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Netflix’s gains surged in the first quarter, saying that it had contained the costs and had signed up more international subscribers than predicted. The online video service also said that new U.S subscribers may experience a $1 to $2 increase later this quarter.

Increased Rate for New Members Only

This would be the company’s first price hike since 2011 in the U.S, which sparked outrage with an increase of 60 percent. The price increase also follows Amazon’s move this year, increasing the price of its Prime service from $79 to $99 annually. Netflix, who aims to become the world’s first online television network, relies on the U.S for most of its business.

However, the company has set the green light on its plans to expand significantly abroad this year and boost its original programming. Netflix’s strategy not only shows its hunt for fast growth, but also its ambition to be a must – have global TV.

“House of Cards” Gathered Huge Audience in February

netflix1

Chief Executive Reed Hastings said in his letter to shareholders the strengthening of his rhetoric combination of his desire for no – fee deals that improved Netflix’s ISP network access. Hastings said that the company opposed the merger of Time Warner Cable and ComCast because it is a threat to its business interests.

The letter highlighted the success of “House of Cards” season two. It is Netflix’s plan to use original series as key in becoming a dominant TV network. Shows like the “House of Cards,” which debuted last quarter, and “Orange is the New Black” have been considered as hits. Netflix said the February debut of “House of Cards” gathered a huge audience, but the second season had more viewers than the first.

Europe Expansion Plans

Netflix revealed its plans earlier this year for an expansion in Europe. The company said its international operations are on track to gaining profits this year. However, the expansion plan in Europe will continue to bring loss this year.

The company is projected to gain 940, 000 international members and 520, 000 domestic ones on the second quarter. Hastings said he envisions Netflix reaching 60 to 90 million U.S customers one day. Overall, the company profited over $53.1 million (86 cents/share), compared with last year’s $2.7 million (5 cents/share).

Image Sources:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151642964948870&set=a.422187488869.225735.6275848869&type=1&source=11

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Another addition to the Fatal Frame horror series will make its way to Nintendo's console.

Fatal Frame

The series is going to have an additional sequel (but there’s a chance that it won’t have anything to do with the previous games. Much like how the Mask of Lunar Eclipse had no connection with Crimson Butterfly and Tormented).

Tecmo and Koei are working on a new title that will be the next installment of the horror series. The game will be exclusive to Wii U however. This is, however, not a major let down for most fans as Tecmo has already built quite some reputation with sticking with Nintendo. This is quite evident with Fatal Frame IV: Mask Of The Lunar Eclipse and 3DS’ Spirit Camera.

The game’s release date or even the official title was yet to be revealed however.

Tecmo Koei is also expanding the game franchise to different mediums. In form of a Live Action movie adaptation of the original Fatal Frame game from PlayStation 2. Ayami Nakajo and Aoi Morikawa will star in the movie and the movie is scheduled for release this coming fall in Japan initially.

An original novel based from the series is also scheduled to be out this coming October. The team who will work behind the novel will be Kadokawa Horror Bunko and Eiji Otsuka.

A comic book is also planned and Kindaichi Case Files writer Shin Kibayashi (known by his pen name Tadashi Agi) will be working on it.

The latest Fatal Frame game (Mask of The Lunar Eclipse) was released exclusively for Wii and was never localized for US. The same thing happened with the remake of Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. (Also, a Wi exclusive game) The case might be different this time as the Wii U have better chances on having the game localized for US and other countries except Japan.

Image Source: Y2JArmyofficial

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The popular "Camera Survival Horror" game Fatal Frame gets a movie treatment

Fatal Frame

Fatal Frame is a Tecmo’s Japanese horror survival game about a camera called “Camera Obscura” and using it to fight ghosts. If you are a fan of this series (3 were released for PS2 and Xbox while the 4th one was exclusive to Wii) then good news for you because a live-action film adaptation of the game is in the making now.

Japanese models, Ayami Nakaj? and Aoi Morikawa will star in the film, which will open throughout Japan this fall. (And with that given, fansubs will be following shortly after its screening).

The original game’s story is about a girl who uses the Camera Obscura to take photographs of ghosts in order to exorcise them. The story was set in a worn down Japanese-styled house and other areas which greatly resembles the old Japanese culture.

In the movie, aside from a Japanese-house, the story will take place in an old school dormitory. The story of Aya Tsukimori (Nakaj?) will be involved in an incident that will lead her to being a part of an ancient “cursed incantation” at the premises within the girls’ school dormitory. Her classmate, Michi Kazato (Morikawa) is the one who’s going to investigate the occurrences and the mysterious disappearances of people in the dormitory.

Mari Asato is the directing the film. The official principal photography of the project film started on March 27 and is expected to be out this year. Nakaj? stated that she was pressured because aside from her acting debut with a different project last 2012, Fatal Frame is going to be her film debut and promises that she will do her best to properly portray the charm, the original game had.

