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The latest news from Entertainment

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    Nintendo Consoles

    • Since the debut of the original Famicom in 1983, Nintendo has released over a dozen video game consoles and handhelds.
    • Each of Nintendo's systems has been focused on innovative technology and family fun, though some have been much more successful than others.
    • At their best, Nintendo's consoles have made a cultural impact that has changed the way people around the world view entertainment.
    • Naturally, we ranked them all. 

    Nintendo has been the number-one household name in video games since releasing its first console, the Famicom, in Japan circa 1983. The company helped pioneer the trend towards home video game consoles, pushing back against the arcades that dominated the industry at the time.

    Even as other companies worked to match the early success of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the company has shown a dedication to innovation and family fun that has inspired each of their follow-ups. While some of the company's consoles have certainly been more successful than others, Nintendo's constant push towards new ways to play games has proven beneficial for companies across the video game industry.

     

    Exploring the legacy of Nintendo's hardware offers an interesting look at how video games have grown from the earliest days of 8-bit pixels to the high-definition marvel that is the Nintendo Switch. And, naturally, we ranked them all.

    These are our favorite Nintendo consoles, ranked from worst to best:

    SEE ALSO: A complete history of Nintendo consoles, by the numbers

    SEE ALSO: A complete history of Nintendo consoles, by the numbers

    13. Virtual Boy (1995)

    Few would recognize the Virtual Boy as a Nintendo creation, and even fewer actually owned the odd console. The Virtual Boy was designed to use stereoscopic 3D to create an early form of virtual reality gaming, but failed to create a convincing enough experience for there to be much of an audience.

    Nintendo was quick to fold on the console, discontinuing the Virtual Boy within a year of its launch in 1995. With only 22 games ever released for the Virtual Boy, there's really no arguing that this is the least impressive of Nintendo's video game consoles — ever.



    12. Game Boy Color (1998)

    As the name might suggest, the Game Boy Color was Nintendo's first handheld to feature a color screen. The Game Boy Color arrived nearly a decade after the original, providing a hardware upgrade for the more demanding games of the late '90s. However, the system mostly served as a stopgap until the release of the next-generation Game Boy Advance in 2001.

    The Game Boy Color still saw more than 500 releases in that three-year span, though many of those games were still playable on the original Game Boy. The Color could also play classic Game Boy games, and would give them a basic color scheme to highlight their visuals.



    11. Nintendo Wii U (2012)

    Putting aside the huge flop that was the Virtual Boy, the Wii U is Nintendo's least popular video game console. Confusing branding, combined with technology that was only a half-step up from the massively popular Wii, hurt the Wii U at release. It was quickly outmatched by the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 when they launched the following year.

    The Wii U's most innovative feature was the introduction of a large tablet that could be used as a secondary screen during gameplay, or mirror the image of the television. With Nintendo's emphasis on family-focused gaming, the Wii U tablet was designed to allow children to play on the smaller screen while their families were using the living room TV.

    However, the tablet essentially turns into a brick when you walk out of range of the console, making it very limited indeed. The added requirement of developing games with the tablet in mind, and Nintendo's lackluster online gaming infrastructure, led to a lack of games from third party publishers, as well.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    HBO Brexit film, Benedict Cumberbatch

    • "Brexit," the movie about tactics used in the build-up to the 2016 referendum, will be released in 2019.
    • The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Dominic Cummings — the campaign director for the Vote Leave campaign, and the man who "hacked the political system" according to the film's trailer.
    • HBO Films uploaded a trailer on December 14, which can you watch below.

    A trailer for "Brexit," a 2019 movie about tactics used in the build-up to the 2016 referendum, has been released by HBO Films and Channel 4. However, not everybody is happy about the movie.

    The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Dominic Cummings, the campaign director for the Vote Leave campaign and the man who "hacked the political system" according to the film's trailer.

    The movie will debut on Saturday, January 19, according to Deadline. The website added that HBO says its movie will reveal "the personalities, strategies and feuds of the Leave and Remain campaigns.

    "The tactics employed by Vote Leave during the data-driven campaign swayed a historically silent voting bloc that would ultimately decide the outcome of the referendum, as well as affecting future elections around the world."

    Watch the trailer here:

    Read more: The man behind the official Leave campaign says Brexit is now a 'train wreck'

    The launch of the movie has not been warmly received by everybody."You are literally interfering in our criminal justice system," The Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr wrote on Twitter.

    Earlier in the year, Cadwalladr ran a story on The Guardian that said "crimes may have been committed by the Vote Leave campaign." Just weeks later, Vote Leave was fined after being found guilty of breaking electoral law.

    Posting on Twitter on Saturday, she said HBO is "heroicizing a man in contempt of parliament." She added: "We don’t know the facts still. Because he refuses to tell parliament. But this character with the 'software' is bulls---. The 'physicists' are still unknown. The work was not declared. Electoral commission refused to investigate."

    Read more: The 100 coolest people in UK tech, featuring Carole Cadwalladr

    "This is such a terrible cynical commission," Cadwalladr said. "And me tweeting about it will only serve to make it 'controversial.' But it's not. It's just grossly irresponsible. We don’t know the facts yet. We need criminal justice not 'drama.' Who needs fake news when you have Cumberbatch."

    SEE ALSO: 2 prominent Conservative MPs want Theresa May to work with Jeremy Corbyn to deliver Brexit

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The inside story behind the Marvel movie you were never supposed to see


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    Snowboarding at the 2018 Winter Olympics

    • Google took a look back on the people, topics, events, and places that trended the most on search as part of its 2018 "Year in Search" series.
    • We looked at the top results for the search, "Where is..."
    • The most trending queries involved natural disasters, world events, and unexpected people news.

    Just Google it.

    It's an impulse thought many have when it comes to finding the answer to something one doesn't know.

    As the year draws to a close, Google took a look back on the people, topics, events, and places that trended the most on search in 2018 as part of its 2018 "Year in Search" series.

    We looked at the top results for the search, "Where is..." to see what locations people were looking for during the past year. The results were certainly reflective of the news of 2018 — three of the searches regard natural disasters, two involved world events (the Olympics and the World Cup), while others were inquired based on a scandal, company announcement, and school shooting.

    Note that these items aren't the "most searched" — they're trending queries that increased the most from 2017 to 2018, according to Google.

    See below for the year's most trending "Where is" topics, ranked.

    10. Where is Prince from?

    Musician Prince is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He died in 2016 from an accidental fentanyl overdose, which was brought into the news again in 2018 when his family moved the medical malpractice suit to the county where he died.

