Why it took a decade for Riot to follow League of Legends with a new game

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Illustrations by Alex Castro / The Verge

A decade after League of Legends first debuted, Riot Games is finally ready to announce its next release — or releases, as it turns out. At its 10th anniversary celebration this evening, the company unveiled a huge slate of upcoming games.

There are multiple League spinoffs, including a fighting game, digital card game, and animated series. There’s also a mysterious, in-the-works shooter codenamed “Project A” that takes place in a brand-new universe. If the first 10 years of Riot were defined almost entirely by a single game, it looks like the next decade will be about building on that foundation.

“It feels awesome,” Riot co-founder Marc Merrill tells The Verge of the company’s new lineup announcement. “It is a really exciting time as a…

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League of Legends expands with animated series, fighting game, and more

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Arcane.

The universe of League of Legends is about to get a whole lot bigger. The wildly popular PC strategy game has been a hit since it debuted back in 2009, but until now it’s also been the only game in the series. Today at its 10th anniversary celebration, developer Riot Games revealed a surprisingly large slate of new games and other experiences all set in the League of Legends universe.

Here’s the rundown:

  • A fighting game: Riot previously revealed that it was working on a fighting game, and today the company officially unveiled “Project L,” a 2D fighter featuring League characters. Unfortunately, that’s all we know right now. The game is still “in early stage development,” according to Riot, and there’s no word on when we’ll hear more.

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League of Legends is coming to mobile and console

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In this photo illustration a League of Legends logo seen...

Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

One of the biggest PC games in the world is finally coming to other platforms. At its 10th anniversary celebration this evening, Riot Games announced a new version of League of Legends called Wild Rift that will be coming to both mobile devices and unspecified consoles.

It looks to be largely the same as the main version of League, with near-identical MOBA gameplay. But it’s been tweaked to better accommodate the new platforms, including a new twin-stick control scheme, a new map, and shorter matches that clock in at around 15-20 minutes long. “Wild Rift is not a port of LoL on PC,” Riot says, “it is a new game built from scratch to ensure it is a polished, legitimate LoL experience that’s worth players’ time.”

A mobile version of L…

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Riot teases Project A, a character-based tactical shooter

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Riot Games is expanding beyond the world of League of Legends. Today, the developer announced a new title currently dubbed “Project A,” which it describes as “a stylish, competitive, character-based tactical shooter for PC.” Notably, the new game won’t be based on the expansive and fantastical League universe. Instead, it’ll be a brand-new setting. “The game is set on a beautiful near-future Earth and has a lethal cast of characters, each with unique abilities that create tactical opportunities for their gunplay to shine,” Riot explains.

It sounds like Project A will combine elements of games like Overwatch and Counter Strike, but that’s about all the info we have on the game right now. Riot says to expect more details on the mysterious…

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You can’t use the Pixelbook Pen with the Pixelbook Go

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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Today, Google announced the Pixelbook Go, its first new laptop in two years. It starts at a modest $649, which is cheaper than the $999 Pixelbook, but that smaller price comes with some tradeoffs. Though the Go has a touchscreen, you can’t flip the that screen all the way around into tablet mode, like you can with the Pixelbook. Another tradeoff: the Go doesn’t support the $99 Pixelbook Pen, Google tells Android Police.

The omission is a bit of a disappointment, as it would be nice to see the Go support Google’s own stylus — right now, the Pen only works with the Pixelbook and Google’s Pixel Slate tablet. There are definitely traditional laptops with stylus support, like Microsoft’s recently-announced Surface Laptop 3, which supports the…

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Google Pixel 4, Pixel 3 or Pixel 3A: Should you upgrade?

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google’s Pixel 4 and 4 XL are here at last, after a mountain of leaks. Preorders are beginning today, and the actual phones ship in just over a week. So let’s assume your heart is set on a new Pixel phone, and you’re not willing to wait for the reviews. Should you upgrade based on specs alone? And if so, to which?

The choice isn’t quite as easy as “big” or “small” because Google’s new phones are expensive, at $799 and up — and because the excellent Pixel 3 and Pixel 3A are still sticking around for hundreds of dollars cheaper.

Here’s the full lineup as of today:

  • Pixel 4: $799 for 64GB, $899 for 128GB
  • Pixel 4 XL: $899 for 64GB, $999 for 128GB
  • Pixel 3: $499 for 64GB, $599 for 128GB
  • Pixel 3 XL: $599 for 64GB
  • Pixel 3A: $399 for 64GB
  • P…

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Chromebook 101: How to change your Chrome OS channels and get unreleased features

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You might not know it from glancing at a Chromebook, but Google’s Chrome OS is in a constant state of evolution.

