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The Sims 4 base game is going to be free next month

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A screenshot from The Sims 4.

The Sims 4.

Image: EA

Nearly a decade after it first launched, The Sims 4 is going to be free. Today, EA announced that the base game — meaning it won’t include the plentiful expansions — will be free to download on October 18th on PC (Origin and Steam), PlayStation, and Xbox.

The news doesn’t seem like it will impact the rate of updates for the game, which regularly gets new features and expansions; just this year, The Sims 4 expanded its sexual orientation options and added a virtual thrift store. EA says that “the team is more dedicated than ever to developing new and meaningful experiences for players, and will continue to develop and release packs, kits, and Sims delivery express drops into the foreseeable future.” As part of today’s announcement, the publisher said that it will be doing a “special-edition stream” on October 18th, airing on both YouTube and Twitch.

Those who already own the game — or purchase it before October 17th — will get a free “Desert Luxe Kit,” with new furniture and other in-game items.

Adi Robertson56 minutes ago

South Korea fined Meta and Google for using personal info without consent.

Meta was fined around $22 million and Google around $50 million — a fraction of their revenue, but part of a protracted global crackdown on lax privacy policies. Meta says it’s considering fighting the decision in court.


Crypto villain Do Kwon is wanted by authorities in South Korea.

Kwon, the founder of Terraform Labs, was at the center of crypto’s biggest scandal this year: the cataclysmic collapse of Luna/Terra coins from $60 billion to zero. South Korean authorities issued the warrant for his arrest on “allegations that include violations of the nation’s capital markets law,” Bloomberg reports. Kwon is in Singapore.


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Nilay PatelSep 13

Will inflation lead to more entry-level gadgets?

This summer I wrote about how tech products may be insulated from inflation more than consumables, but they are far from immune.

Today, Janko Roettgers over at Protocol makes a compelling argument using recent releases from Roku and Sonos and rumored stuff coming soon from Google as evidence that inflation will result in more budget gadget options for us consumers:


Gaze upon the Dynamic Island’s subpixel antialiasing.

In true Apple fashion, the company built a new display system for the iPhone 14 Pro to make the edges of the island three times crisper than the rest of iOS, to make it feel more like hardware. Our full review goes into it!


Dynamic island shot in macro to show pixels

David PierceTwo hours ago

The sports streaming wars might get even more confusing.

A few weeks ago, the Big Ten conference signed a huge and confusing deal for sports rights. And it sounds like ESPN, which owns the rights to the soon-to-be-expanding College Football Playoff, might change some things too. Here’s ESPN chief Jimmy Pitaro to Bloomberg:

“We’ve been clear to anyone who is interested that we are very willing to be flexible here and be creative in terms of this expansion.”

That’s business speak for “give me a number, Bezos and Cook.”


Netflix will try to remind you what you’re paying for with another fan event next week.

Despite this spring’s layoffs (and a brand that some exiting writers couldn’t pronounce), Netflix is still making Tudum a thing, including the second edition of its global fan event next week on September 24th.

This new trailer doesn’t give anything away, but Netflix needs to prove to me that it has more than games to offer as a reason to keep it in the subscription streaming rotation.


Your vomit may be valuable a few million years from now.

According to an article in the journal Palaios, paleontologists are enthusiastically examining a bunch of bones apparently regurgitated from a predator in Utah 150 million years ago. The fossil they found contains the remains of an unlucky frog or tadpole that was some predator’s lunch back in prehistoric times.


I’d have a lockscreen full of widgets if I could.

Lockscreen widgets in iOS 16 are great and super useful, but Apple limits how many you can have to just one row below the clock. I’ve got a big screen on my phone that I’d put so many more widgets on if I could. Widgets are great. Widget it up.


Neither snow nor rain nor active crime scene will stay these robot couriers…

Last-mile delivery robots are still trying to prove their worth, but here’s one apparent advantage: they can enter crime scenes. It’s a bit odd that the police didn’t stop the bot, especially as we don’t know whether a computer or human was driving.


What would you name a probe sent to Uranus?

Probey McProbeface is always a fave, but what about Planetary Orbital Observation Probe (aka, P.O.O.P.)? Just a few of the names suggested in response to an unofficial poll for a proposed mission that isn’t even funded — but it’s ok to have fun.


The next iPhone and Mac M3 chip rumors begin.

Nikkei Asia is reporting that Apple is preparing to use TSMC’s second-generation 3nm process for its M3 and A17 chips next year. The upgraded 3nm tech will include performance and power efficiency improvements, and is rumored to appear in premium 2023 iPhones and M3 Mac computers. That could mean the next base iPhone model won’t have Apple’s latest chips again.


A PlayStation exclusive is heading to Xbox.

Deathloop on Xbox ads have started appearing on consoles today. The timed PS5 console exclusive from Microsoft-owned Bethesda looks like it will be available on Xbox soon, a year after it launched on PS5. Microsoft’s store says you can “pre-order now” but the link isn’t working yet. We described Deathloop as “an intricate mystery that also happens to be an amazing action game.”


The Xbox dashboard showing Deathloop will be available on Xbox soon

A Deathloop ad on Xbox.

Screenshot by Tom Warren / The Verge

Aqara has a new smart thermostat for radiators in Europe.

The Radiator Thermostat E1 arrives in Europe (€56.99 / £54.99) with lots of valve adapters to automate wall-mounted radiators, towel warmers, and heated floors. It’ll support Matter via a future update to Aqara’s hubs.


Showtime streaming might disappear into Paramount Plus.

Next year HBO Max will do the fusion dance with Discovery Plus, and Disney’s CEO is talking about a “hard bundle” for Hulu and Disney Plus, so this rumor about Paramount discontinuing Showtime streaming is no surprise.

Showtime’s content is already in the Paramount app, and Paramount’s pushing a discounted $8 (ads) or $13 (fewer ads) combo subscription until October 2nd. The bundle is back.


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