Lovely to see Bonobo and The XX included! 🙂

Music Machinery

In previous posts we looked at how gender and age can affect listening preferences. Today we take a look at how the location of a listener may affect their listening preferences.

distinctive_artist_map-2

For this study, I sampled the listening preferences of about a quarter million listeners that have a zip code associated with their account. update: Listener data is drawn from a variety of music streaming services that are powered by The Echo Nest. I aggregated these listeners into regions (state, regional and all-US). To compare regions I look at the top-N most popular artists  based upon listener plays in each region and look for artists that have a substantial change in rank between the two regions. These artists are the artists that define the taste for the region.

As an example let’s compare Tennessee to New England. If we look at the top 100 artists listened to in Tennessee and…

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