     



    9. Where is Paradise, California?

    Paradise, California, was located in northern California in Butte County. Home to 27,000 people, the town was completely destroyed by the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in the state's history.



    8. Where is Amazon based?

    Amazon is based in Seattle, Washington. In 2018, it announced the addition of two new headquarter locations: Queens, New York, and the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Tencent Chinese identification

    • Chinese video game publisher Tencent recently implemented facial recognition software to verify the ages of the people playing its games in China.
    • The software uses a government database to verify a player's identity. Players are under the age of 18 are limited to playing two hours a day, while those under the age of 12 are limited to one hour a day.
    • Tencent reports that since the facial recognition process was implemented, underage users have tried multiple ways to beat the system, including using pictures of sleeping relatives and impersonating their grandparents while on the phone with customer service.

    Young gamers in China are using just about every trick in the book to try to circumvent new age restrictions on China's most popular games. 

    The country's biggest video game publisher, Tencent, recently started using facial recognition software to verify player identities and limit playtime for those under the age of 18. Tencent's age verification process uses an official government database to confirm player identities with their photo and personal information. Players are under the age of 18 are limited to playing just two hours a day, while those under the age of 12 are limited to one hour a day.

    Tencent uses artificial intelligence and data collection to monitor player behavior, and the company claims it will eventually be able to detect when an underage user is playing using an adult's information.

    Read more:Video game addiction has sparked a culture war in China — and it’s having huge repercussions for the world's biggest video game maker

    After officially implementing the facial recognition software for its most popular game, "Honour of Kings," the company reported that about half of the accounts linked to underage players have successfully completed the process.

    Of the accounts that didn't complete the process, 98% failed or declined the facial recognition test. Those who fail to complete the facial recognition are automatically limited to just one hour of play.

    Tencent reported that young players have been using a number of methods to try to get around the verification process. Some attempted to use photos of sleeping relatives, while others tried to impersonate their grandparents while talking to Tencent's customer service. The company said that some kids had even convinced their parents or other adults they know into calling customer service to try to remove the age-based time limit.

    In a statement following the rollout of the facial recognition software, Tencent said that attempts to circumvent the system made it more determined to successfully implement the technology. The company has previously said it intends to add age restrictions to its 10 most popular games.

    Tencent mobile video games

    Tencent's age restrictions preempt Chinese video game regulations

    With about one-fifth of the world’s total population, China is the largest video game market on the planet. Despite heavy regulations on media and online content in the country, Chinese gamers spent more than $34 billion on video games in the past year, according to New Zoo.

    But while China’s audience for video games has seen consistent growth, officials in the country have expressed concern about potential gaming addiction and the impact video games have on the country’s youth. As a result, Chinese regulators have slowed the approval process for new games in the country, and limited the monetization of games that have already been approved.

    As China's largest publisher, Tencent has borne the brunt of the freeze. Tencent's share price has dropped nearly 30% since the year began, and the company has lost about $200 billion of its overall value. Analysts have viewed the Tencent's decision to implement age restrictions for its most popular games as a form of cooperation with Chinese regulators.

    China is slowly reconstructing its process for approving new games, but Tencent's age verification process could mark a turning point for the the country's growing interest in video games.

    SEE ALSO: China is cracking down on new video games entering the country and it's costing publishing giants billions in profit

    DON'T MISS: Video game addiction has sparked a culture war in China — and it’s having huge repercussions for the world's biggest video game maker

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: USB-C was supposed to be a universal connector — but it still has a lot of problems


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    ted farnsworth mitch lowe

    • Helios and Matheson, the parent company of MoviePass, has scheduled another shareholder meeting.
    • Unlike a meeting it canceled last month, this is its standard annual gathering of shareholders, where investors will get to vote on its director nominees and what it pays executives.
    • Even those proposals could prove controversial, considering how much the company's stock has declined this year — as much as 99% from the start of the year.

    MoviePass' parent company has once again scheduled a shareholder meeting. 

    But this time it won't be asking for investors to give it permission to reverse split its stock. 

    Helios and Matheson Analytics, which bought MoviePass in mid-2017, on Monday notified shareholders that it will be holding its annual meeting on December 27. The company is asking investors to vote on its directors, approve its chosen auditor, and weigh in on its executives' compensation. 

    "Your vote is important. Whether or not you plan to attend the annual meeting, please cast your vote as promptly as possible," Stuart Benson, Helios and Matheson's chief financial officer, said in a letter to shareholders. 

    The meeting announcement follows a tumultuous year for the company and an abortive attempt by it to hold a separate meeting this fall to approve what would have been its second reverse stock split this year. The company originally scheduled that meeting to be held in mid-October before delaying ittwice and ultimately canceling it in the face of widespread shareholder opposition to the plan. 

    Read more:Investors seem to be balking at MoviePass' parents' plans to reverse split its stock again — and for good reason

    It had hoped to use the reverse split to boost its share price, which has been mired at about $0.02 for months now. The company faces imminent delisting from the Nasdaq for failing to meet its listing standards. That could make it harder for investors to buy and sell shares and for the company to raise more funds.

    It will be a standard meeting, but it still could draw sparks

    The upcoming meeting, by contrast, has a much more standard agenda, although it could prove every bit as controversial, given the company's stock performance over the last year. Helios and Matheson's stock price has fallen more than 99% this year. 

    The first thing shareholders will vote on is Helios and Matheson's five director candidates. Four of those candidates — company CEO Ted Farnsworth; Muralikrishna Gadiyaram, who founded the company's former Indian parent entity, Helios and Matheson Information Technology; management consultant Prathap Singh; and Gavriel Ralbag, the managing director of Gold Edge Capital — have served on its board since 2016. Joseph J. Fried, an attorney who runs his own law firm, is the only new director nominee. 

    Farnsworth and Gadiyaram in particular could draw opposition. Farnsworth has served as Helios and Matheson's CEO since January 2017 and spearheaded both its acquisition of MoviePass and its decision to slash the price of MoviePass' subscription service to $10 a month. That moved caused Helios and Matheson to burn through $321 million in just the first nine months of this year, an amount it replenished largely through issuing and selling billions of new shares of its stock

    The company has revised its offering multiple times this year to try to reduce its cash burn.

    Gadiyaram, meanwhile, was arrested in India on suspicion of stiffing a creditor and has been accused of fraud there, as Business Insider reported

    Helios and Matheson encouraged shareholders to vote for all five of its nominees.

    "Mr. Farnsworth’s extensive business experience ... led us to conclude that he should serve as a director," it said in a regulatory filing detailing the upcoming meeting and proposals on which investors will vote.

