Fortnite Had An In-Game Marshmello Concert, And It Was Actually Pretty Great

This afternoon, I went to a concert in Fortnite. I don’t entirely know what I was just part of, but I think I loved it?

Earlier this week, dataminers found hints of a possible in-game set by electronic music DJ Marshmello, who is known for wearing a white suit and a white, marshmellow-like mask. The musician eventually announced the event, including putting Fortnite location Pleasant Park on his tour schedule.

Marshmello is no stranger to Fortnite, having played with Ninja at E3. While this event made sense for a game that embraces celebrities and in-game events, it made no sense to me, an old man whose last live concert was a reunion tour for 90s punk/emo band Jawbreaker that annoyed me for not starting until 9:30pm. I thought EDM musicians who wear funny masks was a joke invented for The Good Place. Fellow old man Luke Plunkett and I scratched our heads as our younger, cooler colleagues explained who Marshmello was to us over Slack, and even as I sighed at the whole idea and grimaced through a few of his videos on YouTube, I knew I had to check it out.

Developer Epic Games seems to have done some good planning for the event, announcing policies for streamers and disabling weapons during the concert to prevent players from killing each other. A little before 2pm Eastern, I jumped into the only available mode besides Creative, which is called Showtime, and followed my squad to the flashing lights of Pleasant Park. The Showtime mode is a team-based mode with respawn where teams have to beat each other to 200 eliminations. But when I arrived at the arena, which has been being built in Fortnite all week, all I could do was watch the show.

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When the pre-show countdown ended, a glowing yellow light appeared on the stage, and eventually Marshmello blipped in behind his turntables. This was anti-climactic: Fortnite has released a Marshmello skin that mimics the musician’s trademark look, and a lot of players were wearing it. When the star of the show arrived, he was met by a horde of clones of himself. But there was something cool about it too, like he was just another player, or like every player could be him. Pre-recorded cheering played, and Marshmello shouted, “Let me see everybody moving!” The set began, the screen behind Marshmello exploding with light and colors as electronic music played.

The most awkward but also most endearing part, for me, was Marshmello’s efforts to interact with the crowd. He encouraged players to dance, clap, and find their squads. He called us “Pleasant” the way a musician would shout out a real-world location, and I felt an unexpected sense of hometown pride, even though I have no strong feelings about Fortnite’s world besides the places least likely to get me killed. When Marshmello encouraged us to jump, the gravity in Pleasant Park swapped, catapulting me toward the stage in a trippy moment that would be impossible in the real world. “I want to see everyone doing their favorite emote right now!” Marshmello shouted later, not sounding at all awkward, and I found myself playing along so I didn’t look like a spoilsport.

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As far as I could tell players couldn’t get behind Marshmello’s virtual set-up, but there was a still a crowd of identical Marshmellos crammed as close as they could get to his avatar, dancing away. As the show went on, giant smiley face balls filled the arena for us to bounce with our pickaxes. Holographic Cuddle Team Leaders and Marshmellos danced atop the stage and morphed around the arena. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, whether because there was nothing else to do or because they were actually enjoying it.

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Reader, I’m shocked and thrilled to say I enjoyed it too. The show was so hilarious, so strange and joyful in the way that Fortnite is, with goofily-dressed people doing their goofy moves and building towers into the sky. The music, God help me, was catchy as hell, and I even emote-danced along of my own volition. Marshmello referred repeatedly to “making history,” which could refer to either the size of the audience on their servers around the world or the idea of a concert in a video game. And it did feel special. From the crowd to the choice of star, the show felt like something that would only happen in Fortnite, but it wasn’t locked behind a paywall, level cap, or the need to own a certain brand of hardware. The fact that so many people of all ages and gaming skills could share in the moment together made it feel, paradoxically, precious.

When the set ended, I was catapulted into the sky, where I fell back into the Showtime match. I landed near one of Fortnite’s giant pianos, which I’ve been needing to find to complete a challenge. As I puzzled over the music notes I needed to tap out, another player landed behind me and shotgunned me. I respawned, and Fortnite went on being Fortnite. I got back to the business of eliminating the other team, with the beats from the show still ringing in my head.

