Saturday, February 29, 2020

Samsung Galaxy S20 Series - the smartphone camera to beat for 2020

When Samsung decided to name the successor of the Galaxy S10 as the Galaxy S20, it was obvious that this wasn’t a small generation-over-generation upgrade. The Samsung Galaxy S20 series that is made up of the Galaxy S20, the Galaxy S20+ and the Galaxy S20 Ultra takes a huge leap with mobile photography setting itself up as the phone camera to beat for 2020.

All the models in the Galaxy S20 Series feature wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses allowing the user all kinds of creativity when it comes to framing their shots. Samsung has paired its flagship series with its best sensors with the Galaxy S20 Ultra going up to a whopping 108 megapixels on the primary camera and 40MP on the selfie camera. Here are some of the exceptional camera qualities on the S20 series.

Record videos in 8K

The Galaxy S20 series is the first phone we’ve seen that is capable of recording 8K video that can easily be streamed to your Samsung QLED 8K TV. The resolution of 8K is four times higher than 4K and 16 times higher that FullHD which allows you to pull 33 megapixel still shots from the video.

One shot to rule them all

The incredibly powerful camera module in the Galaxy S20 Series is matched with equally powerful software and AI to get you the best shots. Samsung has introduced a “Single Take” mode on the camera app that can basically be described as the next generation of the burst-mode. It takes one shot and turns it into multiple formats of up to 14 photos and videos instantly.

With Single Take mode, you will no longer need to shoot multiple photos or videos to get that perfect shot. Samsung’s intelligent software creates all shots for you such as Best Moment, Ultra-wide, Photo Bokeh, Beauty, AI Filter and  Smart Crop. And it’s not just restricted to photos- you will also get all sorts of videos automatically created for you such as Original, Reverse – Backwards, Bounce – Boomerang and Fast Forward, with just one click.

Turn night into day

The Galaxy S20 Series comes with a large sensor and an anti-rolling stabilizer which is great for two things. First, your videos will come out super-smooth- almost at the level of action cams. And second, you’ll get superb low-light shots using the Bright Night mode. The extremely large sensor allows for 3x3 pixel binning that will let the camera take in a lot of light empowering you to capture the best night scenes that's blur-free with less noise. 

5G power

Other than the camera, the Galaxy S20 Series also features leading industry specs. The Galaxy S20+ and the Galaxy S20 Ultra support 5G so you can transfer files in an instant or even live-stream videos or your gaming sessions without any buffering. The batteries on these phones are also some of the highest in the industry reaching up to 5,000mAh capacities while storage capacities go up to 1.5TB which is more than what most laptops are equipped with.

Your last chance to be the first to own

There’s no question that the Galaxy S20 Series are the hottest new phones. If you’re looking for premium, top of the line phones with a mind-blowing camera, you should definitely pre-order one right now on Samsung.com to get exclusive extras worth AED 828. You’ll get the all-new Galaxy Buds+, 1-year Samsung Care+ accidental damage coverage with the Galaxy S20+ or Galaxy S20 Ultra. Offer ends 5th March, so be the first to own and don’t miss out.

This Photoshop Elements alternative boasts almost $1,000 worth of freebies

The Photo and Graphic designer package by Magix and Xara is a capable alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop Elements and has a suggested retail price of $60.

However, if you purchase it via Fanatical, for a limited time you can get this offering and a truckload of other applications thrown in for free.

The package is made up of three separate bundles: photos, movies and music.

The Photo bundle includes Photo story deluxe, Photo manager deluxe, Xara Page and Layout Designer 11 and Xara Web Designer. 

The Movie bundle boasts Vegas Movie Studio 15, Vegas DVD architect, Video Sound cleaning lab and VR studio 2. 

Finally, the Music bundle includes Music Maker, Acid Pro, Sound Forge audio studio, MP3 Deluxe 19 and a voucher worth $40 to be used in the Magix In App Store.

The total price of these bundles is nearly $1,000 but they can be yours for only $60 (roughly £45 / $AU90) - a massive saving of 94%. 

This package, which includes 14 applications in all, is available worldwide but prices may vary slightly depending on taxes and conversion rates.

These are three separate bundles, and apps are downloaded separately by redeeming coupons at Magix.

GDC 2020 “indefinitely postponed” after losing Microsoft, Sony, Epic to coronavirus

For all its antivirus protection, the tech world is coming to a realization that it’s no match for deadly biological viruses.

Not only has IDC already predicted that this novel coronavirus could lead to a decline in PC sales this year, with so many factories shutting down and demand already dropping. But also, many tech trade shows and events have already been cancelled.

The latest in this string of cancellations is the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2020 in San Francisco. It was supposed to take place from March 16 through 20.

According to an update on the GDC website, Informatech, the organization behind GDC, “made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March” after a “close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world.”

 All the big companies have pulled out 

It’s no surprise that GDC 2020 finally threw its hands up in defeat. GDC 2020 has been gradually shrinking in the last few days due to big exhibitors pulling out. 

Sony and Oculus were the first ones to go, pulling out more than a week ago, followed by EA, Hideo Kojima, PlayStation and Facebook. A day before the cancellation, Microsoft, Epic and Unity also dropped out, with Microsoft citing concerns for the “wellbeing of our teams & community” due to the “growing public health risks associated with coronavirus (COVID-19).”

With so many of its big players dropping out, it was just a matter of time before other exhibitors followed suit. And, the number of conference attendees would have considerably dropped as well – Facebook, for one, has said that it’s “advising all employees to refrain from traveling to the show.”

The San Francisco Bay Area has recently announced two community transmission cases of COVID-19. This has prompted some media outlets to dub Northern California the “epicenter of what officials are calling the turning point in the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus.” So, having a massive conference with attendees from all over the world sharing gaming consoles, VR headsets and other gaming-related tech might not be the best idea.

It’s not all bad news, however. Microsoft is planning to host a “digital-only event" from March 16-18, so it’s still set to make the announcements it planned to make at the conference.

GTA 6 news and rumors: when will Grand Theft Auto 6 be announced?

Is GTA 6 on its way? While the next instalment in the Grand Theft Auto franchise is yet to be formally announced by its developer Rockstar, that doesn't stop those of us hungry for more trying to figure it out.

Now that most of us have traipsed through the gorgeous world of Red Dead Redemption 2 on console or PC and gamers are looking ahead to the next open-world Rockstar game. 

It's been a whole seven years since GTA 5 launched on consoles, meaning an announcement could be imminent, and the latest news and rumors suggest that GTA 6 could be on its way sometime soon – likely landing on the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles.

Although 2020 is still in its early days, a release this year doesn't seem likely without any kind of development announcement – especially with Rockstar's Dan Houser leaving the studio. But with the next generation of consoles coming at the tail end of the year hopes are increasing that we might hear something from Rockstar at some point.  

Details may be thin on the ground, but that doesn't stop us gathering together the best pieces of gossip, rumor and fact for your personal pleasure. Here's everything we know so far about GTA 6.

UPDATE: Some new images on the official Rockstar website have set tongues wagging. Read on to find out more.

Check out our video below on GTA VI: predictions on characters, locations, story and GTA Online.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The highly-anticipated next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series
  • When it is out? That’s the internet’s biggest mystery (but we're pretty sure it won't be 2020)
  • Will it launch on PC? Both GTA 4 and 5 made their way to PC (eventually), so fingers crossed
  • Where will GTA 6 be set? Unknown, but some rumors have suggested a move to South America

GTA 6 release date : when can I play it?

GTA 6

Grand Theft Auto (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Red Dead Redemption 2 has now been in the wild for more than a year, which means we're hoping a GTA 6 announcement isn't far away – even though we're likely to be waiting a while to play it.

According to some rumors, we could see the next Grand Theft Auto announced in 2020, with a potential release in 2021, which would make sense considering we're heading into a new console generation at the end of 2020. However, Rockstar has been focused on getting Red Dead Online up and running which may have diverted attention, not to mention the potential delays potentially caused by Dan Houser's departure from Rockstar. 

