Posts with «media» label

Watch Summer Game Fest's Tribeca Games Spotlight here at 3PM ET

The Summer Game Fest party keeps rolling today with the Tribeca Games Spotlight. Unlike many of the other Summer Game Fest showcases, Tribeca has already announced which games it will feature. As in previous years, the festival is highlighting games with a focus on artistic storytelling. You can watch the stream below at 3PM ET.

Arguably the most prominent game of the bunch is The Expanse: A Telltale Series. This is a prequel to the Amazon Prime show of the same name. You'll play as Camina Drummer (Cara Gee). Players will have to make tough choices that impact the future of a crew of space scavengers. There should be more exploration than in previous Telltale titles as well. Telltale will release the game in chapters every two weeks starting on July 27th.

There will be fresh looks at Stray Gods, a "roleplaying musical" that features much of the cast of The Last of Us, and Goodbye Volcano High, a narrative adventure game that first emerged during a PlayStation presentation three years ago. A Highland Song has been on my radar for a while, and we'll find out more details about the so-called rhythm survival platformer during Tribeca's event.

The stream will highlight a few other games, including Despelote, a story-driven soccer game with an eye-catching art style from publisher Panic. Nightscape is a 2.5D "atmospheric adventure game" from a studio in Qatar, while the Focus-published Chants of Sennaar is an adventure title based on the myth of Babel.

If you're in New York City, you can be among the first to try playable demos of these games at the festival's Spring Studios hub. Tribeca runs until June 18th. On the film side, the festival is hosting the world premiere of Hideo Kojima: Connecting Worlds, a documentary about the creative mind behind Death Stranding and the Metal Gear series. Kojima will be in attendance for a Q&A.

Meanwhile, Engadget is on the ground in Los Angeles for all things Summer Game Fest. We've got previews and hands-on impressions of many of the games being featured coming your way.

Catch up on all of the news from Summer Game Fest right here!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Spotify is testing an 'offline mix' that downloads recently played songs

Spotify already lets you download songs, albums and playlists for offline listening, but you need to select each one manually so it's easy to forget your favorite music. Now, the company is testing a feature called "Your Offline Mix" that will "save a mix of your recently played songs for when the vibe is high, but your connection is low," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said on Twitter.

The feature looks similar to YouTube's Offline Mixtape feature that came out back in 2019. As we wrote at the time, "Smart Downloads will pick some of your favorite songs and make sure they are available to you anywhere." Spotify's feature looks very similar, with the system downloading frequently listened-to songs and other content.

We’ve been testing out a new feature called "Your Offline Mix" - a playlist designed for those times when you might not be online ✈️

What do you think?

— Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) June 8, 2023

The feature is in testing and it's not clear yet when it will be available, but users in Ek's Twitter mentions said they've already seen it in their apps — with one noting that they hadn't downloaded 90 percent of the songs in their mix. Plus, the screenshot shows an offline mix over three-and-a-half hours long, so it can handle plenty of songs. That will make it quite useful for times when you're traveling or are in a remote location and need a little (or a lot) of entertainment.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Meta test puts Reels on the Quest

Reels started as Instagram's solution for competing with TikTok and soon launched on sister-site Facebook — a natural expansion. Meta is now testing Reels on a less expected medium: the Meta Quest. Its VR headset works for internet browsing, watching movies, games and more — but the addition of typically-vertical Reels presents a different viewing experience than these more malleable (and typically screen-wide) options. 

Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the update through a 13-second video on Meta's Instagram Channel. It featured a Reel from influencer Austin Sprinz's Instagram account in which he visited the world's deepest pool. The immersive video is a good choice for VR, taking the viewer underwater into a seemingly bottomless space — and is certainly better than a cooking or dance Reel. 

The Reels update comes ahead of Meta Quest 3's fall release and follows Apple's new AR/VR Vision Pro headset announcement. Though, with Quest 3's pricing starting at $499, compared to the Vision Pro's $3,499, the pair don't exactly fall into the same category. Meta's VR headset line first launched as Oculus Quest and subsequently Oculus Quest 2 before the second-generation model was rebranded as Meta Quest 2. The Meta Quest Pro followed soon after the name change. As for Reels, there's no timeline for if and when it will leave the testing phase and become available across Meta Quest headsets. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Watch the Summer Game Fest keynote in under 20 minutes

The Summer Game Fest featured a spate of new announcements and updates again this year, including the new Prince of Persia action-adventure platformer by Ubisoft. In Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown coming in 2024, you take on the role of Sargon to rescue the prince, not just by killing enemies and fighting bosses, but also by solving puzzles. Bandai Namco launched Sand Land, a new adventure game featuring character designs by Akira Toriyama wherein you'll have to play as the demonic prince Beelzebub, as well. 

