Last week, I showed you why Apple’s App Store guidelines will never permit Microsoft’s xCloud or Google’s Stadia cloud gaming services in their current forms.
But Microsoft has another form of game streaming that isn’t against Apple’s rules at all, and the company has all but confirmed it’s currently working to bring it to your iPhone.
Take a look:
The tweet above is from nearly a year ago, but it’s freshly relevant this week: on Monday, Microsoft announced a new Xbox app that lets you stream games from your own Xbox to your own Android phone over your local network for free. There’s an iOS version coming too — and while my colleague Tom Warren originally suggested the console streaming feature probably wouldn’t come to iOS, I’m now willing to bet it will.
Microsoft now tells me the goal is actually to have full parity between the iOS and Android apps, and that Apple is already reviewing the iOS version now.
And unless Microsoft is trying to push something drastically different on iOS than the existing Android app, I expect the console streaming feature to sail through review with flying colors.
You see, Apple has a name for apps like these, distinct from the individual streaming game idea that we discussed last week. They’re called “Remote Desktop Clients,” and here are the exact Apple guidelines that apply:
4.2.7 Remote Desktop Clients: If your remote desktop app acts as a mirror of specific software or services rather than a generic mirror of the host device, it must comply with the following:
(a) The app must only connect to a user-owned host device that is a personal computer or dedicated game console owned by the user, and both the host device and client must be connected on a local and LAN-based network.
(b) Any software or services appearing in the client are fully executed on the host device, rendered on the screen of the host device, and may not use APIs or platform features beyond what is required to stream the Remote Desktop.
(c) All account creation and management must be initiated from the host device.
(d) The UI appearing on the client does not resemble an iOS or App Store view, does not provide a store-like interface, or include the ability to browse, select, or purchase software not already owned or licensed by the user. For the sake of clarity, transactions taking place within mirrored software do not need to use in-app purchase, provided the transactions are processed on the host device.
(e) Thin clients for cloud-based apps are not appropriate for the App Store.
Thing is, Microsoft can probably ignore parts (a) through (e) because they don’t apply to such a basic streaming service at all: as you can see in Tom’s video tweet above, the Xbox app is the definition of a “generic mirror of the host device” because it mirrors the entire Xbox One interface, warts and all. Apple says these apps only need to follow the other rules if they aren’t generic mirrors of a console.
Apple allows those kinds of remote desktop apps to do just about anything, likely because they’re valuable for more than just games — there’s a whole category of sysadmins and other techs that rely on them to troubleshoot PCs remotely, and it’d be hard (though not impossible) to shut down this kind of app without restricting those as well.
It’s also how a cloud gaming app like Shadow can sneak through Apple’s walls, because that service just mirrors an entire Windows PC across the internet and requires you to install the games yourself.
But when it comes to the Xbox app’s fate, there’s a far more important precedent. Sony’s PS4 Remote Play is already on iOS, and it works almost exactly the same as Microsoft’s Xbox console streaming. It similarly mirrors the entire PS4 interface, including access to the PlayStation Store. And though Microsoft’s Android app does include the ability to play over the internet, and a few more creature comforts like remote management of your console, I would think the “generic mirror” rule would keep it from getting kicked out.
All that said, Apple has been known to change the rules whenever it feels like — even after rejecting an app it already approved. That’s what originally happened to Valve’s Steam Link app, which was barred from release on iOS before Apple introduced any of the Remote Desktop rules above. Steam Link eventually got approved a year later, but with some conspicuous cuts:
But Microsoft’s Xbox app isn’t like Steam Link anyhow, since it’s always used Valve’s streamlined Big Picture interface rather than having a full “generic mirror” of your PC’s operating system in tow. I wouldn’t expect Microsoft to need any cuts — unless, of course, Apple tries to apply its new set of “streaming games” rules to keep those Xbox games out. Even if it does, it’ll seem blatantly unfair since Sony’s near-identical idea already exists on the App Store.
I expect Apple will just wave this one through.
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:
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
- Godfall (PS5 console launch exclusive)
- Just Dance 2021
- 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
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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
PlayStation reveals updated mobile app with overhauled UI, voice chat and more – MobileSyrup
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.
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 card||AMD price||Most comparable Nvidia card||Nvidia price|
|Radeon RX 6800||$580||RTX 3070||$500|
|Radeon RX 6800 XT||$650||RTX 3080||$700|
|Radeon RX 6900 XT||$1,000||RTX 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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