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Netflix and Shonda Rhimes reveal eight exclusive series in the works

July 21, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes and Jimmy Kimmel Randy Holmes via Getty Images

On Friday Netflix revealed the first eight series in the works as a result of its production deal with Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes. They include a previously-announced show focusing on the exploits alleged con artist Anna Delvey, as well as an adaptation of the 2010 Pulitzer prize-winning book The Warmth of Other Suns. Another series will stem from former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao’s memoir Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change that detailed her life, career and gender discrimination lawsuit against VC firm Kleiner Perkins.

In a statement, Rhimes said: “I wanted the new Shondaland to be a place where we expand the types of stories we tell, where my fellow talented creatives could thrive and make their best work and where we as a team come to the office each day filled with excitement…Ted (Sarandos) and Cindy (Holland) and everyone at Netflix have been incredible partners in making that happen. This is Shondaland 2.0.”

Untitled Shonda Rhimes Project

Based on the New York Magazine article How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People by Jessica Pressler. Manhattan makes a new friend like no other. But is she the stuff American dreams are made of or is she New York’s biggest con woman? Is it a con if you enjoy being taken?

* Shonda Rhimes (EP) will create the series.

Untitled Bridgerton Project

Based on Julia Quinn’s best-selling series of novels, this smart feminist take on Regency England romance unveils the glittering, wealthy, sexual, painful, funny and sometimes lonely lives of the women and men in London’s high society marriage mart as told through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.

* Scandal veteran Chris Van Dusen (EP) will adapt and showrun the series.

The Warmth of Other Suns

Based on Pulitzer-Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson’s award-winning book of the same name, this powerful groundbreaking series tracks the decades-long migration of African-Americans fleeing the Jim Crow South in search of a better life in the North and the West between 1916 and 1970.

*National Humanities Medal recipient, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and 2-time Drama Desk winning playwright Anna Deavere Smith (EP) is set to adapt.

Pick & Sepulveda

Set in the 1840s against the surreal and sensual backdrop of the then-Mexican state of California, the series tracks the end of an idyllic era there as American forces threaten brutality and war at the border to claim this breathtaking land for its own.

*Emmy-award writer Janet Leahy (EP) will create the series.

Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change

Netflix and Shondaland have acquired the rights to Ellen Pao’s groundbreaking memoir detailing her life and career, including the lawsuit she brought against her former employer that sparked intense media scrutiny, shook Silicon Valley to its boys’ club core and pre-saged

Tech News

'Ghost Recon Wildlands' adds a hardcore permadeath mode

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Ubisoft

Ubisoft isn’t just relying on cameos from aliens and iconic game characters to inject extra life into Ghost Recon Wildlands. When the Special Operation 2 pack arrives on July 24th, it’ll include a Ghost Mode that adds some high-stakes realism. For one, death is permanent — if your character falls in battle and isn’t revived in time, all your hard work will amount to nothing. Friendly fire is also a real risk. And you’ll want to be conservative with your shots, since you’ll only have one primary weapon (you have to swap at ammo boxes or when looting) and will lose any unspent ammo in a given clip when you reload. If regular Wildlands seemed too soft, you won’t have that problem from now on.

The mode is available for every difficulty setting and will be available to everyone for free, although Year 2 Pass holders will get first crack. You’ll have to wait until July 31st if you don’t want to pay extra.

There’s more than just a no-forgiveness option, of course. Ubisoft is adding two player-versus-player maps, and it’s revamping its Prestige economy to both let you earn credits in the regular campaign (not just Ghost War) and spend it on Prestige Packs that include customization. You’ll also find an eSports- and stream-friendly Observer Mode for watching custom matches, a new victory screen to let you celebrate your triumphs and a True Solo mode that turns off AI teammates.

Ubisoft is still keeping some details close to the vest (such as player-versus-environment missions, new themes and new classes). However, it’s evident that the developer is following a strategy like the one that keeps Rainbow Six: Siege thriving: it’s treating Wildlands as a continually growing service, rather than a one-and-done release.

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Tech News

'Star Trek: Discovery' mini episodes arrive this fall

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

CBS All Access won’t have the next season of Star Trek: Discovery ready for streaming until early 2019, but fans won’t have to wait until then for new content. Today at Comic-Con executive producer and co-creator Alex Kurtzman revealed four “Short Treks” will arrive throughout the fall, as 10 – 15 minute standalone episodes. Rainn Wilson’s character Harry Mudd will be featured in one, Aldis Hodge as Craft in another, while the other two follow characters Saru and Tilly. Naturally CBS also dropped off a trailer for season two, which you can check out after the break.