Meanwhile, Sega revealed its new take on Sonic the Hedgehog in Sonic Superstars, with updated graphics and a split-screen view, launching this fall. As for Remedy, creative director Sam Lake made an appearance at the event to show off some new gameplay for Alan Wake II. The game will have two protagonists — Alan Wake and FBI agent Saga Anderson — and the game will be split 50-50 between them. You'll play one or the other throughout the game, but there are parts where you'll have to choose which POV to see. 

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, which is coming out on November 9th 2023, was also featured at the event. It's the next entry in the Yakuza series and will again star Kiryu, who previously faked his death. Epic Games also released a cinematic trailer for Fortnite's latest season, dubbed Fortnite Wilds, that's commencing on June 9th. Finally, Square Enix has launched a premiere trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake: Rebirth, the second chapter of the FFVII remake, that has been pushed back to early 2024. 

You can watch all those announcements and more in under 20 minutes in the video above. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Screenshots of Instagram's answer to Twitter leak online

After Elon Musk finalized his purchase of Twitter last October, Mark Zuckerberg's Meta reportedly began working on a social media platform of its own, codenamed Project 92. During a company-wide meeting on Thursday, Meta chief product officer Chris Cox showed off a set UI mock-ups to the assembled employees, which were promptly leaked online.

The project's existence was first officially confirmed in March when the company told reporters, "We're exploring a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates. We believe there's an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests." A set of design images shared internally in May were leaked online as well.

The new platform, which Cox referred to as “our response to Twitter,” will be a standalone program, based on Instagram and integrating ActivityPub, the same networking protocol that powers Mastodon. The leaked images include a shot of the secure sign in screen; the main feed, which looks suspiciously like Twitter's existing mobile app; and the reply screen. There's no word yet on when the app will be available for public release.

“We’ve been hearing from creators and public figures who are interested in having a platform that is sanely run, that they believe that they can trust and rely upon for distribution,” Cox said, per a Verge report. Celebrities including Oprah and the Dalai Lama have both reportedly been attached to the project.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

'John Carpenter's Toxic Commando' brings a co-op apocalypse to PS5, PC and Xbox

From Halloween to The Thing, Christine to They Live, John Carpenter is a modern master of cinematic horror. During Summer Games Fest on Thursday, Focus Home Entertainment and Saber Interactive announced that his unique zompocalyptic vision will be coming to Xbox X|S, the Epic Games Store and Playstation 5 in 2024 with the release of John Carpenter's Toxic Commando.

The game's premise, based on the trailer that debuted on Thursday, is straightforward: you see a zombie, you shoot it until it stops twitching. The plot is equally nuanced, wherein an experiment seeking to draw energy from the Earth's core has instead unleashed an ambulatory zombie plague known as the Sludge God. Players will have to kill it and its unending army of undead monstrosities with an array of melee, edged and ranged weapons, and special abilities. Get ready to rock out with your Glock out because the enemies will be coming at you in hordes. 

Brace yourselves for an explosive, co-op shooter inspired by 80s Horror and Action in John Carpenter's #ToxicCommando!

Drive wicked vehicles unleash mayhem on hordes of monsters to save the world. Time to go commando!

Coming to Epic Games Store in 2024.

— Epic Games Store (@EpicGames) June 8, 2023

A firm release date has not yet been set, however the studio did announce that there will be a closed beta offered ahead of its release. If you want to get in on the undead butchery ahead of time, sign up for PC on the on the beta website

Catch up on all of the news from Summer Game Fest right here!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

'Sand Land' is a new adventure game based on a manga by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama

In the middle of this year’s Summer Games Fest, Geoff Keighley teased a new game with characters from a storied manga artist – and he wasn’t kidding. Sand Land is a new adventure game from Bandai Namco, featuring character design from Akira Toriyama, the man who gave us Dragon Ball’s Goku, the art of the Dragon Quest series, the characters of Chrono Trigger, not to mention countless more manga titles. Sand Land was initially a short manga series written back in 2000 by Toriyama. Now it’s a game. (In fact, in the trailer you can see the protagonist play around with what appears to be a Gameboy Advance, which is cute.)

We got a quick tour of what kind of game Sandland will be, as you’ll take control of a demonic prince, Beelzebub, alongside a cohort of monstrous characters, exploring, well, sandy environments. While you’ll be able to go toe-to-toe with some enemies, you’ll also pilot tanks to gun down enemies from afar, or go up against other military hardware. There appears to be a whole array of vehicles to explore the desert with. There's no release date yet, but hopefully, we’ll hear more in the following days.

