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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was designed to answer big questions about the entire Skywalker Saga. But it also raised a lot of new ones, including how well director J.J. Abrams handled its breakneck pacing and huge plot reveals. We offered our spoiler-free impressions earlier this week. But with the film now in theaters, it's time to take a closer (and, it should go without saying, spoiler-heavy) look at what worked and what didn't. Adi Robertson, Senior Reporter: I had to corner you with a few dozen lore-related questions about this movie, Chaim, so I might as well start with Rise of Skywalker's big spoiler-y reveals. Rey is a Palpatine! Palpatine is chilling in a spooky lab full of Snoke clones! The spooky lab is on a secret Sith planet! Also Poe was a drug runner at some point, I...

Facebook acquires cloud gaming service PlayGiga

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Facebook has acquired the Spanish cloud gaming company PlayGiga, which previously offered its services across Italy, Argentina, Chile, and Spain. The purchase was confirmed by Facebook to CNBC, following reports last week from Cinco Dias which claimed that the deal was imminent and was valued at 70 million (around $78 million). In a tweet confirming the news, Facebook Gaming's official twitter account said "We're thrilled to welcome @PlayGigaOficial to the Facebook Gaming team. We'll decline further comment for now." A message on PlayGiga's website says that the team is "moving on to something new" but confirmed that it would be continuing its work on cloud gaming. Facebook's acquisition comes as the cloud gaming market is growing thanks to the entry of some big new players. Last month,...

Apple, Google, and Amazon are teaming up to develop an open-source smart home standard that's meant to ensure that devices work together, make the development of new devices easier, and keep everything secure in the process. The project is meant to guarantee that any supported smart home device you buy will work in your home, regardless of which smartphone or voice assistant you're using. If the group succeeds, "customers can be confident that their device of choice will work in their home and that they will be able to setup and control it with their preferred system," the companies write. Google adds that you'll be able to "choose between Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri or other platforms." The three tech giants have support from the smart home industry at large. They're...

Google has fired another employee following a showing of internal activism, marking the latest in a series of controversial terminations at the search giant. Kathryn Spiers, a security engineer at Google, told The Verge she was fired from the company last week after two years. As part of her duties at Google, Spiers was responsible for sending web browser notifications within the company. While Google employees navigated the web, relevant informational pop-ups would appear as employees viewed certain sites. Spiers, who worked on internal data security, had deployed similar notifications to discourage employees from acting irresponsibly with data, among other projects. After news broke last month about Google employing a law firm known for its anti-union activities and firing four...

Respawn Entertainment today announced a new global e-sports tournament series for its battle royale shooter Apex Legends, the first official tournament for the game since its launch in February of this year. Called the Apex Legends Global Series, the tournament will feature 12 live events around the world that are produced either by Respawn and its parent company Electronic Arts or by the tournament's event production partners PGL and GLL. The prize pool with total $3 million, with a $1 million prize pool specifically for the Apex Legends Global Series Championship held at the end of the circuit. "Apex Legends is one of the most impactful launches in videogame history and it possesses immense esports potential," John Nelson, Respawn's new Apex Legends competitive gaming commissioner, said...

The Star Wars saga is full of iconic imagery, characters, weapons, and spaceships, but perhaps none more so than the lightsaber. They're powerful weapons and tools, and we're told time and again throughout the films how important they are — each weapon marks the personal style of its Jedi wielder — and how critical it is that each warrior never lose theirs. But it wasn't until the modern sequel Star Wars movies that the lightsaber really came into its own on film. And that has to do with a subtle change that finally gave the weapons their namesake quality by actually casting light. There's a subtle wrongness that permeates the sabers in both the original trilogy and the prequel Star Wars films that makes them always feel a step removed from the actual events on-screen, thanks to that...

Netflix is still looking for its big blockbuster franchise, but it seems unlikely that Michael Bay and Ryan Reynolds' new spectacle, 6 Underground, is the answer. 6 Underground is Peak Bay. The story is, frankly, difficult to parse, but focuses on six specially skilled people tasked with taking down a dictator in the Middle East. None of this matters. Instead, 6 Underground is defined by its 15-minute chase scene, an exuberant number of explosions, self-satirizing quips, and parkour. It's a movie that feels like it should have premiered in 2007, but instead was forgotten and handed over to Netflix more than a decade later. Critical appeal is subjective, but the lack of hype around a $150 million movie — Netflix's most expensive franchise play to date — encapsulates the company's...

WWE has one of the most popular YouTube channels in the world and has become a social media force, and today (as reported by Variety) the company officially joined TikTok. There's a WWE TikTok channel, sure, but more important to wrestling fans and meme creators is that WWE's arrival brings with it a slew of licensed entrance music for some of the company's most recognizable performers past and present. You can now add "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's theme music to your TikTok uploads. Same for The Undertaker, John Cena, or Becky Lynch. And yes, The Rock's music is available as well. Music for over 30 superstars can now be included in TikTok videos globally. The songs are not yet available for use in Instagram stories, so this is a decent get for TikTok. "By offering WWE's iconic entrances...

President Donald Trump's tentative trade deal with China, announced earlier today, has saved Apple from raising the prices or eating those price hikes itself, of some of its most popular products, including the iPhone. According to Bloomberg, which cites Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives, Apple's top iPhone models could have been hit with a 15 percent tariff, which equates to a bump in the price of around $150 for the base model iPhone 11 Pro, if the trade deal had not been reached. The tariffs were set to go into effect on December 15th and would have impacted the iPhone, the iPad, and the MacBook line, among other products. "Trump delivered an early Christmas present to Apple," Ives said in a note to investors obtained by Bloomberg. "If this tariff went through it would have been a...

Gearbox and Counterplay Games have just announced Godfall at The Game Awards, a "third-person fantasy looter-slasher focused on melee combat" that marks the first game announced for Sony's upcoming PlayStation 5. Godfall is set in an entirely new universe and will support solo, duo, or three-player co-op (although no gameplay was shown at the show.) In the Gearbox spirit — which also publishes the Borderlands games — Godfall will have an emphasis on collecting ever-escalating sets of loot and weapons over the game. It'll be out holiday 2020, and will also be released on the Epic Games...