    "Mr. Gadiyaram's deep experience in the information technology and data analytics sector," it continued, "gives him an exceptional understanding of our businesses and led us to believe that he should serve as a director.

    The company nominally paid its CEO $8.9 million last year

    Shareholders will also get their "say on pay" — an advisory up-or-down vote on executives' compensation. There too, they could express their ire, particularly in regard to Farnsworth's pay.

    Helios and Matheson gave its CEO a total pay package of $8.9 million last year. That included $225,000 in salary, $1.35 million in cash bonuses, stock awards worth $7.25 million at the time they were granted, and $76,050 in housing expenses.

    The company hasn't yet awarded the shares underlying the stock award to Farnsworth, because they have to be approved by shareholders first. But those shares are now worth just $49.50, thanks to the dramatic decline in the company's stock price. 

    Helios and Matheson paid Benson, its CFO, $235,500, including $200,000 in base salary and a $35,500 bonus. It gave Parthasarathy Krishnan, its former chief innovation officer, $2.9 million in total pay last year, $2.7 million of which came in the form of a share award.

    The date of the company's annual meeting is unusually late. Public companies typically hold them soon after releasing their annual reports, which Helios and Matheson published in April. And last year, the company held its annual meeting on October 27.

    However, the company has held a series of special shareholder meetings this year to authorize the issuance of new shares and to reverse split its stock. 

    SEE ALSO: MoviePass' parent company has boosted its share count by an unbelievable 80,000% since July — but it's run out of room to issue new stock

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why it's so difficult to land a spacecraft on Mars


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    spider man into the spider verse sony

    • "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" took in an estimated $35.4 million during its opening weekend at the domestic box office. 
    • That's the biggest opening weekend for an animated movie that's opened in December, passing 2016's "Sing" which had a $35.2 million opening.
    • Meanwhile, Universal's $100 million-plus big screen adaptation of "Mortal Engines" bombed, making just $7.5 million its opening weekend.

    Sony has one more Marvel hit to give us before 2018 ends. 

    Following the box office smash, "Venom," it now has opened the dazzling animated movie, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," which is an origin story of Spider-Man Miles Morales, but also a deep dive into the Spidey mythology as Miles is trained by Peter Parker and others who call themselves Spider-Man in other dimensions. 

    The movie has wowed critics and is gaining steam in being the movie to beat in the animation category at the Oscars. Now, it's broken a box office record. 

    Opening over the weekend in North America, the movie took in an estimated $35.4 million, which is the biggest opening weekend ever for an animated movie in December (passing 2016's "Sing," which took in $35.2 million).

    Read more: Jake Johnson on why he was paranoid he'd be fired from "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" and the sweet moments with kids that made him realize he's a worthy Peter Parker

    Playing in over 3,800 theaters, the movie proved it was going to pass industry projections when it took in a healthy $12.6 million on Friday. And with little competition to worry about, the movie has become a must-see for younger audiences, fans of the Miles Morales comics, and Spider-Man superfans.

    Expect this one to continue performing strong in the coming weeks as word of mouth only builds. 

    The same can't be said about Universal's "Mortal Engines." The $100 million-plus adaptation of the Philip Reeve books produced by Peter Jackson has turned out to be a major bust with the movie only taking in $7.5 million on 3,100 screens. 

    Warner Bros.' latest Clint Eastwood-directed release, "The Mule," which also stars the 88-year-old legend (his first role since 2012's "Trouble with the Curve"), took in a healthy $17.2 million.

    SEE ALSO: Ellen DeGeneres is considering quitting her TV show, even though she is the highest-paid talk-show host in the world

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The inside story behind the Marvel movie you were never supposed to see


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    Twitch

    • Twitch invited Business Insider for a first look at its new headquarters in San Francisco, California.
    • The nine-floor office is a gamer's paradise, with two six-person competitive gaming rooms, two live-streaming rooms, and a full arcade.
    • "What we really wanted to do was bring Twitch to life," Twitch's Chief Marketing Officer Kate Jhaveri told Business Insider. 
    • Below is a behind-the-scenes look at Twitch's new headquarters. 

    This week, Amazon-owned live-streaming platform Twitch invited Business Insider for a first-look at its new headquarters in San Francisco, California. 

    The nine-floor floor office is a gamer's paradise, with two six-person competitive gaming rooms, two live-streaming rooms, and a full arcade (We did confirm halfway through our tour that actual work was getting done). 

    Twitch's Chief Marketing Officer, Kate Jhaveri, told Business Insider about the thought process behind many of the design decisions.

    "What we really wanted to do was bring Twitch to life. Both the feeling of entering Twitch — which sometimes feels like entering another land. We wanted our office to have that feeling," Jhaveri said. "We also wanted to bring to life a lot of the great content that exists on Twitch today — whether that’s games the community plays, shows and movies they watch, or art and music that they make every day." 

    Here's a look at Twitch's new San Francisco headquarters: 

    SEE ALSO: From Elon Musk to Satya Nadella: Here are the 29 top tech CEOs of 2018, according to employees

    Twitch's new office is located on California Street in San Francisco's Financial District.



    Upon entering, Vault Boy — from the popular "Fallout" franchise — salutes all visitors. As you might expect, there are plenty of video game characters throughout the Twitch office.



    Twitch asks visitors to sign a non-disclosure agreement at the front desk when they visit. When we visited, that desk was all decked out with festive stockings and lights for the holidays.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    super smash bros ultimate

    • Nintendo's biggest game of 2018 is available now: "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is the latest entry in the long-running fighting game series, and the first on Nintendo's Switch.
    • The new game is already being heralded as the best in the series, and it's deserved; the game is excellent.
    • Unfortunately, the online multiplayer section of the game is marred by persistent lag and confusing design choices.
    • "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is the first major game release with online multiplayer since Nintendo launched its paid service, Nintendo Switch Online, in September. It costs $20 per year and is required for online play.

    The biggest Nintendo game of 2018 is, unsurprisingly, an overwhelmingly good game. 

    "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is available for the Nintendo Switch as of December 7 — a massive, sprawling encyclopedia of gaming history. At its heart, the "Smash Bros." series is about Nintendo characters fighting to the death.

    "Ultimate" is essentially a fighting game, but it contains so, so much more than that: A 700-plus list of songs spanning three decades of games; a surprisingly deep and expansive single-player campaign; a traditional fighting game "story" mode for each of its 70-plus characters; and, notably in this case, an expanded online multiplayer section.

    Nintendo launched a paid online service in September, dubbed Nintendo Switch Online, which is required for online play. "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is the first major Nintendo release since that service launched, and it has a major online component.