Update: 4:31pm—According to an in-game loading screen (and now a tweet by Marshmello), there will be an encore performance at 2am Eastern.

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Jack Dorsey: Trump Is Kind of Like Obama If You, Like, Really Think About It

Photo: Jose Luis Magana (AP)

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has some more muddled thoughts on moderation on his platform, including a half-assed explanation of why he banned Infowars host Alex Jones and why the president should be allowed to use his platform to threaten nuclear war with North Korea.

Per the Daily Beast, Dorsey took to comedian-turned-podcaster Joe Rogan’s show in an episode that aired Saturday morning (that’s the same show that SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk smoked weed on, for the record). During the show, Rogan asked Dorsey why he had banned Jones, who was kicked off Twitter following a wave of bans on other platforms for his habit of hate speech and attacking mass shooting survivors’ families.

“What is social media?” Rogan asked. “Is it something everyone has a right to? Or should it be restricted to only people that are willing to behave and carry themselves in a certain way?”

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“I believe it’s something that everyone has a right to,” Dorsey replied.

“Everyone has a right to?” Rogan continued. “But you still ban people. Like say, Alex Jones, you guys were the last guys to keep Alex Jones on the platform. You were the last ones. I believe it wasn’t until he started harassing you personally.”

“No,” Dorsey replied. “[Jones] did very different things on our platform than others. We saw this domino effect over a weekend of one platform banning him, and then another, and then another, and another, in very, very quick succession, and people might have assumed that we would just follow suit, but he didn’t violate our terms of service. Afterwards, he did.”

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(This is not exactly true. The formal rationale for Twitter’s decision to ban the Infowars host was indeed a live-stream of Jones harassing CNN reporter Oliver Darcy. But before it pulled the plug, a CNN investigation found numerous instances of Jones breaking Twitter rules in other posts, forcing Twitter to concede he had in fact violated their policies.)

As the Daily Beast noted, Dorsey then bent over backwards to defend the platform’s role hosting Donald Trump, who Rogan suggested had violated policies against encouraging violence with his threats to destroy North Korea. One example:

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Dorsey responded with a confusing stream of thoughts on “context” and “different mediums,” then suggested that Trump isn’t all different from Obama, who had also threatened to nuke North Korea or something.

“It was the context that presidents of this country have used similar language on different mediums,” Dorsey said. “They say it on radio, they say it on television. If you were to look at President Obama, it wasn’t the exact same tone, but there were threats surrounding the same country. We have to take that context into consideration.”

Dorsey may be referring to the time Obama told CBS News there are “no easy solutions” adding that “We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals. But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, [South] Korea.”

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These are not equivalent situations, despite the White House’s attempts to pretend they are—Obama clearly intended to explain why he didn’t think going to war with another nuclear-armed power is a good idea. Meanwhile, as far as “context” goes, Trump had previously threatened North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

In any case, this is a good illustration that Dorsey’s version of playing the neutral facilitator often just ends up as either incomprehensible truisms or attempts to placate his most vocal critics (who in many cases tend to be right-wingers trying to work the refs).

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In any case, Dorsey did have a second explanation for why Trump’s tweets need to stay up that stands up to a little more scrutiny—that his tweets are inherently newsworthy. This is indeed true, even if it is also a way for Twitter to avoid the firestorm that would be sparked if they banned or penalized Trump.

“Public figures might be in violation of our terms of service, but the tweet itself is of public interest,” Dorsey told Rogan. “But the tweet itself is of public interest. It should be talked about. That is probably the thing people disagree with the most, and where we have a lot of internal debate.”

Dorsey also moved slightly from his prior statement that the most Twitter would commit to doing if Trump told his followers to, say, start murdering random journalists, is “certainly talk about it.” 

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“If we had a public leader, like the president of the United States, make a violent threat against a private individual, we would take action,” Dorsey told Rogan.