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Tech News

PlayStation and Xbox sales discount 'Fortnite' and 'Shadow of War'

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Jerritt Clark via Getty Images

Summer tends to have few new video game releases, but that also tends to have an upside: loads of discounts. Both Microsoft and Sony are running limited-time sales on games that promise some steep price drops, and not just on old titles. Microsoft’s Ultimate Game Sale, for instance, is promising up to 67 percent off Xbox One games between now and July 30th. You won’t get that cut on the biggest games, but there are still some solid offerings. A Fortnite Standard Founder’s Pack is 40 percent off (down to $24 in the US), while Assassin’s Creed Origins is 40 percent off ($36). And if you missed out on Titanfall 2, you can get the Ultimate Edition for 75 percent off ($10). And this is before the Xbox Live Gold discount, so you can expect better bargains if you’re paying to play online.

Sony’s Flash Sale only lasts until July 23rd at 11AM Eastern and tends to focus on older titles, but there’s some definite gems. For one, this might be your chance to try Middle-earth: Shadow of War now that Monotlith has removed all the microtransactions that arguably hurt its gameplay — it’s 60 percent off ($20). It’s also a good time to be a Telltale fan, as Back to the Future and Guardians of the Galaxy have dropped from $20 each to $6 and $8 respectively. Other notable breaks include Human Fall Flat (down to $6) and Warhammer Vermintide‘s Ultimate Edition (half-price at $25).

These discounts may only have so much appeal if you’re saving your money for sequels and seasonal updates. With that said, there are some good offers if you’re determined to keep your gaming schedule full during the summer doldrums.

Tech News

Disney’s first VR short ‘Cycles’ debuts next month

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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John Keeble via Getty Images

Walt Disney Animation Studios is set to share its first VR short, a film called Cycles that took four months to create. The short will make its debut at the Association for Computing Machinery’s annual SIGGRAPH conference in August and the team behind it hopes VR will help viewers form a stronger emotional connection with the film. “VR is an amazing technology and a lot of times the technology is what is really celebrated,” Director Jeff Gipson said in a statement. “We hope more and more people begin to see the emotional weight of VR films, and with Cycles in particular, we hope they will feel the emotions we aimed to convey with our story.”

Cycles is about a house, what happens inside of it and how those that live there make it a home. When making the film, Gipson drew from childhood experiences in his grandparents’ home as well as the time he spent riding BMX bikes in empty swimming pools and wondering about the families who lived in the houses they were attached to. “Every house has a story unique to the people, the characters who live there,” he said. “We wanted to create a story in this single place and be able to have the viewer witness life happening around them. It is an emotionally driven film, expressing the real ups and downs, the happy and sad moments in life.”

The Disney short will air at SIGGRAPH’s Immersive Pavilion, an area dedicated to virtual, augmented and mixed reality. “What’s cool for VR is that we are really on the edge of trying to figure out what it is and how to tell stories in this new medium,” says Gipson. “In VR, you can look anywhere and really be transported to a different world, experience it from different angles and see every detail. We want people watching to feel alive and feel emotion, and give them a true cinematic experience.”

Last year, Pixar, a subsidiary of Disney, released a VR experience to promote the film Coco.

Image: Disney Animation Studios

Tech News

'Pokémon Go' cheaters now get three strikes before a ban

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a post today, Niantic provided details on its new three-strike discipline policy for Pokémon Go players. In most cases, players found to be cheating will first get a warning through the Pokémon Go app and certain gameplay experiences may degraded for about a week. For example, that player may not be able to encounter rare Pokémon in the wild and could be excluded from receiving EX Raid Passes. The second strike will result in a temporary suspension that will last for approximately 30 days. If a player continues to cheat, the third and final strike will be a permanent ban.

“Everyone can make mistakes,” Niantic said in the post. “That’s why we have created this policy to enable offenders to learn from their mistakes and change their ways. If you have been issued a strike, don’t ignore it. Take action to ensure that you do not commit any further transgressions.” However, the post notes that some offenders may not be offered three strikes as certain behaviors will result in immediate termination.

Cheating will be defined as behaviors that violate the Terms of Service and Trainer Guidelines, and they include GPS location spoofing and unauthorized access of game clients or backends.

At one point, Niantic had a zero-tolerance policy against cheating, but more recently, the company has dealt with cheaters by only giving them lousy monsters and flagging those caught through third-party services.

