Games

Technology • Games
Microsoft announces that Xbox Game Pass will come to iOS without Apple App Store
Microsoft announces that Xbox Game Pass will come to iOS without Apple App Store
Credit: unsplash.com / Kamil S

In an all-hands meeting, Microsoft's gaming boss Phil Spencer has announced that the Xbox Game Pass will come to iOS in 2021. Using a "direct browser-based solution" the company aims to circumvent the Apple App Store which prohibits the offering of the Game Pass.

Spencer stated that "we absolutely will end up on iOS,".

Technology • Games
Former Blizzard CEO announces start of new video game company
Former Blizzard CEO announces start of new video game company
Credit: Courtesy of Dreamhaven

The former CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, Mike Morhaime, has announced the start of a new video game company called Dreamhaven. From the start on the company contains two studios called Moonshot Games and Secret Door.

Multiple long time staff members have been announced to join the two new studios in order to "create and publish original games for players around the world".

Technology • Games
Apple demands compensation from Epic Games over Fortnite dispute
Fortnite Chapter2, Season 4
Fortnite Chapter2, Season 4 Credit: Epic Games (Reproduction)

Following the dispute over App Store fees between Apple and Epic Games, Apple now demands compensation payments from Epic for causing greater damage and "endangering the entire iOS ecosystem and the immense value to its customers".

Technology • Games
Epic Games files for preliminary injunction against Apple over Fortnite ban after 60% user loss
Epic Games files for preliminary injunction against Apple over Fortnite ban after 60% user loss
Credit: Epic Games

The Fortnite creator and rights holder Epic Games has filed for a preliminary injunction in order to get the popular battle royale game restored to Apple's App Store.

Epic Games states that the daily active users have dropped by 60% following the removal from the App Store and claims that the company is "likely to suffer irreparable harm" if the app is not restored while the legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games is ongoing.

Technology • Games
India bans PUBG, Baidu and more than 100 apps linked to China
India bans PUBG, Baidu and more than 100 apps linked to China
Credit: Tencent

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India announced  118 Chinese mobile apps have been banned, as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.

Those on the list include several of Tencent's products including the hit video game PUBG Mobile and WeChat Work.

Previously the government had banned 59 of the most popular apps including TikTok over national security concerns.

Technology • Games
Apple terminated Epic Games developer account
Fortnite
Fortnite Credit: Epic Games

Apple terminated the Epic Games developer account on the App Store, meaning games like Fortnite and Infinity Blade are no longer available for download, and blocking Epic Games from developing applications for iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Apple says Epic will no longer be able to submit apps or updates using its Epic Games developer account, but users who’ve previously downloaded Fortnite on iOS and Mac can keep playing it.

Technology • Games
Apple ordered not to block Epic's Unreal Engine, but Fortnite still banned from App Store
Fortnite
Fortnite Credit: Epic Games

US District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has ruled that Apple cannot terminate Epic Games' developer accounts or compromise its Unreal Engine. The App Store ban of Fortnite will not be lifted by the court until a full hearing can take place on September 28.

The judge claimed that Apple had "chosen to act severely" by threatening to block the Unreal Engine, which is widely used by others. "Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders," she said.

Regarding Fortnite, the judge stated Epic had "strategically chosen to breach its agreements with Apple.", ruling against Epic Games request to have Fortnite back to the App Store.

Technology • Games
Apple threatens to terminate all Epic’s developer account over Fortnite App Store protest
Epic Games parody of the iconic Apple's "1984" ad
Epic Games parody of the iconic Apple's "1984" ad Credit: Epic Games (Reproduction)

Epic tweeted on Monday that Apple has threatened to cut off its access to all Apple developer tools, for iOS and Mac. The developer said Apple would terminate all of its development tools accesses on August 28.

Epic has filed for a preliminary injunction against Apple, saying the company will be "irreparably harmed long before final judgment comes" if it does not obtain the injunction. Epic also asked for Fortnite — with its lowered prices and alternate payment option — to be returned to the App Store.