    Though "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is excellent in nearly every way, its online component is a mess: Persistent lag and bizarre design decisions hamper what would otherwise be a strong argument for Nintendo's new, paid online service.

    As a longtime "Smash" fan who's been waiting — hoping! — for a great online experience from the franchise, it's been a tremendous let down thus far.

    Here's why:

    SEE ALSO: 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate' brings more than 70 characters to the Nintendo Switch — here they all are

    Things start with a lot of promise.

    Like so many other fighting games, "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" has to do two things at once: appeal to the ultra-dedicated/extremely critical base of hardcore fans and, at the same time, appeal to the far larger group that encompasses everyone else.

    The online mode in "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is a focal point for this dichotomy. Hardcore fans want custom game settings, and to play against like-minded players, but most people going online with "Smash" are just looking for a fun game. 

    In this regard, Nintendo definitely caters to the latter group, but there's plenty for the former as well.



    The options are simple, and easy to understand!

    You can jump in with "Quickplay," which defaults to matchmaking you with any multiplayer setting, and one to three opponents. It's the "I just want to play some 'Smash' online" option.

    "Battle Arenas" offer more customization, allowing you to search for specific game types and player counts. It's intended for people who have strong feelings about how "Smash" should be played. 

    But even if you just jump into Quickplay, you're still able to filter by what type of game you'd like to be matched with. Upon first inspection, there's a nice amount of detail to the online section of "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate." 



    It's the "online" part that's the problem.

    It's impossible to overstate the difference between playing "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" online and offline — it's like two different games.

    Of the dozens of matches I've played online, a shockingly small percentage could be described as "smooth." At some point in every match, and often throughout every match, I've hit crushing lag. 

    What do I mean by "lag"? Even if you don't know the term, you've no doubt experienced it: A video buffering in YouTube/Netflix/etc.? That's lag.

    In the case of "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate," that disconnect is far more detrimental.

    Sometimes it's a stutter in gameplay here or there. Sometimes it's a several second stop in the action. It's unpredictable, frustrating, and — worst of all — it makes the game nearly unplayable.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Super Mario Odyssey

    The Nintendo Switch is approaching its second birthday, and there's already a killer line-up of games available.

    Whether you're looking for Nintendo staples like "Mario" and "Zelda," fast-paced first-person shooters like "DOOM", or narrative-driven indie RPGs like "Golf Story," there's something for everyone on the Switch.

    Good news! We've put together a list of the best games to enjoy on Nintendo's latest console:

    SEE ALSO: The 31 best Nintendo Switch games under $20

    1. "Super Mario Odyssey"

    The pure joy of playing "Odyssey" is hard to convey. It's the best Mario game in years, and easily one of the best Mario games ever made. It's certainly the best game on the Nintendo Switch, which is really saying something.

    Read our review of "Super Mario Odyssey" right here.



    Check it out in action right here:

    Youtube Embed:
    http://www.youtube.com/embed/u6oPBIVjf8E
    Width: 800px
    Height: 450px



    2. "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild"

    "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" is a rare gem.

    It's the kind of game that changes player expectations — what they expect of themselves and what they expect from games.

    Read our review of "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" right here.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    meghan markle

    • Google has unveiled its Year in Search for 2018.
    • The annual compilation contains the top worldwide Google searches of the year.
    • This year's list includes several tragic deaths as well as the World Cup.

    As 2018 draws to a close, Google is looking back on the top searches of the year.

    Google narrows down the top-trending searches in the world over the past 12 months, terms that had the highest spike in traffic this year compared with 2017. These are not necessarily the terms that were searched the most often.

    The year has been rife with tragedy — with the high-profile deaths of Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and several others. But 2018 also brought a royal wedding and an exciting World Cup.

    Here are the top-trending Google searches of 2018:

    SEE ALSO: Google just announced it's shutting down its Allo messaging app for good. Here are 18 other Google products that bombed, died, or disappeared

    10. Kate Spade

    In June, the fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead at 55 in her New York City apartment, apparently of suicide.

    Spade launched her namesake brand in 1993, a year before she married her husband, Andy. Over the following years, the couple ran the business together out of their apartment in New York's Tribeca neighborhood, transforming it into a $27 million business by 1998.

    The couple eventually sold the business to Neiman Marcus in 2006, but their love of handbags didn't end there. Years later, after the birth of their daughter, they made a second foray into fashion, launching Frances Valentine, a handbag-and-shoe company, in 2015.



    9. Stephen Hawking

    In March, Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76.

    The theoretical physicist made several discoveries that transformed the way scientists viewed black holes and the universe. Though he had Lou Gehrig's disease — the neurodegenerative malady also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS — which impaired his motor functions, he went on to become a mathematics professor and eventually the director of research at the University of Cambridge's Center for Theoretical Cosmology.

    Hawking was also known to bridge the gap on complicated subjects by infusing humor and wit during his lectures. His character and personality produced several anecdotes and references in pop culture, including appearances on various TV shows.



    8. XXXTentacion

    In June, the rapper XXXTentacion was shot dead in his car after leaving a motorcycle dealer in South Florida.

    At the time of his death, XXXTentacion — whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy — was awaiting trial for a 2016 domestic-abuse case. He faced charges of aggravated battery of his pregnant girlfriend, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness tampering.

    Onfroy rose to fame off of his 2016 single "Look at Me!" His debut studio album, "17," reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and was certified gold in 2017. Onfroy's second studio album, "?," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart in March.

    By August, four suspects accused of killing Onfroy had been taken into custody.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    donut county

    • "Donut County" was just awarded the distinction of iPhone game of the year by Apple itself.
    • The game, which costs $5, casts you as the pilot of a hole in the ground, with a mission to swallow up anything and everything.
    • The game is silly, and fun to play, but it has something to say about the effects of the tech industry on gentrification. 
    • If you don't have an iPhone, it's also available for the PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac. 

    This week, Apple released its rankings of the best apps of the year, with indie hit "Donut County" taking the prize as the top iPhone game of 2018. 

    If you've never played "Donut County," which costs $5 on the App Store, I urge you to take a look: It's a stylish, funny game that casts you as the pilot of a remote-controlled hole in the ground that sucks in everything it touches, from snakes and lawn chairs all the way up to mountains and Ferris wheels. 

    The game isn't especially challenging — there are some light puzzle elements, sure, like sucking up live fireworks and using them to bust up obstacles into chunks that fit in your portable hole. But like previous award recipient "Monument Valley" before it, "Donut County" is more about the experience than it is about reflexes and skill. 

