Fanboy.com is on Hiatus

See You Space Cowboy

I’m sorry to report that Fanboy.com is now on hiatus: We’re currently thinking of relaunching the site in the future, but for now no new stories will appear. We will still be posting links we love on a regular basis on our Facebook page so please keep in touch with us there.

I first registered this site on a lark in the 90s, but then started blogging almost 9 years ago in 2006 and found it to be a very rewarding experience. However after about 3,000 or so posts I got a bit burned out, however I was very lucky in that I found a few folks who were willing to put in the work to keep the site alive (namely Ben Huber, Bob Muir and Tim Sheehy) and to them I owe a great deal of thanks. I also would like to thank you the readers of this website for coming back to us over the past few years. In the meantime we’ll keep this site up for anyone who would like to see our old stories until further notice.

 

Valve Shows Off Final Steam Controller, Steam Machines, and More

Posted by Ben Huber on Mar 6, 2015 in Tech, Videogames

valve1

If you’re waiting for a Steam Machine and the accompanying Steam Controller, get ready, because Valve has added them all to the Steam store. You still can’t buy them yet, but their prices and specs are listed, along with a nebulous “November 2015” release date. The Steam Controller is there, featuring its curious dual haptic touch pads and myriad of buttons. The streaming Steam Machine, the Steam Link, is also listed. I’m not really sold on a Steam Machine yet, aside from maybe a smaller streaming box. The controller is definitely something I want to get my hands on, though! Check out everything here, then also see Valve’s VR prototypes they’re showing off at GDC here. Read more…

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Epic Releases Unreal Engine 4 For Free To Anyone

Posted by Bob Muir on Mar 3, 2015 in Tech, Videogames

Unreal Engine 4

Nice move, Epic. The game studio that develops one of the most used middleware engines, Unreal Engine, has decided to make their latest release, Unreal Engine 4, free. That’s right, the engine is free and all updates will be free. Developers making commercially-released software will pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue that is higher than $3,000 per project and per quarter, though developers can still negotiate the fee with Epic. This opens up the middleware to any developer who wants it, no matter how small the project. In fact, if your product doesn’t make much money (or is free), you basically don’t pay royalties. This is going to be great for the indie market and will hopefully lead to some cool ideas. Read more…

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Valve Partners With HTC To Create Vive VR Headset

Posted by Ben Huber on Mar 2, 2015 in Tech

valveVR

The past few days, rumors swirled of a Valve virtual reality headset being announced with a major hardware producer. Today, in Barcelona, HTC announced that they’ll be the ones partnering with Valve to create a new VR headset called the Vive that will release before the end of 2015. The device will use two 1200 x 1080 screens (one for each eye) that’ll refresh at 90 frames per second. In addition to the standard accelerometer and gyrosensor, there will also be two laser position sensors that’ll track your head in a 15-by-15 foot space. The VR hardware race is heating up, now with Oculus, Valve, Sony, and possibly Nvidia all planning headsets (plus Apple is investigating the area too). This should be fun to watch! Read more…

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Take A Look At Sharp’s Free-Form Displays — That Nintendo May Be Using

Posted by Ben Huber on Jan 9, 2015 in Tech

sharp7

Last month, a report came out of Kyodo saying that Nintendo was looking into free-form displays made by Sharp for their next handheld. According to the rumor, Nintendo was particularly interested in a circular display with a hole in the center — essentially a doughnut shape. At CES, Sharp brought their latest prototypes to show off and The Verge got some photos, so take a look to possibly get a glimpse at what Nintendo could do next. Most of Sharp’s examples are car-themed, as their custom displays could easily fit into the unique shapes of a car dashboard. My current theory is Nintendo either wants to put a screen around buttons and joysticks, or perhaps this could be used on their sleep-monitoring device they’re planning as well? Read more…

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Microsoft Finally Kills Internet Explorer

