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9 great reads from CNET this week: Smart homes, NFTs in games, Activision's future and more

Check in here for thoughts on how smart homes are becoming the new normal, how gamers are responding to NFTs, how Microsoft might deal with Activision's toxic culture, and lots else.

Here are a few of the high-tech gadgets you might already have in your house: a programmable thermostat; a doorbell with a camera and an internet connection; a bevy of smart speakers; lighting you control from your phone. Or if you don't have them yet, you may well be thinking it's about time you did. Congratulations: You're putting together a smart home.

Now home builders are getting in on the game and making their new construction ready for all that tech right from the get-go. Because home buyers are coming to expect that as standard. It's a mutually reinforcing cycle, as CNET's David Priest points out in his story about the trends: The smart home isn't just getting easier to use; we're also getting better at using it.

That story is among the many in-depth features and thought-provoking commentaries that appeared on CNET this week. So here you go. These are the stories you don't want to miss.

Brave new home: 2022 will be remembered for how it redefined the smart home

Commentary: For the first time, we're peering clearly into an automated future.

Amazon's Astro home robot
Amazon

NFTs are coming for your video games. Players, get ready

As the industry reconsiders digital ownership, gamers are eyeing the line between playing to earn and playing for fun. 

Illustration showing video game controllers
Robert Rodriguez/CNET

Microsoft promises culture change at Activision Blizzard. Here's how

The tech giant plans to expand its already sizable video game division, but Activision is full of turmoil.

Characters in the Overwatch game
Activision Blizzard

The race to build AR glasses is heating up, and Samsung is surprisingly quiet

Commentary: Samsung has a history of adopting new tech early. But companies like Meta and Snap have been claiming the smart glasses and AR spotlights. 

Lenovo ThinkReality A3, nReal Light, Ray-Ban Stories and regular eyeglasses
Scott Stein/CNET

How next-gen satellites are transforming our view of climate change 

As more frequent and more severe storms erode coastlines, mapmakers must adapt quickly. 

Illustration showing a satellite and a person standing on a map
Robert Rodriguez

Our universe isn't supposed to exist, but we're slowly learning why it does 

Scientists test the strange phenomena of antimatter using an experiment that mimics an electric guitar. 

Illustration of a large starburst in a field of stars
Sumetee Theesungnern/Getty Images

That thing you like is being rebooted

King of the Hill. Justified. Quantum Leap. The Santa Clause. Those things you used to watch are coming back so we can all just feel something. 

Characters in the King of the Hill show
Fox

The metaverse is just getting started: Here's what you need to know 

Facebook, Microsoft and a host of other companies are jockeying to define the next iteration of the internet.  

A man in a suit wears a VR headset
Getty Images

Why my Xbox should worry about Samsung's next phone 

Commentary: The upcoming Galaxy S22 will most likely include the Exynos 2200 chip, a big step forward for gaming. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Sarah Tew/CNET
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