We live in a world dominated by virtual consumption. Whether you are into gaming, movies, or knitting, it is hard to avoid contact with some form of a digital community. Planet Earth is consumed by this form of technology which has no end in sight. When it comes to gaming specifically, there are a number of factors that drive gamers: adventure, relaxation, stress-relief, and an avenue that has real estate of its own – collecting.
The standard “gamer” actually does not exist – shooters, role players, platformers, nostalgia seekers, or Fortnite celebrities – gamers often transcend the boundaries of genres. We see undying allegiances to gaming companies such as Nintendo or Sony and inexplicable emotional ties to games from decades past. Whatever the case, there lies an audience of consumers who may not even fit the true bill of what a “gamer” is.
Collectors are seen in the world over in every light and hobby known to man – and video games are no exception to this rule. We’ve seen entire YouTube channels dedicated to nostalgia, where a well-known “gamer” shows off not only a Dragon’s Quest 11 gameplay on the PS4 but his collection of Dragon’s Quest 1-10 and replicas of the Hero Sword to millions of viewers. Sometimes, collecting can even turn into its own form of gaming – and this is where the market for coveted gems gets driven up even more.
So, without further ado, welcome to the world of NFTs, or non-fungible-tokens. NFTs are digital goods that exist on a digital ledger called blockchain. Each NFT represents a distinctive digital item, deeming it non-interchangeable. NFTs can represent a wide array of materials such as art, video, audio, and video game items. Each NFT is unique and its ownership can be precisely tracked.
For years people have had such an emotional attachment to physical entities, be it a Mickey Mantle baseball card or a one-of-a-kind piece of art. The market for rare items has survived in a world of physical seclusion, and this is now being turned upside down as the world faces a conversion to virtual materiality. Physical isolation in the age of COVID has only accelerated the transition to virtual existence. Digital media has never had much assignable value because it was always so easily duplicated. In allowing people to enumerate an official copy of a piece of art, NFTs finally give value to digital goods that used to have none.
Digital technology has had its fair share of criticism over the years, and NFTs have been closely associated with Bitcoin, the system used for cryptocurrency. But the $1.5 billion NFT transaction volume in the first quarter of 2021 alone speaks volumes about its transition to the mainstream.
Games that are using NFTs are not very large in abundance currently, but with the craze ascending on a near-daily basis, it seems unlikely that the market will stay small for long. The video game industry in the US alone accounted for over $60 billion USD in 2020. This signifies that not only is it beyond profitable but also that it begets growth beyond the norms of major consoles.
It’s not hard to conceptualize the full potential for a gaming-NFT intersection. One such instance of this is an NFT-based game, titled The Sandbox. Gamers can purchase plots of a virtual sandbox as an NFT in the game, allowing everyone to be the landowners they never were. The game sold $2.8 million worth of product just in the month of February alone and is said to be worth over $35 million by its creators. The growth of this market is rapidly expanding.
Collectors are driven by the rarity of an item and this is what truly gives such value to NFT items. Imagine having one-of-a-kind Legend of Zelda images or the original sketch of a video game character such as Cloud Strife. These things would hold immense value, and with a world that is diving headfirst into digital reality, it seems the reality is NFTs are the new way to level up.
PARAMOUNT+ Reveals UK Launch Date, Pricing, Distribution Partners & More
Paramount+, the global streaming service from Paramount Global, will launch in the UK and Ireland on 22 June 2022. After countless months of waiting It was announced by the company reporting their first-quarter earnings call on 3 of May, during which Paramount’s President and CEO, Bob Bakish, outlines global expansion plans for the streaming service.
The ongoing momentum of Paramount+ will also see the service launch in South Korea in June, with further launches planned in Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria in the second half of the year. Additionally, in 2023, Paramount+ will launch in India in partnership with Viacom 18, as part of a recently announced agreement, and is poised to participate in this fast-growing market.
“Paramount is known for its leading portfolio of premium entertainment brands and a robust content engine that fuels our rapidly expanding streaming service, Paramount+. This year will be monumental for our streaming strategy as we accelerate our global ambitions, rapidly expanding Paramount+ in Europe beginning with the UK, Italy, Germany, France and more by the end of this year and debut in Asia with South Korea in June, followed by India in 2023,” said Raffaele Annecchino, President and CEO, International Networks, Studios and Streaming, Paramount Global. “With an already expansive global footprint and a strong, long-term market-by-market strategy, we are well-poised to continue our positive momentum.”
Maria Kyriacou, President, Australia, Canada, Israel and UK, Paramount, said, “The addition of Paramount+ to our strong portfolio of free-to-air, pay-TV and streaming services will broaden the range of choice available to our audiences in the UK and Ireland. Paramount+ will be a one-stop destination for Paramount’s biggest brands, where fans of all ages can find exclusive original premium content, global hits, and discover a world of favourites from Paramount’s vast catalogue.”
