Netflix Expands Everywhere, Oculus Pricing Causes Rift… [Tech News Digest]

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Netflix is now available in almost every country, the Oculus Rift will cost you $599, Politwoops embarrasses backtracking politicians, Psychonauts 2 is getting made, and Trevor from GTA V is now selling Old Spice.

Netflix Expands Everywhere Except China

Netflix has launched in 130 new countries in one hit, including India, Russia, Turkey, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. With Netflix having already expanded outwards from North America into South America, Europe, and Asia, the streaming service is now available in 190 countries around the world. Which means Netflix can claim world domination at this point.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced the move in his keynote at CES 2016, with the service launching simultaneously in all of these countries at once. The only major countries now not served by Netflix are China, Crimea, North Korea, and Syria; this being due to government restrictions on companies from the United States operating in these regions.

Hastings said:

“Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network. With this launch, consumers around the world — from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo — will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously — no more waiting. With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.”

Pricing and content will vary from country to country, but all of the Netflix Originals such as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black will be available at the very least. Anyone who has access to a VPN will also be able to stream shows only available countries other than their own, so now may be a good time to peruse your VPN options.

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The Oculus Rift Is Too Damn Expensive

The first consumer version of the Oculus Rift will set you back $599, which is much more expensive than anyone imagined. For context, this is double the price of the original Kickstarter edition offered in 2012, and $250 more than the second-generation Development Kit 2.

For those happy to pay the asking price, $599 will buy you the VR headset, a wireless Xbox One controller, the Oculus Remote, and two games (Lucky’s Tale and Eve: Valkyrie). As promised, pre-orders are now being taken in 20 countries around the world, with shipping set to begin in March.

Politwoops Tracks Dumb Politicians Again

Politwoops is back in business, with Twitter reversing its decision to cut off its access to the Twitter API. Politwoops provides a digital archive of public tweets deleted by politicians, making elected officials more accountable for what they say on the social networking site.

Twitter shut Politwoops down in August 2015, claiming that it violated the privacy of its users. However, the company has changed its mind, accepting the argument that these tweets are a matter of public record. Politwoops is back online in 25 countries, with the U.S. version due to come online again in the next few weeks.

Psychonauts 2 Hits Crowdfunding Goal

Psychonauts 2 will now become a reality, with Double Fine Productions hitting its funding goal of $3.3 million. With five days left to go, the final tally could be much higher, but studio boss Tim Schafer has promised that “every dollar we make goes into making the game better, giving us more time to polish and making the game great”.

The game has been crowdfunded through Fig, a company Shafer advises. A connection which has caused mild controversy. Psychonauts 2, due to be released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One in Fall 2018, is the sequel to a cult classic game which many people found long after its initial release. Let’s just hope it lives up to the hype.

Trevor From GTA V Sells Old Spice

And finally, Trevor from Grand Theft Auto 5 is now advertising Old Spice. Kinda. In actual fact, Steven Ogg, the actor who played Trevor Philips in Rockstar’s bestselling video game, is the new face of Old Spice. Kinda. He’s actually playing Bob Giovanni, the “legendary” Old Spice pitchman.

OK, so this is some kind of Old Spice Inception nonsense, with Trevor Philips residing in the first layer. However, true GTA fans will struggle to see Giovanni, or Ogg, as anything other than the best character from that game, and possibly the whole series. A connection Old Spice must be banking on. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

How excited are you to see Netflix available in your country? Is the Oculus Rift too expensive? Should politicians be held to higher social media standards? Will you be playing Psychonauts 2? Is Steven Ogg a good choice to sell Old Spice?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credits: Stacie DaPonte via Flickr

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