A U.S. judge criticized Epic Games for being dishonest during the first court hearing in the ongoing antitrust lawsuit between the Fortnite maker and Apple.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California heard arguments from both companies during a three-hour Zoom hearing Monday. Gonzalez Rogers expressed skepticism about Epic’s arguments, especially its claim that it didn’t pose a security threat to Apple.
According to a report from CNN, the judge said that Epic lied and “that’s the security issue.” Gonzalez Rogers went on to say that “there are a lot of people in the public who consider [Epic] heroes for what [they] did, but it’s still not honest.”
Epic has long argued that it was standing up to Apple’s “monopoly.” The game maker says that Apple’s control over iOS and the App Store allows it to force developers into using its payment method and thus hold up monopolistic control over apps.
It all started with a payment system
Back in August, Epic introduced a direct payment method in its popular Fortnite game, which allowed it to bypass Apple’s 30 percent App Store fee. Apple charges the fee for any payments that use its in-app payment method, and also restricts developers from using other payment methods with its App Store guidelines.
Because Fortnite‘s new direct payment directly violated Apple’s rules, it kicked the game off the App Store. Epic responded in turn with a lawsuit. It’s worth noting similar events took place with Google’s Play Store on Android devices. However, a significant difference between the two is that Google allows third-party app stores and the installation of apps from sources outside of the Play Store. As such, Fortnite fans could still get the game on Android by downloading it from other places. Players on iOS can only get the game through the App Store.
After Epic sued Apple, both companies engaged in back-and-forth attacks on each other, ranging from petty to serious. For example, Epic said Apple threatened to terminate its Unreal Engine developer account, which isn’t associated with Fortnite. Gonzalez Rogers previously ruled that Apple can’t terminate that account, but was free to terminate the developer account Epic used for Fortnite. At the same time, the judge ruled Apple didn’t have to return Fortnite to the App Store.
Likewise, Epic also engaged in a public relations campaign positioning itself as the good guy with an ad mimicking Apple’s famous ‘1984’ commercial. Epic added a playable character called ‘Tart Tycoon’ to Fortnite as well. Apple sued Epic seeking damages for harm to its reputation over the campaign. These are just a few examples of the fight between the two companies.
Throughout the lawsuit, Epic petitioned the courts to force Apple to allow Fortnite back on the App Store. That included arguing that the game’s removal caused it irreparable harm. Apple responded in turn, saying Epic used the lawsuit to draw attention to the game as interest waned.
Judge feels the antitrust questions deserve a jury
The hearing didn’t answer any of the looming questions about the antitrust allegations or whether Apple would have to return Fortnite to the App Store. For the latter, the New York Times reports a decision will arrive in the coming days. I don’t expect it to be in Epic’s favour, considering Gonzalez Rogers previously ruled Apple didn’t have to reinstate Fortnite and seems unconvinced by Epic’s arguments.
As for the bigger questions about antitrust, Gonzalez Rogers believes the they are important enough that the case be taken to a jury trial in July 2021.
However, CNN reports that Gonzalez Rogers wasn’t persuaded by Epic’s argument that Apple’s bundled App Store and payment method violate antitrust law. The judge also didn’t completely agree that Apple harmed Epic’s ability to distribute Fortnite through control of the App Store.
“Walled gardens have existed for decades. Nintendo has had a walled garden. Sony has had a walled garden. Microsoft has had a walled garden. What Apple’s doing is not much different… It’s hard to ignore the economics of the industry, which is what you’re asking me to do,” Gonzalez Rogers said.
Epic isn’t the only company taking issue with Apple’s policies
However, Epic’s lawsuit has become something of a rallying cry for many developers who feel they’ve been wronged by Apple’s App Store guidelines. Last week, several companies formed the Coalition for App Fairness, which aims to “defend the fundamental rights of creators to build apps and to do business directly with their customers,” according to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. Along with Epic, the coalition includes Spotify, Tile and Match Group, which owns several dating services including Tinder and Hinge.
Many developers have accused Apple of applying its App Store rules unfairly, especially in the last few months. For example, a group of news publishers sent a letter to Apple seeking a deal that reduces the 30 percent cut the company takes from subscription services. The letter cited a similar deal Apple gave to Amazon, which CEO Tim Cook testified in a congressional hearing was available to any developer that met the criteria. Apple has not shared what those criteria are.
Epic has also pointed out that Apple’s in-app payment rules differ from app to app, and listed several other services that aren’t forced to use Apple’s system. Finally, there was an instance where Apple blocked updates to the WordPress iOS app until the developer added in-app payments. The company later back-pedalled on the move.