PRICING AND DISTRIBUTION
In the UK, Paramount+ will be available online at
and on mobile and a wide range of connected TV devices via the Paramount+ app, via broad direct-to-consumer distribution through Apple, Amazon, Google, Roku® and Samsung, with more platforms to be announced in the coming months. Users will be able to sign up to the service for £6.99 per month/£69.90 per annum in the UK, after a free seven-day trial*.
Paramount+ will launch on Sky platforms in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria in 2022 as part of a new multi-year distribution agreement that also includes the extended carriage of Paramount’s leading portfolio of pay TV channels. Sky Cinema subscribers will get the bonus of Paramount+ included at no extra cost.
ROBUST CONTENT SLATE
Paramount+ will launch in the UK with a broad content slate of more than 8,000 hours of content for the whole family, spanning new and exclusive Paramount+ originals, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from Paramount’s world-renowned brands and production studios, including SHOWTIME®, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon.
In addition, Paramount+ is home to some of the world’s most beloved franchises in the world. Audiences in the UK will have access to the Star Trek universe; and the library and new seasons of Taylor Sheridan’s critically acclaimed Yellowstone series. South Park and the MTV Shores
will also be available, and kids and families franchises, this include SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Rugrats plus new originals based on Nickelodeon’s most beloved characters such as Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.
Some of the most anticipated Paramount+ and SHOWTIME® originals from the US, UK and other international markets will be available in the UK and Ireland when the service launches, including HALO, 1883, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, The Offer, Mayor of Kingstown, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, The First Lady, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Queen of the Universe and Jerry & Marge Go Large.
These will join premium international scripted Paramount+ originals produced by VIS – the international studio division of Paramount Global – in association with independent production companies in the UK and around the world. Previously announced original UK dramas heading to Paramount+ include Sexy Beast, A Gentleman in Moscow, Flatshare, The Burning Girls, The Ex-Wife and The Blue.
Scripted originals from around the world include
Los Enviados (The Envoys) (Mexico) and Cecilia (Mexico) – both of which have been renewed for a second season; Simon Beckett’s Chemistry of Death (Germany); The Signal (France); Bosé (Spain); Fallaci (Italy); At Midnight (Mexico); and more.
Hours of original factual titles from the UK production community will also be available, including Haunted, The Box, Rise of the Tech Titans, MH370: The Lost Flight, Chalet Girls, LA Hairdressers, Fashion House, Pervert: Catching the Strip Search Caller and Girl Taken.
KIDS AND FAMILY
Thousands of hours of Kids and Family content on the service will include Paramount+ Original series Fairly Odd Parents: Fairly Odder, iCarly S1 & S2, the reimagined Rumble and Big Nate. They will join original TV movies, including Honour Society, Promposal, Little Wing, Snow Day, Nicole From Last Night and Blue’s Big City Adventure.
Paramount+ will offer unlimited access to blockbuster movies with new releases like
Scream 5, time-proven classics such as Grease and Star Trek, and family-friendly selections like PAW Patrol: The Movie, Clifford The Big Red Dog and more.
EXCLUSIVE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
Also coming to the UK service this year are Paramount+ exclusives The Thing About Pam and Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons. They join other exclusive titles including South Park: Post Covid and South Park: Post Covid: The Return to Covid, as well as Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, The First Lady and The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Paramount+ is a global digital subscription video streaming service from Paramount that features a mountain of premium entertainment for audiences of all ages. Internationally, the streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including SHOWTIME®, BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel™, in addition to a robust offering of premier local content. The service is currently live in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Nordics, and Australia.
Angela Bassett Says Black Panther 2 Will Surpass The First
Recently actress and Black Panther star Angela Bassett who plays Ramonda (mother of Shuri and T’Challa) reflected on filming Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman’s impact on the upcoming sequel and a tidbit as to what we can expect going forward. Marvel has remained tight lipped after Boseman’s tragic passing as to how the events of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ will play out, without its main star.The set of Black Panther 2 has already experienced its share of set backs, via Covid-19 and a stunt injury to lead actress Letitia Wright who plays Shuri, the sister of T’Challa.
Recently on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Angela Bassett praised Director Ryan Coogler for his work on Black Panther 2 saying it will “Top” the first film. She also went on to praise Chadwick Boseman saying he was inspiration in “Raising the standard.” while adding:
“He was such an example, such a leader. Amazing talent, we all know that; big heart, great intellect. And we just hope to raise the standard, you know.”
Black Panther 2 does not plan to replace Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa), instead, Ryan Coogler and Marvel plan to move forward in a way that honors Boseman’s legacy while pushing forward with a new inspiring cinematic story, set in Wakanda.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to hit theaters in November.
2022 Oscar Snubs:
Last week, we finally got the nominations for the 2022 Academy Awards, the biggest event in any film fans diary. In this piece, I will be looking through some of the people who may feel unlucky not to be getting glammed up on the 27th March. As a disclaimer, these snubs may not necessarily be films/people that I wanted to see in the lineup. Just ones that will feel aggrieved at not having a nomination.
