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Ex App Store director says Apple used guidelines as a 'weapon against competitors' – MobileSyrup



Apple and Microsoft are feuding over App Store guidelines that prohibit game streaming services, such as Microsoft’s xCloud, guidelines a former App Store director says Apple uses as a “weapon against competitors.”

Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook, along with the CEOs of Google, Facebook and Amazon, testified before the U.S. Congress regarding antitrust concerns. This week, House Democrats released a sweeping report calling the four companies monopolies that need heavier regulation and potentially be broken up.

Part of that report includes statements from Apple’s former App Store director Phil Shoemaker, which Business Insider highlighted in a report.

“Apple’s gaming service, Apple Arcade, is a type of app that was ‘consistently disallowed from the store,’ when offered by third-party developers, but Apple allowed its own app in the store ‘even though it violates existing [App Store] guidelines,” Shoemaker said.

For those who haven’t followed Apple and Microsoft’s spat closely, the Redmond, Washington-based company pulled the iOS version of its xCloud game streaming platform after testing. Microsoft blamed Apple’s prohibitive App Store guidelines as the main reason for not releasing the software to iPhone users. At the time, Apple argued that the issue with streaming services like xCloud is that they offer a library of content that Apple can’t review, and the company claimed this would prevent it from protecting its users.

Despite Apple’s claim, Shoemaker said the company uses App Store rules he described as “arbitrary” and “arguable” to control the App Store. It then uses that control “as a weapon against competitors.”

App Store guidelines now allow for services like Arcade while blocking competitors

In the case of Microsoft’s xCloud, Apple Arcade is a direct competitor, although the services do differ in important ways. Apple Arcade is a subscription service that gives customers access to a library of games available on the App Store. Many of these games are exclusively available through Apple Arcade, either for a limited time or forever. Unlike xCloud, users also have to download these games individually from the App Store. Apple keeps a dedicated App Store tab for Arcade so users can quickly access the game library.

These differences are important, especially when you consider that Apple recently changed several App Store guidelines. Those changes came in September, a couple months after Cook testified before Congress. Although there were several changes included in the new guidelines, one that drew particular attention was clarification on how game streaming should work on the App Store.

In short, Apple says it allows developers to stream games instead of hosting the content locally. However, services like xCloud are still prohibited because they group games into one app. Instead, Apple wants individual ‘wrappers’ that handle the streamable content available for users on the App Store.

Further, these streamable games must include the ability to pay for a subscription with in-app purchases. It’s worth noting that Apple does allow ‘catalogue’ apps that list streamable games available on the App Store, but those apps must point back to the individual App Store pages.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft called these new guidelines a “bad experience” and likened it to Apple forcing Netflix or Spotify to make every movie or album available individually through the App Store. Moreover, these guidelines appear to prohibit any game streaming service that isn’t designed like Apple’s Arcade service. Considering Apple can leverage the App Store itself to permanently promote Arcade to users, any service that similarly offers a catalogue of games individually available on the App Store will likely struggle to compete.

Apple ‘vehemently disagree[s]’ with the report

Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook released statements rebuking the report, but Apple reiterated its statement to Business Insider regarding Shoemaker’s comments:

“We have always said that scrutiny is reasonable and appropriate but we vehemently disagree with the conclusions reached in this staff report with respect to Apple. Our company does not have a dominant market share in any category where we do business. From its beginnings 12 years ago with just 500 apps, we’ve built the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for users to discover and download apps and a supportive way for developers to create and sell apps globally. Hosting close to two million apps today, the App Store has delivered on that promise and met the highest standards for privacy, security and quality. The App Store has enabled new markets, new services and new products that were unimaginable a dozen years ago, and developers have been primary beneficiaries of this ecosystem. Last year in the United States alone, the App Store facilitated $138 billion in commerce with over 85% of that amount accruing solely to third-party developers. Apple’s commission rates are firmly in the mainstream of those charged by other app stores and gaming marketplaces. Competition drives innovation, and innovation has always defined us at Apple. We work tirelessly to deliver the best products to our customers, with safety and privacy at their core, and we will continue to do so.”  

While Apple continues to defend its policies, several companies have taken a stance against the company. The most significant would be Epic Games, which is currently engaged in a lawsuit with Apple over its popular Fortnite game. Epic has accused Apple of applying App Store rules unequally and abusing its control over the App Store and iOS to force developers to use the company’s in-app payment system.

