Twitch Prime Members Can Get Free Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Gear

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey launches this week and, to celebrate, Twitch Prime subscribers can get their hands on some exclusive in-game gear. From personal armor to swag for your ship and, yes, even horse armor, Twitch Prime is offering its community an “Aegean Pirate Pack” at no additional cost to regular membership. This, of course, comes on top of all of the other digital loot you get on a regular basis for being part of the program.

Set to launch on Friday, Oct. 5, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes the storied series to Ancient Greece, where history and myth collide. The game has a massive map to explore and an insane set of missions and story branches to explore and, along the way, you’ll be able to equip your character with all sorts of rad gear. To get your collection started, Twitch Prime is offering the Aegean Pirate Pack to all of its members, which you can claim through the service anytime between now and Dec. 5.

The pack includes a rare armor set themed after pirates of the Aegean Sea, a ship skin boasting a pretty sweet octopus design on the sail, a themed skin set for your pirate crew and even a full set of armor for your mount. All you have to do to claim your loot is log into your Twitch Prime account, make sure it’s linked to your Ubisoft Uplay account, choose your platform and hit the claim button. When you’ve reached a certain point in the game, all of your Twitch gear will be unlocked. Again, this is at no cost on top of your Twitch Prime membership and, if you’re a member of Amazon Prime, you can set up that Twitch Prime access as a service bonus.

Five more games currently have free loot available through Twitch Prime, with more rotating in and out on a regular basis. At the moment, you can get some free pilot skins for PUBG, a loot box in Overwatch, skins for your operatives in Rainbow Six: Siege and a Trinity Prime bundle in Warframe, which is rad as hell if you like playing support in that particular game.

Twitch Prime also offers a collection of free games for Windows on a rotating basis, with current offerings including Darksiders, Sanitarium, Soma and System Shock. On top of being perfectly themed for the Halloween season, I’d put that collection of games up against Microsoft’s October Games with Gold or Sony’s PlayStation Plus lineup in a heartbeat. Darksiders is one of the best non-Zelda Zelda games out there, Sanitarium and Soma are nice spookfests and System Shock is an absolute classic. All told, that’s not too bad for a platform that, at its heart, is for streaming.

Piracy Is On The Rise Again, Likely Because Of The Increase In Streaming Services

Streaming services continue to flourish with new platforms joining the fray at a relatively regular rate, and that has potentially contributed to consumers making a startling move. Piracy is on the rise. The news comes via a new study that has revealed that following years of a downturn, piracy’s numbers are trending upward. You may be wondering what exactly one has to do with another and there is an explanation.

First, the research comes to us from Sandvine‘s report on Global Internet Phenomena. The theory behind what the data reveals is that with Netflix and other streaming services launching exclusive deals for content, it has forced potential customers to subscribe to multiple platforms to get all of the content they want, and that is obviously cost-prohibitive. To explain the theoretical aftermath, here is an analogy.

Rather than order a meal from every restaurant, some consumers have paid for their meal at a few and then dined and dashed for the rest. That is the analogical form of what Sandvine’s Cam Cullen put forward as one of the possibilities to explain the piracy stat in his report. With so many streaming platforms rising to the fore, it means that subscribers are having to sign up for three services and beyond to watch all the shows they want. Or decide to stop watching, cutting the cord completely.

The more streaming service subscribers have to sign up for, the higher the expense cord cutters face in attempting to hinder the issue that made streaming so appealing in the first place — cutting the cost of cable. Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, arguably the big three of streaming, are now being faced with ever-growing competition, and subscribers are getting caught in the middle, while their wallets are crunched.

The question that follows is whether the streamers, faced with so much competition, will lower their prices to stave off the threat of piracy. Considering the current cost of the streaming platforms, Wal-Mart has reportedly considered entering the world of streaming to offer consumers a more affordable option.

The issue facing streaming services is similar to the one that faced the music industry years ago. Listeners do not want to buy an entire album of songs when they only want to listen to two or three. How streaming platforms move forward will be intriguing to watch. They have revolutionized the way people consume television content. Time will tell how they respond to the uptick in piracy and if they do anything at all.

The good news for Netflix is that the study also reveals that the streaming giant is still a giant, accounting for 15% of all the downstream internet data that is devoured. On that note, Netflix is gearing up for a massive fall with a lot of new television content set to bow this fall on the popular platform, and it is not the only one.

