Folks who have gotten used to using Venmo to pay for goods on Amazon will have to switch to another payment method to renew their Prime membership or order goods. Amazon is ditching Venmo as a direct payment option just 14 months after enabling it.
It's no longer possible to add Venmo as an Amazon payment option. Those who already have Venmo enabled in their Amazon wallet can use it to check out until January 10. Amazon told customers that it will still accept Venmo debit and credit cards.
Amazon has not disclosed why it's getting rid of Venmo as a direct payment option. However, it told CNBC that customers still have almost a dozen other payment methods to choose from. A Venmo spokesperson told the outlet that We have a strong relationship with Amazon and look forward to continuing to build on it.
For what it's worth, Amazon doesn't accept direct payments from PayPal, Venmo's parent company, either. As with Venmo, though, it allows customers to pay with PayPal debit cards.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazon-ditches-venmo-as-a-direct-payment-option-after-just-14-months-180949996.html?src=rss
Content creation experts Streamlabs has partnered with beleaguered social media platform X to offer a seamless go-live experience. This is part of Xs long-promised integration of game streaming to the site. To that end, itll allow X users to initiate streams without having to manually input stream keys and itll let those same users sign into the Streamlabs desktop app or the mobile app using social media credentials.
The system also integrates with Xs new live broadcast chat functionality, so you can monitor chat messages in the Streamlabs desktop add as you stream. The desktop app also lets you adjust monetization options on the fly, including custom alerts for tipping and overlays for branded content. Additionally, content creators have access to the Streamlabs merch store so they can hawk branded products while they stream. Creators using X will also have access to the company's line of widgets for increased engagement.
For regular users, this partnership will allow people to chat with their favorite streamers in real-time straight from X, though this feature looks to be paywalled behind one of those Blue subscriptions, or Premium or whatever its called these days. The one that gets you the universally-beloved blue check mark.
Of course, theres the massive antisemitic elephant in the room. This is a strange time to announce a partnership with X, given Musks recent behavior and the ongoing exodus of advertisers from the social media platform. So far this exodus has included Apple, Disney, Paramount, Sony, Warner Brothers Discovery and others. It looks like Streamlabs, and by extension Logitech, has decided to buck trends and tie its horse to the X wagon. Still, new livestreaming tools are never a bad thing. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/streamlabs-is-bringing-livestreaming-tools-to-x-175752692.html?src=rss
When Snapchat introduced the notion of ephemeral data to the masses a decade ago, self-destructive messaging really took off. There were tons of companies trying to cash in, from Meta-created Poke to Wickr, Confide, Hash and others. For the most part, all of those companies failed, but the idea has thrived. To that end, WhatsApp just introduced voice messages that automatically delete after being played.
The messaging apps View Once feature already exists for photos and messages, but this is the first time it has been applied to voice messages. The interface is simple. Just select View Once and make a voice message. Itll self-destruct after the recipient hears it. This is not only fun in a Mission Impossible sort of way, but actively enhances privacy in the case of audio recordings that mention sensitive topics. Hey, once in a while you have to give someone credit card details and its better to be safe than sorry.
There are some caveats, as no technology is foolproof. WhatsApp encourages users to only send View Once voice messages to people they trust, as there are ways to get around the ephemeral nature of the data. For instance, Android users can use the screen record function as they listen and anyone can use another camera or external microphone to capture the message.
The tools rolling out globally over the next few days, so it might be a bit before the update hits your box. WhatsApp has been making all sorts of improvements throughout the past year. Just last week, the platform introduced the ability to share photos in their original format, without compression. The app also recently added a tool that masks your IP address when making calls.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/whatsapp-adds-disappearing-voice-messages-to-its-roster-of-privacy-features-172813331.html?src=rss
THQ Nordic has once again delayed its reboot of Alone in the Dark. The revival of the totemic survival horror series was originally supposed to debut in October before the publisher pushed back the release date to January. THQ Nordic now says that Alone in the Dark will arrive on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC on March 20, 2024.