However, according to reputable industry analyst Michael Pachter, the game's actual release could be as far away as 2022. In an interview with Gaming Bolt, Pachter said that he thinks a 2020 announcement with a 2021 release would be the best case scenario, while a 2021 announcement with a 2022 release or later would be more likely. 

Given 2020 has only just begun, expecting any news of GTA 6 in the immediate future is unlikely. But the Xbox Series X and PS5 are due to launch at the end of the year and if GTA 6 followed the release pattern of its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto 5, it'd be released at the very tail end of the current generation, comfortably released on the new generation and straddle both for the widest install base possible. 

With no announcement thus far that seems optimistic but, hey, anything could happen. 

GTA 6 trailer: when can I watch one?

The thing about Rockstar Games is that it’s an incredibly secretive games publisher. No trailer is getting out of that studio unless someone seriously screws up. 

Just look at what Rockstar did with both GTA 5 and Red Read Redemption 2. It teased an announcement a few days before dropping the first trailer for either game. 

If there’s a GTA 6 trailer, you’ll know about it because the internet will explode – and we'll let you know too, of course. But we're not expecting one anytime soon.

GTA 6 news and rumors: what do we know so far?

Grand Theft Auto (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Below we've collected together all of the latest leaks and rumors that hint at when GTA 6 might be launched – and what we can expect from the new game. As always, take these details with a pinch of salt – some are old, some are from now deleted sources and others might just be keen fans getting carried away. 

Website artwork

It's really not much (though does it ever take much when it comes to Rockstar excitement?) but some recent additions to the Rockstar website have caused excitement amongst fans. The additions (via GamesRadar) are some new pieces of artwork to the site's menus that appear to be unrelated to any of Rockstar's existing games. 

The first piece of artwork is an android hugging a champagne bottle with the year 1998 on it (that's Rockstar's founding year) while the second is a red and blue logo with Rockstar's various slogans on it. 

Like we said, this isn't much at all but any changes Rockstar makes tend to grab the attention of fans hoping for some kind of new game announcement. After all, the announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2 was preceded by a Twitter logo change so it's not like subtlety like this would be off the cards. 

Or this could simply be Rockstar updating its website with some interesting new evergreen imagery—the fact that the images are generally relevant to Rockstar as a company and that they appear in the background of the site's menu suggests that they're not hugely important. Until any kind of official announcement is made we won't know for sure. 

Take-Two plays down AAA releases

In an earnings call for Take-Two Interactive – the publisher that owns GTA developer Rockstar – shareholders were told to expect the "most robust pipeline" in the company's history. However, Take-Two CEO Strauss H. Zelnick also stressed that some years would be thin on releases – which, given the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 last year, doesn't make us hopeful for any new GTA titles in the coming year.

"Given that we're a company that depends on our creative teams to make as close to perfect products as possible," said Zelnick, "we have to be willing to live with the vagaries of product deliveries. And that means, sometimes, we will have thin frontline years."

Dan Houser leaves Rockstar
Revealed in a statement by Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive, Houser (who was has been on an extended leave period since spring 2019) will be officially leaving the company on March 11. His brother Sam Houser remains present as president.

Houser, who has variously acted as writer, producer and voice actor at Rockstar, led Rockstar Games to become one of the biggest developers in the industry. It's currently unknown whether this will have an impact on GTA 6's development.

CJ voice actor shoots down rumors
Chris Bellard, the voice actor for GTA San Andreas' character CJ, has debunked rumors that he will be reprising his role in GTA 6. Using Instagram, Bellard posted that he's "not involved in GTA VI at all".

This doesn't rule out the return of CJ as a character entirely (Rockstar could always cast someone else in the role) but it does confirm that Bellard isn't involved and doesn't intend to be if asked. 

Rockstar hasn't commented on rumors and we won't know anything certain about any cast for GTA 6 until it speaks out. 

Steven Ogg at Brazil Game Show
Steven Ogg, the actor known for playing Trevor in GTA 5, was in attendance at the Brazil Game Show in October 2019. According to someone who was at the event, Ogg said that GTA 6 will be coming "soon". 

Ogg's reasoning, rather than any kind of inside knowledge as far as we can tell, is that Rockstar games "take 7-8 years to make, do the math." Doing the math from GTA 5's 2013 release date would mean that GTA 6 could release in 2020 or 2021, right in time for the next generation of consoles. That seems very soon for a game we've seen very little about but, hey, it's not impossible. We'll be watching this space. 

Scouting areas in Florida
Speculation around a Florida setting – even a game that encompassed the whole state – has been brimming after a leaked letter was given legitimacy by a well-regarded Rockstar leaker, @Yan2295. 

The letter was to a Florida store asking permission for Rockstar Games to inspect the premises, presumably for use or inspiration in the forthcoming game – mentioning a location scout Leah Sokolowsky who hinted at a large digital media client in a podcast back in May 2019 (via Daily Star).

GTA 6

Grand Theft Auto (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Edinburgh Rockstar HQ
One rumor that could hint at GTA 6's imminent arrival comes from website Edinburgh Live. According to the team there, Rockstar's HQ in Edinburgh has been tearing down the Red Dead Redemption 2 banner this week. We know, that's hardly proof of anything. But what will replace it? It could well be another game, a redesign or maybe the team just want to let a bit more natural light in.

Project Americas
Another day and another Grand Theft Auto 6 leak (via GamesRadar) is making the rounds, though we'd recommend not getting too excited given it's from a now-deleted Reddit post. Admittedly, some of the things that appear in this supposed leak do corroborate previous rumors but this consistency is no confirmation of what the game will be and we won't know for sure what's in store for Grand Theft Auto 6 until Rockstar itself makes an announcement.

Regardless, it's still fun to get our imaginations going for what the future of the Grand Theft Auto franchise may hold. According to the Reddit poster behind the leak, the game, known as Project Americas, has been in production since 2015 though it was placed on ice while Red Dead Redemption 2 was the focus. GTA 6 could be expansive, set across multiple decades (1970s to 1980s) and locations (one of which is Vice City, another Liberty City and another is a fictional city based on Rio de Janeiro). 

The game will apparently deal with one playable protagonist named Ricardo and play through their story as a rising drug lord with heavy inspiration from Netflix's Narcos series. The story will be told through chapters, with a heavy emphasis on the visuals of changes in time as the story progresses. While there's no estimated release date given, the post says that the plan is to release the game for the next generation only. 

While it's unlikely that the whole report is true (even the poster says that the game's pre-alpha status means things are likely to change) that's not to say some elements are impossible. Certainly a next-gen only release seems entirely plausible. Before you get too excited,though, the post has already been debunked by Kotaku's Jason Schreier.

Another rumor leak?
This is definitely one to take with a big pinch of salt but according to this leak, Grand Theft Auto 6 will return to multiple previous fan-favorite locations, take inspiration from Red Dead Redemption 2, and won't release on current generation consoles. Well, that's according to an anonymous post made on Pastebin, which has since been removed (via Comic Book) .

According to the post, GTA 6 will allow players to travel between several big cities, including Liberty City and Vice City. The poster also claims you start off as a small-time drug runner before joining an infamous gang and kicking it with the big dogs.

In addition, the post claims Rockstar is waiting to see how the new-generation consoles sell (PS5 and Xbox Two) as GTA 6 wouldn't be able to be released on the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One due to memory restrictions. The anonymous poster also claimed GTA 6 will feature both major cities along with a vast stretch of highways and Blaine County-like countryside in the middle of it all.

Finally, the post claims that, despite the game being set in a timed era, there will be flashbacks between missions and Red Dead Redemption 2-type stranger dialogues that implement the greet/antagonise format.

While location rumors seem to be leaking in abundance, the anonymous Pastebin post has been backed up by review on Glassdoor by a Rockstar Games QA tester, which has since been removed (via Dexerto). Alongside reading out Rockstar for its institutionalized crunch, the post leaves a cryptic message that sees the first letter of each sentence spelling out 'GTA6LSVCLC'. This may be pointing to the potential locations of Grand Theft Auto 6: Los Santos, Vice City, and Liberty City. 