When The Next Three Classic NES Games Will Arrive On Nintendo Switch Online

Part of the Nintendo Switch’s premium online membership comes with the ability to play classic NES games through an emulator on the Switch that enables online play through these classic 8-bit titles. It’s not the sort of thing that would instantly make most gamers jump up for joy when it comes to paying real money to play Switch games online, but Nintendo is sticking to its guns and running with the ball like a wide receiver toward the end zone while attempting to dodge all the incoming competition. If you actually enjoy the prospect of playing classic NES games on your Nintendo Switch, and if you’ve already laid down the $20 or so to access the online component for a year, then you can look forward to three classic games that will be made available for the Switch’s premium online service.

The news was posted on the official Nintendo of America Twitter account. It features a very quick rundown of the three games that will be available on October 10th via the Switch online membership service. This includes Open Tournament Golf, a game called Solomon’s Key, and one of the most iconic NES games of all time, Super Dodge Ball.

I remember playing Super Dodge Ball quite a bit back in the day because it was from Technos Japan and it was based on the Kunio-kun series, also known as River City Ransom. It featured the characters from the Nekketsu series playing dodge ball against other characters from rival schools. If you were a fan of beat-’em-up games then you probably had your eye on Technos’ releases given that the company was also responsible for Double Dragon and another favorite of mine, The Combat Tribes. If you enjoyed the simplistic style of gameplay featured in Technos titles, but you also wanted to challenge your friends (or rivals) to a friendly game of dodge ball, when you can do that with Super Dodge Ball.

As for Open Tournament Golf… the game probably looks familiar to some gamers given that it’s very similar to the golf game that was included in the Nintendo Switch’s firmware for a time as an homage to Satoru Iwata.

Solomon’s Key is a side-scrolling platformer, almost equivalent to the old versus mode in Super Mario Bros. It’s not the sort of game that will set the world on fire but it’s there for you to play.

The response to the games hasn’t been the most positive from the gaming community. Many of them were hoping for online multiplayer-enabled SNES games, or a few N64 games. There were some who were hoping that Nintendo would make GameCube titles backwards compatible for the Switch through a Virtual Console-style service.

I think Nintendo might be able to garner more excitement for the online service if the games were a little more tempting, and if they were from newer generations… preferably the SNES or N64 era.

For now, the three NES titles will join the 20 other classic games as part of the Nintendo Switch’s premium online service, starting October 10th.

Bryce Dallas Howard Is All-In On Original Characters Returning In Jurassic World 3

In this summer’s blockbuster hit Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, fans were struck with an ending that has undoubtedly raised the stakes going into the Jurassic World franchise. Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) now have a significantly more challenging role that expanded past keeping attendees at a theme park safe. Earth as we know it will be dealing with the consequences of the power rich scientists who have brought dinosaurs back into the world. Since the upcoming Jurassic World installment is set to close out the trilogy, the pair might need some help from some of the original characters from Jurassic Park, and Howard is hoping to work alongside them. Here’s what the actress is would like to see from Jurassic World 3:

Any chance to work alongside the likes of the now iconic Jeff Goldblum is certainly a dream come true. While Goldblum was technically in Fallen Kingdom, his role was more of a cameo that had him schooling the media on the gravity of the situation at hand. Many fans would love to see Goldblum back in action with the new characters as dinosaurs charge at their feet. Dr. Ian Malcolm is best known for his hilarious quips, and considering the drama to come, we might need a few doses of it in Jurassic World 3. With a new generation of dinos out in the wild, some of which created specifically to be stealthy killing machines, the film will definitely won’t be anything like the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride, that’s for sure.

Along with her words to Brit + Co, Bryce Dallas Howard has already said that the plan for Jurassic World 3 is to bring the entire saga together, including the first trilogy, hinting at the potential return of more original characters. Besides seeing more of Dr. Ian Malcolm, Howard also previously threw out her desire to see Laura Dern come back as Dr. Ellie Sattler. The actress is also an iconic Hollywood legend thanks to her performance in Jurassic World and to see her character return to help out and bring closure to her character would be a movie not to miss.

Jurassic World 3 is set to be released on June 11, 2021. As for what’s coming to theaters a little sooner, look through our 2018 and 2019 release schedules to find out.

Bungie Files Trademark For Undisclosed Title

Bungie is keeping plenty busy these days with Destiny 2, but it looks like they may have also been working on a secret project. The developer recently filed a trademark application for what appears to be a game called Matter. Details are extremely limited, but, given the fact that they’ve gone through the whole trademark process, we wouldn’t be surprised if some official information surfaces soon.

