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Japanese developers complain about App Store business model following antitrust accusations – 9to5Mac

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While we’ve been following the dispute between Apple and Epic Games, Japanese developers have now expressed concerns about the App Store’s business model regarding Apple’s 30% commission and also how the company treats third-party apps. As the gaming market in Japan is extremely strong, the local government may soon take action against the Cupertino-based company.

According to a Bloomberg report, several Japanese developers have stood in favor of Epic Games in the dispute against Apple due to the removal of Fortnite from the App Store. They mentioned that the App Store review process is unfair and that the company should give better treatment to third party apps in its store considering the high commission developers must pay Apple.

While Epic, publisher of the hit title Fortnite, focuses on the 30% revenue cut app stores typically take, Japanese game studios have broader concerns. They have long been unhappy with what they see as Apple’s inconsistent enforcement of its own App Store guidelines, unpredictable content decisions and lapses in communication, according to more than a dozen people involved in the matter.

Hironao Kunimitsu, founder of the Japanese gaming company Gumi Inc, wrote on his Facebook that he wants “from the bottom of my heart Epic to win,” in reference to the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games. But the problem goes beyond Apple’s 30% commission, as developers criticize the company for the App Store review guidelines.

Makoto Shoji, founder of PrimeTheory Inc, argues that “Apple’s app review is often ambiguous, subjective and irrational.” Shoji complains that the app review process sometimes can take weeks, but it’s difficult to get support from Apple on these occasions. “While Apple will never admit it, I think there are times when they simply forget an item’s in the review queue,” said the developer.

Another situation addressed by Japanese developers is how Apple sometimes has its own interpretation of what is appropriate content in an app. The report mentions that several game studios had to change their characters in swimsuits as Apple claimed they were sexualized characters.

Apple CEO Tim Cook testified this year at an antitrust hearing of the US Judiciary Committee and the company has also been facing antitrust charges in Europe. These investigations may extend to even more countries as Japan’s antitrust regulator said in an interview that they’re monitoring Apple’s practices when it comes to how the company manages the App Store.

It’s worth mentioning that the first hearing of the case between Apple and Epic Games is expected to take place later this month.

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Google announces the Pixel 4a 5G with Snapdragon 765G and more – MobileSyrup

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Although we already knew it was coming, Google officially announced its Pixel 4a 5G smartphone at today’s ‘Launch Night In’ event.

Back in August, Google offered a sneak peek at the 4a 5G and Pixel 5 alongside its Pixel 4a announcement. While it has barely been two months since then, it feels like a long time has passed. Many of the details of the Pixel 4a 5G leaked ahead of time and, unsurprisingly, most were accurate.

First up, the Pixel 4a 5G sports a Snapdragon 765G, making it more powerful than the regular Pixel 4a, which runs on the 730G platform. The 4a 5G also boasts 6GB of RAM and a larger 6.24-inch OLED display with the same 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution. The display also runs at 60Hz and sports Gorilla Glass 3.

The phone’s design isn’t significantly different from the 4a either. It sports the same polycarbonate back panel with a textured feel, a similar square camera bump, a colourful power button and volume buttons on the right-hand side. Also, like the 4a, the 4a 5G features a USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Google’s Pixel 4a 5G includes 128GB of internal storage.

As for the camera, the Pixel 4a 5G sports a 12.2-megapixel primary shooter along with a 16-megapixel wide-angle camera. It supports 4K video recording at 60fps, and is the same as the camera system offered on the Pixel 5.

The phone runs on a 3,800mAh battery with 18W fast charging and comes in black.

The Pixel 4a 5G will cost $679 in Canada and you can join a waiting list on the Google Store website to get more information about when the phone will be available.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s Zombies mode revealed by Treyarch – Polygon

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Developer Treyarch will usher in a new chapter of the franchise’s Zombies mode with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, while retaining the four-player co-op play that makes the enduring mode so popular. This time around, Zombies fans will wield Cold War-era weapons to fend off a zombie invasion set during the 1980s — but the undead threat is still rooted in World War II.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies will feature a story mode set in Die Maschine, a graffiti-laden, boarded-up bunker with nods to Nacht der Untoten, the original Zombies map featured in Call of Duty: World at War. Players will explore Die Maschine as a member of the CIA-backed group known as Requiem, which has also piqued the interest of the rival Soviet-led group known as Omega Group. Intrigue, and swarms of angry zombies, will presumably follow.

The new Zombies mode will feature many of the gameplay elements players are familiar with: Perks, Pack-a-Punch machines, and mystery boxes. This time, however, there will no longer be a limit to how many different Perks you players can consume, “so go ahead and crack open a six-pack,” Treyarch says, “if you have the points to do so.”

Two glowing green zombies from Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Image: Treyarch/Activision

Black Ops Cold War’s take on Zombies will also feature:

  • Field Upgrades — which sound similar to the Modern Warfare abilities of the same name — that will offer “offensive buffs to abilities that aid in evasion or healing and reviving;”
  • Equipment that can be found or crafted, like grenade launchers, sentry turrets, explosive bows, and helicopter gunners;
  • and a chance to escape hairy situations via Exfil, which will let you call in a helicopter rescue but also dials zombie spawns “up to 11,” Treyarch says, and can earn squads rewards if you manage to survive.

Treyarch says that play time in Zombies mode will also contribute to Black Ops Cold War’s Battle Pass and that players can bring their Gunsmith-crafted weapons of choice into the mode. Better still, Zombies will have cross-generation, cross-platform play, meaning a squad will be easy to put together.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will be released Nov. 13 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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COVID Alert has been downloaded 2.94 million times – MobileSyrup

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The Public Health Agency of Canada has revealed that COVID Alert has been downloaded 2.94 million times since July 31st.

The agency told CTV News that only 514 users have notified the app about their positive test results, all of whom reside in Ontario.

These statistics come as politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are urging Canadians to download the app if it’s available in their province, as we enter the second wave of the virus.

The federal government launched COVID Alert in Ontario over the summer, and since then it has rolled out in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

The government of Manitoba is getting ready to support COVID Alert this week, and Quebec has revealed that it will use the app too after previously saying that it wouldn’t due to lack of support in the province for it.

COVID Alert uses Apple and Google’s notification API, which uses Bluetooth technology to share randomized codes with other nearby smartphones. These codes can’t identify users.

It’s worth noting that COVID Alert is not a contact tracing app. It’s an ‘exposure notification’ tool that can inform Canadians if they potentially became exposed to COVID-19.

COVID Alert can be downloaded from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.

Via: CTV News 

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