The Nintendo Switch is getting ports of BioShock, Borderlands, Burnout, and lots more

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Nintendo released a surprise Nintendo Direct Mini presentation today, announcing a variety of new games, rereleases, and DLC coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2020, including classics like XCOM 2, BioShock, and Borderlands; a first look at the next Smash Bros. DLC character; more Star Wars ports; and more.

Here are the biggest announcements and news:

  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition got a May 29th release date along with a new look at the gameplay for the upcoming Switch port.
  • A new Nintendo-developed puzzle game, Good Job!, has players crash their way through an office complex in a visual style that resembles animated safety signs. (It launches today.)
  • 2K Games is bringing some of its most popular games to…

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Duolingo is launching an iOS app to teach young kids how to read

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Image: Duolingo

Duolingo is launching a new iOS app on Thursday that is designed to teach young children how to read English. The app, called Duolingo ABC, uses short lessons made to help teach the alphabet, phonics, and sight words to kids ages three through six.

The company says Duolingo ABC has more than 300 lessons. Kids will be asked to perform tasks like spell a given word from a jumble of letters, trace the outline of a capitalized or lowercase letter, trace their names, tap objects that start with a certain letter, and tap a specific word in a sentence. You can get an idea of what some of the games look like in the screenshots in the below gallery:

At launch, Duolingo ABC will be available in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and…

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Ring Fit Adventure gets a new rhythm mode while everyone’s stuck at home

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

With everyone stuck at home, Nintendo’s home workout game Ring Fit Adventure has become particularly popular — so much so that it’s hard to even find a copy. For those who do have the game, though, there’s some good news: today, Nintendo announced a free update that adds even more activities and functionality.

The biggest new feature is a rhythm game mode where players can do exercise routines in time to songs from some of the Switch’s most popular games. That includes songs from the Ring Fit soundtrack, alongside upbeat tracks from Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2 as well as the more orchestral score of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Aside from the new mode, there is also a handful of quality-of-life updates. Players will…

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Animal Crossing powers Nintendo to record Switch sales in Japan

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is on track to become one of the best-selling video games of all time in Japan, according to sales figures released by Famitsu. The game managed to sell 1.88 million physical copies in its opening three days in Nintendo’s home market, a number far bigger than any other Switch game or Animal Crossing title to date. Famitsu doesn’t track digital sales, so the actual total will be significantly higher.

The game’s launch also propelled Switch hardware sales to new heights, despite Nintendo’s prior warning that the coronavirus pandemic would affect hardware production and shipments. More than 392,000 consoles were sold in Japan last week, the highest seven-day total ever for the Switch, and one that means it’s…

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Qualcomm’s latest chips could make noise cancellation standard on new wireless earbuds

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Qualcomm is announcing a pair of new Bluetooth chips designed for wireless earbuds, the Qualcomm QCC514x and QCC304x SoCs. Both chipsets will support Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Mirroring technology for more reliable connections, along with integrated, dedicated hardware for Qualcomm’s hybrid active noise cancellation and onboard support for digital assistants.

Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Mirroring handles connections to a phone through a single earbud, which is then mirrored (hence the name) to the other earbud, which cuts down on the amount of synchronization needed (in theory) for a more reliable connection. If you take out the primary earbud, the system is designed to transition the connection seamlessly over to the mirrored earbud, too….

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How to find keyboard shortcuts for Zoom

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Hands on keyboard

Photo by Felix Zahn / Photothek via Getty Images

When you’re in the middle of a Zoom video meeting at home and your cat suddenly decides to start bawling for its dinner, you’ll want to mute your audio in a hurry. In that case, you have a choice: you can either reach for your mouse or touchpad and start searching for the “Mute” button or you can use a quick keyboard shortcut to cut off that noise immediately.

Zoom has a long list of keyboard shortcuts that you can use before or during a videoconference. By using these shortcuts, you can quickly join a meeting; mute and unmute the audio; start, pause, and stop recording; switch views from Speaker (a large image of the person speaking) to Gallery (several equally sized images, no matter who is speaking); and perform a variety of other…

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Go read this Vice piece about the history of toxic marketing in video games

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Image: Retromags

As an entertainment industry, gaming isn’t that old — it’s been around since the ‘70s, which makes it a baby compared to radio, film, and maybe even television. The story of most of that history has been one of technological progress; games today look very different than they did in the days of Pong.

Since Gamergate, however, the narrative has changed: there’s a new and growing awareness of a toxicity that’s been embedded seemingly in gaming itself. That has occasioned a reckoning of sorts, with people who care about games — playing them, making them — now thinking critically about the foibles of the industry that made them.

Writing in Vice today, Jess Morrissette, a professor at Marshall University, chronicled one of those…

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How to choose a free videoconference app

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Italy Continues Nationwide Lockdown To Control Coronavirus Spread

Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

Most people are currently relying on videoconferencing to keep in touch with work colleagues, family, and friends — and if they’re facing financial difficulties, free is best. While Zoom seems currently to be the most popular videoconferencing app, there are several applications out there that will allow people to meet online for free.

We’ve listed here a few of the best known videoconferencing apps, along with a couple of popular text chat apps that include videoconferencing features. It’s worth noting that while most of these already have free versions, some are offering access to additional features for all those who are currently working from home or who want to check up on friends and relatives online.

There are a number of apps we…

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CBS All Access is offering a free one-month trial, just in time to binge Star Trek: Picard

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Image: CBS

The first season of Star Trek: Picard is coming to an end on March 26th, and to celebrate, CBS is offering a free month-long trial (instead of the usual seven days) of CBS All Access to allow viewers to watch the whole season.

