It’s almost the weekend, folks, and we’ve got lots of video game news to hold us over until then. The biggest story involves Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store — and Epic Games subsequently filing suit. We also got a new look at Hitman 3‘s VR mode and more. Here’s the video game news you might’ve missed on Aug. 13, 2020.
Fortnite Has Been Removed from the App Store, and Epic Games Is Suing Fortnite
Apple has removed Fortnite from the App Store due to Epic Games implementing its own in-app purchase system. Epic did this to bypass Apple’s own system, which takes a 30% cut of all purchases.
Epic’s new system featured permanent price drops of up to 20% to incentivize players to use it instead of Apple’s system, though the consequence is that players on iOS are now unable to download Fortnite. Apple committed to working on resolving the issue with Epic but noted that a “special arrangement” would not be made. Epic has referred to the App Store as a “monopoly” and defends its decision.
In fact, in a move that was clearly orchestrated far in advance, Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against Apple over the discrepancy and released a video (below), “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” parodying the iconic “1984” Apple commercial and mocking the company’s current business practices. This is surely only the beginning.
Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices.
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 13, 2020
Read More: Apple just kicked Fortnite off the App Store
Nintendo eShop Sale Has Discounts on Mortal Kombat 11, Aladdin and The Lion King, and Jackbox Games
In lighter news, you can hop on your Nintendo Switch right now to take advantage of some sweet deals, including discounts on numerous Jackbox Party Pack games, as well as Mortal Kombat 11, which is available for $19.99. You’ll also find a discount on Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King, available for $17.99. Many of the eShop’s current sales are good for a couple weeks, so you’ve got some time if you want to save.
Read More: Sales & Deals
Mortal Shell Will Get a Physical Edition Due to “the Number of Requests”
Upcoming action RPG Mortal Shell has garnered a lot of hype — so much so that it will be coming out in physical format after the game’s initial release on digital storefronts. This game closely mirrors the Souls series, focusing on combat and fantasy themes. The plan had originally been to release digitally only, but due to “the number of requests for a physical release,” publisher Playstack will be releasing hard copies on Oct. 2, 2020. If you can’t wait, you can download it digitally on Aug. 18 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
We’ve been stunned by the number of requests for a physical release of Mortal Shell. Today we’re delighted to answer those requests.
👉 Mortal Shell physical edition is coming October 2, shortly after the digital release on August 18.
— Mortal Shell (@MortalShellGame) August 13, 2020
Microsoft Considered Launching Halo Infinite in Multiple Parts Prior to Its Delay
While on Gary Whitta’s Animal Talking show, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer discussed some intriguing points about what could have happened with Halo Infinite. Spencer revealed that Microsoft considered releasing Infinite in multiple parts, but that it ultimately “didn’t feel, to all of us, like the Halo release that we would want.”
The decision to delay it was not taken lightly, and as Spencer explained, the team was “disappointed” by the delay but is committed to delivering a “great game” in 2021. Spencer dove into more on the future of Xbox and other interesting tidbits. And can we just stop for a second to appreciate that the head of Xbox was interviewed from within Animal Crossing: New Horizons? What a time to be alive. The full interview can be seen below.
Hitman 3 Developer Insights Video Dives Deep into VR Features
Today, IO Interactive released a video (below) that detailed some of the new features you can expect with Hitman 3‘s VR integration. In it, we got to see more footage of the game running in VR and it’s still a mind-boggling sight. Agent 47 sneaks up on an unsuspecting victim and taps them on the shoulder, before taking them out — all in first-person VR.
Enemies will apparently react to your movements in a much more realistic way this time around. The benefits of being in VR will be depicted in its immersion, but the change from third- to first-person will also alter the way you play. Hitman 3 is due out on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and Stadia in January 2021.
Amazon brings Netflix to Echo Show, reveals new Alexa features – MobileSyrup
During the company’s fall hardware event, Amazon revealed several new Alexa features for all of its Echo hardware and more.
One of the more low-key, yet still important announcement was the fact that Amazon is bringing Netflix to the Echo Show. While most people probably don’t watch movies on smart display, official YouTube and Netflix apps were sorely missed when Amazon announced the product, so it’s nice to see at least one of them finally make it to the platform.
