Syrian civil defense teams disinfect 693 camps against coronavirus

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2020-04-14 10:12:00

Videoconferencing skyrockets on Microsoft's Teams software as COVID-19 pushes businesses online

The number of calls made using Microsoft’s Teams videoconferencing software surged by 1,000% in March as people collaborated online due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company…

2020-04-10 07:42:00

The Future of Esports Will Be Built Around Champions, Not Teams

In the wake of the announcement that League of Legends‘ Championship Series has partnered with Bud Light as the official beer of the league, fans of the still-young esports scene have been left wondering what this means for the pursuit as a whole. Traditional sports have long dominated things like beer sponsorships thanks to their more natural fit at physical arenas and stadiums – not to mention mainstream representation of which demographics beer is marketed to – and esports has often chosen to partner up with more obvious brands, like gaming computers and other electronic peripherals. One of the great barriers to larger mainstream acceptance of esports has been that many people unfamiliar with it simply don’t view it as “big” enough, despite sold out arenas and millions of viewers suggesting otherwise.

That appears to have changed now that Bud Light has made the jump into esports for the third time as a major partner, this time with its biggest yet. The brand previously sponsored Blizzard’s Overwatch League and the NBA 2K league, both of which fit into more traditional models for the company – one is a team-based shooter, while the other is a simulation of a traditional sport. The decision to partner up with League of Legends is significant because it abandons both the franchising necessitated by the Overwatch League while also operating through an esport that isn’t a close approximation of an already existing traditional sport. Given that 2019 saw the brand enter into several sponsorships, it also appears the company is seeing good enough returns that it wants to further ingrain itself in esports culture moving into 2020.

Related: League Of Legends Dev Riot Games Starts Tabletop Gaming Subdivision

Matt Rizzetta, CEO of N6A, an award-winning brand communications and social media agency, believes that an official beer for League of Legends‘ LCS indicates a major shift in thinking. “Clearly Bud Light is making a pre-emptive strike against other mainstream beer and spirits brands to align with the next generation of sports consumers,” said Rizzetta, who believes that the move is a nod to the Gen Z and millennial audiences and an effort to attract their attention before they hit their peak earnings and influence years. If the Overwatch partnership was the next logical step following esports leagues based around traditional sports games, then the massive reach of League of Legends – one of the most popular esports in the world, and certainly a major influencer among fans of competitive gaming – feels more like a leap. Rizzetta had this to say on what he believes will be the next crucial step:

The next natural step forward from a broadcasting perspective would be to see more mainstream TV and streaming partners attach themselves and their budgets to LCS.” 

Rizzetta, who anticipates that more brands will begin eyeing esports and, as a result, there will be bigger advertising budgets aimed at the industry’s key demographics. With that said, however, the current model – which has seen a lot of focus on teams – might be transitioning to something different, too. “I believe esports needs to build brands and storylines around specific personalities and champions in order to gain more traction among the mainstream sports and entertainment consumer audience,” Rizzetta replied when prompted about the next step for esports solidifying itself in the mainstream consciousness, stating:

I expect [esports] to follow a similar blueprint to what the NBA adopted under David Stern, aligning the league with specific superstar players.”

If that’s the case, expect an even brighter spotlight than the one that already shines on players like Faker. Rizzetta likens this part of esports growth to the development of the NHL into a true mainstream sports league, again nothing that a focus on its stars would benefit the scene. While Bud Light has already been around esports leagues, though, Rizzetta already has ideas about some other verticals he expects to make their presence known:

I would anticipate that other legacy brands in vertical categories that are currently underrepresented in esports will be inquisitive about exclusive sponsorship and advertising rights. Some logical verticals that come to mind would be automotive, e-commerce and D2C.

The decision for Bud Light to become an official, multi-year partner with the LCS – which includes an “Ace Moment” segment, post-game shows, and viewing parties all under the brand’s official designation – is one that proves the reach of non-traditional sports is growing. League of Legends is a tougher sell to mainstream audiences than a shooter or a sports sim, but the game has made developer Riot into a juggernaut in the video game industry and already attracts millions of eyeballs to it without having had much help from sports brands like beers. With that now a thing of the past, experts like Rizzetta believe there will be more to come from brands looking to ride the wave of the newest surge in interest for games like League of Legends, and with a World Championship finals in China this year, there’s even more incentive for brands to get involved ahead of time.

Next: League of Legends Card Game Is Perfect Timing From Riot

2020-01-22 01:01:10

Cody Gravelle

Supergirl Teams Up Two Classic Superman Villains After Crisis

Warning: The following feature contains SPOILERS for Supergirl, season 5, episode 10, “The Bottle Episode.”

The first episode of Supergirl following Crisis on Infinite Earths seems to be setting up a classic team-up of Superman villains, with Brainiac-5 and Lex Luthor entering into a secret alliance. While Brainiac-5 has always acted heroically in the past, there is reason to fear he may be preparing to follow in the footsteps of his infamous ancestor.

