‘The Lord of the Rings: Gollum’ is delayed a month before launch

Daedalic Entertainment has delayed The Lord of the Rings: Gollum a little more than five weeks before it was due to debut on September 1st. The studio took to Twitter on Monday to announce it would need more time to complete work on the game. “In order to deliver the best possible experience, we have decided to push the release of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum by a few months,” Daedalic said. The studio did not share a new release date but promised to do so “in the near future.”

First announced in with a 2021 release window, Daedalic eventually went on to push the game back to at the start of last year. It shared the previous September 1st release date in . Set during the early chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring, Daedalic is billing Gollum as a “cinematic stealth adventure.” Part of the game involves navigating a narrative system that reflects Gollum’s dual personalities. Once the game finally arrives, it will be available on PlayStation 4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

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Samsung’s super-curved Odyssey Ark might launch in weeks

Samsung’s unique Odyssey Ark gaming monitor might finally go on sale in the coming weeks. A report from the Korean publication ETNews (via SamMobile) suggests that the 55-inch curved monitor is set to become available sometime in August.

After having been announced and showcased at CES in January, the release of the Odyssey Ark has been highly anticipated. However, several specifications, including HDR support, brightness, and port configurations, remain unknown at this time.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

So far, we know for sure that the monitor features a 16:9 4K OLED display, which was showcased in a vertical stance but also supports pivot, tilt, and rotation modes. The aspect ratio can also be set to ultrawide 21:9 or ultrawide 49:9, depending on user preference.

SamMobile claims to have learned from Samsung at CES that the monitor will have a 1000R curve radius, a UHD resolution, an active refresh rate of 165Hz, a 1 millisecond response time, six surround sound speakers with Dolby Atmos support, and support for FreeSync and G-Sync technologies. The publication added that the specs are subject to change up until the Odyssey Ark is released.

Samsung ARK gaming monitor with its curved screen.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The massive monitor is also using a QD-OLED panel instead of a traditional OLED panel, which has been a trend on gaming monitors experimenting with OLED throughout the year. We’ve seen other monitors, such as the Alienware 34, use Samsung’s QD-OLED panels, which helps keep the price of the peripheral lower. However, due to the sheer size of the Odyssey Ark, it is possible the monitor could have a steep price.

The price of the Odyssey Ark has not yet been revealed. However, some bloggers speculate that the monitor could sell for upwards of $2,500, using the 49-inch Odyssey Neo G9 as an example. The Odyssey Neo G9 is also a curved monitor, which sells for $1,800. The smaller still, 32-inch Odyssey Neo G8, was also showcased at CES and sells for $1,500.

Editors’ Choice

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Chinese hackers use VLC media player to launch cyberattacks

Researchers discovered that Chinese hackers have been using VLC Media Player to launch cybersecurity attacks.

The hacker group, allegedly affiliated with the Chinese government, uses the popular video player to deploy malware on the targeted computer.

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These activities have been traced down to a hacker group called Cicada, which is also known by a long list of other names, such as menuPass, Stone Panda, APT10, Potassium, and Red Apollo. Cicada has been around for a long time — at least since 2006.

The malware deployed to the victims of the attack opens the door for hackers to obtain all kinds of information. It can grant knowledge on everything about the system, scour through running processes, and download files on command, only broadening the potential for misuse. Such stealth attacks are not uncommon, but this one seems to have taken place on a large scale.

This campaign, involving the popular VLC Media Player, appears to have been started for espionage purposes. According to a report by Bleeping Computer, the targets involve a wide range of entities involved in legal, governmental, or religious activities. Non-governmental organizations have also been targeted. What’s perhaps more staggering is that this activity has spread to entities across at least three continents.

Some of the targeted countries include the U.S., Hong Kong, India, Italy, and Canada. Surprisingly, only one of the victims was from Japan. Cicada group has previously targeted Japan for its cyberattacks many times in the past. Once the attackers gained access to the victim’s machine, they were able to maintain it for up to nine months.

VLC Media Player.

