EP Daily Rundown for November 30, 2016

Today in the Rundown, we download some very cool news for Netflix subscribers, have some good news for the makers of No Man’s Sky, get the latest from the Star Wars and Star Trek universes, find out how Facebook is giving us another way to play games, and finally, take a look at two new games that are coming to the Nintendo Switch!

Netflix is finally giving subscribers something they’ve been wanting for years. Following in the footsteps of rivals Amazon Prime and YouTube Red, Netflix has introduced a download feature, giving users the ability to download movies and TV shows so they can watch them later without an active internet connection. This means you’ll finally be able to binge watch Netflix content when you’re on an airplane or travelling inside a country with slow internet, which is really going to come in handy for those of us who travel a lot. Just click the download button that now appears next to the title, and you can also see a list of everything you’ve downloaded by clicking on the My Downloads section below your profile. Unfortunately, the feature is only available on mobile devices, probably because it would be too easy to pirate if you could download on a computer. It’s also not available for every title. For example, Star Wars: The Force Awakens can’t be downloaded, but don’t worry, you can download all the Star Trek shows, and obviously all the Netflix originals are available as well. I can’t wait for my next flight.

The makers of No Man’s Sky are getting some good news for a change. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that developer Hello Games did not violate their advertising laws and did not mislead consumers. The agency opened a formal investigation in September, following complaints that the Steam page for No Man’s Sky was deliberately deceiving, implying that the game has more features than it actually does. The ASA says that the overall impression of the page is consistent with the actual game, and does not exaggerate the expected player experience. This is good news for Hello Games. If they had been found in violation, the ASA would have had the legal authority to block sales of the game in the UK. Thankfully for them, that’s not going to happen. Despite the positive ruling, Hello Games admits that there are problems with No Man’s Sky, namely, that it doesn’t give players enough to do. They’re about to release the first of many free updates that will add new content like base building and land vehicles, but we’ll have to wait and see if what they’ve got cooking is enough to win back players.

Don’t expect to see Rogue Two coming out of the galaxy far, far away. The new Star Wars spin-off movie Rogue One won’t be getting a direct sequel. That’s according to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, who tells the appropriately named Empire magazine that the new film was always intended to be a one-off adventure with its own beginning, middle, and end, adding that none of the Star Wars spin-offs are being designed with sequels in mind. That doesn’t mean the new film’s characters or locations can’t reappear somewhere else inside the shared Star Wars universe, but don’t expect a direct sequel. This is in contrast to Disney’s other big subsidiary Marvel, which always makes sequels to their stand alone movies, on top of having their characters appear in other films. If you really want a follow up to Rogue One, you could always just re-watch the original Star Wars movie. Rogue One takes place right before the classic film, chronicling how the Rebel Alliance stole the Death Star plans. Spoiler alert: they blow it up in the next movie. Rogue One will hit theatres on December 16.

And over to another big science fiction franchise, the Federation starship Discovery has recruited a few more crewmembers. The first official casting news for the upcoming TV series Star Trek: Discovery has been announced. CBS has confirmed rumours that Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon star Michelle Yeoh will play the captain of a Starfleet vessel called the Shenzhou, which will serve alongside the titular Discovery. They’ve also announced that Doug Jones, best known as Abe Sapien in Hellboy, will play an alien science officer, which seems like a smart casting choice. Finally, Broadway actor Anthony Rapp, who appeared in the stage and film versions of Rent, will play another officer aboard the Discovery. The show’s lead character, a female lieutenant, has yet to be cast, along with the actual captain of the Discovery. The show is expected to premiere in Summer 2017.

Facebook is giving the world another way to play video games. The social media giant has added a new Instant Games feature to its mobile messaging app. Users can challenge their friends to classic arcade games like Pac-Man, Galaga, and Space Invaders, and then play them right there in the messaging app. Your high scores will be kept as messages, so you can always scroll back and see who won. There are currently 17 games available, and Facebook is planning to release more soon. This seems like yet another way for Facebook to keep their users interested in their services. They first introduced games into the main Facebook browser in the late 2000’s, which created the social media game industry, and led to massive hits like Farmville and Mafia Wars. The Instant Games are so far only available in the US version of Facebook Messenger, but expect it to launch in other countries soon.

It looks like you can add a few more games to the list of titles coming to the Nintendo Switch. Two new games have been announced for the upcoming Nintendo system. First up, the hit farming RPG Stardew Valley, originally released on the PC earlier this year, will plant itself on the Switch sometime in 2017. Developer Eric Barone hasn’t said if it will be a launch window title, but he’s already working on the port and is very excited about what the new system has to offer. There’s some bad news, though. Barone has cancelled the planned Wii U port of the game, deciding to instead focus all his attention to the Switch, something that more and more developers, including Nintendo themselves, seem to be doing. Before the Switch version of Stardew Valley arrives, the game will be released on the Xbox One and PS4 on December 13.

Next up, you might be able to take the Switch with you into a demon-infested basement. The Binding of Isaac developer Nicalis has revealed that the new Afterbirth+ edition of the game will launch on the PS4, Xbox One, and another unnamed console in Spring 2017. Since they’ve already confirmed that the game will not be coming to the Wii U or Vita, that pretty much rules out everything except the Switch. The Binding of Isaac seems like it would be a good fit for the new Nintendo platform. It’s a twin-stick shooter that works just as well on a small screen as it does on a big one, and is inspired by the dungeon design of one of Nintendo’s most iconic games, the original Legend of Zelda. The previous Rebirth edition of the game was released on the Wii U and 3DS, but not before Nintendo initially rejected it over its biblical subtext and implied violence towards children, issues that have since been resolved. We’ll let you know if a Switch version is officially unveiled.

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