Other companies have taken aim at Apple too, including a group of news publishers that requested Apple offer them a similar deal to what Amazon got. Following Apple’s testimony before Congress, published emails revealed Apple gave Amazon a reduced App Store fee in return for getting the e-commerce giant’s Prime Video service on iOS devices. Cook testified that the deal was available to anyone who met the criteria, but Apple has not officially shared what those criteria are.

Finally, there was a recent incident where Apple blocked updates to the iOS WordPress app unless the developer added in-purchases. Apple later backtracked and apologized, but the incident serves as another example of how Apple can manipulate the App Store to force developers to do what it wants.

All this lines up with Shoemaker’s statements about how the company weaponizes App Store guidelines to stifle competition.

Source: Business Insider

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Here's everything you need to know about the PlayStation 5 in Canada – MobileSyrup



For the duration of the eighth-generation of video game consoles, the PlayStation 4 consistently outsold its rivals from Xbox and Nintendo. In fact, since launching November 2013, the PS4 has gone onto become the second best-selling console of all time, behind only the PS2.

Given all of that success, all eyes are now on Sony to see how the company follows up the PS4 with the appropriately named PlayStation 5. With the PS5 set to launch in Canada on November 12th, here’s a breakdown of everything Canadians should know about the next-gen console.


For the first time, Sony will sell two new consoles at launch — the $629 CAD standard PS5 and the $499 PS5 Digital Edition.

However, unlike Microsoft’s dual-box approach with the Xbox Series X and S — wherein both devices have certain different specs and features — the two PS5 models are ostensibly the exact same device. The only difference is that, like its name suggests, the PS5 Digital Edition will not include a disc drive, so you’ll need to download all your games.

For context, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X will cost $599 CAD in Canada, while the Xbox Series S will be priced here at $379.


Here are the PS5’s specs:

PlayStation 5 specs

It’s worth noting that in terms of raw power, the Xbox Series X comes out on top with 12 teraflops compared to the PS5’s 10.3. That said, the PS5’s custom SSD is superior to the Xbox Series X’s, allowing for even more rapid load times.

This section is simply meant to list the PS5’s specs, but scroll down for more information on how the SSD, 120Hz support and Tempest 3D Audio Tech work with respect to actual games.

Note: While the specs lists mentions support for 8K TVs, keep in mind that there won’t be any games anytime around launch that support the resolution. In fact, the majority of games — if not all of them — will likely not even reach 8K later in the console’s lifecycle. Therefore, you’ll be more than fine with a 4K TV, and for recommendations on which one to buy, check out this great round-up by the tech gurus over atDigital Foundry.

It’s also worth noting that Sony has also launched a ‘Ready for PlayStation 5’ line of TVs, which includes all of the necessary specs — namely, 120Hz support — to support 4K resolution and up 120fps gaming. So far, this TV lineup consists of two TVs: the Sony 900H (which starts at $1,299 for the 55-inch model) and the 8K-capable XBR Z8H (which starts at $7,999 for the 75-inch model).


All told, the PlayStation 5 has a rather well-rounded launch lineup. See below for the full list of games that will be available on day one. (Keep in mind, however, that some first-party games will come to both PS4 and PS5, and will be marked accordingly.)

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Astro’s Playroom (PS5 exclusive, comes pre-loaded on every console)
  • Borderlands 3
  • Bugsnax (PlayStation console launch exclusive, free with PlayStation Plus)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Demon’s Souls (PS5 exclusive)
  • Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
  • DIRT 5
  • Fortnite
  • Godfall (PS5 console launch exclusive)
  • Just Dance 2021
  • Maneater
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (launching simultaneously on PS4 and PS5)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered (a PS5 remaster of 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man with the base game and all downloadable content, plus expansions — included in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition or sold separately via the in-game menu of the base version of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales) (PS5 exclusive)
  • Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
  • NBA 2K21
  • Observer: System Redux
  • Planet Coaster: Console Edition
  • Poker Club
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure (launching simultaneously on PS4 and PS5)
  • The Pathless (PlayStation 4 and 5 launch exclusive)
  • Watch Dogs: Legion

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It’s important to note that some PS5 games, like Demon’s Souls, will be priced at $89.99 in Canada — $10 more than the standard game prices. However, other titles like Sackboy will adhere to the regular $79.99 price tag.

