Entertainment

Join the Elden Ring conversation, brush up on your five-card stud and more stuff to do

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

Join the Elden Ring conversation, brush up on your five-card stud and more stuff to do
Image: Crunchyroll; FromSoftware; Decentral Games

It’s not often that a game comes along where the collective online chatter actually makes the game better. But Elden Ring’s opaque storyline is giving people reasons to head to the internet to discuss. Also this week: poker players are finding luck in the metaverse, and get your anime fix with two movies that were just added to Crunchyroll’s huge library.

Elden Ring has everyone talking

It’s impossible to talk about Elden Ring without drawing on the mountain of commentary that’s flooded social media, gaming forums and news sites over the past week. That’s the beauty of FromSoftware’s newest and arguably greatest game yet: It's a modern single-player game that’s best experienced by discussing it with other people online.

More so than any of the studio’s past games, Elden Ring features an opaque storyline and an even more cryptic open world that’s jaw-droppingly massive and full of secrets. But discovering and talking about it together with the entire internet has become a core part of its appeal. Just get ready to die … a lot.

Who run the metaverse? Poker.

Last month, I wrote about the metaverse real estate boom, and how it often stands in opposition to the stated goals and ambitions of the Web3 and crypto evangelists building these platforms. Bloomberg reporter Cecilia D'Anastasio’s latest piece on one of those platforms, Decentraland, is a fascinating look at what’s actually going on in these otherwise largely empty social platforms, beyond all the real estate speculation. It turns out the answer is: a lot of poker.

At least half of Decentraland’s users at any given time are playing virtual casino games for items they can exchange for cryptocurrency, all run by a third-party company without a gambling license. Regulators might catch on, but only if they can figure out what the metaverse is first.

‘Yu Yu Hakusho’ stands the test of time

Sony’s acquisition of anime streaming service Crunchyroll means the popular platform has been expanded with a huge library of new shows, including many with English dubs, from sister service Funimation. One gem worth watching is the excellent 1992 paranormal action series “Yu Yu Hakusho,” which also happens to have a great English dub that has stood the test of time. The series has it all: iconic characters, great animation and a fantastic fantasy plot featuring the life of spirit detective Yusuke Urameshi. It’s been one of my favorites for the past 20 years.

‘Mob Psycho 100’ takes you on an emotional journey

For those looking for a more modern anime to get into, an absolute must-watch is One’s “Mob Psycho 100,” the story of a young and impressionable psychic named Shigeo Kageyama. Featuring truly mind-bending animation from studio Bones, of “Fullmetal Alchemist” and “My Hero Academia” fame, “Mob Psycho 100” is both a sensory experience and an emotionally melancholy one. It balances traditional action anime fireworks with an emotional narrative about discovering yourself through the bonds you form with others. “Mob Psycho 100,” with subs and dubs, is also available on Crunchyroll.

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

Entertainment

Inside Amazon’s free video strategy

Amazon has been doubling down on original content for Freevee, its ad-supported video service, which has seen a lot of growth thanks to a deep integration with other Amazon properties.

Freevee’s investment into original programming like 'Bosch: Legacy' has increased by 70%.

Photo: Tyler Golden/Amazon Freevee

Amazon’s streaming efforts have long been all about Prime Video. So the company caught pundits by surprise when, in early 2019, it launched a stand-alone ad-supported streaming service called IMDb Freedive, with Techcrunch calling the move “a bit odd.”

Nearly four years and two rebrandings later, Amazon’s ad-supported video efforts appear to be flourishing. Viewership of the service grew by 138% from 2020 to 2021, according to Amazon. The company declined to share any updated performance data on the service, which is now called Freevee, but a spokesperson told Protocol the performance of originals in particular “exceeded expectations,” leading Amazon to increase investments into original content by 70% year-over-year.

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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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Great products are built on strong patents

Experts say robust intellectual property protection is essential to ensure the long-term R&D required to innovate and maintain America's technology leadership.

Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.

From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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James Daly
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.
Fintech

Wall Street is warming up to crypto

Secure, well-regulated technology infrastructure could draw more large banks to crypto.

Technology infrastructure for crypto has begun to mature.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Despite a downturn in crypto markets, more large institutional investors are seeking to invest in crypto.

One factor holding them back is a lack of infrastructure for large institutions compared to what exists in the traditional, regulated capital markets.

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Tomio Geron

Tomio Geron ( @tomiogeron) is a San Francisco-based reporter covering fintech. He was previously a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, covering venture capital and startups. Before that, he worked as a staff writer at Forbes, covering social media and venture capital, and also edited the Midas List of top tech investors. He has also worked at newspapers covering crime, courts, health and other topics. He can be reached at tgeron@protocol.com or tgeron@protonmail.com.

Policy

How I decided to go all-in on a federal contract — before assignment

Amanda Renteria knew Code for America could help facilitate access to expanded child tax credits. She also knew there was no guarantee her proof of concept would convince others — but tried anyway.

Code for America CEO Amanda Renteria explained how it's helped people claim the Child Tax Credit.

Photo: Code for America

Click banner image for more How I decided series

After the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March 2021, the U.S. government expanded child tax credits to provide relief for American families during the pandemic. The legislation allowed some families to nearly double their tax benefits per child, which was especially critical for low-income families, who disproportionately bore the financial brunt of the pandemic.

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Hirsh Chitkara

Hirsh Chitkara ( @HirshChitkara) is a reporter at Protocol focused on the intersection of politics, technology and society. Before joining Protocol, he helped write a daily newsletter at Insider that covered all things Big Tech. He's based in New York and can be reached at hchitkara@protocol.com.

Climate

This carbon capture startup wants to clean up the worst polluters

The founder and CEO of point-source carbon capture company Carbon Clean discusses what the startup has learned, the future of carbon capture technology, as well as the role of companies like his in battling the climate crisis.

Carbon Clean CEO Aniruddha Sharma told Protocol that fossil fuels are necessary, at least in the near term, to lift the living standards of those who don’t have access to cars and electricity.

Photo: Carbon Clean

Carbon capture and storage has taken on increasing importance as companies with stubborn emissions look for new ways to meet their net zero goals. For hard-to-abate industries like cement and steel production, it’s one of the few options that exist to help them get there.

Yet it’s proven incredibly challenging to scale the technology, which captures carbon pollution at the source. U.K.-based company Carbon Clean is leading the charge to bring down costs. This year, it raised a $150 million series C round, which the startup said is the largest-ever funding round for a point-source carbon capture company.

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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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