Sept. 17, 2021

Apple V. Epic... Who won? Who lost? - GWS#052

We discuss what the result of the Apple and Epic drama that started last year and ended up with a one-of-a-kind lawsuit! If you're an Arab and have ever tried playing Tarneeb or Trix online, then you must be aware of Jawaker, which is slated to be sold to Swedish group of companies Stillfront for a whopping 753 million Dirhams. We also have some new Nintendo Switch and Sony Playstation 5 firmware updates to look forward to.

Apple V Epic; who won?

  • The trial started in May, but the events that took place which lead to this happened in August 2020. As part of a plan that Epic called Project Liberty, they updated Fortnite to reduce the price of their in-game V-Bucks currency by 20%, but only if bought directly from them.
  • This goes against Apple and Google's store policies as developers are permitted from directing users to make payments outside of the apps, and that's because they both take around 30% from all in-app purchases.
  • As expected, Fortnite was removed the store, and Epic quickly filed a lawsuit against Apple and Google, claiming that they were being monopolistic and challenged their anti-steering rules and also called for allowing alternate in-app payment options, and in Apple's case, allowing alternate app stores.
  • The Apple V. Epic case has come to an end earlier this week, with Apple winning 9 out of the 10 counts.
  • Epic has failed to prove that Apple's App Store is an anti-competitive monopoly, or that it must accept alternate app stores within iOS. They will have to pay Apple damages because they breached the App Store contract, and will pay 30% of all revenue they collected from Fortnite on iOS devices through direct payments.
  • Apple's only loss in the case is regarding it's anti-steering policies, that forbade developers from directing users away from their apps to their website or an external payment processor (which would have Apple lose their 30% cut from the in-app purchases). This will go into effect in December.
  • It is estimated the App Store has made Apple $64 billion in sales, and this ruling is expected to affect their future sales. The stock price dropped more than 3% on Friday.
  • Apple has released statements that they were pleased with the ruling and the huge win.
  • Epic CEO Tim Sweeney took to Twitter to express his disappointment in the outcome and has stated that the "ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers" and "Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers." He vowed that Fortnite will only be returning to the App Store once Apple allows other in-app payment options.

  • The lawsuit against Google is to go on trial on October 14th, although that lawsuit is focusing on Google's anticompetitive behavior when Epic was working with phone manufacturers on preloading their app on the phones.
  • Epic amended their lawsuit against Google in July after 36 US states and Washington D.C. Filed a similar lawsuit, and a judge has formally linked both cases.

The lawsuit is alleging that Google is actively trying to stop Android OEMs from pre-installing competing app stores, and that it has attempted to pay Samsung to “abandon relationships with top developers and scale back competition through the Samsung Galaxy Store.”

  • Tim: South Korea has already approved a bill in August that will ban store operators from enforcing their own payment systems and delaying app reviews. Due to an investigation by Japan's Fair Trade Commission, Apple has announced in August that they will globally allow developers of all "reader" apps from directing users to their websites to create or manage their accounts. We're starting to see changes like this happen in markets around the world, which might be an indication of global changes to come.


Stillfront Group purchases Jawaker

  • Stillfront will acquire 100% of Jawaker from its owners, which include twofour54, for 753 Million AED, making it the largest acquisition in the Arab world's gaming sector.
  • James Hartt, Director, Strategy & Business Development for AD Gaming, said: “With investments in leading online gaming companies such as Jawaker, twofour54 is truly demonstrating that it is a pioneer of the regional gaming industry.
  • Stillfront is a free-to-play group of gaming studios
  • Main markets are Europe, US and MENA regions.
  • Main headquarters in Stockholm Sweden.
  • Some of the games they made are:
  • Unravel two
  • Goodgame Empire
  • Albion Online

  • Launched in 2009, Jawaker is the leading Arabic card game website and the go-to to play games such as Tarneeb and Trix online. IT has expanded into Facebook and mobile apps.
  • It was started as a pet project by Mohamad Haj Hassan and Yousef Shamoun, who were behind the online career network Akhtaboot.


Nintendo Switch finally adds Bluetooth!

