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Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

Paramount+ Launch Date Announced, Will Expand CBS All Access Content

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 02:03

The growth of streaming was one of the entertainment industry's few success stories in 2020, and the marketplace is only going to get more competitive in 2021. Back in September, it was reported that ViacomCBS was set to rebrand and expand its CBS All Access platform as Paramount+. The studio has now announced that the service will launch in March.

As reported by Variety, Paramount+ will go live in US and Latin America on March 4, with international territories rolling out over the following months. In Canada, CBS All Access will simply be rebranded as Paramount+ in March, with the full service launching later in the year.

ViacomCBS will present a full overview of its plans for Paramount+, and its overall streaming strategy, at an investor event on February 24. The service is expected to bring together existing CBS All Access content with shows from Paramount's vault, such as those produced by BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon.

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New Best Buy Sale Discounts Switch Exclusives, Gaming Laptops, And 4K TVs

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 01:53

Best Buy's latest big sale is live now and features some really nice deals on gaming, tech, and entertainment products. On the gaming front, there are some noteworthy deals on Nintendo Switch exclusives such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Select gaming laptops are slashed to great prices, and you can save on a variety of smart TVs. The sale is only live until Thursday, January 21, so you don't have much time to make your picks. We've rounded up the highlights from the sale below.

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Nintendo Switch Exclusives $40-$45 (were $60)

Best Buy has more than a handful of Nintendo Switch exclusives discounted to solid prices, including Paper Mario: The Origami King for $45 and Super Mario Maker 2 for $40.

See Switch deals at Best Buy Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate Edition $40 (was $60)

Mortal Kombat 11's Ultimate edition comes with all of the fighting game's DLC, including the Aftermath expansion. Best Buy has discounted the Ultimate edition to $40 on PS5 and Xbox One/Xbox Series X.

See at Best Buy Star Wars: Squadrons $25 (was $40)

Star Wars: Squadrons, the latest AAA game in the franchise, is on sale for $25 for PlayStation and Xbox. Squadrons is a space combat flight sim with an enjoyable single-player story mode and online multiplayer that is elevated by great combat mechanics and cool set pieces.

See at Best Buy Just Dance 2021 $30 (was $50)

If you're looking for a fun workout at home, the Just Dance series is a wonderful option. Just Dance 2021, the latest entry in the long-running franchise, is on sale for only $30 for Nintendo Switch, PS4/PS5, and Xbox One/Xbox Series X.

See at Best Buy Cyberpunk 2077 $35 (was $60)

Cyberpunk 2077 is on sale for $35 for PS4 and Xbox One, and it also comes with a free steelbook case. While the discount is good, Cyberpunk 2077 is in a rough state on consoles right, even if you're playing on PS5 or Xbox Series X. A next-gen update will arrive later this year, and current owners of the game will get it for free.

See at Best Buy Dell G7 15.6-inch 4K Gaming Laptop $1,450 (was $1,850)

If you're in the market for a gaming laptop, Best Buy has an excellent deal on a stellar Dell laptop. The Dell G7 15.6-inch model is on sale for $1,450, down from $1,850. The G7 features a 4K OLED display, Intel Core i7 processor, GeForce RTX 2070MQ graphics card, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB solid-state drive.

See at Best Buy Dell 24-inch IPS Monitor $110 (was $200)

Those on the hunt for a new monitor can grab this Dell 24-inch monitor for an incredible price. Normally $200, this monitor is discounted to only $110. It features an IPS LED display and is equipped with AMD FreeSync technology. While it's not technically a gaming monitor, it's still a great display at an even better price.

See at Best Buy MacBook Pro 16-inch $2,200 (was $2,400)

Best Buy is selling 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops for $200 off. This is the latest model MacBook Pro and features an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics, and a 512GB SSD.

See at Best Buy Samsung 65-inch 4K Smart Tizen TV $900 (was $1,000)

Samsung makes some of the best smart TVs on the market today, and Best Buy is knocking $100 off the Samsung 65-inch Smart Tizen model. This 65-inch 4K UHD TV features a QLED display and is ready to run your favorite streaming platforms out of the box. It would also pair well with the PS5 or Xbox Series X|S.

