‘Peaky Blinders’ is back for its final season, and more weekend recs

Don’t know what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

‘Peaky Blinders’ is back for its final season, and more weekend recs

Our recommendations for your weekend.

Photo: Netflix

We’re getting the weekend started early. Two of our favorite shows are back, and we’re digging a breakout hit vampire game that’s being called a “bullet heaven” and is only $3 on Steam.

Vampire Survivors is an unlikely hit

Indie developer Luca Galante’s Vampire Survivors is one of the most unlikely breakout hits of the year. The influential roguelike shoot-‘em-up has been called a “bullet heaven,”' in contrast to the bullet hell-style manic shooters in which you must dodge a near-endless stream of projectiles. In Vampire Survivors, the projectiles come from you as you maneuver away from small armies of enemies. The game shoots for you, while most of the fun comes from traversing custom maps and unlocking and upgrading unique characters. It’s hard to describe the appeal without trying the game yourself, but at just $3 on Steam, it’s well worth a try. The game was also added to Game Pass for PC last month.

‘The Umbrella Academy’ is overwhelming (in a good way)

The adaptation of My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way’s peculiar superhero graphic novel series returned this week for a third season. After season two’s time travel shenanigans, “The Umbrella Academy” has officially strayed into alternate universe territory, rife with some headache-inducing paradoxes: It’s all getting a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, the third season is grounded by some excellent performances, most notably by Elliot Page, who worked with writer Thomas Page McBee to incorporate his real-world transition into the fictional narrative.

The rise and fall of Axie Infinity

To many casual observers, Axie Infinity looks like a wondrous success story, one of the first play-to-earn games to successfully deploy all the blockchain bells and whistles of Web3 like NFTs, cryptocurrency and virtual land. But the lesser-known story of its downfall over the past six months is a much more important tale, and one told in precise detail by Rest of World’s Darren Loucaides in an excellent feature published this week. The piece, flush with interviews with the company’s founders, tells the story of how Axie Infinity developer Sky Mavis rose to fame as a poster child of the blockchain gaming movement, and the perils of a fledgling industry rife with hacks and scams and intertwined with an uncontrollable and volatile financial market.

The final season of ‘Peaky Blinders’ is here

The sixth and final season of Steven Knight’s historical crime drama “Peaky Blinders” is here, having aired in its entirety on the BBC and appeared on Netflix earlier this month. Like prior seasons, season six can seem at first glance like a too-quick six episodes, especially given the length of Netflix’s many other series. But “Peaky Blinders” packs extraordinary amounts of depth into each of those hours as it explores the machinations of Thomas Shelby and his once-scrappy and now terrifyingly powerful criminal organization. If you’ve never watched it, now is a good time to dive in before Knight’s planned feature film wraps the series for good.

A version of this story also appeared in today’s Entertainment newsletter; subscribe here.


Climate startups' secret weapon to meet their missions

Climate tech startups are embracing the public benefit corporation, a formerly niche way of incorporating, as a way of holding themselves accountable.

An increasing number of mission-driven companies are incorporating as PBCs.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Nearly every company today claims to be mission-driven. But the quest for profits and shareholder demands can often get in the way of more altruistic goals.

A new wave of climate-focused startups is trying to mitigate those competing interests using a wonky and somewhat dry piece of business incorporation status that’s existed for more than a decade: the public benefit corporation. Ultimately, PBCs are just one attempt — albeit a still untested one — to better align the capitalist system with combatting the climate crisis.

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Michelle Ma

Michelle Ma (@himichellema) is a reporter at Protocol covering climate. Previously, she was a news editor of live journalism and special coverage for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, she worked as a staff writer at Wirecutter. She can be reached at mma@protocol.com.

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How cybercrime is going small time

Blockbuster hacks are no longer the norm – causing problems for companies trying to track down small-scale crime

Cybercrime is often thought of on a relatively large scale. Massive breaches lead to painful financial losses, bankrupting companies and causing untold embarrassment, splashed across the front pages of news websites worldwide. That’s unsurprising: cyber events typically cost businesses around $200,000, according to cybersecurity firm the Cyentia Institute. One in 10 of those victims suffer losses of more than $20 million, with some reaching $100 million or more.

That’s big money – but there’s plenty of loot out there for cybercriminals willing to aim lower. In 2021, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 847,376 complaints – reports by cybercrime victims – totaling losses of $6.9 billion. Averaged out, each victim lost $8,143.

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Chris Stokel-Walker

Chris Stokel-Walker is a freelance technology and culture journalist and author of "YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars." His work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and Wired.


Red tape is holding back the EV transition

Charging infrastructure is getting held up by local bureaucracy, creating a conundrum for would-be EV drivers.

Lengthy administrative processes are causing significant delays as EV charging companies and local businesses seek to provide access to charging.

Photo illustration: Kena Betancur/VIEW press/Getty Images; Protocol

Building out charging infrastructure as quickly as possible has never been more critical to getting people in electric vehicles.

Yet as states and the federal government embark on ambitious plans to transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles, local government bureaucracies often stand in the way. From acquiring multiple permits to zoning requirements, lengthy administrative processes are causing significant delays as EV charging companies and local businesses seek to provide access to charging. That could slow down EV adoption at a time when the climate crisis depends on getting more of them on the road.

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Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu

Kwasi (kway-see) is a fellow at Protocol with an interest in tech policy and climate. Previously, he covered global religion news at the Associated Press in New York. Before that, he was a freelance journalist based out of Accra, Ghana, covering social justice, health, and environment stories. His reporting has been published in The New York Times, Quartz, CNN, The Guardian, and Public Radio International. He can be reached at kasiedu@protocol.com.


Proximity bias is real. Here's how Prezi is fixing it.

Going back to the office isn’t the answer, but better virtual meetings could be.

"As simple as that sounds, creating that sense of place and purpose with a digital workspace and branding, those are the key things that we do internally and that we've productized for our customers."

Photo: Prezi

Jim Szafranski, CEO of presentation software company Prezi, started developing video meeting and presentation software Prezi Video as a “hobby project” toward the end of 2019. Then the pandemic hit.

“What was typically thought of as a presentation company suddenly was involved in the virtual work world,” Szafranski said.

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Nat Rubio-Licht

Nat Rubio-Licht is a Los Angeles-based news writer at Protocol. They graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper and online journalism in May 2020. Prior to joining the team, they worked at the Los Angeles Business Journal as a technology and aerospace reporter.


Why Microsoft needs to drag Call of Duty into the future

Microsoft’s biggest challenge with Call of Duty has nothing to do with Sony. It’s about modernizing the franchise for a cross-platform and subscription future.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II premiered the biggest entertainment advertisement ever at the port of Los Angeles in May 2022.

Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Activision

Microsoft and Sony have been waging an increasingly bitter battle over Call of Duty. Over the past two weeks, the feud has spilled out into the public through regulatory filings in countries like Brazil and New Zealand, which, unlike the U.S., publish such documents for all to see.

Microsoft’s goal is to convince regulators worldwide that its landmark acquisition of Call of Duty parent Activision Blizzard for close to $70 billion should get the greenlight. Sony's goal, on the other hand, is to raise the alarm about its primary gaming rival owning one of its biggest cash cows, and whether the PlayStation playbook of platform exclusivity might be turned against Sony if Microsoft decides to make Call of Duty exclusive in some way to Xbox or its Game Pass subscription service.

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Nick Statt

Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.

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