Technology • Games
Apple and Google removed Fortnite from App Store and Play Store
Apple and Google removed Fortnite from App Store and Play Store
Credit: Epic Games

Apple has removed Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games implemented Thursday its in-app payment system that bypassed Apple’s standard 30% fee. Later Thursday Google also removed the game from the Android Play Store.

Epic Games responded with a series of calculated actions, including an antitrust lawsuit claiming Apple's App Store is a monopoly, a video mocking the iconic "1984" Apple ad, and encouraging fans to use #FreeFortnite on their communications with Apple.

Spotify’s spokesman Adam Grossberg said, "We applaud Epic Games' decision to take a stand against Apple and shed further light on Apple's abuse of its dominant position." 

Technology • Games
Police in Belarus detains professional esports athlete Oleg "Lasthero" Demidovich, location unknown
Police in Belarus detains professional esports athlete Oleg "Lasthero" Demidovich, location unknown
Credit: B8 Twitter

The professional Dota 2 esports organization B8 has announced that one of their players has been detained by the police in Belarus. On Tuesday evening he went out to meet with friends on Victoria Square in Minsk. According to the statement "police officers approached them and, for reasons unknown to us, took them into Victoria Square metro station building, where there were already about 50 detainees".

On Wednesday his friends found out that he had been detained. His exact location and condition are unknown, but his friends suspect him to be detained in a preliminary prison in the Zhodino, Minsk region.

Demidovich currently plays for the organization of Danil "Dendi" Ishutin the winner of the Dota 2 world championships "The International" in 2011.

Technology • Games
Roblox has now over 150 million monthly active users
Roblox Avatar Lineup
Roblox Avatar Lineup Credit: Roblox

The gaming platform Roblox, announced over the weekend, that it has over 150 million monthly active users. The number is a considerable increase over the 115 million it announced in February during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the Roblox Developer Conference 2020, the company also shared that its developer community will earn over $250 million in 2020, up from the $110 million earned in 2019.

Technology • Games
Microsoft Flight Simulator landing on August 18
Microsoft Flight Simulator landing on August 18
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 will launch for PC on August 18, the first release of the franchise since 2014.

The game will come in three versions:

  • The standard edition ($59.99) includes 20 planes and 30 airports.
  • The deluxe edition ($89.99) adds five planes to the fleet and five additional international airports.
  • The premium deluxe edition ($119.99) has a total of 30 planes and 30 airports.

It is possible to pre-order the game now on Windows 10, or pre-install with Xbox Game Pass for PC.

Technology • Games
Copy of "Super Mario Bros." sold for $114,000 at auction
Sealed copy of "Super Mario Bros."
Sealed copy of "Super Mario Bros." Credit: Heritage Auctions

A sealed copy of "Super Mario Bros." sold for $114,000 at an auction on Friday, becoming the highest-selling video game ever. The winning bid came from an anonymous bidder.

"The demand for this game was extremely high, and if any lot in the sale could hit a number like that, it was going to be this one. We knew this would be a strong live session, but I don’t think anybody could have anticipated how much bidding action there was on Heritage Live! and the phones," so Valarie McLeckie, Heritage Auctions Video Games Director.

Technology • Games
Epic Games receives $250 million Investment from Sony
Epic Games Logo
Epic Games Logo Credit: Epic Games (Public Domain)

Sony has invested $250 million for a 1.4% stake in Epic Games. With the new investment, the developer behind Fortnite and the Epic Games Store has raised $1.83 billion to date and it is valued at $17.68 billion.

"The investment cements an already close relationship between the two companies and reinforces the shared mission to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services," stated Sony, in a press release.

Technology • Games
Three executives step down amid Ubisoft sexual harassment investigation
Serge Hascoet
Serge Hascoet Credit: Ecole polytechnique (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Ubisoft announced Sunday significant personnel changes related to the sexual harassment investigation the company is conducting. The CCO Serge Hascoet, Canada's managing director Yannis Mallat are leaving the company. The global head of HR Cécile Cornet would step down from her position.

