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Video games coming to Netflix? Latest hiring offers a clue – CTV News

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SAN RAMON, CALIF. —
Netflix has hired veteran video game executive Mike Verdu, signaling the video streaming service is poised to expand into another fertile field of entertainment.

Verdu’s addition as Netflix’s vice president of game development, confirmed Thursday, comes as the company seeks to sustain the momentum it gathered last year when people turned to the video streaming service to get through lockdowns imposed during the pandemic.

Netflix wound up adding 37 million worldwide subscribers last year, by far the largest annual gain in its history. But the landscape has changed dramatically now that the easing pandemic has allowed people to return to a semblance of their normal lives.

The video service stumbled out of the gate during the first three months of this year, posting its smallest first-quarter subscriber increase in four years, and it predicted its springtime gains would also be meager. The Los Gatos, California, company is scheduled to report its results for the April-June period on Tuesday.

Adding video games would give Netflix another way to build upon the nearly 208 million subscribers that it boasted at the end of March. It wouldn’t come as a surprise either, given that Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings has long said the company competes as much against video games for a piece of people’s leisure time as it does against other video streaming services offered by the likes of Amazon, Hulu, Walt Disney Co. and Apple.

Netflix didn’t directly comment on its potential entry into video gaming, but left little doubt about its intent by announcing Verdu’s title at the company. Verdu is joining Netflix from Facebook’s Oculus, where he oversaw the virtual reality headset maker’s games. He previously worked at video game makers Electronic Arts and Zynga.

Now the biggest questions are when Netflix might start to offer video games and whether it intends to charge a separate fee to play them or include them as part of its video streaming services.

In a research note, CFRA analyst Tuna Amobi called video games a logical complement to Netflix’s vast library of TV series and films, helping to set the stage for eventual price increases that most subscribers will accept.

Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief operating officer, told investors in April that video games could be another way to engage subscribers already immersed in the stories unfolding in the service’s TV series and movies.

“We’re trying to figure out what are all these different ways that we can increase those points of connection, we can deepen that fandom,” Peters said at the time. Verdu will be reporting to Peters in his new job.

Investors seemed to be taking a wait-and-see attitude on Netflix’s potential foray into video games. The company’s stock price dipped by one per cent to close Thursday at $542.95. While much of the stock market has been notching record highs recently, Netflix’s shares are down by eight per cent from their peak of $593.29 reached in January.

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Cat simulator 'Stray' heads to PlayStation and PC in early 2022 – Engadget

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The last time we saw Stray was in the form of a cinematic trailer Sony shared in 2020 that highlighted the game’s futuristic neon-soaked setting and adorable feline protagonist. At the time, we didn’t get to see the game in action, a fact that Annapurna Interactive has now remedied. The publisher shared a slice of gameplay footage from the title during its recent showcase and said it would release Stray sometime in early 2022.

In the opening moments of Stray, our feline protagonist finds himself injured and separated from his family. Gameplay involves using his physical abilities as a cat to navigate the environment and solve puzzles. In the time-honored tradition of duos like Ratchet and Clank, partway through the adventure, you’ll meet a drone named B-12. They will allow you to converse with the city’s other robotic inhabitants and interact with certain objects in the environment. The cat has a playful side to his personality, and you can do things like scratch furniture, interact with vending machines and rub up against the legs of the robots you meet. Good stuff.

When Stray comes out next year, it will be available on PlayStation 4, PS5 and PC. Developer BlueTwelve Studio promised to show off more of the game before then.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Cat simulator 'Stray' heads to PlayStation and PC in early 2022 – Yahoo News Canada

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The last time we saw Stray was in the form of a cinematic trailer Sony shared in 2020 that highlighted the game’s futuristic neon-soaked setting and adorable feline protagonist. At the time, we didn’t get to see the game in action, a fact that Annapurna Interactive has now remedied. The publisher shared a slice of gameplay footage from the title during its recent showcase and said it would release Stray sometime in early 2022.

In the opening moments of Stray, our feline protagonist finds himself injured and separated from his family. Gameplay involves using his physical abilities as a cat to navigate the environment and solve puzzles. In the time-honored tradition of duos like Ratchet and Clank, partway through the adventure, you’ll meet a drone named B-12. They will allow you to converse with the city’s other robotic inhabitants and interact with certain objects in the environment. The cat has a playful side to his personality, and you can do things like scratch furniture, interact with vending machines and rub up against the legs of the robots you meet. Good stuff.

When Stray comes out next year, it will be available on PlayStation 4, PS5 and PC. Developer BlueTwelve Studio promised to show off more of the game before then.

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Sony’s new PS5 beta update also fixes one of its silliest flaws – The Verge

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The first major system update for Sony’s PlayStation 5 is arriving in beta form today, finally letting you expand the console’s 667GB of usable storage by adding your own PCIe Gen 4 SSD as well as testing new UI options and expanding 3D Audio support. But the full changelog also includes a few features that Sony didn’t highlight to press — including a way to easily update your DualSense controller if you press the wrong button!

You see, the PS5 currently has a very silly flaw: the only time you can update your controller is when you boot the console. And if you say no or accidentally press the O button instead of X, you can’t trigger that update until 24 hours have passed (or you tweak your PS5’s internal clock to cheat it).

But in Beta 2.0, there’s now a dedicated menu for that under Settings > Accessories > Controllers called Wireless Controller Device Software. Please forgive my grainy photo.

You’ll still see controller update prompts when you launch the console, too — and hitting the circle button will still instantly dismiss them.

The beta also makes one of our other UI frustrations slightly better: the ability to easily turn off the console. It’s still a mystery why Sony switched away from letting you long-press the PS button to requiring extra taps, but at least now you can change how many taps it takes. Pressing the hamburger / start button in the PS5’s quick actions menu now lets you drag any of them (including the PS5’s digital power button) to a different position in that menu.

Separately, did you know the PS5 lets you set up all kinds of parental controls for your kid on what they can play, watch, and do, and it lets you remotely approve their requests over the web? I didn’t realize that, and the beta update now lets you see and respond to those asks through the latest version of the mobile PlayStation App, not just via email.

Frankly, it still needs work: it’s a convoluted process that kicks you out to a web browser for setup, requires your kid to be signed into a PlayStation Network account (not just a local profile), has you set up all kinds of limits, and kicks you out to a web browser again (requiring you to log in) when you want to approve a request. And once you let your kid play a particular game, they get to keep playing until you remove it from the whitelist.

What I want is a simple rich phone notification that effectively lets me tap “yes, you can play this for 30 minutes” or “not right now, kid” and be done with it right away. Perhaps there’s time before the 2.0 software goes gold? Or perhaps in a future update.

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