Although VLC was exploited to deploy malware, Bleeping Computer says that the file itself was clean. It appears that a safe version of VLC was combined with a malicious DLL file located in the place as the export functions of the media player. This is referred to as DLL side-loading, and Cicada is not alone in using this technique to upload malware into programs that are otherwise secure.

The custom loader used by Cicada has apparently been seen in previous attacks that were also connected to the hacker team. In order to first gain access to the networks that were breached, a Microsoft Exchange server was exploited. Additionally, a WinVNC server was deployed as a means of establishing remote control over the systems affected by the hidden malware.

There’s more to the VLC exploit than first meets the eye. On top of that, an exploit called Sodamaster was used, which runs stealthily in the system memory without requiring any files. It’s capable of avoiding detection and can delay execution at startup.

The information comes from Symantec and was reported by Bleeping Computer. Symantec’s researchers discovered that these cybersecurity attacks may have started in mid-2021 and continued taking place in February 2022. However, it’s entirely possible that this threat continues to this day.

Although these attacks are certainly dangerous, it’s probable that not every user of VLC needs to worry. Bleeping Computer has stated that the VLC file in question was clean and the hackers seem to have a very targeted approach, centered on certain entities. However, it’s always important to stay on top of security where PCs are concerned.

Update 04/11/2022: We have contacted VLC and asked for an official statement on the matter. According to the developers, the program is “very safe to use,” and it has has, so far, “not been hacked or in breach of security.”

In order to avoid running into security issues, VLC recommends that all users only download the program from the official website and no other sources. In addition, it’s recommended that the program is kept updated on a regular basis.

Editors’ Choice

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Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3090 Ti GPU Set for January Launch

Nvidia is reportedly set to add three new variations to its GeForce RTX 30 series of GPUs, with the flagship RTX 3090 Ti apparently due for a release next month.

According to an embargoed document uncovered by VideoCardz, the highly anticipated RTX 3090 Ti GPU will be released on January 27, 2022. Also expected to be released on that same date is the GeForce RTX 3050 8GB graphics card. With CES 2022 around the corner, expect Nvidia to formally introduce these video cards at the event.

Elsewhere, Nvidia is said to be planning to announce the upgraded RTX 3070 Ti 16GB model next week on December 17, while a launch to consumers is scheduled for January 11. As for its specifications, VideoCardz notes how the GPU will contain the same CUDA core count as the 8GB model, in addition to the same clock speeds.

The card will also come with 16GB of GDDR6X memory, according to Wccftech, which means the standard GDDR6 modules found on the current GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card are being upgraded.

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 8GB, meanwhile, is rumored to deliver 3072 CUDA cores in 24 SM units through the GA106-150 GPU, joined by 8GB of GDDR6 memory. Ultimately, such specs would make the card an attractive option in the mainstream segment of the market.

As for the powerful RTX 3090 Ti, which is obviously geared toward enthusiasts, previous rumors have given us an insight into what to expect from the card. It’s expected to feature 21Gbps of GDDR6X memory based on 2GB GDDR6X memory modules. Notably, this will allow the GPU to sport 1TBps of bandwidth.

Next-generation standards such as PCIe Gen 5.0 will be supported by a new 16-pin connector, while a 450 W TDP will offer increased power consumption; the RTX 3090 Ti is set to be Nvidia’s first video card for the consumer market to utilize the full GA102 GPU via its 10,752 CUDA cores.

Nvidia’s keynote at CES 2022 takes place on January 4, aptly providing it with an opportunity to unveil the aforementioned Ampere graphics cards. Getting your hands on these upcoming GPUs, however, is another discussion entirely due to the current worldwide shortage. Nvidia recently stated that long-term agreements with manufacturers meant supplies could improve during the second half of 2022.

Editors’ Choice

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Sony reportedly plans to launch its answer to Xbox Game Pass this spring

Xbox Game Pass has been a hit for Microsoft, and it seems Sony is preparing to respond with its own version of an all-in-one game subscription service. The company is planning to merge PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now into a new offering, which is expected to debut this spring, according to Bloomberg.