Wonder what these locations would look like together as an actual map? Graphic designer RealityDesign posted a concept image on GTA Forums, showing what this map could potentially look like. Check it out below:

Image credit: RealityDesign

Job listings
At this point we're probably just clenching at straws, but Rockstar have been hiring for a tonne of programming positions. We're hoping they're preparing to get development underway, but that is probably just hopeful thinking.

The Know report on Vice City
The most significant Grand Theft Auto 6 rumor came from YouTube channel The Know. It stated that an inside source told it that GTA 6 is coming 2021-2022 and is being developed under the code name Project Americas.

The reason for this code name is apparently because players will be able to fly between the US and South America in the game, though the majority of the action will take place in the former. This in combination with the source's assertion that the game will largely be set in Vice City (the Rockstar version of Miami) suggests there could be a focus on drug running which would draw on the popularity of shows and movies like Narcos and Tom Cruise's Made in America. Particularly if Rockstar holds on to that 80s setting.

With no comment from Rockstar, these rumors remain nothing more than, well, rumors. But they do pose an interesting proposition that would seize upon the particular fondness many fans of the series have for Vice City.

GTA 6

Grand Theft Auto (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

GTA 6 is definitely coming and there are ideas
What we do know about GTA 6 is that ideas are being thrown around for development, even if it’s just in the early stages. Rockstar President Leslie Benzies teased the game in an interview back in 2013 with Develop magazine. 

“We don’t know what GTA 6 will be, but we’ve got some ideas,” said Benzies in the interview. 

Okay, so it’s not much, but it’s certainly a snippet of solid information direct from the source. 

Benzies went on to talk about what kind of ideas get the creative juices flowing over at Rockstar. 

“We’ve got about 45 years’ worth of ideas we want to do,” he added. “We’ll pick the right ones.”

“It comes from the idea first. Where it is going to be set is the first question. That then defines the missions; you’re doing different things in LA than in New York or Miami.

“The map and story get worked up together, and the story is a basic flow of how it works out so you can layer the mission in.”

We’re just pleased that Rockstar has so many ideas for what it wants to do with GTA 6. We just hope it sorts them into some kind of organised system and gets that game to us sharpish. 

GTA 6 map: where will GTA 6 be set?

GTA 6

Grand Theft Auto (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Although there haven’t been any concrete reports as yet, every online titbit and juicy gossip morsel is pointing towards GTA 6’s map being absolutely massive. We’re even not talking city-size massive, we’re talking potentially the entire of the United States massive. 

Some rumors are suggesting that GTA 6 may end up spanning the entirety of the US, with some kind of teleportation system that cuts down the journey time between cities. 

There are even some incredibly exciting rumours that Rockstar Games might have a ‘70s theme up its sleeve, so crack out those old bell-bottoms and disco balls.

But there’s also another rumor that’s gathering strength, which would put GTA 6 a little closer to Rockstar Games’ British home – a London setting. 

The reports actually started with a comment from Rockstar Games’ co-founder Dan Houser:

“At the moment, it feels like GTA’s DNA is contemporary-ish, American-ish, English-speaking-ish, because that’s what it has been… But that doesn’t necessarily limit it to those, that’s just what we’ve done so far.”

Rockstar Games sources suggest that London is the only non-US location to be whispered as a potential GTA setting.  

For our money, we think a return to Vice City is on the cards, which would tie in to the rumors mentioned above. A recent report from The Know suggests that a return to Vice City in the 80s is actually in the works and that players will explore the rise in drugs at the time through the missions. In this rumored game, players will move between Vice City and South America, which would create a very interesting and entirely new kind of map.

The GTA 3 trilogy was set across three locations, Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas. This mirrored the original Grand Theft Auto Game, which was also set across the same three locations. 

The most recent Grand Theft Auto games, GTA 4 and GTA 5, have so far been set in Liberty City and San Andreas respectively, meaning that Vice City is the only location yet to be explored by the recent games. 

The only question now is whether Rockstar will be tempted to complete the set. 

Pokémon Go updates: all the news and rumors for what's coming next

Pokémon Go: the world's first augmented reality app to become a household name. Niantic's mobile AR game is still going strong two years after it first released, with a constant drip of events and updates keeping budding trainers glued to their phones and pounding the streets.

And while it hasn't managed to top the peak of its popularity in 2016, it's still going strong and finding plenty of new ways to improve its player experience.

So what's the latest news for Pokémon Go? As you'd expect, brand new features are being added all the time and community events are still going strong. Plus we have some more themed events and brand new Pokémon being introduced at regular intervals. 

But without further ado, here's our guide to all the latest Pokémon Go news and updates.

Pokémon Go news and Pokémon Go updates

  • What's new? Some new events from March have been announced

Research Breakthrough Encounter

The starring Pokémon for March's Research Breakthroughs has been announced: it's Ferroseed. This Grass/Steel-type and its bonus stardust will be available from March 1 through to April 1. 

Thundurus comes to Raids

Thundurus, the Electric/Flying-type Pokémon, is making its Pokémon Go debut and will appear in five-star Raids from March 2. 

Legendary Raid Weekends

Speaking of Raids, each weekend in March will bring a new Legendary Pokémon to Raids as well as the chance to catch a Shiny version of that Pokémon. 

  • March 6 to March 9: Darkrai
  • March 13 to March 16: Giratina
  • March 20 to March 23: Cobalion
  • March 27 to March 30: Lugia

Pokémon Go Battle League

Niantic has rolled out the long-awaited Pokémon Go Battle League to trainers of Level 10 and above.

At the moment, the League is in Preseason, the time before competitive play really begins. Niantic is using this as a kind of testing period in which they can "optimize and balance" the new feature as well as decide on things like season lengths and ranks. 

Trainer Battles within the GO Battle League will rotate between three leagues and players will be able to rank against fellow Trainers, earning rewards for ranking.

For preseason, the GO Battle League is beginning with the Great League, which will be followed by the Ultra League then the Master League. Even though preseason isn't competitive, players can still rank but it will be partially reset when Season 1 properly starts. Rewards for battling and winning can also be earned during preseason.

Entering the Battle League isn't possible until a player has walked 5km (although in preseason this requirement is waived). They'll then unlock five online matches up to three times a day by doing this. Players can earn Stardust depending on rank and number of battles won as well as items like Rare Candies and TMS as well as the chance to get exclusive Pokémon encounters. 

Other rewards will include Pikachu Libre and exclusive avatar items inspired by it.

Niantic has also announced that it's turning Premium Raid Passes into Premium Battle Passes. The pass will have a double function, allowing players to enter Raid Battles or the premium track in the Go Battle League. Winning using the Premium Battle Pass could yield better rewards and will lower the number of wins needed to earn a Pokémon encounter.

The Great League is currently underway and will rotate to the Ultra League on Monday, February 10, before going into the Master League on Monday 24 February. Things will go back around to the Great League on March 9. Niantic has promised more details on when Season 1 of the Go Battle League will officially begin soon. 

What's the next Pokémon Go Event?

Team GO Rocket Takeover

From March 6 to March 9, Team Rocket will be up to no good in Pokémon Go. During this period Poison- and Dark-type Pokémon will be appearing more often in the wild and it's believed that Absol will be one of the Pokémon appearing more often. 

On March 7 specifically, Team GO Rocket will be doing a global take-over. As part of this, Rocket Grunts will be attempting to seize more PokéStops while Sierra, Cliff, Arlo and Giovanni will be more active and more commonly encountered. 

During the take-over, players will be able to use Charged TMs to change the exclusive attack of a Shadow Pokémon to another attack and defeating Grunts and Leaders will earn twice the usual Stardust. 

Mysterious Weekend Event

From March 20 to March 23 there will be a special weekend event in Pokémon Go. During the event, Normal-, Fire-, Water-, Electric-, and Ice-type Pokémon will appear more often in the wild. Karrablast and Shelmet will also be hatching more from 5 km Eggs and one to four-star Raid Battles across the weekend will feature Bug or Steel-type Pokémon.