Also, keep in mind that two PS5 launch titles have been delayed over the past several weeks. The Pixar-esque action-adventure game Kena: Bridge of Spirits is now set to release sometime in Q1 2021, while vehicular combat title Destruction AllStars was just pushed to February 2021 (at which time it will be free on PlayStation Plus for two months).

Meanwhile, here are some other games that are coming to PS5 shortly after launch:

  • Destiny 2 — December 8th, 2020 (PS5 version, already on PS4)
  • Hitman 3 — January 20th, 2021 (also coming to PS4)
  • Immortals: Fenyx Rising — December 3rd, 2020 (also coming to PS4)
  • FIFA 21 — December 4th, 2020 (PS5 version, PS4 version already out)
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (PS5 exclusive) — “PS5 launch window”
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon — March 2nd, 2021 (PS5 version, PS4 version releases November 10th)

The other major thing to note with the PS5 is that virtually all PS4 games will play on the next-gen console via backwards compatibility on day one.

The only ones that won’t are fairly niche titles:

  • Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One
  • DWVR (developer has confirmed a backwards compatible patch is in the works)
  • Hitman Go: Definite Edition
  • TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2 (developer has confirmed a backwards compatible patch is in the works)
  • Joe’s Diner
  • Just Deal With It!
  • Robinson: The Journey
  • Shadow Complex Remastered
  • Shadwen
  • We Sing

What’s more, some games will receive resolution and/or framerate enhancements, although it won’t be all titles, unlike what Microsoft is doing with the Xbox Series X/S. Backwards compatible games that have been confirmed to feature enhancements include Sony Santa Monica’s God of War and Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima both getting performance modes for up to 60fps gameplay.

On the subject of God of War, Sony is also offering PlayStation Plus subscribers a sweet new perk: The PlayStation Plus Collection. Available on day one on PS5 at no additional cost, the PS Plus Collection will grant PS Plus subscribers with more than 15 of the PS4’s most high-profile games:

  • Battlefield 1
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Bloodborne
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Zombies Chronicles Edition
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • Days Gone
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Fallout 4
  • Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition
  • God of War
  • Infamous Second Son
  • The Last Guardian
  • The Last of Us Remastered
    Monster Hunter: World
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Persona 5
  • Ratchet and Clank
  • Resident Evil 7 biohazard
  • Until Dawn
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

PlayStation Plus costs $69.99/year in Canada and is required to play games online.


The PS5 uses a brand-new controller called the ‘DualSense,’ which stands apart from the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller in several ways. That’s not to say they’re completely different, though. The DualSense ostensibly features the same button layout as the DualShock 4 — touchpad and all.

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However, perhaps the most significant difference is that the DualSense features haptic feedback and adaptive triggers for added immersion. In the case of the former feature, this means that you’ll feel dynamic vibrations depending on the title. Several developers have talked about how this is being used in their games, such as Insomniac, which notes that it will recreate Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense to let you feel the direction of incoming attacks in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. With respect to the adaptive triggers, one use case is Arcane blocking the triggers when your gun jams in Deathloop for immediate punchy feedback.

Additionally, the DualSense sports a built-in mic for voice chat and dictation, as an accelerometer and gyroscope for motion controls. Meanwhile, the DualShock 4’s light bar has been streamlined on the DualSense into a sort of outline around the touchpad. In terms of connections, the controller also now features USB-C.

The DualSense will cost $89.99 in Canada.

Below are the PS5’s other official accessories:

  • DualSense Charging Station (supports two DualSense controllers) — $39.99
  • Pulse 3D wireless headset with 3D audio support and dual noise-cancelling microphones — $129.99
  • HD Camera with dual 1080p lenses for gamers to broadcast themselves and their gameplay — $79.99
  • Media Remote to navigate movies and streaming services –$39.99

The Pulse 3D wireless headset is one of the supported headphones for PS5’s Tempest 3D Audio Tech at launch. This allows games to disperse audio in a more context-specific way, like making Horizon Forbidden West‘s machines sound different and be more easily located, or letting you hear where your teammates and enemies are in Marvel’s Avengers. At launch, 3D Audio is only supported through select headphones like this, but Sony is working to enable it natively through TV virtual surround sound in the future.