The folks over at Eurogamer recently picked up on a trademark application filed by Bungie with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The application was filed on Sept. 28, which means it managed to stay under the radar for nearly a full week. That equates to approximately 2.5 years in terms of games gossip, which is pretty impressive.

According to the report, the trademark is for a property simply called “Matter,” and it was filed for categories 9 and 41, which are specifically for computer game software and online entertainment services.

Outside of the name, the application also includes a single image, which appears to be a logo of some sort. I’m not being intentionally vague, this is just literally all of the information available from the application at this point. I hesitate to flat-out call it a game simply because “online entertainment services” could mean just about anything at this point. Sure, the application also includes “computer game software” but, for the sake of keeping expectations at the appropriate level, I don’t want to assume anything just yet. You can take a look at the logo below:

As the original report notes, Bungie is rolling hard with NetEase these days, the Chinese publisher that handles various Blizzard titles (World of Warcraft, Overwatch, etc.) in the territory. NetEase joined Team Bungie only a few months back, but it seems plausible that Matter would have something to do with that new partnership. Equally plausible is that Matter is a new battle royale game, but I’d say that no matter what developer filed a trademark under just about any name these days, as that seems to be the unavoidable trend.

In other Bungie news, the Forsaken update launched for Destiny 2 about a month ago and fans and critics alike seem to be loving it. What’s interesting is that, while another year’s worth of content is planned for the game, new story missions aren’t part of the current roadmap. In other words, it seems like Bungie may have already moved its main team onto the third game, allowing the current Destiny 2 team to worry about fun new activities, modes and maps while any narrative focus is being funneled into a third campaign.

This is just speculation, but wouldn’t it be a rad combo if Bungie showed up at an event like December’s The Game Awards and were like, “Here’s what you can expect out of the next six months of Destiny 2, yes, we’re working on a third game and, boom, here’s a little something called Matter.

Could Criminal Minds Be Ending With Season 14?

Criminal Minds is one of the longest-running dramas on network television, and it hits the incredible 300-episode milestone with Season 14. Fans have a lot of reasons to be excited about what’s to come in the upcoming season, especially considering the crazy killer brought back for the 300th episode. That said, fans may also want to consider the possibility that Season 14 will be the last for the BAU.

As viewers will undoubtedly remember in the wake of the wild Season 13 cliffhanger, CBS actually took its time in renewing Criminal Minds for Season 14, leading to some concern that the show would get the axe and we would never learn what happens next after the cliffhanger. At the time, showrunner Erica Messer stated that Criminal Minds frequently got a late renewal due to a variety of reasons, and they were simply waiting for the official go-ahead with the actors, producers, and writers already lined up. She specifically mentioned delays sometimes due to actor renegotiations and issues between CBS and production studio ABC. Now it seems her confidence may not apply to the show beyond its fourteenth season.

CBS reportedly has limited interest in keeping Criminal Minds on the air due to the fact that ABC is the lead studio and Criminal Minds isn’t delivering the kind of ratings that necessarily justify the costs of production. According to Variety, the ratings that have been steady may not be enough to compensate for the cost inflation as the show aged and has now hit its fourteenth season. Although Criminal Minds did land a deal that took reruns to a cable channel, value for syndication is arguably unlikely to grow. The window for streaming video on demand growth is allegedly unlikely to grow as well, and that’s a problem now that we’re in an era of streaming popularity.

It’s worth noting that multiple members of the Criminal Minds crew reportedly stated that they believe the fourteenth season to be the last. Although neither the showrunner nor CBS has given an official statement to this effect, Season 14 is shorter than all those that came before, even though there were signs that the order for 15 episodes could be bumped up. It’s also possible that members of the cast are ready to move on. Two stars took their time to sign on for more episodes following Season 12. They did eventually negotiate new deals that kept them around.