Bonuses during the event will double catch and double hatch Stardust. 

Live Events

Niantic has announced that Pokémon Go Live Events will be coming to Taiwan, the US and the UK this year. The first event in Taiwan which celebrated the Lantern Festival has passed, while the others are still to come and will be ticketed at a cost of $12/£12 for General Admission and $18/£18 for Early Admission. 

  • March 27 - 29: Safari Zone St. Louis, Missouri, US
  • April 17 - 19: Safari Zone Liverpool, UK
  • May 8 - 10: Safari Zone Philadelphia, US

When's the next Pokémon Go Community Day?

  • What date is the next Community Day? February 22
  • Who's the starring Pokémon? Rhyhorn

The votes are in and Niantic has confirmed that Rhyhorn is going to be the starring Pokémon for February's community day with the special attack Rock Wrecker. 

Then, the Community Day will take place on February 22, running from 11am to 2pm on the Northern Hemisphere and 3pm to 6pm on the Southern Hemisphere. 

Pokémon Go update: what's next?

Now that Go Battle League has arrived in Pokémon Go, Niantic has ticked another big promised feature off its list. At the moment, we're not sure what's next for the game aside from, naturally, new Pokémon being added. We'll update here when the roadmap becomes more clear.

Pokémon Go Plus deals

Want to buy yourself a Pokémon Go Plus wearable? Check some of today's best deals down below.

(Image credits: Niantic/Pokémon Company)

Disney Plus UK release date, price, deals, Sky Q integration and what we know

Disney Plus UK is almost here in the UK. The final Disney Plus release date in the UK and Ireland is March 24, a week earlier than March 31 as was originally announced. In just a few weeks, you can stream all the Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars content available on the service. Pre-orders have gone live, and you can save £10 if you want to buy a year's subscription now.

The regular Disney Plus UK price is £5.99 per month or £59.99 per year. But Disney is also running a limited time offer when you pre-order now, of £49.99 for a whole year (sign up here). Subscribers to the UK-only Disney Life service will be migrated over to Disney Plus, but we still don't know exactly how that'll work. 

Below, save £10 on a Disney Plus UK year-long subscription:

Disney Plus previously launched back in November in territories like the US and Australia, but if you were hoping we'd get every episode of The Mandalorian at launch in the UK, episodes will only start to 'roll out' on the March 24 launch. Still, future originals are more likely to keep pace with US releases. 

Below, we'll talk you through everything we know about Disney Plus's UK launch, price, compatible devices, shows, movies and the possibility of Sky Q integration. 

Disney Plus UK release date: start streaming in March

Disney Plus has an updated release date in the UK: March 24, a week earlier than initially planned. It launches in Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland at the same time.

It's been an absurdly long wait for Disney Plus to arrive in the UK, but it's getting close now. No one's been thrilled about getting the streaming service – including originals like The Mandalorian and Lady and the Trap – four months after the US, especially when we've had to fend off Baby Yoda memes for that entire time.

That said, although many Disney fans in Europe might've felt a bit left out by the staggered release date of Disney Plus, Disney fans in South America and Asia will be doubly disappointed as they still have yet to get a Disney Plus release date for the service for Brazil, Japan, Argentina and dozens of other Disney-loving countries.

It does feel like the delayed rollout of the service has made piracy Disney Plus's worst enemy, even knowing a firm date is on the horizon for many European countries.

We saw the UK release date for Rick & Morty Season 4 brought forward after fan backlash over the delay, but doing so for a whole platform such as Disney Plus was likely too big a task. After all, a lot of Disney movies were still on Sky over the holidays, including most of the Star Wars films.

The delay is presumably more to do with available programming than anything else. We know The Mandalorian, though, will only start releasing episodes on March 24 – meaning UK viewers may have to wait longer to see the Star Wars show in full. 

Disney Plus: UK price, subscription tiers and pre-order deal explained

Disney has confirmed that Disney Plus will cost £59.99 for an annual subscription, or £5.99 per month. As mentioned above, until March 23 you can pre-order a year's subscription and bring the price down to £49.99. Monthly and yearly, then, are the two available tiers, and you can cancel at any time. Unlike in the US, where it's bundled in with ESPN and Hulu, in the UK Disney has so far only been announced as a standalone service. 

Either tier gets you four concurrent streams, unlimited downloads with a maximum of 10 devices and the option to create seven profiles. Disney UK doesn't specifically mention 4K resolutions, just 'high-quality' viewing. Since it's available in the US and Australia, though, expect to see that for the same price tier. We'll explain more about compatible apps below. 

In the US, you can gift a year of Disney Plus either digitally or in the form of physical cards, but no such option has been announced for the UK yet.

Disney Plus may launch in the UK with Sky Q and Now TV

According to a report by The Telegraph, Disney Plus may be integrated into Sky Q and Now TV at launch. That means Sky Q users will be able to access content through the Sky interface, similarly to how it currently incorporates Netflix. We'll update this page if the deal gets confirmed – but you can assume that The Telegraph scoop was made with some confidence. 

Disney Plus UK: shows and movies

Star Wars series The Mandalorian is the clear highlight of Disney Plus originals. As mentioned, episodes will only start to 'roll out' on March 24. Expect the live-action Lady and the Tramp, High School Musical: The Series, Encore!, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, Togo, Diary of a Future President, Forky Asks a Question and The Imagineering Story at launch, too. 

An important thing to note: UK Disney Plus content will differ to Disney Plus US, which already has movies like the live-action Lion King and Aladdin pictures from 2019 to stream. 

As of mid-February, Disney started sending out marketing emails with samples of what to expect from Disney Plus UK at launch, which will include over 1000 films, series and originals, according to the email. Here's everything we spotted on there that isn't an existing Disney Plus original, as well as content the official Twitter account has discussed – most notable is X-Men: Days of Future Past, as none of the Fox X-Men movies are currently on the US version of the service.

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Wall-E
  • Free Solo
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Flood (National Geographic)
  • Avatar
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift
  • Duck Tales
  • Darkwing Duck
  • The Gummi Bears
  • Chip 'N' Dale: Rescue Rangers
  • Pinocchio 

Now, everything else from the archives is more of a question mark. Will Disney Plus UK get 30 seasons of The Simpsons, for example? We're not sure either way. Sky has the exclusive rights to new episodes here, but it doesn't offer any episodes for on-demand streaming. We've asked Disney about The Simpsons on Disney Plus UK specifically, and we'll update you if there's an answer. 

Fans on Reddit have noticed, though, that while the launch trailers for Disney Plus France and Spain tease The Simpsons' presence, the UK trailer does not. Let's wait and see what happens. 

Likewise, Sky has a pretty deep archive of Disney movies right now, including 2019's Aladdin. It's hard to tell how that might affect the content on Disney Plus, so for now we'll have to wait and see. 

In the future, Disney Plus is getting plenty of big exclusive shows. From the Marvel Cinematic Universe side of things, new shows include The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (August), WandaVision (November), Loki (2021), Hawkeye (2021) and animated show What If?. Further off, expect TV shows based on Moon Knight, Ms Marvel and She-Hulk. Unlike Marvel's Netflix shows, too, these will canonically be part of the MCU, and feature actors crossing over between the movies and these TV series.

Lucasfilm has a second season of The Mandalorian coming in October 2020, then further off it's making shows featuring Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi and Diego Luna's Cassian Andor from Rogue One. 

Disney Plus UK: apps and supported devices

Disney Plus should launch on pretty much any device you can name in the UK, including mobile devices, games consoles, streaming media devices and smart TVs. You can take Disney Plus shows on the go, too, downloading as many movies and shows as you can fit on your device, as long as you have an active subscription and connect to the internet every 30 days.  

In the US, the app launched on Apple TV, Roku streaming devices, Android, iOS, PS4, Xbox One, Nvidia Shield, Hisense TVs, Google Chromecast and Amazon's Fire range of streaming devices. One notable exception is the Nintendo Switch, which is still pretty poor at supporting streaming services. 