The service, which is codenamed Spartacus, would likely be available on PS4 and PS5 for a monthly fee. It’s unclear whether players would be able to access it on other devices, though the report notes Sony is putting more resources into cloud gaming. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate allows players to delve into more than 100 Xbox titles via the cloud on , PC, phones and tablets. Microsoft plans to for TVs too.

It seems Sony will kill off PlayStation Now, but keep the PlayStation Plus branding. Sony may not yet have finalized how Spartacus will work, but there could be three tiers to the service. According to documents viewed by Bloomberg, the lowest tier would effectively be PlayStation Plus as it is now. The second level would add a “large catalog” of PS4 titles, with PS5 games joining later. The third and highest tier would include cloud gaming, expanded demos and, akin to , a bunch of older PS1, PS2, PS3 and even PSP games. However, those plans may not be set in stone.

It’s not clear whether Sony plans to bring its first-party exclusives to the service on their release date, as Microsoft does on Game Pass. Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan that the company wouldn’t “go down the road of putting new release titles into a subscription model. These games cost many millions of dollars, well over $100 million, to develop. We just don’t see that as sustainable.”

But the landscape has shifted since Ryan’s remarks. For one thing, Microsoft bought Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media this year. All of Bethesda’s games (save for a couple of timed PS5 console exclusives like ) are on Game Pass, and future Bethesda titles like might not come to PlayStation at all.

Although Game Pass would likely be Sony’s biggest competitor in the game subscription market, it’ll be up against several other major companies. and have subscription services, Amazon launched last year and to its existing plans. As for cloud gaming (a category Luna also falls into), there’s NVIDIA’s GeForce Now and Google Stadia, and even .

PlayStation Now was one of the earliest major game subscription services when it debuted in 2015, but it had a fairly tepid response. Players were only able to access PS Now games via the cloud until 2018, when they were able to to their console.

One of the biggest complaints we had about the service when was the lack of notable games. Since then, Sony has brought some big games like for a limited time.

By the end of Sony’s 2020 financial year, there were . Microsoft in January that it had 18 million Game Pass members. For that reason and many others, it’s a smart idea for Sony to go back to the drawing board and create a more robust subscription service. 

Much like Microsoft, Sony has started looking beyond PlayStation consoles to bring its games to new audiences. Over the last year or so, it released Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone on PC. A bundle of Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is coming to PC in early 2022, as is the 2018 reboot of God of War.

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Halo Infinite campaign launch trailer prepares us for all-out war

Even though Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer has been out for a couple of weeks, we’re still awaiting the arrival of the game’s campaign. We’re about a week away from the launch of Halo Infinite‘s campaign, but that isn’t stopping 343 Industries and Microsoft from whetting appetites with a launch trailer today. If you’re a fan of the Halo campaigns of the past, then you’ll definitely want to give this trailer a look.

Master Chief takes on The Banished

As we’ve known for quite some time already, in Halo Infinite, Master Chief will be going toe-to-toe with The Banished, a Covenant splinter group that ultimately rebelled against their old allies. The launch trailer for Halo Infinite‘s campaign gets us right into the details: The Banished are planning to fire a new ring called Zeta Halo and Master Chief has to stop them.

This, of course, means there will be plenty of fighting, and we know that Halo Infinite is going to have at least a semi-open world, which is something of a departure for the Halo series. While previous entries have had huge maps with secret weapons and collectibles dotted throughout them, they’ve also been linear in their design.

With Halo Infinite, that all changes – at least somewhat. While on Zeta Halo, Master Chief will be able to capture forward operating bases held by The Banished, and we get to see a glimpse of some of those base assaults in this trailer. While the trailer doesn’t give too much away – at least compared to what we already know – those who are trying to go into it as unspoiled as possible may still want to give it a pass for now.

Microsoft tries a different strategy with Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite represents a pretty big departure for the series and for Microsoft, which have both followed a fairly consistent structure throughout the years. We’ve already told you how Halo Infinite is changing from a design perspective, but it’ll be a lot different from previous games from a monetization perspective as well.