The operating system receives minor updates every two to three weeks and major releases every six weeks. And at any given moment, Google’s staff is working on features and software enhancements that most people won’t see for a matter of weeks — or months.

Here’s a little secret, though: if you’re feeling adventurous, you can gain access to those unreleased enhancements. All it takes is the flip of a virtual switch in your Chromebook’s settings, and you’ll have all sorts of interesting new options at your fingertips.

First, it’s important to understand exactly what’s involved so you can make an educated decision about which…

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Sony is launching its 360-degree audio format this fall

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Amazon’s upcoming Echo Studio, which will support 360 Reality Audio. | Dan Seifert / The Verge

Sony has announced that its new 360 Reality Audio technology will launch in late fall with several partners. The format involves object-based spatial audio that places various elements of a music track around the listener in a virtual spherical environment. The experience is designed to replicate live music, with instruments and vocals coming from different directions.

At launch, there will be around 1,000 songs available in 360 Reality Audio, including tracks from artists like Pharrell Williams, Bob Dylan, and Billy Joel. Sony has also captured live performances from artists such as Charlie XCX and Kodaline and converted them to the new format. Sony will of course be able to leverage music from its own record label, but the company says…

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How to buy the Google Pixel 4 and the 4 XL

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

A slew of new Google products is coming, with the new Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL phones heading the list. If you’ve already got a Pixel phone and are in the mood to upgrade or if you’ve finally decided that this is the year you’re going to take the plunge, we’ve got all the info you need.

Where to buy the Pixel 4 and 4 XL

Available for preorder today and shipping on October 24th, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL are (for the first time) going to be available from all the major US carriers, in addition to major retailers and, of course, Google’s online store.

On the whole, the prices will be the same wherever you go: the Pixel 4 starts at $799, while the Pixel XL starts at $899. If you want 128GB of storage instead of 64GB, add $100. You can currently…

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The Pixel 4 doesn’t include any headphones, or even a 3.5mm adapter in the box

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Pixel buds

The Pixel Buds that were included with the Pixel 3 are not included with the Pixel 4. | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Google’s latest phone, the Google Pixel 4, doesn’t include a pair of earphones in the box, nor does it come with one of the company’s USB-C to 3.5mm adapters. With its own true wireless Pixel Buds not due for release until next year, Google just offered every other headphone manufacturer a nice opportunity to capitalize on any new Pixel 4 owners who might not already own wireless headphones.

Every previous Pixel phone offered a wired headphone option in the box, whether via a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, a bundled pair of USB-C headphones, or a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter. (The original Pixel and Pixel 3A had the built-in jack; the Pixel 3 came with both accessories.) This will be the first time Google has shipped a phone without any of…

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Google’s new Nest Mini has better controls, similar sound, and the same price

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verg

Google has updated the Google Home Mini, creating a new version that looks identical but has a few new features and a new name: the Nest Mini. That’s part of Google’s larger plan of putting all of its smart home and smart speaker products under the Nest brand name. It still cost the same $49, though if the past is any indication, you will likely be able to find deals for it quite regularly.

The new Nest Mini is a minor update, so existing users really don’t need to upgrade. There are a few new features worth running through, though. First, Google has improved the speaker by making it ever-so-slightly larger inside the exact same body — though I suspect even the most obsessive audiophile would have a hard time hearing a big difference.

G…

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Google improves the Pixel 4 camera with Live HDR and more

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Google showed off some new camera features on the Pixel 4 today at its annual hardware event, focusing on improvements to its Live HDR and Night Sight mode. The back of the Pixel 4 houses dual cameras in a new subtle square camera bump. There’s a 12.2MP main camera and a 16MP telephoto lens, which is a hybrid of optical and digital zoom.

New Pixel 4 features include Live HDR+, with dual exposure controls in the viewfinder, which shows how photos will look in real time. There are HDR sliders to adjust brightness and shadows when you compose. A learning-based white balance feature is applied to all photo modes, so shots come out with true-to-life colors.

Google spent quite some time explaining how computational photography works in the…

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How Google’s Pixel 4 compares to other popular flagship phones

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google has announced the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, joining the ranks will all the other 2019 flagship phones. If you’ve been following along with the numerous leaks, you might already have a good idea as to what this phone offers. That’s simply because most of the leaks were actually true.

Both phones have a fast 90Hz refresh rate display that makes scrolling around more enjoyable, and games that support it animate smoother. Each has a Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB of RAM, and comes with Android 10 pre-installed. They differ when it comes to screen resolution, as well as their screen and battery size. The Verge’s Dieter Bohn has a first look with the devices that does a thorough job of breaking down their differences.