Philips has confirmed its Android-based smart TVs will support Disney Plus.

Apex Legends Season 4: latest update news, tips, patch notes and more

EA surprised many with the sudden announcement of Apex Legends back in February 2019, a free-to-play battle royale shooter that sees the publisher going toe-to-toe with genre mammoths PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite Battle Royale.

Developed by Respawn Entertainment and set in the Titanfall universe, Apex Legends is a squad-based battle royale shooter where teams of three go up against 57 other players to try to gather loot and be the last person (or squad) standing.

However, unlike Fortnite and PUBG, Apex Legends sees players take on one of eight classes, each represented by a unique character (imagine Fortnite mixed with Overwatch and you’ll be on the right track.) 

Apex Legends has now celebrated one year of play and is into its fourth season, Assimilation, which began on February 4 2020. 

If you're new to Apex Legends and looking to see what you're missing or you've dropped off the map for a while and you'd like to catch up on the latest, we're here to keep you up to date on what's fresh in Apex Legends. 


As we said in our full Apex Legends review:

"Truth be told, the Battle Royale movement has never quite grabbed me. I dabbled in PUBG and spent a dozen hours or so with Fortnite, yet nothing ever quite stuck the landing. Apex though, has got me hook, line and sinker. Featuring intuitive controls, an outstanding comms system and remarkable rogue’s gallery, Respawn has created what feels like the AAA outing for the genre." 

Apex Legends update news

  • What's new? There's a brand new event coming: System Override!

System Override

The next Apex Legends event has been announced: System Override.

Running from March 3 to March 17, System Override introduces a new limited time mode called Deja Loot. In this mode there's one ring pattern per day and loot spawns will be permanent, so if you find something good in one match, it'll be there the next as long as someone else doesn't get to it before you. This limited time mode should make strategising more interesting and is playable on the World's Edge map for the first week of the event before moving to Kings Canyon for the second week. 

While playing Deja Loot, there's a chance to find a new shield called the Evo Shield. Initially, it's not particularly powerful but it becomes stronger as you damage other players and there are four levels of strength through which you can build. Respawn is looking to gather player feedback on the Evo Shield to see if and how it might add it to the rest of the game outside of Deja Loot. 

Like January's Grand Soiree event, System Override has an Exclusive Prize Track through which players can earn rewards. This time, though, it's been improved with more rewards and more frequent challenges to complete. 

There's up to 1000 points per challenge set up for grabs and the sets will refresh daily. 

As a Collection Event, System Override also has a set of 24 themed, limited-time cosmetics. All of the items can be purchased directly or found in Event Apex Packs, with each Event Pack containing one event item and two non-event items. 

Players who unlock all 24 items will also unlock an Octane Heirloom set for free.  

Apex Legends Assimilation

As of February 4 2020, Apex Legends: Assimilation is underway.

So what's new? Well, there's a new Legend, a new weapon, some map changes and an all new Battle Pass to get started on. Read on for a rundown of what to expect.  

New Legend

As with previous seasons, Apex Legends Season 4 has introduced a brand new Legend. This time, things went a little differently. Originally, Forge, a robotically enhanced fighter was introduced as the legend for Season 4. However, he was then murdered and replaced by Revenant (the character fans long-suspected to be the Season 4 legend anyway).

Revenant, also known somewhat more tellingly as the "synthetic nightmare" was once human and the "greatest hitman the Mercenary Syndicate ever had". But when his programming failed, he saw what his employers and Hammond Robotics had turned him into: "a walking nightmare of steel and vestigial flesh.” 

Revenant vowed to get revenge and killed everyone involved in ruining his life. Now, two centuries later Hammond Robotics has returned to the Outlands and he's renewed his vow to take out anyone involved with Hammond Robotics. 

Those familiar with the Titanfall universe will know Hammond Robotics as the creators of the Titans and it seems that they're going to be playing a bigger role in Apex Legends this season. 

As far as abilities are concerned, Revenant's tactical ability is "Silence" which allows his to throw a device that deals damage and disables enemy abilities for ten seconds. His passive ability is "Stalker", which makes it possible to crouch-walk faster and climb higher than the other Legends can. Finally, his ultimate ability is "Death Totem" which allows him to drop a totem that protects those who use it from death for a set amount of time. Instead of being killed or downed, a player will be returned to the totem instead. 

New Weapon

The Sentinel has been confirmed as the new weapon in Season 4 of Apex Legends. It's described as a powerful bolt-action sniper rifle which stands apart from other weapons of its ilk as it comes with a charge mechanic. In the dev stream released before the season launch, it was hinted that this mechanic will give players a little more decision making to do when making a shot and could provide some interesting gameplay. 

Map Changes

Season 4 has brought some map changes, the designs for which have been driven by a desire to "get players to make new decisions".

The Planet Harvester is a key addition to the World's Edge skyline. Hammond Robotics are using the device to harvest materials from the core of the planet for unknown (but likely nefarious) reasons. 

The Planet Harvester offers a large, multi-level space in which to play and since there's not been anything like it before, it brings new gameplay options. According to Respawn, fights in this area tend to be "self-contained as squads will tend to enter the fights through the long hallways that lead to the center of the structure." The expectation is that this will make third parties more predictable. 

As well as being a change, Planet Harvester has wrought some changes of its own: it's split Capitol City in two. 

Now the city is made up of two zones, Fragment East and Fragment West, with a large fissure of dead space between them. This fissure can only be crossed in two locations by means of a zipline and a fallen skyscraper bridge.

If you do happen to fall into the fissure between the zones because of a poorly timed jump or sheer curiosity, you'll find yourself carried slowly back up and allowed to land on the other side you were probably trying to get to. The downside is you'll take 25 damage for the fall and, as you float up, you run the risk of being a sitting target for enemies. 

A smaller addition is the Survey Camp. This area will have Weapon Racks which will have guaranteed weapons up for grabs, making it a tempting place to visit.

Anniversary Event

As Season 4 is launching on the one year anniversary of Apex Legends, there's going to be a special event. According to Respawn, those who log into the game in the first week of Season 4 (that's February 4 to February 11) will receive an Anniversary Gift. this includes a Year 1 Origami Flyer charm, a Year 1 loyalty badge and 10k XP for your first match of the day for every day the event is running. 

Battle Pass

It wouldn't be a new season of Apex Legends without a brand new Battle Pass. For 950 Apex Coins you can pick up this pass which offers 110 levels to climb by completing daily and weekly challenges, with more than 100 exclusive items including Legendary Skins, Apex Packs, Loading Screens and Music Packs to earn. 

Players who pick up the battle pass immediately unlock the Legendary R99: Zero Point skin and three new Epic Legends skins. Getting through the rest of the levels could see you earn Rare and Legendary rewards like the Health Drain Lifeline, Blue Steel Crypto, Cyber Punked Wattson and Heat Sink Flatline.

Ranked League Series 3

Alongside Season 4, Ranked League Series 3 has also launched. 

Ranked League Series 3 brings a few changes, including Splits and a new tier: Master Tier.

As Respawn is seeing more players move into the upper echelons of the rankings to become Apex Predators, it's finding that it's getting harder to "showcase the skill between any two Apex Predators this season." As a result, a new tier, Master Tier, has been added between Diamond and Apex Predator. 

Players will need to reach 10,000 RP to make it to Master Tier as was the case with Apex Predator. The Apex Predator Tier will now be exclusive to the top 500 players per platform, so players who reach Apex Predator Tier could find that they drop down to Master Tier if other players earn more RP than them. Respawn has said "We feel this should give more prestige to making and keeping your Apex Predator rank, while still keeping the tiers above Diamond very exclusive."

As far as Splits are concerned, after looking at the lengths of previous Ranked Series, Respawn has decided that Series 3 will be three months long, like Series 1, but that it will be divided into two Splits. 

This means that Ranked Series 3 essentially comes in two parts, with Split 1 taking place on World’s Edge, while Split 2 will freshen things up by taking place back at King’s Canyon. 

