Author: Greg Kumparak

Walmart cancels SNES Classic pre-orders, says “technical glitch” made it appear

TECHCRUNCH A few days ago — seemingly out of nowhere — a product page for Nintendo’s upcoming SNES Classic went live on Walmart.com complete with a pre-order button. The Twitterverse lit up with people trying to share the news before the resellers caught on. As did my phone. Didn’t get your pre-order in? That’s okay. It looks like no one is getting them. Walmart just cancelled the pre-orders, claiming a “technical glitch” caused the page to appear before they intended. Word of the cancellation comes from an email sent to customers this afternoon: In other words: Oops, that product...

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Here’s the schedule for when Legendary Pokémon will come and go in Pokémon Go

TECHCRUNCH Ever since the first Legendary Pokémon (read: ultra strong, ultra rare Pokémon that require groups of 10-20 players to capture) appeared in Pokémon Go shortly after the upset that was Go Fest, one thing has remained unclear: were the Legendaries here to stay? Niantic had multiple in-game events/bonuses running in parallel with scheduled ending times, and no one seemed to know if these ending times also affected Legendaries. Everyone seemed to have heard something different, and no one really seemed to have a clear answer. Niantic CEO John Hanke has just released the most official answer yet, releasing a proper schedule for the comings and goings of the next few Legendaries to hit the game. Here’s what it looks like: Articuno (Team Mystic’s mascot) was released on July 22 and will be available through Monday, July 31st Moltres (Valor’s mascot) will be released on Monday, July 31st and will be available through Monday, August 7th Zapdos (Instinct’s mascot) will be released on Monday, August 7th and will be available through Monday, August 14th. Curiously, no word yet on whether Lugia (the other Legendary released on July 22nd) will hang around. Story...

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I went to Pokémon Go Fest to (try to) play the game with thousands of others. Here’s what it was like

TECHCRUNCH “Do people still play Pokémon go?” It’s a question that pops up pretty much any time the game gets mentioned. The answer: yep! It’s rarely the sidewalk-filling, flash mob-inducing hype monster that it was for a few weeks after launch — and that’s probably better for everyone. But lots and lots of people do still play. Enough people that the game can still be found floating around the iOS App Store’s Top 20 grossing apps. Enough people to fill a big ol’ park that otherwise hosts events like Lollapalooza. That was the idea behind Pokémon Go Fest. It...

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All Pokémon Go Fest attendees get a Legendary Pokémon, Articuno coming next

TECHCRUNCH Just a quick bit of news for anyone paying attention to all the hubbub out of Pokémon Go Fest: Legendary raids — the hardest form of the massive co-op battles that have players gather in the real world and team up to catch the game’s rarest Pokémon — will begin in the next 24-48 hours. The first Legendary Pokémon to show up in game will be Lugia. Meanwhile, everyone who checked into Pokémon Go fest today will automatically get a Lugia to call their own. We were presumably meant to have one massive epic raid with the tens of thousands of people inside Grant Park — but, er, the game didn’t actually work for most of the day. Rather than pinning the day’s most anticipated moment on the slim chance that things suddenly started working, they’re just giving Lugia to anyone in attendance. This, of course, is in addition to being offered refunds and $100 in Pokécoins as the company moves to make up for today’s technical failures. (Cleverly, all attendees got unique, one-time use QR codes when they first arrived. They had to scan these to “check in” to the event, which enabled all of the rare spawns and raids that many players had traveled for. Anyone who tried to spoof into the event without finding an unused QR code, meanwhile, would just see the same-ol-same-ol) The...

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Pokémon Go Fest attendees to get refunds as technical issues break the event

TECHCRUNCH Heading into Niantic’s Pokémon Go Fest — a gathering of roughly 20,000 Pokémon Go players in Chicago’s Grant Park — everyone seemed to have the same concern: the weather reports said a thunder storm was coming. The weather turned out fine. Most other things, unfortunately, did not. As a result, Niantic has just announced that they’ll be refunding all attendees in addition to crediting them $100 of in-game currency (or Pokécoins). Estimates from Niantic leading into the event pinned the crowd at around 15-20,000 attendees. First and most notably: the game simply didn’t work. Within minutes of the...

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Disney showed us the inner workings of its Avatar robot and it’s just incredible

TECHCRUNCH [embedded content] Back at the end of May, Disney opened an Avatar-themed area (Pandora: World of Avatar) within its Animal Kingdom park. Given that it’s only been open for a few weeks, most folks still haven’t been inside — but if you do go, do yourself a favor and take the time to check out the Na’vi River Journey ride. The end of the ride features an animatronic Na’vi (Avatar’s blue humanoid species), and it’s easily one of the finest examples of animatronics ever built. At our TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics event in Boston this afternoon, we got a...

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This “shape-display” robot follows your hand and simulates the surface you’re touching in VR

TECHCRUNCH Touch. When it comes to virtual reality, it’s a problem no one has quite cracked. You can crank a VR headset’s resolution as high as you want and push the frame rate past what the human eye can see… but when the user reaches out and feels nothing but air, that sense of immersion is lost. At TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics this afternoon, a researcher out of MIT demonstrated a portable “shape-display” — a wheeled robot that follows your hand, simulating the surface or object your VR-self is touching. He calls it the “ReVeal” system. If it looks familiar,...

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Disney is opening an immersive Star Wars Hotel where each guest gets a storyline

TECHCRUNCH AHHHHHHH. Disney just announced that’s potentially so damned cool that I hardly need to use complete sentences here: Immersive. Star Wars. Hotel. Details are still super light, but Disney just dropped this bombshell in the middle of its D23 expo down in Los Angeles. Here’s what we know so far: All of the employees (or ‘cast members’, in Disney Park lingo) will be in costume and in character Each guest will get a storyline, which Disney specifically says will “touch every single minute of your day” It’s meant to take place on a space ship; ‘windows’ will only...

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