See at Best Buy Hisense 75-inch 4K Smart Android TV $750 (was $1,000)

TVs coming in at more than 70 inches tend to be quite pricey. But if you don't care about the big brand names, Hisense makes some quality TVs for budget prices. Best Buy has this 75-inch Hisense 4K Smart Android TV discounted to $750, down from $1,000.

See at Best Buy Powerbeats Pro Earbuds $160 (was $250)

Powerbeats from Beats by Dr. Dre are premium earbuds that typically cost a premium penny. If you've wanted a pair but haven't felt compelled to shell out $250, Best Buy has the Powerbeats on sale for only $160 right now. The deal only applies to the Lava Red and Spring Yellow models.

See at Best Buy Roku Premiere 4K Streaming Media Player $30 (was $40)

If you don't have a smart TV, one of the best purchases you can make is a streaming device. The Roku Premiere 4K Streaming Media Player is on sale for $30 at Best Buy, down from $40. You simply plug it into an HDMI port on your TV and use the included remote to navigate the Roku platform, which includes all of the major streaming services.

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Bryan Cranston Almost Wasn't On Breaking Bad Because Of Malcolm In The Middle

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 01:42

Bryan Cranston is a veteran actor who has appeared in numerous TV shows and movies over the years, but perhaps his most notable and recognizable role is Walter White in Breaking Bad. As it turns out, Cranston nearly did not get the job.

He recalled his path to Breaking Bad in an appearance on the SmartLess podcast with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes. Before Breaking Bad, Cranston was known for his smaller roles on shows like Seinfeld and The X-Files before breaking out with his leading role on Malcolm in the Middle as Hal. He explained on the podcast that Malcolm in the Middle network Fox had considered picking up the show for an eighth season, but decided against it.

Had Fox renewed the show for one more season, Cranston would not have been available to film the pilot for Breaking Bad.

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The Next Three Wrestlemania Locations Announced

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 01:18

Wrestlemania is heading back to Tampa Bay again for the first time as Raymond James Stadium will host Wrestlemania 37. The stadium was the original host last year, but with the pandemic, the event eventually moved to WWE's own Performance Center without a live crowd--the first of its kind.

"Florida is excited to welcome back Wrestlemania to Tampa in April at Raymond James Stadium. Florida has continued to work with professional sports and entertainment to safely operate while generating revenue and protecting jobs," said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. "Wrestlemania will bring tens of millions of dollars to the Tampa area and we look forward to hosting more sporting and entertainment events in Florida this year."

Following the model for last year's Wrestlemania, this year's will also be a two-night event: Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11.

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New Xbox Game Pass Titles For January 2021 Just Got Even Bigger

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 01:03

Microsoft has announced a second wave of new additions to Xbox Game Pass in January. Following an initial run of titles like Injustice 2 and Torchlight III earlier this month, Microsoft has now announced nearly 10 more games that will be in the subscription program soon.

New additions to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC later in January include Control, Desperados III, Donut County, and Outer Wilds on January 21. Later in the month, Microsoft will add Cyber Shadow and The Medium to Xbox Game Pass. The Medium is of particular note, as the psychological horror game has been in the works since the Xbox 360 days and it's finally releasing as an Xbox and PC exclusive on January 28.

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Hitman 3: How Long To Beat?

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 00:44

Hitman 3 is nearly here; the newest entry in the stealth-action series launches on January 20. Ahead of that, reviews for the game have started to appear online--including GameSpot's 9/10 Hitman 3 review--and alongside that, we now know about how long the game takes to beat.

Bearing in mind that Hitman 3 is an open-ended game with a lot of replayability, our reviewer suggests that players looking to zoom through the campaign might need around eight hours to complete it, or potentially less depending on how much you intend to see and explore.

But if you only follow the story missions and the main path, you can complete Hitman 3 in relatively short order. Every mission, on average, is about 45 minutes to an hour, our reviewer said.