On a press release, Yves Guillemot, CEO and Co-Founder of Ubisoft, said: "Ubisoft has fallen short in its obligation to guarantee a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees. This is unacceptable, as toxic behaviours are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised —and never will. I am committed to implementing profound changes across the Company to improve and strengthen our workplace culture,"

Technology • Games
Microsoft is reportedly interested in buying WB Interactive
Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11 Credit: Microsoft (Reproduction)

Following the news that AT&T is considering parting ways with Warner Bros., Microsoft is considering acquiring the game division.

The Information reported that Microsoft is not the only one interested in the company; EA, Take-Two and Activision Blizzard are also considering buying WB Interactive and its several development studios (Avalanche Software, Monolith Productions, NetherRealm Studios, Rocksteady Studios, TT Games, and many others).

Technology • Games
Microsoft set to showcase Xbox first-party exclusives at event held on July 23
Microsoft set to showcase Xbox first-party exclusives at event held on July 23
Credit: Microsoft

Xbox Game Studios, a subsidiary of Microsoft, will be showcasing first-party exclusive games developed for the upcoming Xbox Series X. Francises like Halo, Gears of War and Forza are certain to be present, but it's noteworthy that Xbox Game Studios is comprised of 15 game development studios- all just as likely to make appearances.

Technology • Games
Users allegedly abusing VPNs cause Horizon Zero Dawn PC prices to skyrocket
Users allegedly abusing VPNs cause Horizon Zero Dawn PC prices to skyrocket
Credit: Guerrilla Games

Horizon Zero Dawn prices on PC have increased in some countries most likely as a result of people using VPNs to buy the game from a different country where the game was cheaper due to regional pricing.

Some example include Argentina, Turkey and Russia where the prices increased by 389%, 351% and 301%, respectively.

Technology • Games
Ubisoft announces internal changes after allegations of sexual misconduct against executives
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot Credit: Jesusbella (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

After female employees accused multiple employees of sexual assault at Ubisoft, the company has placed the alleged perpetrators including two executives on leave and now announced a "structural shift" to change the work environment, make it safer and improve the accountability.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has stated that he is "putting in place a series of initiatives that will serve as a roadmap as we listen, learn, and act". Part of the initiatives will be the appointment of Lidwine Sauer as Head of Workplace Culture, a global survey for all employees, listening sessions, the continuation of the investigation into the allegations of sexual assault and other measures.

Technology • Games
Ubisoft launches investigation into sexual harassment and assault claims
Ubisoft launches investigation into sexual harassment and assault claims
Credit: Ubisoft

Video game company Ubisoft has publicly responded to recent allegations of sexual harassment and assault against multiple of the company's employees, including community manager Andrien Gbinigie and creative director Ashraf Ismail.

In its statement, Ubisoft said that it had "started by launching investigations into the allegations with the support of specialised external consultants" and that "based on the outcomes, we are fully committed to taking any and all appropriate disciplinary action."

Technology • Games
Spain's La Liga to be exclusive on FIFA franchise until 2030
FIFA 20 screenshot
FIFA 20 screenshot Credit: Electronic Arts

La Liga will be exclusive to the FIFA game franchise until 2030, Electronic Arts announced it today. The new 10-year agreement is the longest renewal in the partnership between Electronica Arts and La Liga.

The announcement also includes a commitment to grow fandom and esports participation through LaLiga’s official esports competition, eLaLiga Santander.

Technology • Games
Epic removed all police cars from Fortnite as a response to Black Lives Matter protests
Fortnite Logo
Fortnite Logo Credit: Epic Games (Reproduction)

Epic Games has removed all police cars from Fortnite after the game's latest update, and according to a report on the Wall Street Journal that was a response to Black Lives Matter protests over police violence.

The company was not the first one to acknowledge the movement. Activision delayed the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone‘s fourth season release date as well as adding in a Black Lives Matter loading screen. At the same time, Sony postponed the unveiling event for its highly-anticipated PlayStation 5.