The main reason for the latest delay is to prevent the folks at developer Pieces Interactive from having to work long hours over the holidays to ensure the game would ship next month. "With our initially planned release date in January 2024, the Christmas season would have been filled with stress and anything but a jolly time for them," THQ Nordic said in a statement.
Together with @PiecesInt, we have decided to postpone the release of #AloneInTheDark.The well-being of our teams is a top priority, and both companies want to avoid any potential crunch over the holidays this is why we have decided to move the release date to March 20, 2024. pic.twitter.com/VRJNVXDw16 THQ Nordic (@THQNordic) December 7, 2023
"The well-being of the teams is a top priority, and both companies want to avoid any potential crunch over the Christmas holidays," the publisher added. "Furthermore, THQ Nordic and Pieces Interactive want to ensure that the game not only meets but exceeds the expectations of the community, especially with the outstanding performances of Hollywood stars David [Harbour] and Jodie [Comer] as the main protagonists."
A delay from January to March shouldn't be a huge deal for the publisher, given that the game will still arrive in the same financial quarter. That said, given THQ Nordic's parent company Embracer is in the midst of an intense cost-cutting drive, the publisher will want to give Alone in the Dark every chance possible of becoming a hit.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/thq-nordic-says-its-avoiding-holiday-crunch-by-delaying-alone-in-the-dark-reboot-to-march-164313897.html?src=rss
Cloud storage app Proton Drive is rolling out a new tool that automatically sends photos to a private cloud server, bringing the feature set closer to something like Google Drive. Not only does the software automatically sync and upload photos to its servers, but theres a management tool that categorizes images based on when the photos were taken, which Proton calls snapshots of your life. All of these features are reserved for Android users.
All you have to do is download the update and enable photo uploads in the settings. Like all aspects of Proton Drive, the transfer will be end-to-end encrypted so you dont have to worry about prying digital eyes. The encryption applies to the photo itself and any associated metadata.
As for revisiting the photos, the app lays them all out in a grid view, with preview options in a variety of file types, including panoramas, portraits, and even timelapse videos. Its worth noting that Proton Drive already offered cloud storage for photos, but there wasnt an automatic sync. Now there is. Android users rejoice, though the company has yet to announce an iOS version.
The update begins showing up today, but itll be a few days before everyone gets it. You know the drill. A 200GB Proton Drive subscription costs $5 per month, while a 500GB plan costs $13 each month. Theres a free tier, but it's only 1GB.
Proton has been busy this year. The company released a native Windows file-syncing app back in July and its very own password manager in April. It's well-regarded in the worlds of online encryption and security. Theres a reason, after all, why Proton VPN is our top choice virtual private network.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/proton-drive-for-android-can-back-up-your-photos-to-a-private-cloud-server-edited-163116819.html?src=rss
The Game Boy might be over 30 years old, but it remains one of the most beloved retro systems. Despite its age, theres been a steady increase in indie releases, thanks in part to GB Studio a drop-and-drag tool for making games and an influx of new retro-focused handhelds. But 2023 has been a particularly strong year for the console. An upcoming Game Boy Color title, Dragonyhm, looks set both to raise the bar for the current wave of titles and round off a stellar year for fans of Nintendos iconic handheld.
We can thank the pandemic for Dragonyhm. Chris Beach was working in real estate when the COVID lockdowns put a tight squeeze on his day job. He used the time to realize a long-held desire to create an RPG for the Game Boy. The result was Dragonborne, which Beach released himself under his newly-minted Spacebot Interactive publishing imprint. The company would go on to handle the first run of Deadeus and begin production of Dragonborne DX for the Game Boy Color. But thanks to some new features in the latest version of GB Studio, the project soon took on a life of its own.
It started off as just a color version of the original Dragonborne. I thought it'd be a quick job, colorize it and re-release it. But with all the new features of GB studio, we went down a rabbit hole, and we've ended up overhauling pretty much everything in the game, Beach told Engadget. The result is Dragonyhm, a larger RPG with new graphics, reimagined sound, improved mechanics and more levels to explore. We've got plans for five [games] at the moment, and they'll be released over multiple consoles, not just not just the Game Boy.