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Microsoft HQ Will Become A COVID-19 Vaccine Site

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 00:17

Microsoft's sprawling North American headquarters in Redmond, Washington will become a COVID-19 vaccination site.

The announcement comes by way of Washington governor Jay Inslee's statement regarding its vaccine distribution system, which hopes to reach 45,000 residents every day.

Microsoft's role in all of this is to provide technology expertise and support to the local government, and for some of its buildings to act as vaccination sites.

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Rainbow Six Quarantine March 21 Release Date Is Not Correct

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 23:56

Eagle-eyed fans recently discovered that Ubisoft's own Ubisoft Connect website showed a March 21, 2021 release date for Rainbow Six Quarantine. However, this date is not correct.

A spokesperson for Ubisoft told IGN that the date is wrong, but the company did not explain how the error cropped up in the first place.

Following a delay, Quarantine is now scheduled to launch sometime between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022, which is during Ubisoft's 2021-22 financial year. Quarantine was delayed alongside Far Cry 6 due in part to complications related to COVID-19 and working from home. Both games are expected to arrive within the first six months of the FY 2021-22 financial year.

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Ubisoft Returns To In-Person Events With Rainbow Six Siege Tournament In France

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 23:26

Ubisoft has become one of the first major gaming companies to return to in-person gaming events in 2021. The publisher has announced that the 2021 Rainbow Six Siege Invitational will be held in Paris, France in February, and players will compete in the same room.

Ubisoft stressed that it will be following "strict safety measures," and no fans will be allowed in to watch the event, which is scheduled for February 9-21 in Paris.

Teams will compete in a LAN environment, Ubisoft said, and there will be "strict sanitary measures, with no audience on site." Ubisoft said it's working with a number of key stakeholders--including the French government--to protect the health and safety of the participants and staff.

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A Look At The Biggest Streaming Trends Of 2020

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 23:18

It's no secret that 2020 was big for game streaming. Stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever were both tuning into streams and starting their own. A new analysis by Stream Elements has wrapped up some of the biggest trends to come out of 2020, including the top games, streamers, and platforms.

The impact of the pandemic on streaming is obvious in charts showing each platform's monthly hours watched. Twitch shows a huge jump from 10 billion in March to over 16 billion in April--the months when most countries around the world first went into lockdown. Facebook Gaming also jumped from under 200 million to almost 300 million during the same period--though curiously didn't see a huge increase when Mixer shut down in June, despite Microsoft partnering with Facebook on streaming. While Stream Elements doesn't show the month-by-month breakdown for YouTube Gaming, it says the platform saw over 100 billion hours watched over the course of 2020.

Despite ongoing controversy with Twitch's response to DMCA issues, the streaming platform continued to have record-breaking months through October and November, ending December on an all-time high.

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Steam Reveals 2021 Roadmap Including Steam China Launch

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 23:18

2020 was a huge year for gaming platform Steam, which reported a 50% increase in hours played over 2019 in its latest year in review. Now, the company is looking forward to plans for 2021, which include the launch of Steam China with partner Perfect World.

The Steam blog post includes a handful of stats on how the platform grew in 2020, with the pandemic and related lockdowns driving 2.6 million new purchasers per month, a 21.4% increase in games purchased, and 50.7% more hours played than 2019. While it also goes over some of the new features and events Steam introduced over the course of last year, it finishes with a section of more interest--its upcoming plans for 2021.

The first and foremost of these is the launch of Steam China. While Steam is already available as a kind of grey market for gamers in China, the launch of an official Chinese platform will allow Steam to sell games in line with Chinese government regulations.

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Mario Gets A Gun In This Goldeneye 007 And Super Mario 64 Mashup

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 23:18

'90s kids rejoice, the ultimate Nintendo 64 game has arrived. As picked up by Kotaku, GoldenEye With Mario Characters is a custom mod for Goldeneye 007 that, as the name suggests, adds a whole bunch of Mario characters to the classic first person shooter.