Technology • Games
Fortnite Season 3 has launched with a flooded map, Aquaman, sharks, water skiing, and a kitty mech
EPIC Games Fortnite Map
EPIC Games Fortnite Map Credit: via Twitter User @HYPEX

After a long wait for the fans, a new season has launched today. Epic Games released the long-delayed third season for Fortnite: Chapter 2, following a massive event earlier in the week that saw the game’s battle royale island surrounded by a wall of water. The map has changed and also means a new battle pass is available (Fortnite’s seasonal subscription-like service). Players who splurge for a pass will get a number of characters to unlock, including Aquaman and Kit, a tiny kitten riding a motorcycle that also powers a mech suit.

Technology • Games
"Spider-Man: Miles Morales" to be released for PS5 late 2020
"Spider-Man: Miles Morales" to be released for PS5 late 2020
Credit: Screenshot, Youtube, PlayStation

At its PlayStation 5 gameplay even, Sony announced the release of "Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the sequel of 2018's Spider-Man.

The game, expected to be launched alongside the PlayStation 5, will be released in "holiday 2020", so approximately between October and December 2020.

Technology • Games
PS5 event's new date set for June 11
PS5 event's new date set for June 11

Sony's event to show off new games for its PlayStation 5, launching in the fall, will be on June 11 20:00 (UTC). The event had been delayed to allow more focus on George Floyd protests.

The broadcast will be streamed at 1080p and 30 FPS, instead of 4K and 60 FPS that may be required to showcase what the console has to offer. About this "downgrade" Sony stated: "This eased the show’s production process during a time when many of our team and developers are working from home. The games you'll see on Thursday will look even better when you play them on PS5 with a 4K TV, as you'd expect.".

Technology • Games
Video Game 'Kerbal Space Program 2' postponed to autumn 2021
KSP2 Logo
KSP2 Logo Credit: Take-Two Interactive Inc. / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

KSP sequel 'Kerbal Space Program 2' won't be launched until autumn 2021. Private Division, publisher and maker of KSP, announced the delay on Twitter in late May.

"As you all know, we've been working hard to make the best and most authentic KSP sequel possible. This is an ambitious goal. We are making a big, expansive game loaded with new features, but doing so will take longer than we previously anticipated," Private Division wrote in a tweet, explaining that the challenges the company faces amid the COVID-19 outbreak have resulted in "many unique challenges that require more time to safely iterate, create, test and make KSP2."

Technology • Games
Epic delays the next 'Fortnite' event and season again
Epic delays the next 'Fortnite' event and season again
Credit: Vlad Gorshkov

Epic Games has delayed the next Fortnite event and season once more. A one-time event called The Device is moving from June 6th to June 15th. Chapter 2 Season 3, which will probably feature a flooded map, will start two days after that. The publisher made the call amid widespread anti-racism protests.

Technology • Games
Fortnite season 3 has been delayed one more week
Fortnite
Fortnite Credit: Epic Games (Reproduction)

Epic Games announced that Chapter 2, Season 3 was delayed once again. Initially planned to be released on April 30, Epic already had pushed the season to June 4 before this latest announcement.

The company said: “In an effort to get everything ready for Chapter 2 - Season 3, we’re extending Season 2 by one week. The new launch day of Season 3 will be Thursday, June 11.”.

Technology • Games
Pac-Man turns 40
Pac-Man arcade machine
Pac-Man arcade machine Credit: Peter Handke (Creative Commons Attribution 1.0)

Developed by Toru Iwatani and released by the Japanese company Namco, the first Pac-Man machine was unveiled in a Tokyo arcade on May 22, 1980.

With more than 400,000 gaming cabinets sold to arcades around the world, Pac-Man is the best-selling arcade game of all time.

Technology • Games
Epic Games online store down for hours after rumours of 'Grand Theft Auto V' for free
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V Credit: Rockstar on IGDB

Epic Games online store was down on Thursday due to massive traffic after rumours that it was giving the premium edition of "Grand Theft Auto V" for free.

Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, has given away dozens of free titles since their online store launched in December 2018, and the company said in January that it plans to continue to give away free games through 2020.