  • Nintendo announced on Twitter that Bluetooth audio support will be added to the Nintendo Switch consoles via a software update
  • Users will be limited to only using two wireless controllers if they want to use Bluetooth audio, and there will be no support for Bluetooth microphones.
  • Users can still use the mobile app for voice chat
  • Bluetooth Audio will not be available when a local wireless communication is active
  • Bluetooth Audio will be available in the settings of the Nintendo Switch, and it can save up to 10 connected devices
  • It has been reported by the Verge that one of their second generation Switch consoles had issues with finding and connecting to Bluetooth devices, and sometimes when they did connect, the error message "Unable to find Bluetooth audio devices" would appear

  • It has also been reported that after the update, the Switch would need more than 30 seconds to wake up from sleep mode, with only a full shutdown of the console being a partial fix
  • This appears to be a result of the pairing issues, where the Switch is trying to connect to a Bluetooth audio device that it can't connect to before it wakes up
  • Unpairing Bluetooth devices before shutting down seems to also help

  • The other updates in this firmware are:
  • Users can now tweet from the Switch with 280 characters instead of 140
  • An Update Dock feature in the System Settings for the Switch and Switch - OLED Model is now available
  • Users have the option to keep the Switch connected to the internet via ethernet when it is in sleep mode while also downloading software and add-on content
  • There is also an update to the Switch Joy-Cons that changes the method to initiate the control stick calibration
  • Users have the option to keep the Switch connected to the internet via ethernet when it is in sleep mode while also downloading software and add-on content


Nintendo Switch due for a price cut after 4 years

  • Nintendo is changing the price of the base Nintendo Switch console to £259.99/€299.99, down from £279.99/€329.99. This is due to the current currency exchange rate and the upcoming Nintendo Switch - OLED Model
  • This change happened on their own store, and while Nintendo does not set the prices for the other stores in Europe, they believe that retailer will likely follow
  • The prices for all three models in Europe are:
  • Nintendo Switch Lite: £199.99 = 1,017dhs
  • Nintendo Switch: £259.99 = 1,322dhs
  • Nintendo Switch - OLED Model: £309.99 = 1,576dhs

  • This is applicable in the European region and Nintendo of America has stated that there are no plans to change the prices in the USA


Platinum games want to show Bayonetta 3, Nintendo doesn't

  • Bayonetta 3 was first teased in The Video Game Awards in 2017, but there has been no further reveal of the game since then.
  • Hideki Kamiya, the series creator from PlatinumGames, teased earlier this year that there might be a reveal of the game this year, however he has said that it's best that everyone forgets about that since the decision is for the publisher Nintendo, not his.
  • Studio head Atsushi Inaba added that "There's no need to worry... Everything's OK", and Nintendo of America has confirmed back in June when asked why the game was not shown in E3 that it was still in development.
  • Atsushi said in 2019 that one of the reasons for the lack of information or a reveal of the game is due to their grand ambitions and said "[It will be a] high quality title and we're putting our all into it".


PS5 new update: Enables extra SSD storage to all

  • Sony is rolling out the PS5 September system update with the notable addition of M.2 storage support as well as a few other features.
  • 2 SSDs will need to have read speeds of at least 5,500 MBs, should have a capacity of at least 256 GB
  • 3D audio support has been added for TVs through their built-in speakers, transferring two-channel audio into 3D audio. Players will need to measure the acoustics of their room using the microphone in their DualSense controller.
  • Equalizer settings for the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset have been added in the Sound Controls settings
  • There are new UX enhancements to make it easier to manage your game library
  • Players can freely customize which controls they want to see in the Control Center.
  • Players can view and write messages to their friends directly from the Game Base in the Control Center.
  • Games will indicate whether they are PS5 or PS4 versions, and if both are installed, they'll appear separately in the Installed tab in the Game Library and the Home screen.
  • Gameplay will be automatically recorded once a player completes a challenge or beats their high score in a game.
  • Up to 5 trophies can be access quickly with the new Trophy Tracker in the Control Center.
  • Streaming games on mobile devices using PS Remote Play will now work on a mobile network if WiFi is not available. The internet speed needs to be at least 5Mbps with a recommended speed of 15Mbps
  • The PS App will get an update on September 23rd that will allow players to view their friends' Share Screen broadcasts


Deltarune Chapter 2 is real and it is almost here

  • Coming to PC and MAC on Sept 17th; 8pm EST = 4am Sat 18th Dubai time
  • Chapter 1 was released in 31st Oct 2018
  • On their main website there is a count down for the second chapter to release world wide
  • If you have your save data on your pc it will carry over to chapter 2
  • You do not need it to play through chapter 2 to play the game
  • According to their FAQ there are still more chapters in the works
  • Toby Fox did a live stream on YT for the 6th anniversary of Undertale where they announced Chapter 2