Tech News

Watch the trailer for George R. R. Martin's new sci-fi horror show

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Game of Thrones is one of the most beloved, watched and pirated TV shows in recent history, but it’s not the only George R. R. Martin tale being adapted for the small screen. The author’s sci-fi horror novella Nightflyers was first published in 1980 before being turned into a movie later that decade, and now a new TV adaptation airing this fall on Syfy in the US and Netflix in other regions. A brief teaser for the show’s first, ten-episode season caught our attention a few months ago, and now we have a full trailer that debuted at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con to sink our teeth into.

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Set in the year 2093, George R. R. Martin describes Nightflyers as “a haunted house story on a starship. It’s Psycho in space.” It follows a group of explorers heading away from a dying Earth towards a mysterious craft at the edge of the solar system. Their mission is to make first contact with aliens, but the voyage quickly becomes a living nightmare. As things take turns for the worse, is the threat out there, on board, or the ship itself? Find out later this year — assuming you don’t read the original novella and spoil it for yourself first, of course.

Tech News

Under Armour’s Sport Wireless Train headphones are ready for the gym

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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Last month, Under Armour launched its Project Rock on-ear headphones, which are built for intense workouts and were designed in collaboration with Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock). But not every fitness buff is going to be a fan of him (even though they should be, because gains), so it only made sense for the company to introduce a model without all his Rock branding. Enter the Sport Wireless Train, Under Armour’s latest on-ear headphones, created alongside audio firm JBL. The new set was first revealed in 2017 and looks nearly identical to the Project Rocks, with the only difference being the UA and JBL logos on the earcups and headband, respectively.

Outside of the design, Under Armour and JBL tuned the Sport Wireless Trains to be more neutral than the Project Rocks, which are quite bass heavy. I was able to notice that right away when I listened to a couple of albums on the Sport Wireless Trains — the vocals just seemed to pop and be more clear in every track. The other main difference, and this is a big one, is that UA made the Sport Wireless Trains $50 cheaper than the $250 Project Rocks. $200 is a much more compelling price point, especially when it still has all of the features that make The Rock’s pair appeal to people who hit the gym frequently.

The Sport Wireless Trains are made from rugged, sweat-resistant materials (IPX4 rating) and come with breathable ear cushions that can be removed and washed — that’s going to make it easy to clean them after your workouts. They also feature 40mm JBL drivers, a 16-hour battery life (5-minute charge will get you one hour of listening), oversized volume and playback buttons, as well as a 3.5mm audio jack in case you don’t want to do Bluetooth pairing. Additionally, Under Armour is throwing in a 12-month premium subscription to its Map My Fitness service, which is usually costs $30 per year.

Unfortunately, as with the Project Rocks, there’s no active noise-cancelling — and that’s likely going to be a deal-breaker for some people. But if that’s something you can live without, the Sport Wireless Train headphones are hitting stores in early August, though you can pre-order on July 24th from the Under Armour and JBL sites.

Gallery: Under Armour’s Sport Wireless Train headphones | 11 Photos 11 +7

Tech News

'Spider-Man' PS4 Pro bundle is the right sort of product placement

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Remember when the PS3 shipped with the Spider-Man font running across its belly in an awkward mix of corporate synergy and Ken Kutaragi’s typography obsession? Twelve years later, and Sony’s having another go at smashing its flagship console and its beloved web slinger together in a way that makes more sense.

Today, at Comic-Con, the company announced a limited-edition PS4 Pro bundle that paints the console in Spider-Man red, with the spider logo on its case. The gorgeous pop-art design carries over to the bundled DualShock 4 controller, which has a similar red-and-white color scheme.

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At the same time, Sony has pushed out another trailer for the aforementioned game, which is due to launch on September 7th. The story trailer gives us our first look at Silver Sable, a reimagined character from the comics, as well as a teamup between Peter, MJ and Miles Morales.

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The Spider-Man PS4 Pro bundle arrives on September 7th, setting you back $399.99 in the US and $499.99 in Canada. Pre-order now, and you’ll also get bonuses like various skins for Spidey to wear, including the Velocity Suit and the Iron Spider suit seen in Infinity War.

Tech News

'Iron Fist' season two hits Netflix on September 7th

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Netflix

As Netflix readies its next onslaught of original TV shows and movies, we finally have a premiere date for another season of Marvel action. Iron Fist season two dropped a Comic-Con adjacent teaser trailer to announce that, following Luke Cage season two, it will debut September 7th. At just under a minute long we can’t tell if it points to any significant upgrades from the character’s previous appearances, but as a Netflix/Marvel series we’re assuming there will be punches in a hallway once again. Mark your calendars appropriately.

Power is stillness. #IronFist pic.twitter.com/wutthzyW5v

— Iron Fist (@MarvelIronFist) July 20, 2018 [embedded content]