This years Best Picture lineup is not one of the strongest lineups we’ve seen, especially when compared to some past years. There are a few films that will feel aggrieved to not be in the running…
The Tragedy of Macbeth
Joel Coen tackling one of the most famous plays from William Shakespeare with Academy favourites Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand as your two stars certainly feels like the perfect recipe for Oscars success. The Tragedy of Macbeth landed 3 Oscar nominations in total and will feel like it could have snuck into the Best Picture running.
The Lost Daughter
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, is an excellent debut and considering it picked up 3 Oscar nods for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, it will feel like it should have its place in the running for Best Picture.
In the Heights
The feel good film of 2021, In the Heights was a popular film amongst both audiences and critics which should have resulted in some love from the Academy. If I had my way, this would have been in the Best Picture running.
House of Gucci
The definition of ‘Oscar bait’. A biopic about a huge scandal in one of the most famous and luxurious fashion families in the world, with Ridley Scott at the helm and a cast that includes the great Al Pacino…its a shock that this wasn’t in the running.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
This was always going to be a long shot, but with the mega box office, the campaigning by Marvel, the overall popularity of the picture and the Academy trying to become more ‘relevant’, it wouldn’t have been *that* big of a surprise if the film had snuck into the Best Picture running.
Easily the biggest snub from this years Oscars lineup. It is absolutely crazy that the Academy doesn’t recognise the director of a film that picked up 10 nominations in total…
Another Best Director snub is first timer Maggie Gyllenhaal. This would have been a long shot but it would have been fantastic to have seen Gyllenhaal make her way into this illustrious group.
Guillermo Del Toro
Another one of the Academy’s favourites, Guillermo Del Toro feels like a big snub in this race, especially given the quality of the film on offer with Nightmare Alley.
The breakout star of 2021, Alana Haim was perfect in Licorice Pizza and was fully deserving of a Best Actress nod.
Another breakout star of 2021, Emilia Jones should have been in the conversation a lot more this awards season for her leading role in the wonderful and heart wrenching CODA.
The Last Duel is probably the biggest suffering film in terms of awards snubs. This should have been in the conversation for all of the major awards but the leading snub from the film is hands down Jodie Comer. She is breathtaking in the picture.
Probably the biggest surprise of the Oscars nominations was Lady Gaga’s snub from the Best Actress race. The majority of people were expecting Gaga to be a potential winner in this topsy turvy category so to see her snubbed came as a huge surprise. I have to say though, if Gaga missing out means Kristen Stewart gets in, I’m happy…
Leonardo Di Caprio
Say what you want about Don’t Look Up as a film (a lot of people have said a lot of stuff). One thing that can’t be denied though is the quality of some of the performances, namely Leonardo Di Caprio. One of the Academy’s favourite actors, it is a surprise not to see them give him another nomination.
Peter Dinklage is one of the finest working actors out there, continually putting in great performances throughout the years. It would have been wonderful to see Dinklage finally land an Oscar nod for Cyrano.
Bradley Cooper is well overdue an Oscar win, he should have won for A Star is Born back in 2019. In Nightmare Alley, he gives one of his best performances and one that has definitely been overlooked by the Academy voters.
Another long shot, but Nicolas Cage gives his best performance in years in the excellent Pig. It would have been quite the turn from the Academy to recognise this kind of performance but I for one would have loved it.
Best Supporting Actress
Say what you want about Belfast but the quality of the performances cannot be denied. In fact the best two performances have been snubbed by the Academy. Firstly, Caitriona Balfe puts in the best performance in the film and it is a travesty that the Academy has overlooked her (no criticism to Dame Judi who I love).
Cate Blanchett is an actor who continually puts in fantastic performance after fantastic performance. In Nightmare Alley she delivers a cold and fatal performance that deserved recognition.
Marlee Matlin is another who gives an excellent performance in CODA. It was amazing to see Troy Kotsur nominated but it would have been lovely to have seen his on screen partner pick up a nod too.
Ann Dowd and Martha Plimpton
Mass is a film filled with four devastating performances. Four performances that could have easily been nominated in the Oscars this year. Ann Dowd and Martha Plimpton are both excellent and both would have been worthy of a nod this year.
Best Supporting Actor:
Like Balfe, Jamie Dornan also puts in an excellent performance in Belfast, probably the best of his career. He gives a charismatic and likeable performance in a film the Academy voters seem to love.
Mike Faist puts in a great performance in West Side Story, one of the best in the film, that is fully deserving of an Oscar nomination.
C’mon C’mon is another one of those overlooked films in the awards season this year that deserved a lot more love. Woody Norman is excellent in the film and it would have been incredible to see him in the Supporting Actor race.
Jason Isaacs and Reed Birney
Again, Mass is a film filled with four devastating performances. Four performances that could have easily been nominated in the Oscars this year. Reed Birney and, in particular, Jason Isaacs are both excellent and both would have been worthy of a nod this year.
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