There are a few…

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Google Pixel 4 buyers won’t get unlimited photo uploads at original quality

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Image: Google

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL will launch without one of the original great reasons for owning a Pixel phone: free unlimited photo backups to Google Photos at full resolution. Google’s website for the new devices only notes that they’re eligible for the same storage option as any other phone, which is unlimited backups at “high quality.” This option compresses your images when they’re uploaded to the cloud, which is why Google is able to offer it so freely.

Nowhere on the Pixel 4 site does it mention free storage at original quality, which was a major incentive for purchasing the original Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel 3. iPhone owners had to keep an eye on their iCloud storage, but Pixel users could always snap away care free. Not anymore. Google…

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Pixel Buds 2 hands-on: Google takes on the AirPods

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Pixel buds in an ear

I just spent a few minutes with the new Google Pixel Buds hardware — the $179 truly wireless earbuds aren’t shipping until Spring 2020, and the units at Google’s fall hardware event aren’t actually turned on and working. So there’s no way to tell how they’ll actually sound, and how Google’s various software tricks work in practice.

What I can tell you is that Google has produced a set of small, minimally designed earbuds that look like nothing more than little circles in your ears when you’re wearing them and fit snugly thanks to the little wing coming off the side. The earbud itself slides down into your ear, providing a modicum of passive noise reduction, but Google says the design is vented to reduce discomfort and…

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Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service will launch on November 19th

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Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service is right around the corner, and we know nearly everything we need to know about its launch — except when in November it’ll go live for the first wave of early adopters who spent $130 for the Founder’s Edition package. We just got the answer at the company’s Pixel 4 launch event, and that answer is: November 19th.

That’s literally the only Stadia news we got before Google’s Rick Osterloh moved on to other topics, but perhaps we’ll hear more later. We’ll update this post if we do.

Here are all the games confirmed for Stadia so far.

And here’s a recap video the company just released, in case you need to catch up:

Developing. Check out our Google hardware event live blog for the latest updates!

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Google’s new Pixel Buds are coming spring 2020 for $179

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Image: Google

Today, at its October hardware event, Google announced its second-generation Pixel Buds earbuds, the follow-up to the original Pixel Buds, which came out in 2017. The Pixel Buds add more battery life and are true wireless earbuds, coming in at $179.

The new Pixel Buds come in a larger, egg-shaped case versus the flatter case of its predecessor (which proved to be the source of many irksome problems).

Google says with the new Pixel Buds “the experience comes to you” — hands-free access to the Google assistant means you don’t have to turn to your phone. Just say “Hey Google” to ask the Assistant for whatever you need and then you can resume whatever you were doing. Apple similarly added hands-free access to Siri earlier this year.

The…

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Google announces Pixelbook Go, a cheaper Pixelbook

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Today, at its October hardware event, Google announced the Pixelbook Go, a new Chromebook laptop with a 13.3-inch touchscreen that starts at $649. Google said you can preorder the laptop now in “just black,” and soon in a “not pink” color.

Image: Google

In a video, Google showed off the black version with what looks like a quieter keyboard as well as a ribbed bottom plate that appears to make the laptop easier to grip. The video also claims that the Pixelbook Go has up to 12 hours of battery, and, in a blog post, Google said that charging the laptop for just 20 minutes will give it two hours of battery life.

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Google announces its Nest Mini smart speaker

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Google

Google is changing the name of its Google Home Mini and integrating it into its Nest line of products. Announced today, the Nest Mini is an upgrade to 2017’s Google Home Mini. The Nest Mini looks nearly identical to the Google Home Mini, except it comes with improved speakers and an included wall mount. It’ll come in four colors: black, light gray, coral, and light blue.

Google’s particularly marketing the Nest Mini as an audio device. The company says the bass is twice as strong as the original Google Home Mini for more natural sound. If you’re listening to audio content, the speaker will light up when you place your hand close to the device for volume adjustment. It can also pair with other Nest speakers to create a larger sound…

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Google announces Nest Wifi, a mesh router system with smart speakers inside

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You want working, reliable Wi-Fi in every room of your house. Maybe you’d like every room of your house to properly hear your Google Assistant voice commands, too?

Now, Google is about to offer a way to extend both your internet and the range of your voice at once — with the just-announced Nest Wifi mesh router system.

We’re learning about it right now live at Google’s Pixel 4 hardware event: the two-pack is now composed of a new, bulbous “Router” and a separate similarly shaped “Point” that now extends your coverage 25 percent further than the previous generation — which Google claims is enough for a 3,800 square foot home. Only the “Point” has a Google Assistant smart speaker built in, though.

The two-pack costs $269, and there’s a…

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