Entertainment

Watch 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' at home, tell Eliza your problems and more things to do this weekend

Don’t have any plans this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

Watch Spider-Man, play with Eliza, and read Netflix Jr. magazine

Here are our recs for the weekend.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Between Unity’s new tech demo, “Enemies,” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” getting a video-on-demand release, we’re not planning on leaving the couch this weekend. In that case, might as well get comfy, lie down and spill your guts to Eliza, the therapist chatbot that was recently honored with a Peabody Award.

Watch ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ on the couch, as God intended

Didn’t catch the latest Spidey movie in theaters? Or maybe you did, but you really want to watch it again in the comfort of your own home? Now’s your chance: The movie became available on iTunes, Google Play and a bunch of other video-on-demand stores in recent days; you can buy it for $19.99.

Tell Eliza your problems

Joseph Weizenbaum’s pioneering chatbot has fascinated, enraged and amused people for decades. Playing the role of a therapist, Eliza is both very inquisitive and obviously limited in her understanding of what we tell her. And yet, we can’t help but engage. We try to trip her up, get her to say something funny, swear at her or even confide in her. This week, Eliza was honored with a Peabody Award for Digital and Interactive Storytelling, which is as good of a reason as any to chat with her a bit. I highly recommend the online version hosted by Masswerk.at, which allows you to experience Eliza in an old-school terminal interface.

Keep the kids occupied with Netflix Jr. magazine

Netflix has been on a quest to become its own best media partner for quite some time. The company launched a print magazine, podcasts, newsletters and more, all doing journalism-ish things while also advertising Netflix movies and shows. The latest addition to this is the Netflix Jr. magazine, a print magazine for the preschool to early primary school crowd. Think Highlights High Five, with every page featuring characters from Netflix shows. There are puzzles, mazes, activities and even recipes (“Cocomelon” toast, anyone?). Netflix clearly isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here, but the magazine should still be fun for little ones, especially if they’re into shows like “Ask the StoryBots” or “Ada Twist, Scientist.” A subscription to the print version of the Netflix Jr. magazine is free, and the magazine is also available as a free digital download.

Unity’s ‘Enemies’ shows off its tech

Game engines have improved a lot over the years, and there’s no better way of keeping track of visual fidelity improvements than Unity’s tech demos. Its latest looks like a high-end Hollywood visual effects production, but it’s all been rendered in real time. To add to the wow factor, it’s worth reading this Twitter thread from the tech and rendering lead on Unity’s demo team, which explores all the intricacies of the short film in detail.

SiriusXM botched the Stitcher acquisition. Here’s how.

With the $325 million acquisition of Stitcher, SiriusXM also got its hands on the podcast network Earwolf. Insiders told The Verge that the acquisition didn’t exactly go over as expected. This story is a worthwhile read and another proof point that monetizing content with small but engaged audiences is hard.

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

Entertainment

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VPS will allow developers to build location-based AR experiences for tens of thousands of public spaces.

Image: Niantic

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Niantic also announced a new service called Campfire that adds a social discovery layer to AR, starting with Niantic’s own games. Both announcements show that Niantic wants to be much more than a game developer with just one or two hit apps (and a couple of flops). Instead, it aims to play a key role in the future of AR — and it’s relying on millions of Ingress and Pokémon Go players to help build that future.

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Janko Roettgers

Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.

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