Alexa does group calls
Group calls are also coming to Echo devices, allowing you and your whole family to jump on a call together from the comfort of your living room. You can even set up the feature from Alexa to work with the command “Alexa, call my family,” to start a group chat.
Zoom comes to Echo Show
Popular video chat app Zoom is coming to the Echo Show, which should help some people make group calls. A few people I know that keep an Echo Show 5 on their desk will likely be happy with this new feature.
This feature is designed to help the elderly or someone who can’t be left alone at all times. You set it up in the Alexa app, and then can say “Alexa, call for help” to get quick access to a preset emergency contact.
The other part of this feature is kind of creepy. The Echo device then looks for motion, and if it doesn’t detect movement at a pre-set time, it sends an alert to the emergency context so they can call to check-in.
“Alexa, delete everything I’ve ever said”
This command deletes all the voice data that Amazon has gathered from you in an easy way. Amazon also mentioned that in the future, users will be able to set Alexa to never record their conversations in the app.
New sound detectors
Amazon is taking its ‘Guard’ platform to the next level with new sound-based routines. That means Alexa can now listen for things like a dog barking or a baby crying and adjust smart lights automatically.
These seem very simple, but if Amazon rolls out enough sound triggers, people will be able to set up a lot of automatic routines that could streamline their smart home setup considerably.
You can learn more about Alexa’s new features here.
Apple acquires Scout FM app that transforms the podcast experience with smart stations – 9to5Mac
Apple recently acquired the startup Scout FM, according to a Bloomberg report. The company offers an app that creates smart stations for podcast listeners, bringing a similar experience to radio stations.
An Apple spokesman confirmed the acquisition, but no further details were provided. The report mentions that Apple bought Scout FM earlier this year to enhance its own podcast platform amid growing competition from Spotify.
As we covered once here on 9to5Mac, Scout FM brings a different approach to the podcast experience. Instead of offering individual podcasts, the app creates smart podcast stations based on different topics, such as sports or technology.
Scout FM uses artificial intelligence to identify user preferences and suggest new relevant content. Prior to being removed from the App Store, the app was available for Apple devices and it was also compatible with CarPlay and Amazon Alexa.
Apple has been investing in its Podcasts platform with new features and the production of original shows, as Spotify has been increasingly growing with similar efforts. The company didn’t say how Scout FM will be incorporated into its Podcasts app, but we’ll probably see some new related features beginning next year.
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Epic, Spotify and other Apple critics form coalition to take on App Store rules – CNET
More than a dozen app makers and other companies have joined together to form the Coalition for App Fairness, a nonprofit group that’s taking aim at Apple and its App Store rules. Among the founding members are , and Match Group, all of which have been vocal critics of the fees Apple charges developers.
“As enforcers, regulators, and legislators around the world investigate Apple for its anti-competitive behavior, The Coalition for App Fairness will be the voice of app and game developers in the effort to protect consumer choice and create a level playing field for all,” said Horacio Gutierrez, head of global affairs at Spotify, in a release on Thursday.
The coalition comes as Apple is locked in a public battle with Fortnite developer Epic Games. Fortnite was kicked off both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store in August after Epic attempted to bypass the 30% fee Apple and Google charge developers. Epic countered by filing lawsuits against both companies. Apple earlier this month raised the stakes further by if it convinces a judge that it was within its rights to kick Fortnite off its more than 1.5 billion active iPhones and iPads.
Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment on the coalition. On Thursday, the company published several pages on its website highlighting the benefits of the App Store for users and developers. Apple says the pages provide context for its broader work to support its app store, which now counts more than 28 million developers worldwide, and 1.5 billion devices across 175 countries.
The App Store helps developers “from start to finish — to build, test, market, and distribute your products and grow your business,” says Apple’s site.
The Coalition for App Fairness also released a set of 10 App Store Principles that is says will help “protect the app economy” and ensure that the “benefits of digital technologies are shared by everyone.”
Here is the full list of coalition’s founding members: Basecamp, Blix, Blockchain.com, Deezer, Epic Games, the European Publishers Council, Match Group, News Media Europe, Prepear, Protonmail, SkyDemon, Spotify and Tile.
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