Xbox Game Pass for PC is doubling its price next week

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Alongside an influx of next-gen console news, Microsoft also confirmed today that it will raise its pricing for Xbox Game Pass for PC from $4.99 per month to $9.99 a month starting on September 17th.
Existing members on the introductory price will still pay the same rate through the next billing cycle, so if you subscribe before September 17th, Microsoft will not change the price on you abruptly.
We're retiring the introductory price on the 17th, but if you're already a member, you'll pay the same rate through the next billing cycle. look out for a notification on the 17th to get more details
— Xbox Game Pass For PC (@XboxGamePassPC) September 9, 2020 A price increase for any subscription service is never fun, but even at $9.99 a…
Continue reading…

Portland passes strongest facial recognition ban in the US

Photo by: Visions of America/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images The Portland City Council has passed the toughest facial recognition ban in the US, blocking both public and private use of the technology. Other cities such as Boston, San Francisco, and Oakland have passed laws barring public institutions from using facial recognition, but Portland is the first to prohibit private use. The ban passed unanimously, according to CNET, CNN, and OneZero.
The new law is actually established as two ordinances. The one prohibiting public use of facial recognition (PDF here) is now in effect, and city bureaus must complete an assessment of their facial recognition usage within 90 days. The ordinance prohibiting private use (PDF here) takes effect on January 1st, 2021.
“Portlanders should never be in fear of… Continue reading…

Republicans pressure platforms with new 230 bill

Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images A group of Senate Republicans introduced a new bill Tuesday aimed at chipping away some of the protections provided to social media companies through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act, introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), would strip away the liability protection provided by Section 230 if a platform restricted access to content without providing specific rules that it violated. The bill would require platforms to have an “objectively reasonable belief” that content violated a specific policy in order for it to be removed, or they could be held liable for their moderation actions.
The bill would also amend language in the…
Continue reading…

What this tragic merger looks like today will shock you

Taboola and Outbrain, best known as the rival chumbox providers who fill space on your favorite websites with garbage like “You Won’t Believe What [NAME] Looks Like Today!” and the ever-popular “1 Weird Trick,” will apparently not be merging into the ultimate source of low-quality web filler we’d feared ever since the Department of Justice saw fit to put its stamp of approval on the deal.
CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch are all reporting that the merger, first announced in October 2019, is being called off, after an attempt to renegotiate changing conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t result in a new agreement.
What a shame!
If you’re curious what a chumbox looks like, you won’t have to look far. (Vox Media is not…
Continue reading…

TikTok is racing to stop the spread of a gruesome video

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge TikTok is trying to remove graphic videos circulating the app that show a man shooting himself with a gun, and banning accounts from people who are re-uploading the clip.
TikTok says the clip was originally streamed on Facebook and has appeared on other apps. As the TikTok community became aware of the clip, many creators started posting videos warning their followers to look out for an image — a man sitting in front of his desk with a grey beard — and swipe away from the video. Other creators spoke about the most disturbing part of the video being hidden inside more innocuous looking TikToks. A TikTok representative confirmed to The Verge that “clips of a suicide” started circulating on Sunday night.
“Our systems have been…
Continue reading…

Calls to boycott Mulan rise after Disney release

Protests and calls for boycotts over Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan have sprung up again in wake of the film hitting Disney Plus.
Hashtags like #BoycottMulan have trended on Twitter following Mulan’s release on September 4th, but protests are tied to an incident that occurred in summer 2019, Vulture reports. Mulan actress and star Liu Yifei made comments last summer showing her support for police forces in Hong Kong at a time when people in Hong Kong were protesting newly suggested policies that would allow citizens to be extradited to mainland China, the BBC reported.
Liu shared a message on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform, that read “I support Hong Kong’s police, you can beat me up now,” according to The…
Continue reading…

EA apologizes for putting full-screen in-game ad in UFC 4

An in-game ad in UFC-4 prompted angry fan backlash | Reddit/r/Ydino EA has apologized for putting a full-screen, in-game ad into its UFC 4 game, after angry fans protested on Reddit. First reported by Eurogamer, the commercial break, which featured a spot for Amazon’s show The Boys, was added to the $60 game about a month after its initial release.
An EA spokesperson wrote in a Reddit post that the team had turned on ad placements in the game during the “replay” moments, and that while “this type of advertising inventory is not new to the UFC franchise,” it has typically been limited to “specific main menu tiles or Octagon logo placement.”
A post on Reddit’s r/assholedesign board pointing out the issue had close to 100,000 upvotes.
EA decided to add full-on commercials in the middle of… Continue reading…

New trailers: The Forty-Year-Old Version, The Boys in the Band, No Time to Die, and more

Radha Blank in The Forty-Year-Old Version | Sundance Institute | photo by Eric Branco I’ve been sort of stuck in a rerun rut the past week or so (fine, OK, yes I’ve been rewatching Battlestar Galactica and last night I watched The Matrix. Keanu forever). Maybe it just feels comforting to watch a show or movie where you know the outcome when things in the real world are so uncertain and frightening? In any case, I’m going to push myself to watch something new (or at least new to me) this week Oh but, ICYMI, September 8th is Star Trek Day so maybe I’ll hold off on that “watch something new” pledge for a day or two.
There are a lot of great new trailers just out, plus a second trailer for No Time to Die. And while technically the trailer for The Forty-Year-Old Version came out last week I’m squeezing it in because Radha…
Continue reading…

Google Magenta’s Lo-Fi Player lets you create your own virtual music room

Google Magenta A new Google Magenta project (created by an intern!) lets you mix lo-fi, hip-hop music tracks to build a custom music room in your browser, with no musical ability required. Magenta is designed to use Google’s machine learning systems for the creation of art and music, and the Lo-Fi Player is a fun example of what it can do.
When you open Lo-Fi Player, you’re taken to a pixellated virtual “room” where you click different objects — a clock, a cat, or a piano, for instance— in the room to change the different tracks, like the bass line and the melody. “The view outside the window relates to the background sound in the track, and you can change both the visual and the music by clicking on the window,” Lo-Fi Player creator Vibert Thio wrote…
Continue reading…

Black Panther titles are free right now on Comixology

Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images Amazon-owned cloud-based comic book platform Comixology appears to be offering a wide selection of Marvel’s Black Panther comics for free this weekend. The unannounced sale was noticed by tweeters and Redditors; many Marvel comics related to the fictional African country Wakanda, where Black Panther is set, are available for free.
It’s not clear how long the “sale” will last, however; there doesn’t appear to have been any official announcement.
good thing it’s a long weekend pic.twitter.com/22QlXVgk5e
— andrew webster (@A_Webster) September 5, 2020 The timing of the free event follows a week after the untimely death of Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played King T’Challa in the 2018 blockbuster Black Panther film, and other movies…
Continue reading…