Finally, it’s important to note that the PS5 will support the PS VR at launch. Additionally, the PS Move Motion Controllers and the PlayStation VR Aim Controller will work with “supported PS VR games on PS5,” says Sony. However, the PS5’s HD Camera accessory will not work with the VR peripheral, and you’ll need a special adapter to use your existing PS4 Camera. You can get one for free if you own a PS VR, although you’ll need to order one from Sony using this form.

User experience

Sony has completely overhauled the user experience for the PlayStation 5.

Essentially, the PS5’s tile-based home screen has been divided into two sections: ‘Games’ and ‘Media.’ The Media section will contain all of the entertainment apps, with the following apps confirmed to be available at launch:

  • Apple TV (also coming to PS4)
  • Disney+
  • Netflix
  • Spotify
  • Twitch
  • YouTube

Amazon Prime Video is also coming at a later date.

The real star, however, is the ‘Games’ section. On the dashboard, each game will have its own integrated hub that features unique ‘Activities’ (more on that later), news stories about the game in question, video clips, downloadable content and more.

At any time when you’re in a game, you can pull up the ‘Control Center’ using the PS button on the DualSense controller. From here, you can perform many general system tasks without leaving the game, including viewing which friends are online, checking up on the status of downloads and managing controller settings.

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More importantly, the Control Center will let you access the aforementioned Activities. Essentially, games will have their own list of ‘Activities’ that link to specific parts of a game. In the case of Sackboy: A Big Adventure, these Activities are tied to specific levels of the story. Clicking on any of them will let you nearly instantly jump into that section of the game, thanks to the PS5’s speedy SSD. Cards will also provide additional information on that specific content, such as your level progress and even personalized estimates on how long it will take for you to complete it.

Also available as a PlayStation Plus-exclusive feature is ‘Game Help,’ which will offer official developer support for specific in-game objectives in supported titles like Sackboy. In practice, this will allow you to get tips on how to complete the given objective right from the Control Center, removing the need to pull up a wiki or video. Moreover, because these come straight from the developer, you won’t have to worry about suggested YouTube videos or articles that contain spoilers. Should the developer enable it, some cards can even be put in picture-in-picture mode or side-by-side view for live reference while you play.

In terms of social features, you can interact with any notifications from the top-right corner of the screen without leaving the game. If this is party invite, you can hop right in and even use the ‘Share Screen’ feature to invite participants to watch your gameplay live. What’s more, these videos can be put picture-in-picture mode in a section of the screen per your choosing to allow you to continue to play your own game as your friend’s stream continues in the background. Further, the DualSense’s built-in microphone allows you to use your voice to dictate messages instead of the virtual keyboard, should you so choose.

It’s also worth noting that the official PlayStation app on Android and iOS was updated on October 28th with a new UI, integrated PlayStation Store experience, in-app party creation and voice chat and more for use with both PS5 and PS4.

Of course, these are still the early days for the PS5, as the console isn’t even officially out yet. Therefore, additional information will no doubt come out in the months ahead.

For now, stay tuned to MobileSyrup in the coming days for more on the PS5.

We’ve also put together a breakdown of everything Canadians should know about Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and S, which are launching on November 10th. Read more on that here.

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PlayStation reveals updated mobile app with overhauled UI, voice chat and more – MobileSyrup



Sony has revealed a major update to its free PlayStation app on Android and iOS that brings with it a suite of changes and new features for use with both PS4 and the upcoming PS5.

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Most notably, the update introduces a complete overhaul of the app’s UI, with a new home screen that displays what your friends are playing and easy access to your recently played games and Trophy List.

Further, a new ‘Explore’ tab is being added to let you see official news from game developers and PS Blog content. On top of that, the PlayStation Store has been integrated into the app for smooth browsing and shopping. From here, you can also remotely download games and add-ons directly to your PS4 and PS5.

Elsewhere in the app is newly added support for voice chat and party groups. This means that you can create party groups from within the PS app and begin voice chatting with up to 15 friends through your mobile devices.