Posted by Bob Muir on Dec 31, 2014 in Tech

Internet Explorer

Who do you know that still uses Internet Explorer, other than your old relatives that force you to fix their computers? That’s right, pretty much no one, because anyone in the know uses Chrome, Firefox, hell, pretty much anything else. And so Microsoft is killing what was once the most-used browser in the world. When Windows 10 releases in 2015, it will come with a new browser codenamed Spartan. (The name is likely a reference to Halo, as they did the same thing with their Cortana software.) This new browser will behave much more like Chrome and Firefox, running in a more lightweight form and including options like extensions. I didn’t even know that IE lacked extensions! Welcome to the 2000s, Microsoft. Read more…

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PlayStation Now Coming To Samsung TVs

Posted by Bob Muir on Dec 25, 2014 in Tech, Television, Videogames

PlayStation Now

Sony and Samsung may be rivals in the TV business, but apparently that won’t stop them from trying to make more profit together. PlayStation Now is coming to Samsung Smart TVs in the US and Canada. The service, which allows streaming rentals of PS3 games (and hopefully PS1 and PS2 games down the line), will be made available in the first half of 2015. Samsung TVs don’t have the horsepower to render PS3 games, but that doesn’t matter, because all the processing is done on Sony’s side and streamed to the TV. All Samsung owners need to buy is a DualShock 4 controller (since, you know, TVs don’t normally come with controllers). Now if only Sony would adjust PlayStation Now prices to be more attractive, because I’d rather buy the game for cheap than bother with the overpriced rentals. Read more…

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Sony Honors PlayStation’s 20th Anniversary With Special PS4

Posted by Bob Muir on Dec 4, 2014 in Tech, Videogames

PS4 20th Anniversary Edition

It’s been 20 years since the PlayStation first launched in Japan on December 3, 1994. To celebrate that important date, Sony is producing a special gray PS4, just like the PS1. The gray extends to the DualShock 4 controller, which brings back even more memories of gray controllers, as well as the vertical stand and camera accessories. There’s no mention of the cost, but if you’re a collector, you’ll want to pay whatever they’re asking: only 12,300 units will be made available worldwide. US gamers should watch the PlayStation Experience keynote on Saturday, December 6 at 10AM PT to learn how to buy one of these rare systems. For the rest of us, we’ll have to settle for the detailed video below, which shows off details, such as etchings of PlayStation button symbols. Hey Sony, how about a gray controller for those of us who already own a PS4? Read more…

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Rosetta Successfully Puts Lander On Comet

Posted by Bob Muir on Nov 13, 2014 in Science, Tech

Philae concept art

While probes have played around comets before, none have ever landed on a comet — until now. The European Space Agency is finally seeing the payoff for a mission they started way back in March 2004, when they launched the unmanned Rosetta spacecraft and its lander Philae. While the Rosetta met up with the comet back in July, it took weeks to fly around the comet and determine a safe place to land. Operations were complicated by the Rosetta having to travel over 6 billion kilometers to meet up with the comet’s path; at that distance, even light-speed transmissions take almost half an hour to reach Earth, so any control had to be calculated and input well ahead of landing. Despite some bumps (including the securing harpoons not firing, resulting in a bounce and a second landing), it seems Philae is running smoothly now and will be collecting data through about March 2015, when it builds up too much heat. The Rosetta will at least operate through December 2015, but could go longer if the fuel holds out. Congratulations, ESA! Now get some cool data! Read more…

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Someone Is Actually Making A Hoverboard

Posted by Bob Muir on Oct 22, 2014 in Cinema, Tech

Hendo

October 2015 is only a year away, which means one thing: Marty McFly is going to arrive from the past, as depicted in the popular documentary Back to the Future Part II. It seemed as though our history would diverge, since we still don’t have the hoverboards depicted in the movie, but there’s some last-minute hope. The company Arx Pax is seeking Kickstarter funding for the Hendo, their version of a hoverboard, which actually hovers! The catch: it uses magnetic levitation, similar to a bullet train, so it will only work with certain metal floors, like copper or aluminum. It doesn’t propel itself, so you’ll be using your foot like a regular skateboard. Read more…