Split 1 is to take place between February 3 and March 23, and Split 2 will follow on from March 24 to May 5. 

Soft resets will take place between each Split and Respawn has confirmed that "ranked rewards will be granted for the highest tier achieved in either split of the series, but exclusive animated badges will be granted if you can make it to the same tier both splits."

There are also some new party restrictions as the game moves into the new Ranked Series. Players will find that once they get to Platinum Tier or higher, they'll only be able to party with players who have 1 Tier of difference from them. It's hoped this will keep matches more tight when it comes to higher skill levels. 

As far as what's staying the same, players will still see soft resets take place going into the new series. So, "at the start of Series 3 everyone will be soft reset on their ranked position by 1.5 Tiers down. That means if you ended Season 3 in Gold II, you’ll be reset to Silver IV. Players in Platinum IV will be reset to Silver II, and Apex Predators will be reset to Platinum II." As previously said, the soft reset will also now take place at the beginning of each Split.

Entry RP cost to Ranked Series is also the same and there won't be any further changes to the scoring system. 

Apex Legends tips and tricks

Apex Legends can be difficult to get to grips with. There are a lot of different characters each with their own abilities and skills, plus this battle royale arguably leans more heavily on strategy and teamwork than some of its competitors. 

Get ahead of the pack with our selection of Apex Legends guides, designed to help you become a champion.

Apex Legends

How to download Apex Legends

Apex Legends can be downloaded for free from the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Origin Store or Apex Legends website. Simply search for the title, download the game and enjoy! 

But do keep in mind that a good internet connect and subscription to either PS Plus, Xbox Live or Origin Access is required to play.

The good news is that Apex Legends is also coming to mobile in the future, following in the footsteps of Fortnite and PUBG.

Apex Legends


Apex Legends roadmap - what's next?

Respawn Entertainment has shared the season roadmap for Apex Legends. Apex Legends Battle Pass seasons run for approximately three months. Currently four seasons have officially been announced:

  • Season One: March 19, 2019 until June 18, 2019. 
  • Season Two: July 2, 2019
  • Season Three: September 2019
  • Season Four: December 2019

Apex Legends

Now that Season 4's launch date has been confirmed for February 2020, we're reaching the end of the known world for Apex Legends. No doubt, in the coming months, Respawn will establish and reveal its new goals for the game's second year. 

Is Apex Legends coming to mobile?

Yes. In EA’s quarterly earnings report, the publisher announced that it’s looking at bringing the Respawn Entertainment-developed game to mobile platforms and to both South Korea and China. 

“We’re in advanced negotiations to China and mobile”, EA’s CFO Blake Jorgenson stated, before later mentioning South Korea as another expansion point. 

We shouldn't expect to see Apex Legends on mobile for at least a year, though. According to EA Chief Executive, Andrew Wilson, the game won't launch until the fiscal year 2021.

Watch the PGA Tour: how to live stream golf in 2020 from anywhere in the world

Quite simply, it has never been easier to watch PGA Tour golf online. Wherever you are in the world, you can find a reliable 2020 PGA Tour live stream that's easy to access and allows you to follow all the drama as it unfolds. Our guide explains how to do just that, so you don't have to miss a single shot of this season's action.

So far, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy has gotten off to a hot start and currently tops the world rankings, but he's being closely chased by Spain's mercurial Jon Rahm and a trio of supremely talented Americans in Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. A resurgent Tiger Woods also prowls dangerously at number 10 in the world right now - all it would take is one strong performance from the legend to see him climb the table and deliver a record 83rd PGA Tour win.

With September's Ryder Cup showdown between Europe and America already looming large, it's perhaps a taste of what's to come at Whistling Straits this autumn.

Before that though, we've got all four of golf's major tournaments to look forward to, starting with the biggest of them all - the Masters 2020, which takes place in April at the legendary Augusta National course in Georgia.

Below are all the dates of 2020's golf majors along with the venues they will be held at this year - or scroll down to learn how to watch PGA Tour golf and live stream all of the drama in 2020 from anywhere in the world.

Golf majors 2020: dates and venues of the four biggest tournaments

  • The Masters, Augusta National, April 9-12
  • PGA Championship, TPC Harding Park, May 14-17
  • US Open, Winged Foot, June 18-21
  • The British Open, Royal St. George's, July 16-19

How to watch PGA Tour golf: live stream every tournament in 2020

There are loads of easy ways to watch PGA Tour golf in 2020 including in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and almost anywhere else in the world. Scroll down for a full breakdown of options, but the first thing you should know is that anyone away from their home country can still tune into the action as usual by using one of the best VPNs

These services will allow you to get around any geo-blocking restrictions your local broadcaster may have in place and and let you watch a perfectly legal, high-quality golf live stream if you're out of your country. Best of all, they only takes a few minutes to set-up.

How to watch PGA Tour golf: live stream every tournament in 2020 in the US

If you're outside the US but want to watch the PGA Tour just like you would after a round at your local country club, then you can use a US VPN to effectively transport your computer, phone or tablet's IP back to an American location. 

Watch PGA Tour golf: stream every tournament live in 2020 from the UK

How to watch the PGA Tour golf live in 2020 from Canada

Live stream the PGA Tour 2020 and watch golf online in Australia

As with Canada, full-fat options to live stream PGA are limited in Australia. Once again, it's a case of snapping a GOLFTV pass or going without the PGA Tour golf for much of the year.

Pricing is just as competitive as in the Great White North, too, so those Down Under can grab a GOLFTV subscription from $9.99 a month. 

Spotify vs Tidal: which music streaming service is best for you?

Choosing the best music streaming service for your needs can be a little tricky; while streaming is still relatively new in the grand scheme of music-listening, there are so many platforms to choose from these days, two of the biggest being Spotify and Tidal

Spotify is currently the world’s most popular streaming service, hitting 113 million subscribers in October last year, and continuing to grow; and that’s in spite of mounting competition from the likes of Apple Music

However Spotify isn’t perfect as a service, and its lossy audio streams have left audiophiles craving a little more fidelity – which is where Tidal comes in. 

With a focus on providing Hi-Res Audio at a CD-like level of quality, the platform was acquired in 2015 by hip-hop star Jay-Z, becoming the first major music service to be owned by the artists themselves. As such, Tidal claims to pay higher royalties than its competitors to artists and songwriters.

It’s not just about ethics and audio quality though; both Spotify and Tidal offer different user experiences, pricing structures, and music catalogues. Making the best choice for your needs can be confusing, to say the least.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to both services so you can compare them in one easy place, and hopefully find out whether Spotify or Tidal is the best streaming service for you. 

Price and availability 

Both Spotify and Tidal offer a number of different subscription tiers – but only Spotify offers a free plan (though it is ad-supported and you can’t listen to tracks in the order you want). 

The cheapest paid Spotify plan is Spotify Premium, which costs $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$11.99 per month, and gives you unlimited access to its 30 million-plus track library on your laptop, phone, and tablet. Spotify Premium also lets you download tracks to three devices at a time for offline playback. 

Discounts are available for students, and you can even get Premium and access to mindfulness app Headspace under one discounted plan. Students get Headspace access as part of their Premium package.

If there are a few people in your household that want to use Spotify, you can save money by signing up to a Spotify Premium for Family account, which allows up to six people to connect to Spotify at one time (if you try to do this with a regular account, you’ll get bumped off the service as soon as another user plays a song). This tier costs $14.99 / £14.99 / AU$17.99, and requires all members to live under the same roof. 

Tidal offers two subscription plans, the cheapest being Tidal Premium, which costs $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$11.99, and offers streams at a bitrate of 320kbps – the same audio quality as Spotify.

If it’s Hi-Res Audio you’re after, you’ll need to shell out for $19.99 / £19.99 / AU$23.99 per month for Tidal HiFi. So, Spotify offers cheaper subscription plans, but it doesn’t provide a higher fidelity tier for audiophiles like Tidal does. 

spotify

User interface

One of the reasons that Spotify is so popular is down to its easy-to-use interface. When you open up the app, you’ll find a number of personalized playlists - your ‘Daily Mixes’ – that have been curated by Spotify based on your listening habits, alongside your top artists, top playlists, and new releases. 