In the time-honored retro RPG tradition, Dragonyhm begins in our hero Kris home. His mother wakes him with worrying news that his father Kurtis, the kingdoms best dragon-slayer, is missing. Worse, there are rumors that monsters in the dungeons have begun to stir. How long before they awaken and wreak havoc on our heros once peaceful lands? No prizes for guessing whose quest it is to find and save Kurtis and in turn, the entire kingdom.
The first moments of the game do overlap heavily with Dragonborne, but its not long before the two start diverging. In the original version, theres a simple puzzle very early on to acquire an object. In Dragonyhm, the same task is much more dynamic and with more interesting mechanics.
Playing the game on an Analogue Pocket, with its impressive Game Boy Color screen mode, Dragonyhm could easily pass for an official title from back in the day. The graphics capture the spirit of RPGs of the era and the dialog and challenges feel authentic. The game also feels satisfyingly big. Developing for vintage systems is hard and the projects are usually one persons labor of love, which can result in shorter games or superficial gameplay.
Photo by James Trew / Engadget
With Spacebot Interactive, Beach wants to keep the bar high and release games that would have been worthy of saving up an allowance for, and that means longer playing times with more sophisticated stories and mechanics. I think Link's Awakening was about 15 hours on a standard playthrough. And [Dragonyhm] will probably be on par with that, maybe a bit longer Beach said. There will also be a secondary mechanic that will extend replay potential once the main story has been completed.
If my early playthroughs are anything to go by, the game offers the right amount of guidance and nudging at the beginning, but its also not long before you find yourself battling it out in your first real mission. As with most RPGs worth their salt, youll need to start grinding as soon as you can to level up in order to be strong enough to take on bigger and badder enemies and unlock new areas of the game. Though, for these early stages at least, youre doing so alone and not as a party.
Mega Cat games
Dragonyhm isnt the only sizable retro game in 2023. Earlier this year, Mega Cat studios raised almost $50,000 on Kickstarter to bring the adventure game Kudzu to life. Development is now complete, with boxed versions set to ship in January. Kudzu is another RPG-flavored game, with a similar quest to find your missing mentor, Zoen. This time though its set in a very different world, one where a raging world eating plant the eponymous Kudzu is the main enemy.
Kudzu takes the classic Game Boy RPG and spices it up with humor and cozy-catastrophe charm. Along your journey youll meet an interesting cast of characters including a cat that wants a pen pal and the in-game currency is mushrooms. Kudzu also uses a wide variety of challenges to move the story along. One minute youll need to use logic and memory to navigate mazes that change with levers, the next you might be collecting goats. And then theres the mysterious Kudzu jelly use it wisely and you might just fine Zoen before its too late.
If you prefer platformers and adventure games, then Far After announced over summer might be more your speed. This game blends a lot of classic retro themes magic, quests, turn-based battles and platforming making it an obvious crowd pleaser. Far After is published by Bitmapsoft which is no stranger to the retro world with numerous Game Boy titles on its roster.
The current wave of new interest in maing Game Boy games is running in parallel with another, related trend: an abundance of retro gaming handhelds. These emulation devices start from around $50 and offer modern conveniences like a full-color, backlit display. Not to mention plenty of game storage, Wi-Fi and relatively long battery life. Then of course, theres the Analogue Pocket, a higher-end handheld thats basically the answer to the question what would a Game Boy look like if it were designed and released today.
These retro-friendly handhelds make it incredibly easy to get started with emulating almost any console from more than 15 years ago. You might even argue that, while many developers are simply making games for their favorite system, once you have something like the Pocket or Ayn Odin, the platform the game was actually made for is less important. These could easily be mobile games or modern retro titles like Celeste, just someone chose to make them with a certain tool that delivers a certain aesthetic and desirable limitations.
Of course, theres also Nintendos eShop and Virtual Console which provides a legitimate route for games like Dragonyhm to be played on official hardware for those that get a kick out of that. Beach confirmed they are aiming to release the game on Switch this way next year. With more and more ways to play these games, its a great time to be a Game Boy fan.