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New Apple Products: iMac With Retina 5K Display, New iPads, And More

Posted by Ben Huber on Oct 17, 2014 in Tech

imac-retina

Apple’s latest event wasn’t particularly mind-blowing (for the most part). A new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 are on the way, both slightly upgraded (iPad Air 2 gets thinner, better specs, and Touch ID while the Mini 3 simply gets the fingerprint sensor). They’re now available in the space grey, gold, and white/silver colors, too. OS X Yosemite has a fair amount of new features, and that is available now for free. But we all expected this. The most interesting news is that the iMac is finally being upgraded to a Retina display: 5K, 5120 x 2880 pixels, leading Apple to proclaim it the “world’s highest resolution display.” It’s pretty impressive! I want to see one in person. Check out some images below and a full rundown from the Verge here. Read more…

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Nintendo Plans Transparent 2DS Systems For Pokemon Release

Posted by Bob Muir on Sep 24, 2014 in Tech, Videogames

Nintendo 2DS

While I think the 2DS has a place as a budget-friendly, kid-friendly alternative to the 3DS, I could never see myself buying one unless it was just to add to my videogame collection. The 3DS XL has 3D screens (if you’re into that like I am), bigger screens, and it folds in half to protect those screens. The 2DS just looks bulky, albeit more comfortable. But oh lordy, Nintendo keeps putting out more limited variants of its handhelds, and even though I already own great-looking systems, I keep wanting to spend more money on things I don’t need. These red and blue 2DS systems are coming out in Europe on November 28, bundled with a copy of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, respectively. But the coolest thing about these is that their plastic is transparent. Read more…

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PlayStation TV Launches In North America This October

Posted by Bob Muir on Sep 23, 2014 in Tech, Videogames

PlayStation TV

I’m curious how PlayStation TV will fare outside of Japan. The little device allows you to play almost 700 digital games on your TV, from PS Vita, PSP, and PS1, as well as some Vita game cards that generally don’t require touch controls. In addition, you can use PlayStation Now to rent streaming PS3 games, as well as stream your PS4 console to the device in another room. It’s a neat little device, but I’m wondering how many people will pick one up in the US and Canada for $99.99 on October 14. The standalone system doesn’t come with a DualShock 3, which is required to play, so that price point is mainly appealing to those who own a controller already (likely from their PS3). But if you don’t have a controller, you can get the system, a controller, an 8GB memory card, and The LEGO Movie Videogame for $139.99. (Buy that bundle at Wal-Mart to get Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time added for no extra cost!) In Europe, the box is releasing for £85/€100 on November 14, with OlliOlli, Velocity Ultra, and Worms Revolution Extreme included for free. Read more…

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Oculus Unveils New Rift Prototype Headset

Posted by Ben Huber on Sep 22, 2014 in Science, Tech

vr1

Yup, Oculus is still at it, and they’ve announced a new iteration of their Rift virtual reality headset. Once again, this isn’t the final consumer-ready version — it’s another prototype for developers to use to create games for the platform. This new hardware, named Crescent Bay, was announced at Oculus Connect, an official event set up by Oculus to give developers the chance to try the latest hardware and help them overcome any challenges VR might have. It features additional track sensors for a full 360 degrees of movement, a lighter design, an improved screen with less gaps between pixels, and integrated optional audio with 3D positioning. We’re getting closer and closer to consumer VR, and I’m so very excited. As you might guess, there’s no word on when the final version will come out, but so far 2015 seems a solid bet. Read more…

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Apple Announces Two iPhone 6 Models, Apple Watch