That’s a thing to note about Spotify; there are a lot of playlists. That might sound daunting, but it’s a strategy that works as its algorithms ultimately tailor the app to each user.

Everything is laid out in colorful tiles that pop against Spotify’s dark background. The tile system is just small enough to make selecting new albums and playlists easy while packing in plenty into a timeline of content that’s ultimately curated to what you’ve been listening to and what you might want to jump into next. 

On the desktop app and web player, there’s a sidebar on the left of the screen that lets you navigate new music releases, radio stations, as well as your library, playlists, recently played songs and more. In the mobile app these sections are a little more hidden away to save space, and it’s worth noting that the layout of the desktop and mobile platforms are a little different.

Searching is very intuitive and even if you misspell an artist’s name, Spotify will generally find what you’re looking for. 

Tidal (above) uses a similar Tile-based interface to Spotify.

Tidal uses a similar tile-based interface on a dark background, and you’ll find curated playlists, recommended albums, and charts on your home screen. Clicking the sidebar will take you to your ‘My Music’ area, where you’ll find all your saved tracks, and browsing is generally very easy. 

You can’t search by genre, unlike Spotify, which is a shame for a platform aimed at true music lovers. Search generally isn't terribly smart - misspell an album or artist name even by one character or one piece of punctuation, and you'll be left with zero results. A bit of optimization here wouldn't hurt, but as long as you're careful you won't have any problems with it.

Saying that, Tidal does boast one cool feature that Spotify doesn’t; audio-search is essentially like having Shazam built directly into the app. Press the button and it’ll listen out for any song it can pick up in your environment, identify it, and allow you to save it to your own Tidal library.

Spotify

Compatibility 

You can get Spotify on Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices. If you use a laptop or desktop, Spotify also supports OS X and Windows, and there’s a flash-based web player, too. 

Support for Tidal is largely the same, so you can get it on devices that run iOS 11 and higher, Android 5 and higher, macOS, and Windows. Both streaming platforms are also supported by a number of more left-field gadgets, including AV receivers, TVs, and even cars. 

Music catalogue and discovery 

Spotify currently boasts over 50 million songs, whereas Tidal claims to have 60 million tracks in its catalogue. 

Spotify’s strong influx of tracks helped it take off in its early days, and with a reported 40,000 tracks added on average every single day – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. 

The streaming giant has a heavy focus on promoting new tracks and breakthrough artists, through curated playlists like New Music Friday acting as a launch pad for fledgling artists to break through into the big time. 

Curated playlists are almost always the first thing you see when you load any version of the app, with the service seemingly designing playlists for almost every musical sub-genre. These are constantly being updated too, so your favorite ones never grate following extended use.

As we mentioned before, you’ll also find personalized playlists based on your listening habits, which is a fantastic way to discover new music, as well as revisiting some of your favorite tracks. 

Spotify does have some glaring omissions in its music catalog, however, largely down to artists who don’t want to make their music available to stream anywhere or artists who have a particular dislike of Spotify’s royalty payments.

You won’t find artists like Joanna Newsom and Garth Brooks on Spotify, and until fairly recently you couldn't even listen to The Beatles – though you’ll find their entire discography on the streaming platform these days (thank goodness).

Some of the artists who are absent from Spotify  have close ties to Jay-Z and therefore favor his platform, Tidal. Beyoncé’s 2019 album Lemonade debuted on Tidal exclusively, for example.

That means Tidal’s catalogue can feel somewhat skewed towards hip-hop and rap artists, though it’s possible that this is down to the platform’s editorial curation of its tracks. 

That being said, Tidal does a good job of curating music playlists based on your listening habits, and you’ll find that just a few weeks of use will give its algorithms enough information to serve you truly exciting recommendations.

Aside from these personalized recommendations, Tidal also signposts the most popular playlists and releases on its service, as well as mood-based playlists, and the Tidal Rising section, which flies the flag for new talent. 

Both platforms also offer podcasts, though it seems like Spotify is taking this area a little more seriously, having spent over $200 million to acquire two podcast production companies in 2019.

spotify

Audio quality

If you subscribe to Spotify Premium, you can choose between three sound quality levels: normal, high and extreme. When using the mobile and desktop apps, Spotify uses Ogg Vorbis. This was a semi-popular format a decade ago, and Spotify continues to use it because it's open source. Spotify doesn't have to pay a license fee for it.

At Standard setting, music streams at 96kbps, which sounds a lot better than MP3 at 129kbps. Switch up to the high quality setting and the bitrate bumps up to 160kbps. The extreme setting uses 320kbps, which is perceptually close to lossless. Spotify doesn't offer any lossless or Hi-Res streaming, which is one reason why audiophiles might want to consider another service. 

If you’re dead-set on the best possible audio quality, then Tidal is your best bet. For that, you’ll need a Tidal HiFi subscription, which allows you to stream lossless 16-bit FLAC and ALAC audio – though there are also thousands of TIDAL Masters files that stream at 24-bit. 

tidal

Even if you opt for Tidal Premium, its catalogue is still available to stream in 320kbps, the same quality as Spotify’s highest setting – and you may even find that Tidal’s tracks sound a little richer at this setting. 

So, why bother with lossless streaming? Well, Hi-Res Audio codecs are capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better-than-CD quality music sources, a sound that closely replicates the quality that the musicians and engineers were working with in the studio at the time of recording.

The increased bit depth of HRA improves the dynamic range, basically giving you a greater breadth of things to actually hear from the recording, making tracks sound more detailed and clear. 

It’s a little like the difference between SD and HD television; the former works just fine, but you’ll notice a real difference in quality if you make the upgrade to higher resolution audio.

Takeaway

Choosing between Spotify and Tidal largely comes down to whether you care about Hi-Res Audio; if you do, you won’t find it in Spotify, and you should absolutely opt for Tidal. 

It’s also worth considering Tidal if you’re a devoted fan of specific artists like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West, and others – these artists are likely to release music exclusively on Tidal, at least to begin with, with releases trickling down to Spotify months later. 

Even with these few omissions, Spotify and Tidal are pretty much on the same level in terms of music catalogue and discovery, and both platforms’ cheapest subscription tiers cost the same (though only Spotify offers a free service).

Spotify does win out in terms of its interface; while the two platforms are pretty similar in this regard, Spotify’s search function is much better than Tidal’s, and it’s just a little bit easier to navigate as a platform. 

Best N64 games

The rumbling controller, the pressure-sensitive analogue stick, the 4 built-in controller ports on the console’s front – the N64 had some incredible ideas which would evolve to become mainstays of modern gaming. But when we look back on the history of the Nintendo 64, it’s the games themselves that live most fondly in our memories.

From Super Mario 64 to Perfect Dark, what the console’s catalogue lacked in breadth (only 296 games were released for the N64 in North America) it made up for with quality. Some of the greatest gaming adventures of all time, like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or Banjo-Kazooie, flourished on what was in its day an incredibly powerful console.

The commitment to 3D gaming and to (usually, at least) colorful, impactful characters and game worlds mean that, though now some titles are approaching 25 years old, they’re still incredibly playable today. Thinking of diving back in? These are the best N64 games that any self-respecting gamer can’t afford to miss.

The best N64 games

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

In some ways, the N64 was a little too reliant on Zelda and Mario – an extended software drought meant the console went months at a time without any big hitters. Nonetheless, Ocarina of Time was well worth waiting for. This long, packed adventure game translated everything great about the 2D Zelda games into 3D, including the dungeons, tools, the series' iconography and the sense of scale in its world. It's hard to imagine modern open world games even looking the same without those first moments stepping out onto Hyrule Field. It's still a classic, even if playing it on 3DS is the way to go these days. 