I think it's a really good time, I would go as far as calling it a golden age, because there's so many developers developing homebrew Game Boy games now, and some of the quality is unbelievable. Its really pushing the boundaries and producing stuff that's on par with licensed games Beach said.
Dragonyhm is slated for release next year in partnership with Incube8 Games.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/dragonyhm-is-the-latest-in-a-wave-of-new-game-boy-rpgs-160039153.html?src=rss
Truly great Android tablets are uncommon, but the Google Pixel Tablet stands out among them for its ability to function like a smart display. If you've been interested in picking one up, the 11-inch slate is back on sale for $399 at several retailers, including Amazon, Target, Wellbots, and Google's online store. We've seen this $100 discount a couple of times over the past month, but it nevertheless matches the lowest price we've tracked. This deal applies to the 128GB versions of the device in each colorway; if you need more storage space, the 256GB models are also $100 off at $499. Google says the offer will run through December 17, and it comes as part of a wider range of Pixel device deals the company is running this week.
We note the Pixel Tablet in our tablet buying guide, and Engadget Deputy Editor Cherlynn Low gave the device a review score of 85 this past June. Taken purely as a tablet, it's not as pleasant as the top Android pick in our guide, Samsung's Galaxy Tab S9: It uses an LCD panel instead of OLED, the screen is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and Samsung's software experience is generally better-suited to multitasking and productivity. But for $350 or so less, the Pixel Tablet's 2,560 x 1,600 resolution display, Tensor G2 chip and 5,000mAh battery are still more than nice enough for video streaming, gaming, web browsing and other casual tablet tasks. Google says it'll support the device with OS updates through June 2026 (with security updates through June 2028), though, as with all Android tablets, some apps aren't as optimized for large screens here as they are on iPads.
What sets the Pixel Tablet apart is the dock that comes with it, which serves as both a charger and a dedicated speaker. When you pop the tablet onto that, it can go into a "Hub Mode" and work along the lines of a Nest Hub Max. It's not quite as seamless, but you can still use the Google Assistant to control certain smart home devices, cast video from a phone, showcase photos, stream music and the like. If you've been in the market for both a tablet and smart display anyway, this is a clever compromise, though you should still want the former first and foremost.
A few other Google devices we recommend are also on sale. The top Android picks in our guide to the best smartphones, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, are down to $531 and $799, respectively. The former applies to a 256GB model and beats the deal we saw on Black Friday by $78. Beyond that, the 4K Chromecast has dropped back to $38, the entry-level Nest Thermostat is down to $90 and the Pixel Watch 2 is still down to a low of $300.
Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/googles-pixel-tablet-falls-back-to-an-all-time-low-of-399-154549399.html?src=rss
Disney Bundle subscribers in the US should now be seeing some more general entertainment fare popping up on Disney+. The long-awaited integration of Hulu into the company's namesake streaming platform is underway. Disney has added a Hulu tab to the platform for those with a bundle subscription. The company is calling this a limited beta of Hulu on Disney+ ahead of a broader rollout in the spring.
The Hulu tab appears alongside those for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic on the Disney+ homepage. Clicking or tapping on the tab will take you to a Hulu Hub, which features thousands of movies and shows, including episodes that aired on TV the day before. The idea is to make it easier for subscribers to access everything they might want to watch from within the same app.
According to Disney, by rolling out the Hulu tab in beta to begin with, subscribers will have time to set up parental controls and family profiles if they haven't already done so. That should help them stop kids from watching movies and shows that perhaps aren't age appropriate.
It's worth noting that the integration won't spell the end for Hulu (which Disney will soon take full ownership of) as a separate app. You'll still need that to access the Hulu + Live TV and Premium add ons, for instance. Additionally, you'll have to go to the Hulu app for the service's full on-demand library.