Posted by Bob Muir on Sep 10, 2014 in Tech

iPhone 6

In what was one of the worst kept secrets of the mobile phone industry, Apple has announced their latest model of iPhone, this time in two variants. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7 inch screen (1334×750 resolution), while the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5 inch screen (1920×1080 resolution). Personally, I don’t see why I would ever want something too small to be a tablet yet too big to be a phone; even the iPhone 6 seems too big when the iPhone 5S feels just right. But I suppose there’s a market that has been demanding phones of this size, so hopefully they’re happy. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will ship on September 19, starting at $199 and $299 respectively. Read more…

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Amazon Announces FireTV, For Games And Streaming TV

Posted by Bob Muir on Apr 3, 2014 in Tech, Television, Videogames

Amazon FireTV

As rumored, Amazon has been working on a set-top box that will stream video and play videogames. Now they’ve announced the Amazon FireTV, which does that! The box uses a quad-core 1.7 GHz CPU, dedicated GPU, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a dual-band wireless radio with two antennas (for streaming 1080p over WiFi) to try to outperform Apple TV and Roku. Naturally, it has access to Amazon Prime, but there are all the usual video and music streaming apps, plus more specialized ones like Twitch and WWE; users can compare prices between various apps to see where it’s cheapest to watch a movie. The remote is also special, with a microphone included that allows you to search content with your voice. Or you could use Amazon’s bells and whistles to have it predict and cue up what it thinks you want to watch.
Read more…

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Hunt For Pokemon On Google Maps For April Fool’s Day

Posted by Bob Muir on Apr 1, 2014 in Tech, Videogames

Pokemon on Google Maps

Two years ago, Google gave Google Maps a temporary 8-bit facelift, remaking the map in the style of Dragon Quest (or Dragon Warrior as it was called in America) on the original NES in honor of April Fool’s Day. It seems they’ve still got games in the mind, because this year’s April Fool’s Day “prank” has scattered pokemon all over the world. Reports are claiming there are at least 150 pokemon to find, with Google promising that the first person to find all of them will be hired as a Pokemon Master. While I doubt that, there might be some reward for finding them all first, so download the app on your iOS or Android phone — you can’t find them on a computer — and get started on catching ’em all! Read more…

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Oculus VR Hires Valve’s Michael Abrash

Posted by Ben Huber on Mar 29, 2014 in Tech

abrash

Everyone was surprised by Facebook buying Oculus VR earlier this week. It seemed like an odd fit, and many people were incensed by the acquisition, but my opinion on it is as follows: Facebook might not be the best fit, but Oculus needed money — badly. So far, Facebook has let their last two acquisitions, Instagram and WhatsApp, operate on their own, so I believe we can expect similarly of Oculus. As part of their new budget, Oculus has hired Valve’s Michael Abrash, a pioneer of the VR movement and creator behind Valve’s VR tech demo that got so much press. At Oculus, he’ll be reuniting with his old pal John Carmack to build Oculus up. Let’s hope it all goes well! Read more…

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Facebook To Buy Oculus VR For Their VR Headset

Posted by Bob Muir on Mar 26, 2014 in Tech, Videogames

Oculus Rift

In an unexpected move, Facebook has announced their plans to buy Oculus VR, the company making the Kickstarter-ed Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Facebook is paying out around $2 billion, which includes $400 million and 23.1 million Facebook shares, with another $300 million tied to undisclosed milestones. The partnership seems completely random, but Facebook and Oculus VR reason that this is another step in connecting people. After games, the plan is to expand the technology into other areas, like getting ring-side seats at a sports game, consulting with a doctor, and going to school. Read more…

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Sony Announces Virtual Reality Headset For PS4

