A roundup of items making news this weekend …
Add Epic Games to the growing roster of tech companies opening offices in Seattle and competing for the region’s technical talent. The company behind the Gears of War franchise for Xbox 360 is creating a studio in the city that will focus initially on developing Unreal Engine 4, the new version of the game engine used in hundreds of video games. Epic lists seven open positions for the Seattle studio. No word yet on the specific location.
Microsoft Bing will be the default search engine in Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD under a deal struck between the companies just this past week. It’s a potential boon for Microsoft and aligns the two Seattle-area companies against Google in the search business, even as Microsoft and Amazon prepare to compete in the tablet market. See our live coverage from the Amazon event in Santa Monica for a recap of all the Kindle news.
On the subject of Kindle Fire HD, Amazon now says customers will be able to opt-out of the sponsored screensavers and ads for a $15 fee after buying the device.
A judge this week approved a settlement between the Justice Department and three publishers over allegations of conspiring with Apple to fix the prices of digital books. It’s a victory for Amazon, but the LA Times reports that the publishing industry is concerned that it will give the e-commerce giant even more clout. The case is continuing against Apple and two other publishers that didn’t settle.
Which category of Kickstarter project pulls in the most money these days? Games. Officials with the crowdfunding site say games have received more than $50 million in pledges so far this year. Sci-fi author Neal Stephenson’s swordfighting project Clang and game designer Jordan Weisman’s Shadowrun Returns have been among the standouts.
Turning to the week ahead, the biggest date on the calendar is Wednesday, Sept. 12, when Apple is expected to introduce the new iPhone. Whatever it looks like, it’s probably safe to say the hardware won’t change size on the fly, but this concept video from the animation gurus at Aatma Studio is pretty incredible, particularly the “rubberband” feature at the 1:05 mark. (Via AllThingsD)