We’ll have to wait and see. CBS has managed to keep NCIS going strong into 16 seasons, so Criminal Minds surviving past Season 14 and beyond doesn’t sound too ludicrous. It’s not like NCIS is the only other example of a long-running CBS series. NCIS: Los Angeles just kicked off its tenth season, and The Big Bang Theory will end after its twelfth. For now, you can catch new episodes of Criminal Minds on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

Fantastic Beasts 2 Will Address Dumbledore’s Sexuality After All, According To The Director

If you had Fantastic Beasts 2 in your ‘What 2018 movie will be a surprising source of controversy?’ pool, you’re doing quite well for yourself. The second film in the Harry Potter spinoff series has received a fair bit of backlash even though it doesn’t even come out for another month. Some of that backlash springs from the film’s approach to Dumbledore’s sexuality. Earlier this year, director David Yates said that the film would not explicitly address the fact that Dumbledore is gay, leading to a belief among some that this aspect of the character’s identity and an opportunity for that kind of positive representation was being brushed over. David Yates has now clarified that point, affirming that the film will address Dumbledore’s sexuality, as he explained:

David Yates makes it clear here that he never said that Dumbledore wasn’t gay, and his story in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald isn’t an instance of making him straight or ignoring/hiding that aspect of the character. It just sounds like there won’t be some flashing magical banner that says he is gay, but it will be very obvious to anyone who sees the film that Dumbledore is gay. There will be some scenes that he shares with Grindelwald, and when you see them, the reality of the character’s sexuality will be undeniable.

The other thing that stands out to me about what David Yates told Empire Magazine is that “This part” of J.K. Rowling’s story does not focus on Dumbledore’s sexuality. As he says, this is a huge narrative, and The Crimes of Grindelwald is only the second film in a five-film series. Just because this film may not really focus on Dumbledore’s sexuality does not mean that none of the other three upcoming films will. Heck, Dumbledore wasn’t even in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Maybe the Dumbledore-Grindelwald relationship plays out over multiple films. Dumbledore could just be crushing from afar right now; we don’t know till we see it.

The obvious problems of backlash against a film before anyone’s seen it aside, we don’t yet know what happens in Fantastic Beasts 2. Maybe Dumbledore isn’t out yet or maybe he is still coming to terms with his sexuality. The Wizarding World isn’t the most enlightened place during the Harry Potter story, with students shouting racial slurs like ‘Mudblood’ in school halls and Death Eaters palling around with Ministry of Magic officials. So who knows what this world was like in 1927 when the film takes place.

In truth, if you are familiar with the Harry Potter universe and its magical objects, Dumbledore’s sexuality is even apparent from the trailers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. We see Dumbledore staring in the Mirror of Erised, which, by his own words in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone novel, “shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts.” For Dumbledore in this film, that is Johnny Depp’s Gellert Grindelwald.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald arrives at Platform 9 3/4 and in theaters on November 16. For all of this fall’s biggest movies, check out our release schedule.

Venom’s Pre-Ticket Sales Are Beating Out Some Of The MCU’s Recent Movies

The critical reaction towards Venom may not be great overall so far, but on the commercial side of things, the movie looks like it’s going to be a powerhouse performer. Last month, it was estimated that Venom could kick off domestically in the $55-$85 million range, and as of yesterday, Eddie Brock‘s standalone adventure is predicted to have a global opening weekend haul of between $160-$175 million. Now word’s come in that Venom is also doing quite well with regards to advance ticket sales, so much so that it’s outselling recent Marvel Cinematic Universe movies Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Ant-Man and the Wasp.

While the above three movies weren’t the heaviest of hitters in the MCU lineup, like most of their ilk, they nonetheless commercially successful, so Venom is outpacing them in pre-sales is quite the accomplishment. As if that weren’t impressive enough, Atom Tickets also noted in its report that among all Marvel movies, i.e. both the Marvel Studios entries and stories made by other studios that carry the Marvel banner, Venom ranks in third place, with Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther making up the top 2. Looking outside of the comic book realm, the majority of people buying Venom tickets ahead of time on Atom Tickets fall into the 18-29 age range, so clearly a lot of young’uns are itching for some big screen, symbiote-enhanced action. As for why Venom is killing it with pre-sales, Atom Tickets editorial lead Alisha Grauso noted that even though the movie has been getting mixed reviews, there’s still a lot of excitement to see this newest live action take on the character and how Tom Hardy handles the role.

Although every movie aims to be both critically and commercially successful, sometimes one doesn’t always lead to the other. In Venom‘s case, if the early reviews are any indication, it’s won’t go down in history as one of the best comic book movies, but on the money front, there won’t be any issues. I imagine another reason a lot of folks are eager to watch Venom is to see how Eddie Brock’s origin story is handled without Spider-Man being around. That, along with the other characters and plenty of action, provides numerous reasons for people to check out Venom this weekend, though it should also be noted that Venom‘s opening weekend competition, A Star is Born, is also doing well in pre-sales, outperforming Oscar contenders like The Big Sick, The Shape of Water, and Call Me By Your Name.