    And what an experience it is. The general idea is that BK, a raccoon, buys the town's beloved Donut County pastry shop and launches a donut-delivery app. When the unknowing townspeople order a donut, though, what they get delivered instead is your portable hole in the ground, which proceeds to swallow up the customer and everything they own. BK, oblivious to the damage he's caused, is just trying to do enough deliveries to earn a quadcopter drone.

    It's a not-so-subtle commentary on what happens to a community when the tech industry moves in: The townspeople in the game thought they were just getting a donut, but accidentally invited disaster into their lives. It's a satire of companies like Uber of Airbnb, where a simple concept can lead to all kinds of headaches and ripple effects in other industries — just look at what happened to the New York City taxi business when Uber moved in, for an example.

    donut county

    Tellingly, at one point, BK confesses that he doesn't even know what a donut is, other than that they have a hole, and thought he was just giving the people what they want. The story itself is about the townspeople convincing him that he was wrong, and that maybe the people didn't actually want to be at the bottom of a giant hole. 

    It's all complemented by creator Ben Esposito's striking art style, which is appropriately cartoon-y, keeping the mood light as you swallow everything and everyone into the gaping abyss. 

    So, yeah, it's silly, and it's short, and it's not especially challenging, but if you have a few hours to kill, "Donut County" is well worth your time. And if you don't have an iPhone, it's also available for PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4, too. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: USB-C was supposed to be a universal connector — but it still has a lot of problems


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    Yael Stone

    • Australia will be rocked by the latest allegations against the award-winning actor Geoffrey Rush put forward in Sunday's New York Times, this time from his one-time protégé Yael Stone.
    • Stone told The Times that she alleges Rush "danced naked in front of her in their dressing room, used a mirror to watch her while she showered, and sent her occasionally erotic text messages while the two shared the stage performing at Sydney's Belvoir Theatre in “The Diary of a Madman” in 2010 and 2011.
    • Rush denies the allegations.
    • Alongside the other Academy Award-winning Australian actor Cate Blanchett, Rush forms a powerful double act that dominates the Australian theatre industry.
    • The star of "The King's Speech" has spent much of 2018 in court and is seeking damages for defamation from the newspaper that published recent allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the Sydney theatre scene.

    By airing allegations of sexual misconduct with the New York Times on Sunday night, the Australian-born actor Yael Stone faces both the challenge of confronting the most powerful man in Australian theatre but also running the gauntlet of Australia's upside-down libel laws.

    A young Australian stage actor who had informally made a complaint late last year with the Sydney Theatre Co. over Rush's alleged “inappropriate behaviour,” has found this out to her own detriment, being called as the star witness in a defamation case derived from her own complaint to the theatre that employed both her and Rush.

    The actor was later named as Eryn Jean Norvill, 34, who played Rush’s daughter Cordelia in the 2017 Sydney Theatre production of King Lear.

    That entire unfortunate process — Rush is happily now awaiting the court's decision on just how many his millions in damages may be — could easily be seen as a black eye for the transparency needed to ensure movements like #MeToo survive the various bureaucratic setbacks and booby traps hidden inside legal and social systems worldwide.

    When Stone decided to come forward and join the other women around the world confronting indoctrinated responses to sexual harassment, she knew she was taking on a system bent toward favoring the man who, when she was a 25-year-old novice in the hard to crack Sydney theatre circle, allegedly "danced naked in front of her .. used a mirror to watch her while she showered and sent her occasionally erotic text messages."

    Yael's allegations span 2010 and 2011 while the two shared the stage performing at Sydney's Belvoir Theatre in "The Diary of a Madman."

    Stone said she has spent sleepless nights worrying about an Australian legal system where the burden of proof in defamation is on the publisher to prove that the allegations against the plaintiff are true, not the reverse as it is almost everywhere else.

    Rush

    Rush kiss

    Rush, alongside the other Academy Award-winning Australian actor Cate Blanchett, forms the most powerful double act in Australian theatrical history has himself spent much of 2018 in court, suing a national newspaper for defamation following allegations of sexual harassment put forward by another young female stage actor.

    The Daily Telegraph published several front-page stories at the end of last year, wherein Rush was lampooned for behaviors similar to those allegations made by Stone on Sunday.

    Enter the New York Times, where Stone and the publishers live in a world where the legal burden is on the person who claims to have been defamed: He or she must prove that the allegations are false.

    And in the states, people who sue must prove that the publisher acted with reckless disregard of the truth, even if the statements prove false.

    In Australia, it’s the opposite: The burden is on the publisher to prove that the allegations against the plaintiff are true. Where it might get freshly murky of course is that The New York Times is read in Australia and publishes to Australian readers via its website, so while libel in this case might be unlikely, it would be informative to media-law buffs.

    The 67-year-old Rush might be hard to picture, but he is a multiple Golden Globe winning actor (1997, 2005) and plays Captain Barbosa opposite Johnny Depp in "The Pirates of the Caribbean" series.

    In Australia he is a legend. Australian of the Year in 2012, a year after Stone alleges the harassment took place.

    In a statement to The Times, Rush roundly rejected the allegations.

    "From the outset I must make it clear that the allegations of inappropriate behaviour made by Yael Stone are
    incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context," he wrote.

    "However, clearly Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work."

    Rush's full statement is available here.

    As Rush's court case played out favorably in the media spotlight in Sydney, Stone told The Times that she "swore" to stay ion the shadows.

    "I would never come forward. My intention was to keep it private."

    But after Rush never replied to an email Stone wrote the actor on December 11, 2017, under the subject, “Challenging times,” the penny dropped.

    Now she says if only Rush had reached out, looked to heal, even apologised.

    “If Geoffrey had written back and said I’m sorry and offered to work with me to inspire positive change in our industry, it may have transformed both of our lives for the better,” she said.

    “I despair that I am now in this situation. (But) I do believe it’s a matter of significance to the public.”

    “I also understand it might be confusing and look strange that I maintained a friendship with someone for so long who treated me in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. But there is the reality of professional influence and the reality of a complicated friendship, which ultimately was corroded by a sexual dynamic. But it was still a friendship,” she added.

    SEE ALSO: Michael Bloomberg suggests doubts about #MeToo movement and allegations against Charlie Rose

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 7 things you shouldn't buy on Black Friday


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    titans

    • Every week, Parrot Analytics provides Business Insider the most in-demand TV shows on streaming services.
    • This week includes DC Universe's "Titans" and Netflix's "The Ranch."