As part of these new social features, you’ll also be able to send PSN messages through the app. With this new functionality, however, Sony says it will be retiring its existing standalone PS Messages mobile app. While a date for this wasn’t provided, Sony noted that all existing PSN messages will carry over to the new version of the PS app.

Sony says the PS app update is rolling out globally later today on iOS (12.2 or later) and Android (6.0 or later) devices.

The PlayStation 5 will launch in Canada on November 12th for $629 CAD. We’ll have more on the console in the coming days.

Source: PlayStation

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AMD’s newest graphics cards: RDNA2 power from $579 to $999 – Ars Technica



Today, AMD launched the first of its “Big Navi” RDNA 2 architecture Radeon graphics cards, the RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT. These cards compete directly against Nvidia’s RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090.

Like Nvidia’s RTX 3000 line, the new cards offer 60+ fps 4K gaming, with full DirectX 12 Ultimate support, including hardware-accelerated real-time ray tracing.


RDNA2 brought enormous gen-on-gen fps gains from last generation’s “little Navi” RX 5000 series—but what most people will care about is how the components compare to Nvidia’s offerings, not to last generation’s AMD. In terms of sheer GPU horsepower, Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series and AMD’s RX 6000 series appear to be in a dead heat. As always, it’s worth taking a vendor’s own private benchmarks with a grain of salt—but we don’t expect to see materially different results in private testing later as these cards filter down to the market.

AMD did not compare the RX 6800 (non-XT) with Nvidia’s RTX 3070; instead, the 6800 was compared with last generation’s RTX 2080Ti. But for most intents—and as backed up by our own Sam Machkovech’s recent testing—these cards perform quite similarly. So we can reasonably read the RX 6800 chart as comparing to the RTX 3070.


The biggest addition to the Radeon arsenal with RDNA 2 is real-time ray tracing and support for DirectX 12 Ultimate. The new cards feature one Ray Accelerator for each Compute Unit on the card, offering a roughly tenfold increase in ray-tracing performance compared to software-only implementations.

The addition of real-time hardware ray tracing brings Radeon to gaming-feature parity with Nvidia’s lineup, at least on paper. It will take some time to decipher how well Radeon’s ray-tracing support stacks up to Nvidia’s in real life—and particularly in the context of real-world games, which up until now have been advertised loudly with “Nvidia RTX” logos, even though they largely rely on a more open DirectX Ray Tracing protocol.

On the console front, Microsoft was keen on immediately reminding gamers that its next-gen consoles would leverage the “full feature set of RDNA 2 in hardware.”

The new RDNA2 architecture also brings greater power efficiency to the Radeon lineup, with the 300W 6800 XT and 6900 XT beating out their Nvidia competitors by 20W and 50W, respectively. On the lower end of the lineup, Nvidia takes the lead, with the 220W Nvidia RTX 3070 beating the 250W Radeon RX 6800.


AMD cardAMD priceMost comparable Nvidia cardNvidia price
Radeon RX 6800$580RTX 3070$500
Radeon RX 6800 XT$650RTX 3080$700
Radeon RX 6900 XT$1,000RTX 3090$1,500

In some ways, AMD looks like it might have gotten caught with its pants down on the RX 6800 pricing. Consumers will probably have a hard time justifying an extra $80 at that price bracket on a card with higher thermals and a more uncertain real-time ray-tracing pedigree. But in other ways, AMD might have the edge—if higher amounts of VRAM in each class are your selling point. The RX 6800’s 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM doubles that of Nvidia’s comparable RTX 3070.

The value proposition is closer to even when upgrading to the 6800XT and just about overwhelming at the top tier. That’s where Nvidia’s RTX 3090 costs a whopping 50 percent more than AMD’s RX 6900 XT for roughly the same 4K frame rates delivered. Both of these AMD cards sport 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM, as well, but that’s not clocked as highly as Nvidia’s choice of GDDR6X VRAM (11GB of it in the RTX 3080, and 24GB in the RTX 3090).

If all you’re looking for is the best raw 4K frame rates on current AAA games, ray tracing be damned, the top end of the RX 6000 series seem like clear winners. For anyone heavily invested in ray tracing, sticking with Nvidia—who brought it to market a generation sooner—might be the better bet if you can’t wait a few months to see how those features and their performance shake out in the market.

This article has been updated with more information about VRAM capacity in AMD’s newest GPUs.

Listing image by AMD

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