While the mod was first released in January 2018, an anniversary update has added Peach's Castle as a playable level both in single player and multiplayer mode, taking the mod to the next level. You can see the campaign version of this custom level below.

Aside from the castle custom level, the rest of the modded game plays out exactly like the original Goldeneye with Mario characters added and the dialogue changed a little to suit them. In a world where Mario is James Bond, Peach plays Natalya, Luigi is Trevelyan, Daisy is Xenia, and Toad is Oddjob. It doesn't make all that much sense, sure, but it looks fun to play.

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Westworld's Tessa Thompson Launches Production Company, Partnership With HBO

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 06:17

Actor Tessa Thompson (Westworld, Avengers: Endgame) will be moving into production work with her new company, Viva Maude. According to Deadline, the production company has partnered with HBO and HBO Max on a two-year, first-look deal that will first be taking on adaptations of the books Who Fears Death and The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

"I'm beyond thrilled to officially launch my production company, Viva Maude, which has been a real passion project and labor of love over the last few years," said Thompson, via Deadline. "I'm elated to begin this partnership and to bring entertaining and impactful television projects to my friends and collaborators at HBO and HBO Max. Together we are committed to developing interesting and inclusive stories with inventive creators and to discover new voices and visionaries."

Who Fears Death is an adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor's 2010 book of the same name, and has reportedly been in the pipeline with HBO since 2017--with Game of Thrones' George R.R. Martin as one of the executive producers. Aïda Mashaka Croal, a writer on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, will serve as showrunner, writer, and executive producer. The book is set in post-apocalyptic Africa, where one of the few survivors, Onyesonwu, is made an outcast. According to the book's jacket text, Onyesonwu comes to terms with her newfound magic abilities and fights against "someone powerful… trying to kill her."

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Apex Legends Season 8: Start Date, Fuse, New Weapon, And More

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 03:00

Apex Legends Season 8: Mayhem officially starts February 2, and it brings a ton of new content to Respawn's battle royale. Per usual, players can expect a brand-new character, and the season is adding a new weapon and map changes as well.

Season 8's new character is Fuse, a laid-back man with an enthusiasm for explosives. As seen in a brand-new animated trailer, Fuse has had a tumultuous life leading up to his addition to the Apex Games. Fuse--whose real name is Wally--grew up on Salvo, fighting for his planet's freedom alongside his best friend all through their childhood, teenage years, and young adult lives.

However, Wally grew disillusioned with their cause, instead finding his true passion in the pursuit of battling it out in the Bone Cage, creating a rift between the two friends. Eventually, Wally's prestige in the arena won him a ticket off-world to join the Apex Games. He hoped to patch things up with his friend, but she angrily blew him off--quite literally, like with an actual grenade that blew off his arm. The two parted on poor terms, with Wally asking her to throw out his old arm for him before walking out to, assumedly, get medical attention and a prosthetic.

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Amazon Employees In The US Will Vote On Forming A Union

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 01:49

Amazon warehouse workers from the company's Bessemer, Alabama site will soon vote on whether or not they want to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, NPR reports. The vote will take place by mail due to concerns around COVID-19, the National Labor Relations Board decided, and will run from February 8 to March 29.

The scheduled vote follows a hearing where Amazon and the retail workers union decided who in the company should be eligible to have a say in the unionization effort. Both parties unanimously agreed that the company's many seasonal workers should also be able to vote.

Unions are common within Amazon's European operations, but no unionization efforts in the US have yet succeeded. The company is known for its aggressively anti-union stance, and earlier this year was called out for posting two job listings that described union-busting roles.

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Cyberpunk 2077 Patch Finally Comes To Stadia

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 01:48

After a messy launch and more than its fair share of bugs, developers at CD Projekt Red have been hard at work issuing patches to address the game's most glaring issue. Yet hotfix 1.06, an important patch that launched just before Christmas for consoles and PC, has only just arrived for Stadia players, many of whom were counting the extra days they had to wait for the fix.