[The Daily Beast]

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Virtually Try on Sneakers From Your Couch With This App

Image: Pexels

Ever wonder how you would look in a pair of Yeezys? Now you can find out without leaving the comfort of your couch.

A new AR app, aptly named Wanna Kicks, will let you make that magic happen. You’re clearly not going to be able to know how a shoe feels trying it on this way, but you can get a good idea of how one might look on your feet before you pull the trigger on that online order.

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For now, the app is only available for iOS. You’ll need to have iOS 11 or later installed on your device and have an iPhone 6s or newer device.

To use it, you take your shoes off, find a pair of sneakers you like and point your phone’s camera at your feet. The app takes care of the rest.

It’s not foolproof. I found using the app while I was wearing long bootcut jeans didn’t work so well, simply because it was trying to put the shoes on over my pants. With shorts on instead, the results were much better.

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Image: Wanna Kicks

Once you have the camera locked on your feet you can swipe to scroll through different color options or try on different pairs.

When you find shoes you like, the app offers links to a store where you can buy them. All the links are for the manufacturer’s site, so a click on a shopping link for an Adidas shoe will take you to Adidas’ website. That’s to say the links might not be the “best” place to pull the trigger on that purchase, but they offer you an option.

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This Dark Fan Film Gives Moon Knight A Well-Deserved Live Action Debut

A lo-fi Moon Knight.
Image: Caden Butera/Screencap via YouTube

I can’t explain why, precisely, I have such a soft spot for Moon Knight. I’m not really a reader of his comics, and he’s not one of the biggest names in Marvel. But there’s something fascinating about his design, his strangeness, his evolution from a Batman clone to something more distinct.

With that said, it’s no surprise that I’d love to see Moon Knight get his due in live action. And while this fan film is maybe a bit too Batman for my tastes, it’s still something exciting: a real, honest-to-God live action Moon Knight short. Written and directed by Caden Butera, and starring Tim Altevers as Moon Knight, the movie introduces Moon Knight to audiences with a story of corporate intrigue and superheroic power. It’s heavy on the noir, the ambiance, and the creep factor.

And while I hope the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes a bit less The Dark Knight with their take on the character, I hope we see him sooner rather than later.

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Also, just a tip, for any supercriminals reading this. Don’t confess your crimes while riding around in taxis. It’s a bad idea. Never goes well.

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Spotify Is Reportedly Looking to Acquire Some of Your Favorite Podcasts in Deal With Gimlet Media

Image: Spotify

Spotify may be in discussions to acquire Gimlet Media and its roster of beloved podcasts, including titles like Reply All and Crimetown.

Recode’s Peter Kafka reported Friday that the music streaming giant is currently courting Gimlet for a deal worth more than $200 million, citing unnamed sources. Kafka noted that the acquisition would be significant for a couple of reasons, the first being that it would be Spotify’s first foray into buying a company that makes content. But it would also be a huge deal as far as podcasts go, with another example being iHeartMedia’s acquisition of Stuff Media last year in a notably smaller $55 million deal.

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Spotify declined to comment on the report. Gimlet did not immediately return a request for comment.

The reported deal does seem to track with Spotify’s long-term goals. Spotify has featured podcasts on its platform for years, but the company’s Head of Studios and Video Courtney Holt said during a panel at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year that Spotify is actively planning to expand its current podcast offerings.

“When we started the initiative, we realized a couple things,” Holt said. “One is that we’re a great audio platform, and we really wanted to focus on providing the best audio experience. We found podcasting to be a great complement to our music service.”

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He added that in looking at the data, “people who consume podcasts on Spotify are consuming more of Spotify, including music.” So focusing its energies on expanding its podcasts does make sense for the music streaming service, as does an acquisition of this caliber. Kafka also noted that while Apple currently reigns supreme in this area, “Tim Cook’s company doesn’t appear to spend much time or energy on podcasts.”

For what it’s worth, Gimlet podcasts like Reply All and Crimetown are already available to stream on its platform. So if you’d rather stream those podcasts on Spotify, the good news is you don’t have to wait up for the rumored deal.

[Recode]

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