    Superheroes are on TV viewers' minds lately, as both DC Universe's "Titans" and Netflix's recently canceled "Daredevil" made this week's list of most in-demand shows.

    Every week, Parrot Analytics provides Business Insider with a list of the seven most "in-demand" TV shows on streaming services. The data is based on "demand expressions," the globally standardized TV demand measurement unit from Parrot Analytics. Audience demand reflects the desire, engagement, and viewership weighted by importance, so a stream or download is a higher expression of demand than a "like" or comment on social media.

    Other streaming shows this week include Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," which debuted its second season last week, and "Stranger Things," which got a big boost from last week thanks to a teaser video for its upcoming third season that Netflix recently dropped.

    Below are this week's seven most popular shows on Netflix and other streaming services:

    SEE ALSO: Audience demand for Netflix Originals will soon pass demand for licensed TV shows and movies, and that's great news for the streaming giant as competition heats up

    7. "The Ranch" (Netflix)

    Average demand expressions: 21,774,410 

    Description: "Being a pro athlete didn't pan out for Colt. Now he's helping his dad and brother keep the ranch afloat, and figuring out how he fits into the family."

    Rotten Tomatoes critic score (overall): 63%

    What critics said (season 2): "The Ranch’s cis-white-male orthodoxy—and its stridency about that—has a nasty tang. The show’s once-affable rudeness, its gentle, blockheaded rebuke of pansy P.C.-ism, is now edged with something darker." — Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

    Season 3 premiered on Netflix December 7.



    6. "Marvel's Daredevil" (Netflix)

    Average demand expressions: 31,213,212 

    Description: "Blinded as a young boy, Matt Murdock fights injustice by day as a lawyer and by night as the Super Hero Daredevil in Hell's Kitchen, New York City."

    Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 3): 96%

    What critics said: "There's a linear flow to it all that is focused and efficient. That doesn't mean the show couldn't lose steam like so many other promising yet still flawed Marvel series on Netflix. But so far, so good." — Brandon Katz, Observer

    Season 3 premiered on Netflix October 19. The show was recently canceled.



    5. "Narcos: Mexico" (Netflix)

    Average demand expressions: 32,529,755

    Netflix description: "Witness the birth of the Mexican drug war in the 1980s as a gritty new 'Narcos' saga chronicles the true story of the Guadalajara cartel's ascent."

    Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 1): 85%

    What critics said: "Wait a minute, is the narrator the one and only Scoot McNairy?!?! Oh, why yes it is. I was already all in, but now I'm ALL IN." — Derek Lawrence, Entertainment Weekly

    Season 1 premiered on Netflix November 16.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    david portnoy barstool sportsBarstool Sports is joining the stampede of publishers trying to drum up more revenue from readers.

    The 15-year-old company known for its bawdy take on sports and culture is launching a new service in January called Barstool Gold. The existing content will stay free, but for $50, people will get exclusive material like new podcasts and documentaries.

    The service will kick off with a documentary about Barstool founder Dave Portnoy himself and how he started the company as a print newspaper in Boston, supported by gambling ads, before expanding to the web.

    Click here to read more about Barstool Sports’ new membership program.

    In other news:

    The co-founder of HQ Trivia and Vine has died at the age of 34.TMZ was first to report the death of Colin Kroll, while The Daily Beast and others confirmed the story with New York Police Department sources.

    Facebook's latest privacy scandal: The private photos of millions of users were accidentally shared with 1,500 apps.The affected pictures include those posted on Facebook Stories and Facebook Marketplace, as well as those that were uploaded but never shared, Facebook said.

    CBS is rolling out new sexual harassment programs following Les Moonves, Charlie Rose allegations. In an email to all CBS staff Friday, the company said it's rolling out new sexual harassment programs and urged them to fill out an anonymous survey about workplace culture.

    Prada pulled monkey trinkets accused of using 'blackface imagery', and now New York's commission on human rights is investigating.The black and red figurines went viral on social media after a Facebook post by a New York-area lawyer compared them to "blackface imagery."

    Google CEO Sundar Pichai's testimony to Congress exposed the abject failings and futility of Washington's version of tech policy. Republican lawmakers fixated on the unproven idea that Google and big tech is censoring conservatives.

    Amazon's celebrity-filled Super Bowl commercial was this year's most-watched YouTube ad, reports The Wall Street Journal. Nike, Groupon and Apple also topped the list.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The true story behind the name 'Black Friday' is much darker than you may have thought


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    IP gift guide banner

    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    The Hard Nut

    The holidays are approaching, and you've been busy buying new sweaters for Grandma, new sneakers for your little brother, and a new vacuum for your dad because, for some reason, he insists that's all he wants this year. But you've forgotten to account for how you're going to entertain them all on their holiday visit to the city!

    Don't worry, there's plenty of great family-friendly theater and dance to get us all through the holidays. There are even a few shows that'll let you leave the kids behind and take a nice adult break from all the chaos.

    Check out our list below. See you at the show!

    Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

    Buy tickets to The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starting at $50 on Today Tix

    The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is the ultimate holiday classic. For 85 years, the Rockettes have been spreading Christmas cheer and dazzling audiences with numbers such as the audience favorite Parade of the Wooden Soldiers. Accept no substitutes for their unparalleled precision and iconic choreography, not to mention those show-stopping kicklines. Plus, the whole evening is hosted by the big man himself, Santa Claus. This one's a must-see for all ages.



    Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Show

    Buy tickets to Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Show starting at $50 from Today Tix

    Can you believe it's been 15 years since Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken faced off in the finale of American Idol? To celebrate the anniversary of the most-watched episode in the show's history, they're joining forces once again on Broadway with an old-fashioned Christmas variety show. Taking inspiration from the likes of variety legends Dean Martin, Andy Williams, and Carol Burnett, Ruben and Clay sing holiday classics along with some new carols of their own, plus perform original sketches.



    Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

    Buy tickets to Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical starting at $35 from Today Tix

    Gavin Lee thrilled Broadway audiences earlier this year as the betentacled, tap dancing curmudgeon, Squidward, in SpongeBob Squarepants on Broadway. Now he's back on stage as a different legendary grump, the mean one himself, Mr. Grinch. See the holiday classic complete with Max the dog, Cindy Lou, and a stolen roast beast come to life before your very eyes. Your heart might just grow three sizes that day.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    mortal engines Universal

    • Universal's $100-million-plus CGI spectacle "Mortal Engines" only earned $42.3 million worldwide over the weekend.
    • With that kind of weak performance, the Peter Jackson-produced movie is looking to lose the studio up to $150 million, according to Deadline.