For all previous releases in the Halo series, multiplayer and the campaign were both parts of the same purchase. $60 (or whatever the game cost at the time) granted you access to both, but that won’t be the case for Halo Infinite. Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer is free-to-play and is already available.

That means the campaign will be sold separately for $60, so we’ll soon find out just how much value Halo players put on the campaign. With no multiplayer included to hook players into buying, the campaign needs to stand on its own from a value standpoint if Microsoft is looking to sell copies. That could explain why 343 and Microsoft decided to make Halo Infinite‘s campaign semi-open world, a decision that suggests it’ll be broader in scope (and perhaps even in replayability) than previous campaigns.

Of course, Halo Infinite‘s campaign will also be available through Xbox Game Pass, which means that it doesn’t necessarily have to sell copies a ton of copies at $60 to be counted as a success in Microsoft’s eyes. In any case, we’ll find out if the value is there soon enough, as Halo Infinite‘s campaign launches on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC on December 8th.

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Halo Infinite’s Surprise Launch is a Power Play for Xbox

For once, a seemingly ridiculous video game rumor turned out to be true: Halo Infinite’s multiplayer released nearly one month early. Leaks indicated that the surprise could happen, but it still seemed too good to be true. But the fact is that players are enjoying Halo Infinite’s first season much sooner than anticipated.

In an age where video game release dates only get moved back, not forward, the news came as a straight-up shock. Shooter fans were just sitting down with Call of Duty: Vanguard and waiting for Battlefield 2042’s full release. Xbox Game Pass subscribers had just begun digging into the recently released Forza Horizon 5. If you had a strict plan for tackling all the games launching this holiday season, go ahead and toss it in the fire.

The decision to drop Halo Infinite early isn’t just a sweet “thank you” to fans for their support. It’s the sneakiest power play a video game company has pulled since Sony’s infamous “$299” mic drop at E3 1995.

Un-freakin’ believable

Before the surprise drop, Microsoft was in something of an awkward position. Halo Infinite was set to be its big holiday game, but its planned December 8 release date wasn’t ideal. A December date meant that the game wouldn’t be out in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when many people buy holiday gifts or hunt for discounted games. Battlefield 2042 and Call of Duty: Vanguard would headline sales events, putting those shooters in the spotlight heading into the holidays. Even if Halo Infinite got positive buzz at launch, it would be late to the party.

Getting good word of mouth was going to be a challenge, too. December releases also tend to miss the Game of the Year season as many sites publish their lists by the end of November. While Digital Trends planned to hold our GOTY decision until we played Halo, others likely would have left it out of contention and saved it for their 2022 lists. Similarly, the game would be ineligible for The Game Awards this year and would be considered for the following year’s show instead, much like what happened to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate when it dropped in mid-December 2018. Any critical acclaim would come late, making it hard for Microsoft to capitalize heading into the holidays.

By dropping the multiplayer mode early, Microsoft has rewritten the rules. While the game isn’t fully out (single-player is still coming in December), the conversation around it is now in full swing. Players will start posting clips all over social media, it’ll dominate Twitch charts, and media will start kicking out impressions way earlier than planned (ourselves included). And all of that will happen before people start putting together their holiday wish lists.

It’s a bombshell move and one that might tick the competition off. Battlefield 2042 was supposed to be the most high-profile game launching this month (especially after tepid Call of Duty: Vanguard reviews), but Halo Infinite just crashed a Warthog full of banana peels on its clear runway. Now it’ll have to share the spotlight with the biggest shooter of the year — one that’s totally free to play and has the element of surprise behind it.

Halo Infinite is no longer at risk of getting lost in the mix; it’s the competition who should be worrying.

A sneaky beta

The sneakiest part of the whole early launch is the clever use of a “beta” label. Fans aren’t experiencing the final version of Halo Infinite right now. Microsoft is strategically calling the multiplayer mode a “beta.” That gives the company a fair bit of flexibility. Players are more likely to forgive any technical issues when they know they’re playing a non-final version of a game. EA won’t get the same good will when Battlefield 2042 launches in full later this week. In fact, the game is already getting “review bombed” by early access players who are bumping into stability issues in a game they paid $60 or more for.