Posted by Bob Muir on Mar 20, 2014 in Tech, Videogames

Project Morpheus

The Oculus Rift has been in development for a while and is getting close to release, but Sony must figure it can do it better. They’ve announced Project Morpheus, a prototype virtual reality device that is being developed for PS4. While much is up in the air, including the design and specs, here’s what the prototype can do. It has a 1080p display at 1000hz with a 90-degree field of view. There’s 360-degree movement, 15mm eye relief, and support for forward prediction. So far, there’s a VR version of God of War being developed, as well as a special build of the recent Thief game, though it will only be key sections, not the entire game. EVE Valkyrie is playable on the dev kit right now, and there are two games called The Deep and The Castle; to complete the VR experience, you can use the PlayStation Move controller in The Castle. It’s a cool idea, but I do wonder why Sony needs their own VR device instead of working with the Oculus Rift. Will the market support a separate VR headset for each platform? Will it even support one? Read more…

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An Epic Retelling Of How The WiFi Was Fixed

Posted by Bob Muir on Mar 13, 2014 in Tech

Ballad of a WiFi Hero

Since moving across the country, the requests to fix my parents tech problems have been drastically reduced. Still, I can only imagine how frustrating it is for them to have a problem and have no idea what is causing it. Mike Lacher has explored this in a piece for New York Magazine, and now it has been animated with narration by H. Jon Benjamin (Archer, Bob’s Burgers). When an old couple’s WiFi breaks, it’s up to the son-in-law to fix it. It’s a straightforward story told with all the bombast of an epic quest in ye olden days. I bet this is how my parents viewed it when I taught them to just restart their computer. Read more…

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Sony’s Inferior Slim Vita Coming To US This Spring

Posted by Bob Muir on Feb 11, 2014 in Tech, Videogames

Vita Borderlands 2 bundle

It may have few must-play games, but the PlayStation Vita is one sexy handheld. Part of that is thanks to its OLED screen, which provides a vibrancy rarely seen on handhelds. I’m a diehard Nintendo handheld fan, but even I admit that the Vita’s screen blows the 3DS out of the water. Of course, screen makers are still working the kinks out of OLED technology, and they take up lots of energy. It’s not entirely surprising that Sony would consider replacing the OLED screen with a cheaper, more energy-efficient LCD screen. That’s what they’ve done with the new PlayStation Vita slim model, which is so far only available in Japan. But sometime in Spring 2014, the new LCD model will be made available in the US. It will retail for $200, coming bundled with an 8GB memory card and a Vita port of Borderlands 2. Read more…

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Minecraft Clock Counts Down To The Universe’s Death

Posted by Bob Muir on Feb 11, 2014 in Tech, Videogames

Universe Death Clock

You can make some crazy stuff in Minecraft, like ridiculously complicated calculators and clocks. One such clock, however, was intended by its creator to be the most “useless” creation possible, one that serves no other purpose and probably won’t even finish its processes. YouTube user spumwack’s clock is set to the approximate death of the universe, 1 googol (or 10^100) years from now. It has multiple stations that keep track of 320 times the amount of the previous station. For example, the stations roughly count out 4 minutes from the start, then 23 hours, then 303 days, then 266 years, and so on until everything that ever existed in the universe has come to an end. Obviously there’s almost no way this thing could still be running as the last black hole dies, leaving a barren universe, but the video does a great job of explaining what would happen along the way. So watch it and maybe think about it from time to time. Or just be one of the many people who will have forgotten about this perpetual clock 23 hours later. Read more…

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Patrick Stewart Plays China’s Broken Moon Rover

Posted by Bob Muir on Feb 6, 2014 in Science, Tech

"Jade Rabbit"

China put a rover on the moon called Jade Rabbit, which is all well and good — but it’s already having technical difficulties dealing with the moon’s atmosphere. That’s kind of a big problem if you want your rover to work on the moon. As night falls on the moon, China is trying to fix Jade Rabbit, but there’s a good chance that it won’t recover. The rover has been “writing” about its experiences in the Chinese media, and his latest entry is a sort of goodbye letter. How better to present this semisweet moment than dressing up Star Trek‘s Patrick Stewart as the rover and having him read the final lines? That’s what The Daily Show did. The whole segment provides good coverage of the incident, but you can skip to 4:50 if you just want to see Stewart in gold foil and styrofoam like some old Doctor Who monster. Read more…

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