The original game was released for PlayStation 2 in 2001 and there were numerous sequels and remakes that graced multiple platforms (Xbox, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii)

Image Source: YouTube (Y2JArmyofficial)

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Namco Bandai’s free to play fighting game, Soulcalibur: Lost Swords is now available in North America for the PlayStation 3. The announcement was made earlier today.

The Soulcalibur spin off has an emphasis on single player action as well as mission based modes. Soulcalibur series producer Masaki Hoshino said that the decision to focus on single player missions in Lost Swords was due to the fact that the players’ interest was in the characters and the world setting of the series and not necessarily the game’s versus modes. Most of the fan base was not hugely into competitive gaming.

Soulcalibur: Lost Swords will be using the fighting game system of Soulcalibur 5, the most recent entry to date with a few included additions, according to Hoshino. Players will be able to choose from a roster of fighters from the Soulcalibur series’ most popular characters to send into combat. Lost Swords also uses an item discovery and crafting system as well as elemental based fighting mechanics to add different factors in combat. Players can use and equip various weapons and armor that can be taken as a reward from defeating enemies or they can build new ones from raw materials and imbue them with elemental characteristics such as fire and wind. Since different elements are going to be used, some will be stronger or weaker against the other in battle.

The characters in Lost Swords can be customized by completing various quests. These quests will unlock accessories as well as other items that can be used to equip the characters. An interesting feature that has been added is that player built characters can be uploaded and shared with other players. These player built characters, can then be used as a ‘summonable’ partner in battle. The more times the player built character is used in combat, the more Friend Points the player will earn and this will, in turn, make them stronger.

As an extra bonus, those who download Soulcalibur: Lost Swords in the first month on the PlayStation Network will receive an additional set of bonus items. This will serve as a ‘thank you’ gift from the developers.

Photo Source: PlayStation Community Blog

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With its work in progress campaign and efforts to establish awareness on the environment’s need for protection, Apple launched a new website and introduced a recycling program that would give customers store credit for old gadgets exchanged.

Apple, with its battlecry, “We want to leave the world better than we found it” said that all of its retail stores are accepting old Apple devices now and if the customer has traded a device that could still be reused, the company will give that customer a store credit in return.

In their “Get an Apple Store Gift Card for the value of your old device” campaign, Apple said that if the iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC still has monetary value, then they will have it applied for an Apple Store Gift Card. This gift card can be used for purchases at any Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. However, if the device doesn’t qualify for reuse, Apple will recycle it for free.

In its progress in the environmental campaign, Apple reported that they have recycled more than 421 million pounds of electronic waste.

“We believe we must be accountable for every Apple product at every stage of its use,” Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environmental Initiatives of Apple said, adding that “At Apple, we continue to put nature at the center of our business and design principles. We aim to create not just the best products in the world, but the best products for the world. We have a long way to go, but we are proud of our progress.

So if you are an Apple device holder and you want to trade them, here’s how to join the “Get an Apple Store Gift Card for the value of your old device” campaign.

1. Tell us about your device.
Only iPhone, iPad, and Mac or PC desktop and notebook computers qualify for the Apple Reuse and Recycling Program.

2. Get your estimate and ship your device.
Apple contracts with PowerON, who will estimate the fair market value of your product. PowerON will provide convenient prepaid options to package and ship your product to their facility for evaluation.

3. Receive your Apple Store Gift Card.
After a short time, your Apple Store Gift Card will arrive. Use it for purchases at any Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store.

(Photo courtesy of http://www.apple.com/environment/finite-resources/)

 

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The next rhythm based action game dubbed Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call to be released

THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY

The new addition to the series (Yes, it has a series of its own) for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is in the works now. It is called Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call and it will be released for Nintendo 3DS. The game will be released in North America later this year, according to Square-Enix’s announcement.

The game will still carry the existing features of its predecessor. You are still going to rhythmically tap your way out with hundreds of songs and music from the Final Fantasy universe. To be perfectly exact, there is a total of 221 songs in the game which includes music from the traditional Final Fantasy games, new additions to the series like Lightning Returns and A Realm Reborn and other spin-offs like Advent Children.

There are more than 60 playable characters in the game which are from a variety of the Final Fantasy universe itself, past and present. Some newer additions are Zack from Final Fantasy VII, Barret from the same game, Final Fantasy X-2’s Yuna and more.

Aside from the basic gameplay, which was carried over from the first game, Curtain Call will also have some additional game modes like Head to Head mode which will let players play competitively. The Quest Medley mode also returns to the game which lets the player decide how they will push through their quests playing songs in varied durations. Collecting cards is still intact with the game mechanics. These help the players boost their character’s stats to make the game much easier in the long run.

Square-Enix didn’t mention any exact date as to when the game will be released, but they did say that it will be out later this year under a $39.99 price tag in North America.

Image Source: YouTube (SQEXMembersNA)