What remains to be seen is whether or not the multiplayer mode actually leaves beta once the game’s release date rolls around. There’s a good chance that Microsoft will just leave the label on — an admission that the long-delayed game still wasn’t ready for launch. Had Microsoft fully released the multiplayer on December 8 as a beta, fans would have been outraged. The company would be under scrutiny for releasing an unfinished game (it will already lack campaign co-op and Forge mode at launch, which has drawn criticism from fans). Instead, fans are simply delighted they’re getting to play it weeks early.

New Halo Infinite Map Behemoth.

Messaging is everything in video games and Microsoft seems acutely aware of that. By positioning the launch as a “gift,” players are going to approach the game much differently than they would have in December. Microsoft now looks like a good guy kindly giving fans a surprise, rather than a giant company rushing out a game to pump up its fourth quarter financial earnings at any cost. It’s a devilishly clever move that could change the way companies roll out their games moving forward.

I’m not sure if that’s good for players in the long term, but that’s unimportant at the moment. Microsoft has delivered a rare shock in an industry that’s usually predictable. Rule-breaking power plays like this are scarce, but they tend to be turning points for the industry. Don’t be surprised if the Xbox Series X suddenly usurps PS5 as this holiday’s hottest console as a result.

Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is now free to download and play on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. The full game, including its single-player mode, launches on December 8.

Editors’ Choice

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New World is getting a ton of new content: Here’s how to try it before launch

New World is getting a massive update later this month, and the update is adding so much that Amazon is launching a Public Test Realm (PTR) to put the new content through its paces first. A number of video games have PTRs to test updates before they go live for everyone, including some MMOs. New World‘s PTR is going live later today and will give players a chance to test out these upcoming features – which include a new weapon, new quests, and new enemies – for themselves.

New World PTR details

To start, it should be noted that all of the new content detailed in this article is not going live in the game yet, only on the PTR. The PTR itself is opening later today, at 12 PM PST/3 PM EST, with two servers, one on US East and one on Central Europe. That, as New World players have likely already guessed, means that access to the PTR will be limited.

Everyone who owns a copy of New World will find that the New World PTR has been added to their Steam libraries. I don’t see it in my Steam library at the moment, so the rollout may be taking Amazon longer than anticipated. In any case, the New World PTR will be a standalone application that needs to be installed before users can join.

Like other games that offer a PTR, New World‘s PTR won’t always be accessible. Instead, Amazon will open it up for predefined test periods, and at the end of those test periods, the servers will be closed, and progress will be wiped. Amazon also asks those who join the PTR to submit feedback on the PTR sub-forum or through the in-game feedback tool.

What the first PTR test includes

The inaugural PTR patch has a significant amount of new content in it. This update introduces a new weapon called the Void Gauntlet, which scales with both Focus and Intelligence. While that Intelligence scaling makes it a good choice for any mage players out there, the Focus scaling means that players using Life Staff now have a more offensive tool at their disposal for the times they aren’t frantically healing their friends and party members.

Amazon explains that the Annihilation tree for the Void Gauntlet will center on close-range damage with the Void Blade, while the Decay tree will be more support-based with the Orb of Decay, which can heal allies and place debuffs on enemies.

The update also introduces a new enemy type – Varangian Raiders consisting of Hewers, Scouts, Knights, and Archers – and has increased enemy variety. The announcement of greater enemy variety will likely be a welcome one among New World‘s player base, as the lack of variety has been a sticking point for some since launch.

The Varangian Raiders will also be the subject of two new quests, the first of which can be obtained by Abigail Rose in Western Everfall. Since Amazon says the level range of these new enemies will be 16-20, the quests associated with them will likely be similarly low-level. Those who have reached the level cap may not want to bother seeking out these quests, but it may not be a bad idea for those having some trouble earning gold in the endgame.