The month-long trial doesn’t just give access to Picard, though; it’ll give viewers free access to the entire CBS All Access catalog, which includes every Star Trek show ever made (including CBS All Access exclusive Star Trek: Discovery), Cheers, CSI, CSI: Miami, Frasier, The Good Wife, The Good Fight, all of the NCIS shows, Survivor, The Twilight Zone, Twin Peaks, and more. You’ll also get access to live CBS broadcasts from your local station.

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Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab A offers LTE connectivity

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Samsung

Samsung has just refreshed the Galaxy Tab A , and the new model costs just $279.. It features an 8.4-inch screen, a 5,000mAh battery, and LTE connectivity.

The tablet is available now for $279. Samsung is currently shipping the Verizon model, but it says the tablet will be available through AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular in the coming weeks.

Samsung

Samsung has made a few other updates from last year’s 8-inch Galaxy Tab A: the new tablet includes a 5MP front camera (the 8-inch model had a 2MP shooter), a main display resolution of 1920 x 1080 (last year’s had 1280 x 800) and an octa-core processor. (The previous tablet had the quad-core Snapdragon 429.) You’re making a couple of trade-offs for the new…

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Royole claims the FlexPai 2 fixes the problems of its rough first foldable

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Image: Royole

Royole beat the Samsungs, Huaweis, and Motorolas of the world to producing a smartphone with a folding screen. I suppose the company gets some credit for being first, but the resulting product wasn’t a very good one and felt more prototype than consumer device — both in terms of hardware and software. Now, Royole has returned with the FlexPai 2 and claims it has corrected some of the design flaws of the original.

The company’s second foldable phone, due sometime in the second quarter, features a 7.8-inch flexible display like the original. But this time around, Royole says it’s using a “third-generation Cicada Wing fully-flexible display” and has switched to a new, more robust hinge design “with no gap” in between the hinge and rest of…

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Marshall’s new Uxbridge speaker features AirPlay 2 and Alexa voice support

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Image: Zound Industries

The Marshall Uxbridge Voice is the latest Bluetooth speaker from Zound Industries, and it adds AirPlay 2 support to the lineup for the first time. Along with Apple’s streaming technology, the speaker also supports regular Bluetooth and Spotify Connect, and you can control it using the Alexa voice assistant. The speaker will be available starting on April 8th for $199 (£169.99 / €199).

Unlike previous Bluetooth speakers released under the Marshall brand, the Uxbridge’s physical controls consist of a series of volume rockers, rather than guitar amp-style knobs. Across the top, there are rocker buttons to turn its volume, bass, and treble up and down, there’s a play / pause button, and also a button to disable the speaker’s Alexa-enabled…

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Nook Miles is my favorite addition to Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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In my first weekend playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I had grand designs to pay off my initial mortgage and plant a robust orchard of fruit — but I didn’t expect my proudest accomplishment to be picking more than 6,250 weeds. I was driven to complete that herculean feat because I was rewarded with Nook Miles, a new currency in the series that I’ve become obsessed with collecting.

In New Horizons, you earn Nook Miles for doing just about anything on your island, such as traveling to other islands, talking to villagers, plucking weeds, or fishing. If, for example, you catch 100 fish, you’ll get a stamp on your fishing card, a few hundred Nook Miles, and a new fish-catching goal to shoot for.

New Horizons also offers…

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The best games of 2020

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Illustration by Alex Castro.

2020 is a year in which we could all use an escape. There’s so much going on in the world, and so much of it is overwhelming, that even an hour away from the doom and gloom can be a welcome respite. It’s a time when video games can seem more vital than ever.

Thankfully, 2020 is also a year full of great interactive experiences. That could mean the return of beloved franchises like Animal Crossing on the Switch or Half-Life in virtual reality, or inventive indie titles like Murder by Numbers or the final act of Kentucky Route Zero. Even Call of Duty has seen a resurgence, thanks to the free and accessible Warzone spinoff.

As with last year, we’re going to be keeping tabs on all of the best games throughout the year. If we play something…

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Sony’s WH-1000XM3 wireless headphones are nearly $100 off at Amazon

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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

It’s possible that noise-canceling headphones suddenly ended up on your wishlist due to the extended self-quarantine period many of us are experiencing around the world. If that’s the case for you, we’re finding good deals every day on some of our favorite models. Today’s deal is on the Sony WH-1000XM3, which are easily among the best headphones you can currently purchase. Instead of their usual $350 price, Amazon is selling them for $255.

These rank highly in our buying guide that focuses on the best wireless headphones. They have excellent sound, efficient noise cancellation, long battery life, and they charge via USB-C. However, their touch controls can be finicky if you’re out in extreme cold temperatures. Also, they can’t pair…

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Google Podcasts rolls out new design, launches on iOS

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Google is starting to take its Podcasts app a bit more seriously today: the company is reportedly rolling out a more advanced design to Android users and launching the app on iOS for the first time (also featuring the new design), via Engadget. It’s a move that sets Google Podcasts up to better compete with more established podcast providers like Apple, Overcast, or Spotify.

The new design, which 9to5Google spotted rolling out early over the weekend, adds numerous features to Google Podcasts, centered on the new three-tab interface. The main Home screen is now focused on shows you already subscribe to, offering a scrollable feed of new episodes with quick links to download, play, or queue up directly from the homepage. Discovery and…

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How to watch movies with friends online

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FG Trade / Getty Images

Even a favorite stay-at-home activity like watching TV can get lonely sometimes, especially if you’re used to hanging out with your friends and watching together. And although you can stream and text, FaceTime, or share your screen on Zoom, sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. If you’re looking for a way to make your social-distancing series binge more, well, social, there are browser extensions that let you host watch parties digitally.

Here are four apps you can use to host movie nights with friends online, along with step-by-step instructions on how to start watching.

To use these apps, you will need your own subscription for each service, and everyone watching will have to be signed onto their own account. These extensions work on…

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