A new app will let you read comics on the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is a versatile device: it’s super portable, and the availability of apps like Hulu means that it’s more than just a gaming device. Now, you can add reading comic books to the list of things you can do with it. An app called InkyPen will launch in November, and will give players the ability to read thousands of comics on the device via a subscription.

InkyPen released a short teaser earlier this week that shows off the app in action. Readers use the controls to scroll in and around the pages in handheld mode or in TV mode. A monthly subscription (priced at $7.99 a month) will grant users access to the company’s full catalog when it’s released in November. According to io9, that catalog will include comics from publishers like Andrews McMeel, Dynamite, IDW, les Humanoïdes Associés, Valiant, and others, although it won’t include the big two publishers like DC and Marvel. That said, there’s a lot to look forward to from those publishers — you can see comics like Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s Locke & Key and Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’s The Incal in the teaser, both of which are fantastic.

The portability is one of the Switch’s real advantages, but if you don’t have time to sit down and play a quick game or if you’re just not in the mood for playing, this app should provide a good alternative activity while you’re out and about.

Twitch Prime members will lose ad-free viewing next month

Twitch Prime, the streaming video site’s Amazon-style benefits program, will no longer include ad-free viewing as a complimentary perk starting on September 14th, the company announced today. Initially launched two years ago as a suite of benefits for Amazon Prime subscribers, Twitch Prime has grown into a more robust platform that offers free games, in-game loot for select titles, and a monthly channel subscription credit that can be awarded to a streamer of the member’s choice.

All those perks are remaining part of Twitch Prime, and the only aspect of the service that is changing going forward is the ad-free viewing. Twitch describes the decision as a way to help better support streamers. “Advertising is an important source of support for the creators who make Twitch possible. This change will strengthen and expand that advertising opportunity for creators so they can get more support from their viewers for doing what they love,” reads the company’s blog post.

Also important to note is that Twitch essentially foot the bill for the complimentary $4.99 monthly subscription as part of Twitch Prime, and it also let millions of users forgo advertising that it would otherwise get a cut of. So Twitch itself is also financially benefiting from removing this perk, although the free monthly subscription as part of Prime is remaining.

Users with Twitch Prime activated, which basically means anyone who’s linked their Amazon Prime account to their Twitch account, will still get to enjoy ad-free viewing until October 15th. The September cutoff will be for new Twitch Prime subscriptions. After that, the only way to get ad-free viewing will be to subscribe to Twitch Turbo, which is a separate tier of service that costs $8.99.

Twitch still does not offer Twitch Prime as a standalone service, likely because Amazon wants Prime to continue looking like a good deal even as it raises the monthly and annual cost. Amazon bumped monthly Prime membership fees by 18 percent back in January to $12.99 a month. In April, Amazon increased the cost of its annual Prime plan from $99 to $119; CEO Jeff Bezos announced that same month that Prime now has 100 million paying subscribers. Twitch Prime is just one of the many benefits of paying for Prime, in addition to two-day shipping, access to Prime Video, and — after Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods — in-store grocery discounts as well.

Samsung’s Fortnite exclusive will expire before the Note 9 even launches

Fortnite is making its way to Android, but not until Samsung device owners get a stab at it first… for a measly couple of days. At the Samsung Unpacked event on Thursday, the Fortnite team announced that Samsung users will be on the receiving end of an unusually short exclusive, ending well before the Galaxy Note 9 is released near the end of the month.

In the next few days, the game will be made available for all other supported Android devices, so Pixel users and others won’t have to wait too long to start building forts and cracking open pink llama piñatas. According to a spokesperson for Epic Games, the company has yet to disclose exactly when the Android beta will be fully released. At the event, it was announced that it would be out in the next few days, meaning it would be widely available before the Note 9 even hits the market.

As of today, people who own the Galaxy S7 or any other newer device can already sign up to play. Android is the last major OS to receive the game; players on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PC, iOS, and macOS have already been able to play for months.

There are still some exclusives for Note 9 users, though, so don’t get too disappointed. Those who play on the device when it comes out on August 24th will receive new in-game skin called “galaxy.” If you preorder it, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up an extra 15,000 V-bucks, too.

Blade’s Shadow game streaming service is expanding to the East Coast with new mobile app

French startup Blade first launched its Shadow game streaming service as a limited rollout in California earlier this year. Now, the company is expanding again by opening up availability to several new states on the West Coast, and, for the first time, it’s offering the Shadow service to East Coast gamers with the launch of a new data center.

In all, 18 additional states will get access to the service on August 9th, including, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Nevada, and Oregon. Blade also promises that it will add more states in the future, with the goal of offering service to the entire US by October.


Image: Blade

In addition to the new locations, Blade is also unveiling a Shadow Beyond app for iOS and Android that allows players to skip using the desktop Windows experience and simply launch straight into their games from a smartphone or a tablet.

Shadow looks to differentiate itself from other streaming services by offering users access to what amounts to a dedicated machine in its data centers that the company claims is the equivalent of a $2,000 gaming PC. Specs-wise, Blade offers 12GB of DDR4 RAM, a Xeon processor that’s roughly equal to an Intel Core i7 chip, 256GB of storage, and a GTX 1080 GPU. For $34.95 per month, users can stream whatever games they install on their virtual machine to their less powerful home PC, laptop, tablet, or even a mobile device.