This update also contains new content for endgame players in its new Legendary Weapon Quests for the Void Gauntlet. You’ll need to be level 60 and have the Void Gauntlet’s level maxed before you can start this quest, and when you’ve accomplished that, you’ll want to find Antiquarian Abbington in Reekwater to begin.

With this PTR update, Amazon has also made some improvements to main storyline quests, implemented some changes to PvP missions, and has linked all of the trading posts in the game – something it signaled it would do last week. We don’t have any indication of when this update will be hitting live servers, but you can read more about it and the PTR over on the New World website.

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Konami is refunding DLC purchases after disastrous ‘eFootball’ launch

Last month, Konami dropped Pro Evolution Soccer in favor of the new free-to-play eFootball franchise with the promise of decent gameplay on the cheap. Unfortunately, the launch was nothing short of woeful, with bad player models, numerous glitches and an uproar over a $40 DLC that couldn’t even be redeemed until a big version 1.0 update originally scheduled for this month.

Now, Konami is saying that this update is being pushed way back to spring of 2022. As such, it’s refunding players who pulled the trigger on that DLC and forcing them to reinstall the game. “If you have pre-ordered the Premium Player Pack and wish to continue to play eFootball 2022, you will need to re-download the core game after the pre-order has been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience,” the company wrote.

Konami is refunding players who bought pricey DLC after disastrous 'eFootball' launch


To make the game more usable in the near term, Konami released an update (v0.9.1) “to fix numerous bugs sequentially on each platform starting today (November 5th),” it wrote. Left unsaid there is the severity of the glitches, which make for some pretty cringe reading. Choice ones include “the referee may be shown as being trapped on the surface of the pitch,” “pitch grass is not shown three-dimensionally,” and “players may get caught up in the goal net when performing a goal celebration close to the goal.” 

It’s hard to be optimistic given the issues Konami has had with its football games, but the company did buy itself some more time. We now have to wait until spring 2022 to see if it can do anything to turn eFootball around.

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Netflix Games on day 1: A shocking public launch

Netflix Games was revealed today for the general public on Android devices of many sorts. Netflix Games at launch is made for mobile smart devices – specifically for Android smartphones and tablets – with precious few titles right out the gate. This new game-serving platform is not separate from the standard Netflix app – it exists within the app you already have downloaded to your device.

Netflix Games released

Netflix made a bold decision with Netflix Games, deciding to go right ahead and jam a brand new form of content right inside their video streaming library. They’ve launched this service for free, for now, allowing users to download their first set of mobile games so long as they’re already a Netflix subscriber.

The games launched with Netflix Games were developed by 3 developers. Among them are BonusXP, Frosty Pop, and a combination effort from Amuzo & Rogue Games. That pair of developers at the end of the list created the game Card Blast. Frosty Pop developed Teeter Up and Shooting Hoops, and BonusXP created the headliner games: Stranger Things: 1984, and Stranger Things 3: The Game.

Inside the regular Netflix app

Netflix released a sort of play-test iteration of Netflix Games earlier this year in Poland, Italy, and Spain. If you live or lived in one of those regions and had a Netflix subscription and the Android app downloaded back at the tail end of September, you might already have some experience playing the games listed above.

If you have the latest version of the Netflix Android app this afternoon, you should see the first selection of games available for download. Android mobile phone users will see a dedicated games row and a games tab. Android tablet uses will see a games option in the categories drop-down menu, as well as a dedicated games row in the general content library.

Not for the kids, yet

Kids profiles will not be able to access this first pack of games. This set of games is currently protected with the same PIN access system as adult accounts in the Netflix app. A single Netflix account can allow multiple devices to download this first pack of games, but there is an upper limit – just as there is a limit to the number of devices one account can play content with at one time.

Mobile and Android only?

At the moment it would appear that Netflix is only focusing in mobile games that work on Android devices. Given Apple’s rules with downloadable content and app stores within their App Store, it’s unlikely we’ll see Netflix Games on iOS or iPadOS any time soon, if ever.

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