    Apparently no one wants to go to the movies and see a CGI spectacle in which London is on wheels eating up other cities.

    That was the basic premise of "Mortal Engines," a postapocalyptic action/thriller Universal released over the weekend on over 3,000 screens. But unless you were looking very hard, you probably didn't even know it was in theaters. 

    With very little marketing put toward this adaptation of the Philip Reeve books, produced by "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson, it was evident Universal was preparing for a big loss on this one, and it looks like it will likely be over $100 million.

    Opening over the weekend with just a $7.5 million domestic take ($42.3 million worldwide), Deadline is tracking the $110-million-plus budgeted "Mortal Engines" to lose the studio around $105 million. But that could go as high as $150 million after factoring in all the ancillary deals it won't make much on in the coming year.

    Read more: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" scores biggest opening weekend ever for an animated movie in December

    Despite the "Mortal Engines" books being nowhere near as known a property as "Lord of the Rings," Universal was betting on moviegoers being intrigued by a project that had Jackson's name on it. Sadly, for the studio, they weren't.

    And because of the movie's release date in the crowded December market, the studio isn't going to get much help from exhibitors.

    With "Mary Poppins Returns," "Aquaman," and "Bumblebee" all opening this week, and Universal's Steve Carell release, "Welcome to Marwen," out in theaters Friday (Universal also has holdovers "The Grinch" and Oscar-contender "Green Book" still doing strong box office), there are only so many screens that theaters are going to keep "Mortal Engines" on.

    So expect this movie to be gone from theaters as quickly as it appeared. But don't cry for Universal. The studio is having another strong year at the domestic box office.

    The studio is in second place behind Disney thanks to hits like "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again," and "Halloween."

    Universal declined to comment.

    SEE ALSO: Jake Johnson on why he was paranoid he'd be fired from 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" and the sweet moments with kids that made him realize he's a worthy Peter Parker

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A Harvard psychologist reveals the secret to curbing your appetite


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    Kingdom Hearts 3

    • With 2019 arriving in just a few weeks, it's time to start looking ahead to next year's big games!
    • Things kick off soon with the launch of a long-awaited sequel, "Kingdom Hearts 3," in January.
    • Some major games are expected in 2019: "The Last of Us: Part II" on PlayStation 4 and a brand new "Pokémon" game for the Nintendo Switch are highlights of the year.


    With 2018 coming to a close in just a couple weeks, we're hurriedly preparing for the coming year of major video game launches. 

    What does 2019 bring? Plenty! The year starts with a trip into the worlds of Disney with the long-awaited arrival of "Kingdom Hearts 3" in January. Not too long after that, the folks behind "Mass Effect" have a brand-new series launching in February: "Anthem." 

    And that's just the first two months of the year! Here's a look at the coming year in games:

    SEE ALSO: Forget about 'Fortnite' — the new 'Call of Duty' makes 6 brilliant changes to the Battle Royale formula

    1. "Resident Evil 2" (re-mastered)

    The long-awaited remake of fan-favorite horror classic "Resident Evil 2" is nearly ready — it's set to arrive early in 2019, just like so many other great games currently in development.

    "Resident Evil 2" introduced the world to Leon S. Kennedy (seen above) — the main character in "Resident Evil 4." Kennedy and Claire Redfield find themselves in the middle of a surprise zombie outbreak in the fictional town of Raccoon City. It's an action-packed introduction to many of the major themes of the "Resident Evil" franchise, and it's getting gorgeously remade for modern consoles.

    Release Date: January 25, 2019

    Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC



    2. "Kingdom Hearts 3"

    Woody, Buzz, Rex and the rest of the "Toy Story" gang are moving from film to video games with "Kingdom Hearts 3," an upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 action-adventure game.

    The game is the long-anticipated third entry in the "Kingdom Hearts" series — the last major entry, "Kingdom Hearts 2," launched all the way back in 2005 on the PlayStation 2. In "Kingdom Hearts," various Disney characters and their worlds are mashed up with characters that would be right at home in a "Final Fantasy" game.

    Alongside the cast of "Toy Story" (and their Earth-like setting), "Kingdom Hearts 3" also stars Goofy and Donald Duck. You may've noticed a third character here — that's "Sora," the main character of "Kingdom Hearts 3" and who you'll play as.

    Release Date: January 29, 2019

    Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One



    3. "Far Cry New Dawn"

    A new "Far Cry" game? Didn't one of those come out, like, in 2018?

    Yep! That game was "Far Cry 5," and it came out back in late March on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The open-world first-person shooter was set in America for the first time ever, and featured a new antagonist: a maniacal cult leader with nuclear ambitions.

    "Far Cry New Dawn" is a sequel to that game, set in a post-apocalypse Montana 17 years after the events of "Far Cry 5." The trailer alludes to a period of extreme weather following a nuclear detonation, eventually leading to a new world — a world where people shoot sawblades from crossbows, apparently.

    Release Date: February 15, 2019

    Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    all pokemon

    • The next major entry in the "Pokémon" game series is heading to Nintendo's Switch console in 2019, according to Nintendo.
    • Unlike the "Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!" and "Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu!" games, this new game is considered a "core" entry in the "Pokémon" game franchise.
    • This is the first time a main series "Pokémon" game has come to a Nintendo home console.

    Pokémon is coming to the Nintendo Switch — prepare yourself!

    Indeed, Nintendo says a "core RPG Pokémon title" is coming to the Nintendo Switch — not a spin-off, like "Pokémon Stadium" and "Pokémon Snap" way back on the Nintendo 64, but a full-on main series entry.

    The beloved Pokémon series of games has always been a portable affair. With few exceptions, the only way to engage with the long-running series was on Nintendo's handheld consoles. But with this new entry, that's about to change.

    Here's what we know so far:

    SEE ALSO: The Nintendo Switch is the hottest game system this holiday — here are its 20 best games

    Nintendo announced the new Pokémon game in a brief statement from Tsunekazu Ishihara, the president of The Pokémon Company.

    Without giving the game a name, or a release date, or even a look at the logo, Nintendo officially announced a new Pokémon game in June 2017.

    "Game Freak has begun developing a core RPG Pokémon title on Nintendo Switch," Tsunekazu Ishihara, president of The Pokémon Company, said in the video. "It may not release for more than a year, but we hope you'll look forward to it all the same."

    As far as "official" statements go on the game, that's pretty much all there is.

    Of note: Ishihara specifically calls the game a "core RPG Pokémon title." That seems to indicate it's the next main entry in the long-running Pokémon game franchise — the successor to "Pokémon Ultra Sun" and "Pokémon Ultra Moon."