While Lex Luthor is indisputably Superman’s arch-enemy, Brainiac may be the most powerful member of the Man of Steel’s classic rogues’ gallery. Whether he’s in the form of an alien genius from the planet Colu or an artificial intelligence obsessed with collecting information, Brainiac has proven to be a worthy foe each time he’s crossed swords with Superman. Small wonder then that Lex Luthor and Brainiac have joined forces on a regular basis to fight their mutual enemy in the comics. The two even had an alliance in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths comics, before they built an army made up of the villains of five worlds together.

Related: How Supergirl Will Be A Different Show After Crisis on Infinite Earths

The action of Supergirl season 5, episode 10, “The Bottle Episode,” saw several of Brainiac-5’s doppelgangers from other Earths mysteriously appear on Earth-Prime. One of them had managed to save his Earth by trapping it in a bottle before the Anti-Monitor could destroy it, but nearly destroyed it and Earth-Prime by opening the bottle too close to a populated world. Brainiac-5 was eventually able to defeat his other-self by deactivating the personality inhibitors that repressed his intelligence while enhancing his ability to control his emotions. Confronted by a version of himself he sensed could truly relate to the pain he was feeling in having lost his world and lost control, the alternate Brainiac-5 agreed to wait for the heroes of Earth-Prime to find a safe place where his Earth could survive and the bottle was transported to the Fortress of Solitude for safe-keeping.

This display of compassion and intelligence convinced the rest of the Brainiacs to renounce their physical forms and join with the Coluan hive-mind known as the Big Brain. Before disappearing, one of the Brainiacs (a female version from a reality where she was the director of the DEO) warned Brainiac-5 Prime that she had scanned the Lex Luthor of Earth-Prime and determined that he was searching for information on Leviathan; a secret organization Brainiac-5 had searched for before the Crisis, whose tracks had been completely covered when Earth-Prime was created.

The alternate Brainiac-5 said that events on Earth-Prime seemed to be preceding down the same path as on her Earth and that she and her allies had only wound up endangering their world by fighting Lex Luthor instead of focusing on the threat posed by Leviathan. To that end, she said that Brainiac-5 would have to “give up everyone and everything that you hold dear… until the world is safe.” She further added that in order for Earth-Prime to survive, he would have to work with Lex Luthor in secret, because his allies would never appreciate why it was necessary.

Brainiac-5 took the advice to heart, broke up with his girlfriend, Nia, and approached Lex Luthor privately in the final scene of “The Bottle Episode.” He explained to the surprised Luthor that he too was worried about the threat posed by Leviathan, but knew that his friends were short-sighted and that Supergirl would continue to work against Luthor even in the face of a common enemy. Lex agreed with Brainiac-5’s assessment and accepted his help, cementing a secret partnership that can only end badly for the newly reborn Earth-Prime.

More: Batwoman Comes Out As A Lesbian After Crisis (& Supergirl Helps Her)

2020-01-21 02:01:01

Matt Morrison

Spider-Woman Teams Up With Marvel’s Heroes in New Covers

Spider-Woman is set to make a big return to Marvel comics with her own ongoing series in 2020. Her new series comes with a totally new costume. Ahead of the book, Marvel revealed a handful of Spider-Woman variants where Jessica Drew crosses over with some fellow heroes.

The new Spider-Woman series will be written by Karla Pacheco (Fantastic Four 2099), with art by Pere Perez (X-Men). Spider-Woman was last seen as a part of the Strikeforce team which featured Blade, Angela, Winter Soldier, Hellstrom, Spectrum, and Wiccan. Her new series will propel her back into the spotlight. Jessica Drew’s last ongoing was back in 2017 from Dennis Hopeless, Rachelle Rosenberg, Travis Lanham, Javier Rodriguez and Veronica Fish with the series concluding after 17 issues.

Related: Spider-Man’s Most Forgotten Power is Also His WEIRDEST

The series will see Drew dealing with personal problems. She needs to punch something while trying not to get blown up in the process. Drew is set to take her mind off of her anger and frustration by getting a job in security. As that happens, someone or something is trying to take her out. It’s set to be an action-packed Spider-Woman series. Here’s the full synopsis.

Jessica Drew hasn’t been feeling like herself lately (she’s not a Skrull, we promise). When the angry, irritable, and unwell Spider-Woman takes a simple security gig to help get back on her feet, she finds herself besieged by unknown forces out to destroy everything around her. What’s wrong with Jessica? Just how DID she get this job? And who are these violent lunatics who keep trying to blow her up? WHO CARES? Does Spider-Woman have someone to punch? THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. An explosive new series that pushes Spider-Woman into new heights of action and adventure from the mad minds of Karla Pacheco and Pere Pérez, this is the Spider-Woman book you’ve been waiting for!

Marvel made sure to make it clear this version of Spider-Woman wasn’t a Skrull in disguise like she turned out to be in New Avengers and Secret Invasion. The upcoming series will be Jessica Drew and not someone else pretending to be her.

In Spider-Woman variant covers, Drew is teamed up with some of Marvel’s most notable characters including Spider-Man, Thor, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Deadpool, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ghost Rider, Hulk and Venom. Giving Spider-Woman her own line of variants shows Marvel is serious about this relaunch and intends on making the character a much bigger deal than she seemed to be in the last few years.