You can judge Venom for yourself starting on Friday (or even tomorrow evening, depending on where you live), but be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of the movie now. As for what else 2018 has in store, look through our release schedule to learn what else is hitting theaters before the year is over.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Is Losing One Star For Season 6

Ahead of Season 6, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is losing a member of its ensemble. Taking to social media, one of the show’s stars announced the news, which entails a silver lining for fans not wanting to say goodbye. Chelsea Peretti, who portrays Gina Linetti and has appeared on Brooklyn Nine-Nine since the beginning of the show, announced she is departing with a hopeful twist. Read her tweet for yourself below:

The key wording in Chelsea Peretti’s tweet is that she says that she will not be back for a full season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which does not rule out a partial season for the star. The actress also hints that her departure will not mean she will be gone from the series forever. So, you have to take the bitter with the sweet because there is a pretty shiny lining here.

Chelsea Peretti did not stop there. Saying goodbye to a show, you have been a part of for five years, takes a little more than a single tweet. The actress continued her three-tweet missive announcing her departure with a middle tweet that paid hilarious tribute to her character, Gina. Explaining that she did not know what to say next, Peretti found inspiration in another actress’ exit announcement. Peretti said:

Shameless‘ Emmy Rossum announced her departure from the long-running dramedy on social media. As promised, in a third tweet, Chelsea Peretti bolded the parts from Rossum’s announcement that she felt were applicable to hers. There are a lot of similarities between the two actresses’ departures. Among the things, Chelsea Peretti bolded from Rossum’s exit statement were some things that rang relevant to the former’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine journey. While some were clearly bolded in jest.

In response to her announcement, Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans have been expressing their sadness on Twitter, including using hilarious GIFs from the show to express their feelings. Clearly, a crucial part of the show will be missing when the series returns. It is not the first time the 99th Precinct has been without its sardonic star.

Chelsea Peretti previously missed the first half of Season 5, while on maternity leave. As you might expect the how and why of Gina’s Season 6 exit will likely be addressed when Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns. As for why Peretti is leaving the show and where fans can expect to see her next, she did not say, so stay tuned.

A premiere date for the sixth season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine has not been set yet. The comedy is expected to bow sometime in the midseason of NBC’s schedule. While you wait for the show’s return, there are a bevy of TV series set to make their returns and premieres this fall on NBC and other networks.

New Study Claims Connection Between Violent Video Games And Aggression In Youths

A recent study sought to discover whether or not playing violent video games can be linked to physical aggression in youngsters and, according to lead author Jay Hull, the answer is “yes.” Hull admits that this study does not answer the question of whether or not playing violent video games actually causes violent behavior but, according to his findings, there’s definitely a small link between people who play violent video games and then go on to engage in risky behavior.

The study, originally published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and reported on by USA Today, actually draws from 24 individual studies conducted around the world. Participants include the United States, Japan, Germany and Canada, with 17,000 individuals from the ages of nine to 19 involved. These studies were conducted at various times throughout a seven-year period, from 2010 to 2017.

At its most basic level, Hull’s study states that there is a perceivable connection between adolescents who play violent video games and those who act more aggressively. Examples of this more risky behavior include everything from reckless driving and heavy drinking to unsafe sex and striking an individual who is not a family member. According to Hull, this connection is “relatively small, but statistically reliable.” Games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto were specifically cited, as well as the original Doom series. Hull said he actually first became interested in studying this possible phenomenon when he learned that the individuals responsible for the Columbine school shooting played Doom.

Hull clarifies that his study does not conclude that playing violent video games “causes” a person to become more violent. As he notes in the report, it’s possible these people were simply predisposed to be violent individuals and, therefore, were also drawn to more violent forms of entertainment, including violent games. However, either way, he states that parents should be concerned if their youngsters are playing a lot of violent games, as the end result is the same. As Hull puts it, whether it is because of the games or the individual’s existing mental state, they may have a “warped sense of right or wrong,” which probably means it’s time for some in-depth parenting.

The question concerning a link between violent games and violent behavior has been ongoing for decades now, but, so far, results have been inconclusive. Even Hull admits that the link his own study found is small and, again, a plethora of other factors should be considered in these types of situations.

Whether or not a link exists, the most practical step concerned parents can consider is paying attention to what their kids are playing and becoming familiar with the ESRB rating system. If a game is rated “M for Mature,” it’s probably not the kind of thing a 13-year-old should be playing.