    The game shows up in Nintendo's financials with a placeholder name and a vague release window.

    The image above is from a recent Nintendo financial report, issued in October 2018. 

    It classifies the new "Pokémon" game with a placeholder name: "Pokémon RPG for Nintendo Switch." And the release window it gives is relatively vague: "Late 2019." Sounds like the new "Pokémon" game for Switch may be Nintendo's big holiday game next year!

    That means the new "Pokémon" for Switch has been in development for at least a few years — Ishihara revealed the game in June 2017, and it's likely that the game had been in the works for several years prior to its announcement.



    It may have some tie-in with the outrageously popular mobile Pokémon game, "Pokémon Go."

    The "Pokémon" games were already enormously popular — then "Pokémon Go" launched on iPhone and Android, and became the most popular "Pokémon" game by miles. 

    Nintendo's clearly aware of the importance of "Pokémon Go" to the overall fan base, and the studio developing the new "Pokémon" game for Switch is reportedly "exploring ways to connect the main games to Pokemon Go." Kotaku deputy editor Patricia Hernandez confirmed as much back in October 2016.

    Crucially, "Pokémon Go" is not the creation of Game Freak, the Japanese studio that makes major "Pokémon" games. It was made by Niantic Labs, a California game studio that was spun off from Google. The company's first investors were a curious trio: Google, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company.

    The new "Pokémon" game for Switch is being developed by Game Freak.

    That said, there's precedent for Switch-based "Pokémon" games working with the smartphone-only "Pokémon GO" — the recent "Pokémon: Let's Go!" games allow Pokémon to be transferred from phones to the Switch.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Kingdom Hearts 3

    • "Kingdom Hearts 3" is due out on January 25th, 2019 — but physical copies of the game already appeared on Facebook Marketplace more than a month early.
    • Fans have been waiting for more than 13 years for a true sequel to "Kingdom Hearts 2" and are worried about spoilers hitting the internet before the game's official release.
    • In order to quell the leak, angry fans have reported the alleged leaker to law enforcement, and posted what appears to be his personal information on social media.
    • "Kingdom Hearts 3" director Tetsuya Nomura said the game's epilogue and secret movie will not be released until a later date to prevent major spoilers.

    Ever since 2005's "Kingdom Hearts 2" teased more story yet to come, fans of the series have been eagerly anticipating the release of a true sequel. After a 13 year wait, with many spin-offs in the interim, publisher Square Enix is finally expected to release "Kingdom Hearts 3" on January 25th, 2019.

    But now, more than a month before the game is due out worldwide, physical retail copies of the full game have leaked to the public. On December 15th a Facebook Marketplace user with a profile in Gastonia, North Carolina posted that he was selling the Xbox One version of the game for $100, sharing pictures of the case and screenshots of "Kingdom Hearts 3" being installed on the console as apparent proof that he got the game early.

    With "Kingdom Hearts 3" serving as the culmination of 17 years worth of storytelling across several games, fans are worried that the leaks from early copies will flood social media and YouTube with spoilers prior to the game's release. In response, outraged fans have identified a Wal-Mart employee as the alleged seller, reported him to law enforcement, and spread what appears to be his personal information through social media. The marketplace post was removed over the weekend.

    "Kingdom Hearts 3" producer Tetsuya Nomura acknowledged the leak and confirmed that the development team was aware of the source. In an effort to assuage fears of major spoilers, Nomura said that the epilogue and secret movie at the end of "Kingdom Hearts 3" are "planned to be released at a later date," to prevent them from leaking. This means that they may be added to the game or unlocked via a patch on the game's release date. In the meantime, Nomura asked that fans refrain from sharing leaked footage of "Kingdom Hearts 3" online.

    Despite the leaks, "Kingdom Hearts 3" remains one of the most anticipated games of the decade. The game blends Disney's animated films and Square Enix's popular "Final Fantasy" series, and features dozens of cameos from both franchises. In "Kingdom Hearts 3" players will visit worlds based on Disney movies like "Frozen" and "Toy Story," fighting alongside Donald Duck, Goofy, and a host of Disney heroes. You can check out the latest trailer below:

     

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    fortnite v bucks

    • "Fortnite" virtual money is one of the top asks for teens this holiday season, according to a recent report from Piper Jaffray.
    • The virtual currency for the video game, called "V-Bucks," can be used to buy in-game cosmetic items.
    • This is the first year in the annual report that V-Bucks — and cryptocurrency — have appeared in the ranking of most popular items on teens' wish lists. 

    If you're unsure what to get the young teen in your life for the holidays, you may want to put away the gift cards and cash in favor of spending money for the ever-popular video game "Fortnite."

    A survey of thousands of teens found that, for the first time, one of their most-requested gifts for this holiday season are "V-Bucks," the virtual in-game currency used in "Fortnite: Battle Royale." The annual report on teens' holiday wish lists, from analyst firm Piper Jaffray, also saw another newcomer — cryptocurrency, the "money of the future."

    "Fortnite," a multiplayer-last-man-standing type game, has exponentially grown in popularity since its Battle Royale mode launched in September 2017. The game's creator, Epic Games, recently told Business Insider that "Fortnite" has amassed more than 200 million registered accounts. 

    While the game itself is free to play, players can use V-Bucks to purchase cosmetic items and unlock features in "Fortnite." Yet the digital currency is a hot commodity — players spend more than $200 million a month on V-Bucks.

    Read more: How big is 'Fortnite'? With more than 200 million players, it's now equal to nearly two-thirds the US population

    Players can earn currency by playing "Fortnite," but the rate of return is pretty low. V-Bucks can be bought within the game — the going rate in $10 for 1,000 V-Bucks. To put it in perspective, an outfit for a "Fortnite" characters usually costs between 500 and 1,500 V-Bucks.

    Fortnite: Battle Royale

    The popularity of the game — and its minimum user age of 12 — has unfortunately made "Fortnite" players targets for scammers. Thousands of websites have popped up, luring in players with promises of free V-Bucks in order to access users' personal information.

    The easiest way to buy V-Bucks as a gift is going to be with a gift card for whatever gaming console your gift receiver uses — Xbox, PlayStation, etc. Players can redeem gift cards in the system's devoted store for "Fortnite" V-Bucks.

    The list of most-requested items this holiday season also features popular technology products from Apple, including iPhones, Watches, MacBooks, and Airpods.

    SEE ALSO: A woman is suing Apple because she didn't think the iPhone had a notch — check out Apple's marketing and decide for yourself

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: USB-C was supposed to be a universal connector — but it still has a lot of problems


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