Super Mario 64

The daddy of 3D platformers. Heck, the daddy of 3D gaming, full stop. A true game changer, when Mario made the jump to 3D with the N64’s then-innovative analogue stick in tow, it was not only the evolution of the portly plumber, but of games as a whole. Now more than 20 years old, it still stands up as a joy to play thanks to Nintendo’s water-tight control scheme and solid camera management options, which had been notoriously troublesome to nail in the early days of 3D gaming. Packed with interesting things to do and secrets to unearth, it has that Nintendo magic touch, in that every task it sets you is enjoyable in its own right. It’s just surprising that it took the launch of the Nintendo Switch before Nintendo would return to the ‘free roaming’ format with Super Mario Odyssey.

GoldenEye 007

Released almost two years after the Pierce Brosnan Bond movie it was based on hit cinemas, GoldenEye popularized first-person shooter games on consoles, particularly with its local multiplayer competitive mode. Its singleplayer campaign, which sometimes adapts just a few seconds of the film into dense levels packed with secrets, was fantastic. But it was the multiplayer that made the N64 the centerpiece of any gathering of friends. Licence to Kill, slaps. DK mode. So much about this game entered the popular vernacular. Now it just needs a proper remaster.

Super Smash Bros

By no means the best in the series – that's still up for debate, though the modern Switch version is the most comprehensive – it's hard to explain the sheer novelty of seeing Mario, Link, Pikachu, Samus Aran and more in a single game back in the late '90s. It was so exciting. The original Smash Bros is an incredibly light affair compared to later offerings in its selection of fighters and levels, and good god Kirby is OP in this one. But its multiplayer was yet another great use of those four controller ports on the N64. 

WWF Wrestlemania 2000

What may look like pantomime in the ring was turned by THQ into a chunky brawler in WWF Wrestlemania 2000. Remaining one of the best wrestling games ever, it was slightly slower than the likes of WWF Attitude, focusing on light and heavy grapples that would become battles to pull off moves and counter attacks. In terms of pacing, nothing else has quite managed to give the impression that you’re taking part in a legitimate wrestling match, spectacle and all, as WWF Wrestlemania 2000. Its follow up, No Mercy, is also well worth a look.

Mario Kart 64

In retrospect, it may be one of the weaker Mario Kart games. But just by having that Nintendo mascot-powered core, it’s still head and shoulders above the copycat kart racers that the series inspired. Mario Kart 64 took full advantage of the N64’s four controller ports, making for a riotous local multiplayer experience.

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

The PC had the X-Wing and TIE Fighter intergalactic flight sim series, but it wasn’t until Rogue Squadron did console gamers feel the full force of the Star Wars films’ aerial combat. Sure, we had a taste of it with ambitious-if-janky launch title Shadows of the Empire’s opening Hoth battle, but Rogue Squadron took it to new heights. A lengthy, challenging campaign that puts you in control of a fleet of classic Star Wars ships, it had some great unlockable secrets and a fantastic medals system that made for high replayability.

Donkey Kong 64

One of the few Nintendo 64 games to require the RAM-injecting expansion pack add-on, Donkey Kong 64 was the zenith of the late-'90s obsession with platforming collectathons (arguably to the point of overkill, in fact). Putting everything it had learnt on the console thus far into one giant simian-themed adventure, it gave you expansive levels to explore, five different Kongs to control (each with their own unique skill sets) and even a reasonably well-executed multiplayer shooter mode.  

Banjo-Kazooie

Mario may have been the mascot for Nintendo, but Rare’s Banjo and Kazooie gave him a run for his money when it came to pure joyous gameplay. Colorful, inventive and with densely-packed levels, Banjo Kazooie found a good balance between tight 3D platforming and the era’s collect-all-the-things gameplay model.

Perfect Dark

The Bond license escaped Nintendo after GoldenEye, leading to the dreadful Tomorrow Never Dies from EA on PSone. Rare instead decided to make a spiritual successor called Perfect Dark, which had an entirely different fictional setting, and a lot more sci-fi weaponry. Otherwise it felt comfortably similar, and its multiplayer was unbeatable – it even carried a few of the better maps from GoldenEye across, under different names. Another important, influential addition to Perfect Dark was the option to add AI bots to multiplayer, giving you the option to play this part of the game without friends. 

F-Zero X

If Mario Kart was about the power ups, F-Zero X was about pure sci-fi speed. Remaining one of the fastest-feeling racers to this day, it took the SNES game’s 2D sprites and tracks, reimagining them as twisting, turning, gravity-defying roller coasters. A series that’s well overdue a return. 

Pokémon Snap

This is the best Pokémon game. No, seriously, stay with us! Rather than having to catch-'em-all, you’ve got to snap-'em-all. It is, essentially, an on-rails first person shooter, except your AK is swapped out for a Polaroid, and your enemies are little cute portrait subjects. Though it’s a short game as you simply take photos of the Pokémon out in the wild, being rendered in 3D (a novelty at the time) proved to be a big sell, as you used a number of lures and gadgets to coax rare Pokémon out of hiding and to perform their most photogenic poses. 

Paper Mario

Mario is no stranger to jumping into different genres, but it was irregular to see him in an RPG during the N64 era. Paper Mario takes a few cues from Super Mario RPG on the SNES, fleshing out the Mushroom Kingdom in a way the platform games couldn’t, but also introduced a smart new aesthetic that saw Mario transformed into a 2D cutout – with some clever puzzle elements using the perspective along the way.

Mario Party

The N64 had three Mario Party games, and you can take your pick as to which was actually the best – there's not a lot in it. But the series made good use of the console's ability to support four controllers, getting players to compete at a whole slew of minigames to see who was the best or the fastest. Those N64 controllers took a lot of damage during more intense multiplayer showdowns, and these days the series has little credibility. But this once again cemented the N64 as the place to enjoy multiplayer with friends. 

Star Wars Episode I: Racer

Largely considered the only good thing to come out of The Phantom Menace other than Duel of the Fates, Episode I: Racer is basically an easier version of WipEout set on various Star Wars worlds. Tatooine gets well-represented, of course, with both a training track and the Boonta Eve race seen in the movies. But it's being able to customize your racer that makes journeying through this game such a treat. It's a racing game for people who don't usually enjoy them. 

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Skateboarding is hard – just ask anyone who has ever worn a pair of Vans and scrapped a knee while listening to The Offspring. But Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater not only made a cool sport seem easy, it made it cooler. Stringing together impossibly intricate trick runs around outlandishly imaginative skateparks, no kid that played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater didn’t end up with a real life skateboard on their Christmas lists. And the soundtrack was banging, too.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

If Ocarina of Time is Star Wars, then Majora’s Mask is The Empire Strikes back. An inventive remixing of the cast and locations of Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask may reuse assets from that first 3D adventure, but has a dark attitude all of its own. Using a wild Groundhog Day-like time-turning conceit that sees you working against the clock to prevent the end of the world, it’s the wackiest and (at times) most unsettling Zelda there’s ever been. A cult classic.

Star Fox 64/Lylat Wars

This third-person arcade shooter is still the best of the Star Fox games. It's essentially Star Wars with talking animals, and with multiple paths across the game, you have to replay it a bunch of times to see every stage. Levels vary from Death Star-style space stations to lava-spitting fire planets, and it's easy to finish a run in a single sitting. The 3DS offers the best version of Star Fox 64, but no N64 collection is complete without it.

Blast Corps

A bizarre puzzle-action game that saw developer Rare at perhaps its most inventive, Blast Corps saw you take on the role of a wrecking crew that has to carve a path for an explosives-laden truck to pass through. Using a menagerie of vehicles and robots, this would see you levelling cities and towns, crashing mechs and digger trucks into buildings, to protect your cargo. Challenging and addictive for anyone that’s ever fancied themselves as a demolitions expert – or a Godzilla wannabe.

Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Having made some of the console’s most cutesy platformers, Rare let its devilish British humour shine through with Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Yes, it was essentially another (ace) 3D platforming collect-a-thon in the same mould as Banjo-Kazooie, but Conker was so ridiculously crude that it came with a warning on the box. He may have looked cute, but Conker was a randy badass. Come for the poop jokes, stay for the solid platforming action.

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