Cyberpunk 2077 Launch Delayed: Game Will Now Release on December 10 to Allow for Optimisations for Across… – Gadgets 360
Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed once again, this time for 21 days with the new release date being December 10. This time, the developers have cited optimising the game for nine platforms as the reason behind the delay. The CD Projekt Red team took to Twitter to share the news, apologising to the fans that have been eagerly waiting for the game. Cyberpunk 2077 was originally scheduled for an April 2020 release, which was then postponed to September 17, and then to November 19.
CD Projekt Red shared a post on Twitter, just like the last time the game got delayed, explaining why the team decided to push the release by 21 days. Cyberpunk 2077 was scheduled to release on November 19 after several delays and the developers had assured that the game was ready for that release date. They earlier announced that the game went “gold” meaning all the content and gameplay was ready for the final retail version. However, it seems like there is still some work to be done, particularly preparing nine versions of the game for the different platforms it will release on.
“The biggest challenge for us right now is shipping the game on current-gen, next-gen, and PC at the same time, which requires us to prepare and test 9 versions of it (Xbox One/X, compatibility on Xbox Series S/X, PS4/Pro, compatibility on PS5, PC, Stadia)… while working from home,” the post on Twitter by head of studio Adam Badowski and joint CEO Marcin Iwinski stated.
The post also explains why this delay came to be after announcing the game has “gone gold.” The post states that while ‘going gold’ means the “game is ready, can be completed, and has all content in it,” it doesn’t mean that the developers will stop raising the quality bar. Several improvements are being made to Cyberpunk 2077 that will be pushed via a Day 0 patch and the time period for these improvements was what the team “undercalculated.”
Cyberpunk 2077 was first scheduled for an April 2020 release, which was then delayed by five months to September 17 to “finish playtesting, fixing, and polishing.” Then, it was pushed to November 19 so that the team could “balance game mechanics and fix a lot of bugs.”
Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.
Sony boosts PlayStation profits despite looming PS5 launch – The Verge
Sony’s gaming division is continuing to drive major profits for the company even as the PlayStation 4 era winds down. The company announced PlayStation-related revenue of 507 billion yen (~$4.9 billion) and an operating profit of 105 billion yen (~$1 billion) for its July-September quarter, respective improvements of 52 and 40 percent on the same period a year ago.
With the PlayStation 5 set to launch in a couple of weeks, normally you’d expect a significant negative impact on Sony’s books for the previous quarter as the company ramps up manufacturing before it starts to bring in more revenue. Sony does say that its profits were hit by an increase in costs, while revenue was reduced by a predictable decrease in PS4 sales. Higher game software sales and PlayStation Plus subscriptions, however, more than made up the shortfall.
Sony’s big PS4 release for the quarter was the open-world samurai adventure Ghost of Tsushima, which came out in July and sold 2.4 million copies in its first three days. Sony says it’s the fastest-selling new IP on the platform.
Ghost of Tsushima is now PS4’s fastest selling first-party original IP debut with more than 2.4 million units sold through globally in its first 3 days of sales.
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) July 24, 2020
Sony has now revised its full-year gaming forecast upward slightly, expecting to make 2.6 trillion yen in revenue and 300 billion yen in profit by the end of March 31st. That’d be a 26 percent increase in both revenue and profit, which would be impressive for the first year of a console cycle.
Sony’s revenue is likely to be limited in the short term by the number of PS5 consoles it’s able to manufacture. In an interview with Reuters today, SIE chief Jim Ryan said there was “very considerable demand” for the device, which he says was preordered in the US more times in its first 12 hours than the PS4 was in its first 12 weeks. “It may well be that not everybody who wants to buy a PS5 on launch day will be able to find one.”
League of Legends: Wild Rift cinematic trailer revealed – Dot Esports
To coincide with League of Legends: Wild Rift’s move into regional open beta the team at Riot Games has released an impressive cinematic trailer for the mobile game.
The trailer showcases many of the champions available in Wild Rift as they face off against each other to the tune of a remixed version of The Kinks hit song “You Really Got Me”.
Players who reside in Regions currently serviced in the closed beta testing will now have unrestricted access to the beta, allowing new players to download and participate without being approved.
Both IOS and Android app stores will have the game available for their users to download in the included regions with more regions to come later in 2020 and into 2021.
Wid Rift offers mobile players a similar experience to that available on the League of Legends computer game with slight alterations to help the game function better on a mobile device. These include changes to champions kits that work better with the controls scheme as well as changes to gameplay that will see game times drastically lower than players’ experience on the PC counterpart.
With COVID causing setbacks in Wild Rift’s development and release, players in America will have to wait into 2021 before they are able to finally get their hands on the game.
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