It seems that nothing much will change for folks in other countries as things stand. Disney+ subscribers in many territories already have access to Hulu originals as well as titles from the ABC, Disney and 20th Century back catalog through the Star tab.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/disney-adds-a-hulu-tab-as-the-streaming-services-start-integrating-153023092.html?src=rss
Remember when Fortnite was just a battle royale game? After six years of storylines, concerts and even Olympic events, Fortnite has grown beyond its roots into a general catch-all social space. And Epic Games isnt going back, expanding the Fortnite experience even further with three new modes announced at its Big Bang Event this weekend: a racing game, a social music experience and, most importantly to kids, a Lego-themed survival builder that launches today.
If Lego-themed survival builder sounds suspiciously like Minecraft to you, youre not wrong. Minecraft itself has been burdened with comparisons to Lego since its release over a decade ago; this is just the Lego company returning the favor. Theres a survival mode, where your little Lego minifig explores a verdant landscape punching trees and rocks to gather supplies for building. There are skeletons that wander around at night and will attack if they spot you. Various animals wander around that can provide resources: If you pet a chicken it will produce an egg, though I accidentally punched it first and got nothing as every other chicken proceeded to avoid me for the rest of the day.
Once you get into it, though, the comparisons fall away. The procedurally-generated landscape is realistically rendered thanks to the power of Epics Unreal Engine, with natural-looking trees covered in individual leaves and blades of grass that blow in the wind. Punching or chopping natural features is what turns them into Lego elements. Its weird, almost like youre colonizing the real world by turning it into a Lego one. Its also huge, about 20 times the size of the battle royale island.
Once youve obtained the materials, building is rather simple. Theres a list of building plans, and your character adorably holds a Lego tile with blueprints on it while youre in the construction mode. Players get a handful of essential recipes to start like a campfire to keep warm and a shack for shelter, and they can earn more as they play and level up. The game will helpfully sketch a ghostly outline of where each component goes, asking the player to slide and lock it into place. Theres no place for error or major creativity in the basic survival mode thats what the sandbox is for. There, all of the building plans will already be unlocked, leaving players free to let their imaginations go wild.
Theres plenty here for Lego devotees, as Epic has scanned around 10,000 different Lego elements for use in the game. All of your favorite pieces should be present, and the company plans to add more in the coming months (there are over 30,000 unique Lego elements total). As this is an official collaboration with the company, many of the graphical assets were received directly from Lego, and only legal builds will be allowed (as opposed to illegal builds, which refer to Lego configurations that in the real world, may stress or break pieces). Hardcore Lego aficionados will definitely appreciate the attention to detail.
And Epic would certainly like to see more Lego fans playing Fortnite, especially kids. Though it started life as a violence-oriented game, the title has evolved into a gathering space where kids sign on just to socialize with friends. The Lego feature, along with the two other modes Epic announced over the weekend Fortnite Festival and Rocket Racing are Epics way of facilitating that by providing activities that are more than just running around and shooting. By eschewing the violent elements (as well as controversial practices like loot boxes), Epic also hopes to make Fortnite more palatable to parents.
Lego Fortnite, similarly to Minecraft, lets you customize the challenges you'll face in your world. You can toggle gameplay basics like enemies, hunger, temperate damage, stamina and so on, along with some more advanced features. The mode supports up to eight players in a party, and you can delegate seven of your friends as "key holders" to your world, allowing them to access and edit it when you're not around. Each player can have eight worlds saved to their profile.
As for existing Fortnite players, theyre free to continue playing as they always have and completely ignore the new modes the only difference theyll see is that the main menu has been expanded a bit to accommodate the new options. But, if they do decide to try out the Lego mode, theyll find plenty thats familiar, as over 1,200 skin options have already been translated into minifigs, and there are 100 emotes for your character to perform. Players will still earn XP, which will go into their overall stats, as opposed to remaining walled within the Lego mode. Cosmetic elements can be used between modes as well and, when you tab between options in the in-game locker, it will tell you what modes each skin is compatible with.
As this is Fortnite, all of the new modes will be free-to-play, including the Lego survival builder. Epic hopes this will bring new players in, though it remains to be seen whether it can draw significant market share from Minecraft. Existing players will see the new option pop up today (December 7), with the other modes set to follow this week.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/fortnite-aims-at-the-survival-builder-crown-with-its-new-lego-mode-151433897.html?src=rss