Catch up on all of the news from Summer Game Fest right here!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Google Meet makes the picture-in-picture experience far more useful

Google Meet, the company's answer to Zoom and Microsoft Teams, just got an update that makes the picture-in-picture (PiP) feature far more useful. Specifically, a new set of controls makes it easier to multitask during a meeting while remaining present and participating in video conferences, according to Google's Workspace Update blog post.

With the picture-in-picture window open, there's now a control that lets you "raise your hand," use PiP while in meeting chat, turn captions on and off, resize the picture-in-picture view more effectively and access flexible layouts, the company said. Google shows exactly how it works in the GIF below, as a user drafts an email while still being able to see his colleagues and remain present in the video chat. Should you need to make a point, you can still raise your hand and access other controls. 


That's a big change from the last version, which offered limited resizing options and a fixed aspect ratio. In addition, the previous controls only let you leave the meeting or turn the camera/microphone on and off. While a relatively small change, it makes the app far more useful from a productivity standpoint (or lets you play the Eggman Game without being noticed). 

The update is now available for Google Meet on Chrome browser, and will be rolling out more widely over the next few weeks. Google has full instructions on how to use the new features here

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

WhatsApp's new Channels feature lets accounts send one-way updates to followers

WhatsApp has launched a new feature called Channels that makes it much more like a social media app, the Meta-owned company announced. It allows accounts to send one-way broadcasts to followers in the form of "text, photos, videos, stickers and polls," much as you can with an app like Twitter. Broadcasting accounts can decide who's allowed to follow their channel, whether they want it to be discoverable and more. At the same time, "following a channel won’t reveal your phone number to the admin or other followers," WhatsApp said.

Users can find channels in a new tab on the app called Updates. That area shows Status and channels you decide to follow, separate from chats with family, friends and group chats/communities. For creators who plan to use the feature, WhatsApp will eventually add payment services to monetize it.

Privacy is also key, the company said. A channel's admin info isn't shared and it only retains 30 days of history. Admins can also prevent followers from taking screenshots or forwarding messages. Channels aren't end-to-end encrypted, but WhatsApp said it's exploring the idea for non-profits, health organizations or other privacy-sensitive organizations.

Channels is more or less a copy of a similar feature on rival chat app Telegram of the same name. Earlier this year, Meta launched Broadcast Channels on Instagram, allowing creators to stream updates to their followers’ inboxes much as WhatsApp users will be able to do. The feature can be likened to a newsletter, and in fact, it may have been called Newsletter while still under development (or the latter could arrive later as a separate feature).

WhatsApp is evolving well beyond it's original purpose as a simple messaging app. Meta recently added the ability to use one account on multiple devices, something that was not only impossible before, but potentially created a hassle when you changed phones. The company has also updated group chats, while adding polls, shopping and more.

The new feature is not launching widely, but starting with "leading global organizations and select organizations in Columbia and Singapore," the company said. It'll arrive to more countries and users down the road "in the coming months."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Paradox Interactive will refund physical pre-orders for ‘Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2’

Paradox Interactive announced today that it will refund all physical pre-orders for Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. The long-delayed sequel to the 2004 cult classic was last available for pre-sales in early 2021. That was when Paradox announced it was parting ways with developer Hardsuit Labs and pushing back the title’s release date indefinitely. However, there may be a glimmer of hope for holdouts as the publisher teased more news coming in September about the vampire game.

Paradox says it’s refunding the pre-orders because the previous physical edition included bonus-content items “no longer representative of the game.” Physical variants include the Collector’s Edition created and sold by DPA Merchandising GmbH and boxed versions of the First Blood, Unsanctioned and Blood Moon editions. Additionally, Paradox will grant digital pre-order refunds for anyone who requests one. Refund instructions vary depending on where you ordered it, but you can check Paradox’s FAQ for storefront-specific guidance.

A new 2023 screenshot from ‘Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.’
Paradox Interactive

“As development continues, we will be updating the game’s editions and bonus content, and we want to provide the best value to those of you who supported us via digital pre-order after all this time,” Paradox wrote today. “We’re excited to show you more and hope to have all of you with us in September when we reveal more.”

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 was initially slated for 2020 before being pushed back to 2021 and then shelved indefinitely after Paradox fired the game’s creative director and lead writer. The publisher hasn’t yet announced the title’s new developer, although it says it will tell us that in September as well. As for an updated release date, Paradox stops short of explicitly promising one in its September announcements, but it assures gamers it will “share more information about the launch” at that time.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at