In a CDPR forum thread about the hotfix, disgruntled Stadia players counted the days since the hotfix launched on other platforms, with one commenter still suffering from the missing Dum Dum glitch that the hotfix addresses.

The hotfix has a number of extra bug fixes on Stadia, which may have been why the patch was so delayed on Google's game streaming platform. The Stadia-specific patch notes are as follows:

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USB Is Now 25 Years Old

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 01:47

USB connectors are the universal standard not just for computer peripherals, but for charging most phones, tablets, and small devices. It's hard to remember a world without USB, which debuted almost exactly 25 years ago, on January 15, 1996.

The reminder comes courtesy of How-To Geek, which has published an in-depth feature on the history of the USB and its development. It's a reminder of how complicated, difficult to set up, and even expensive computer ports could be before the USB, or Universal Series Bus, became the standard for connecting a mouse, keyboard, game controller, or any number of computer peripherals that adopted the technology.

USB was a truly universal effort, emerging as a collaboration between multiple big tech names: Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Compaq, Digital Equipment Corporation, NEC, and Northern Telecom. Adoption of the tech wasn't immediate, and many attribute its eventual success to Apple's release of the iMac in 1998, which was the first PC to ditch legacy ports and only support USB.

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Pokemon Go Hack Lawsuit Ends With $5 Million Settlement

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 01:44

A lawsuit filed in 2019 by Niantic Inc has reached a settlement, with hacking group Global++ agreeing to pay out $5 million to the Pokemon Go developer. As reported by Polygon, the rogue developers created and sold hacked versions of Pokémon Go, Ingress, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite that gave players the ability to spoof their GPS locations and use features like "auto-walk."

After ignoring a number of cease and desist letters, Global++ had a lawsuit filed against it in mid-2019, after which a number of its social media and online presences went dark. In the original filing, Niantic alleged that the hacker group had made millions by selling "hundreds of thousands of subscriptions" to apps based on Niantic's original code.

In the settlement details, Global++ was found to have accessed and used Niantic's map data, and profited from the process by selling access to its programs through a subscription model. The defendants admitted to a number of breaches of federal law, including copyright infringement and violations of California's Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.

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Godzilla Vs Kong Moves Forward, Will Hit HBO Max And Theaters In March

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 00:38

The upcoming monster movie Godzilla vs Kong will be released earlier than expected. The film was due to hit theaters and HBO Max simultaneously in May, but it will now arrive in March instead.

As reported by Deadline, Godzilla vs Kong hits theaters internationally and on HBO Max in the US on March 26. The film was originally set for release in November last year, but was pushed to May due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new date for Godzilla vs Kong follows several weeks of negotiations between distributors Warner and Legendary, who financed the majority of the movie. In November, Warner reportedly blocked a $200 million deal for Legendary to sell the film to Netflix, only to announce it was putting it straight onto HBO Max, its own service, along with every other Warner movie in 2021. Legendary threatened legal action over this decision, but have now reached an agreement with Warner, which includes the earlier release date.

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Cyberpunk 2077: When Is DLC Releasing?

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 03:48

Cyberpunk 2077 is available now and, if you can get the game to run on your system, it tells a complete story. However, CD Projekt Red has DLC planned for the open-world RPG, and earlier said this content was planned for early this year. With the game's troubled launch, which even included it being pulled from the PlayStation Store, that timetable now looks unlikely. But just when will we get Cyberpunk 2077 DLC?

When will Cyberpunk 2077 DLC release?

In a post on the game's official website in January 2020, CD Projekt Red outlined a new roadmap for Cyberpunk 2077 in 2021. This roadmap still has free DLC releasing in 2021, but the studio says it wants to address the most pressing issues with Cyberpunk 2077 before it moves onto this content. More information is going to be shared "in the coming months," but there isn't a firm timetable for a release date.

The post also lists the free next-gen updates on Xbox Series X|S and PS5 as coming out after this DLC. If you're waiting for those versions before you play Cyberpunk 2077 at all, that should at least mean all the free DLC will be available by the time those versions are out.

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