Here’s a full list of variants:


Spider-Woman #1 hits physical and digital comic shops in March 2020.

NEXT: New Wolverine Cover Goes Claws-Out With His Biggest Enemy

2019-12-18 02:12:41

Liam McGuire

The Batman: Matt Reeves Teams With Rogue One Cinematographer

Cinematographer Greig Fraser is teaming up with writer-director Matt Reeves on his upcoming DC Extended Universe movie, The Batman. Following a few years of uncertainty about the film’s progress and whether Ben Affleck would be reprising his DCEU role as an older Caped Crusader, Reeves’ The Batman is moving along at a steady pace now. Indeed, it’s currently on track to begin production in time to make its scheduled June 2021 release date, with Robert Pattinson attached to star as a 30-year old Bruce Wayne.

While Reeves has yet to officially cast any roles beyond the eponymous one on The Batman, there’ve been rumors aplenty about who could end up playing iconic DC characters like The Penguin and Catwoman in the film (assuming they are, in fact, part of Reeves’ script). There’ve even been rumors about the movie’s cinematographer, with frequent Quentin Tarantino collaborator Robert Richardson having actually had to come out and deny his involvement with the project. Thankfully, The Batman has since found its DP for real.

Related: Every DC Villain Rumored For The Batman

THR has now confirmed that Fraser will be The Batman‘s cinematographer, following last week’s rumors about Richardson. In an official statement issued to the outlet, Fraser said “It’s great to be working with Matt again”, alluding to the fact that he and Reeves previously joined forces on the acclaimed vampire movie Let Me In (an American remake of the Swedish film Let the Right One In) back in 2010.

In the years since he worked on Let Me In, Fraser has served as a DP on an eclectic combination of films, ranging from fairy tale re-imagining Snow White and the Huntsman to the true story-inspired Zero Dark Thirty and Foxcatcher, and even the Star Wars spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Most recently, he served as the DP for Adam McKay’s Oscar-winning satirical Dick Cheney biopic Vice, and is currently working on Denis Villeneuve’s in-production Dune adaptation. Based on his schedule, it’s safe to presume that The Batman will be Fraser’s next movie after Dune.

Fraser’s an intriguing pick to bring The Batman to life, all things considered. His films are generally quite visually striking and tend to draw from a more shadowy, grittier color palette, which makes him an excellent fit for Reeves’ (supposedly) detective noir take on the Caped Crusader and his day to day crime-fighting activities. That should further help to distinguish Reeves’ vision of Gotham City and its protector from not only DP Larry Fong’s approach on Batman V Superman, but also the many Batman films that were made in the years before the DCEU (Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Tim Burton’s Batman movies, and so forth).

NEXT: Every Upcoming & Developing DC Film

Source: THR

2019-07-24 02:07:43

Sandy Schaefer

Endgame TV Spot Confirms The Avengers Split Up Into Teams

A new TV spot for Avengers: Endgame confirms the remaining heroes will split up into several teams. When the Avengers originally came face-to-face with Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, they did so on a divided front. The usual Avengers team was still fractured thanks to Captain America: Civil War, and without their united forces, they fell short of stopping the Mad Titan from wiping out half of all life across the universe.

This has made many wonder what exactly the plan will be in Avengers: Endgame, with the marketing just recently teasing that part of their plan initially is going straight to Thanos and taking the Infinity Stones for themselves. But, fans have also been heavily theorizing that time travel will be a major part, too. Furthermore, it was expected that the Avengers would unite all of their strength to accomplish their goals, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Related: Endgame Theory: The Avengers Win At The Beginning Of The Movie

Marvel debuted a new TV spot for Avengers: Endgame today teasing the mission of the team. It features new footage from the team in their white – possibly Quantum Realm capable – suits, and confirms that they will actually be operating as smaller teams instead of one giant one. Check out the TV spot below.

The Avengers going on separate missions could help add some clues to their actual mission in Avengers: Endgame. One popular theory has been that they’ll travel through time to steal the Infinity Stones for themselves, so the multiple teams could be how they do so faster and more strategically. The teams aren’t entirely clear at the moment, but one team looks to be Captain America, Iron Man, and Ant-Man based on set photos. Black Widow and Hawkeye could be paired up based on a shot of them flying together. That leaves Rocket, Thor, Nebula, and War Machine unaccounted for. The former two teaming up makes sense given their past relationship, and there is the one ominous shot of Nebula and Rhodey alone on the Benatar which could tease they’re paired up too.

However, it does appear that one major character is absent from this seemingly pivotal scene: Captain Marvel. She has yet to be seen in any scenes involving the white suits, which are believed to take place later in the film. Since Carol is being touted as one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and on this team, it does make us wonder where she is. It is highly unlikely she’ll die in Avengers: Endgame, but she could be on a different mission or captured potentially. There’s also been no sign of Bruce Banner in these scenes either. In typical Marvel fashion, even when they provide some new details on Avengers: Endgame, there’s even more questions that are raised.

MORE: Hulk Was Injured In Ragnarok: Is That Why He Couldn’t Beat Thanos?

Source: Marvel

2019-04-11 08:04:56

Cooper Hood