Archive for the ‘Apps’ Category

The Verdict In Apple Case Is More Complicated Than You Think

September 27, 2021

The recent Epic v. Apple decision might seem like a win for Apple, says Jeffrey Jacobovitz, a partner at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP and an antitrust expert. The ruling, however, is a bit more complicated.
Despite Apple’s victory and Epic’s appeal, Jacobovitz told Sports Business Journal that this ruling benefits both sides.
Epic filed the antitrust suit to help fellow developers that are forced to use Apple’s in-app payment system and pay a 30% commission per transaction, but the move was actually motivated by Fortnite’s removal.
Apple eventually won a counterclaim from Epic that will cost the company millions if it doesn’t win on appeal: “The award of approximately $4M relates to Apple’s counterclaim against Epic for breach of contract and other claims (p. 168 of the decision).” The judgment ordered Epic to pay 30% of the $12M in revenue Epic Games collected from the Fortnite app on iOS through Epic Direct Payment. Frequently, antitrust cases involve litigating counterclaims as well.”
Jacobovitz added that companies suing big tech will face a tough fight: “What companies find is that if you’re using high tech, you’re in for a battle.” Companies won’t just roll over and settle right away.
A second takeaway is that Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers held that Apple did not engage in antitrust behavior, even though it holds a monopoly in a particular sector. She found that Epic had failed to prove that Apple had engaged in antitrust behavior.
According to the judge, Apple was not a monopolist despite having a market share of over 55%. The implication is that it has market power, but it is not a monopoly,” he added. “The other issue is that Apple was ordered to allow other payment options; the judge ruled that Apple cannot force developers to use in-app purchases.”
Rogers also noted that Epic’s definition of Apple’s market power was rejected, an important step towards proving the company’s antitrust violations.
Judge Jacobovitz ruled that the product market is digital mobile gaming transactions, which is different from what Epic wanted to define as a market. Antitrust economists work for both sides in antitrust cases. “One defines market power very narrowly, while the other defines it very broadly.”
Although Epic should be commended for allowing app developers to sell content outside of Apple’s App Store payment system (such as through in-app links and direct communication with users), it will likely come back to haunt it during its current battle with Google.
He said the case illustrates plaintiffs are unable to show they have so much dominance in the market that judges are holding them accountable in terms of proving monopoly power or market power, and that it is illegal to maintain a monopoly in an anti-competitive manner.
Note: prior to its publication, it was revealed that Apple will not even consider reinstating Fortnite to the App Store for iOS devices until all appeals related to the antitrust case and Epic’s separate judgment for breach of contract are exhausted. Appeals could take anywhere from one to five years to resolve.

Game Bits: New AI Used To Create Computer Code. Fortnite Will Not Appear On Apple App Sites Any Time Soon

September 26, 2021

AI Can Create Computer Code

A new artificial intelligence program is helping to create computer code by listening to natural speech – including creating your own video games.
The OpenAI Codex beta supports a dozen coding languages. Nevertheless, one of the coolest features is the ability to create Javascript video games with just a few natural language instructions, as PC Gamer reported.
As OpenAI Codex’s website says:

“Proficient in more than a dozen programming languages, Codex can now interpret simple commands in natural language and execute them on the user’s behalf—making it possible to build a natural language interface to existing applications.”

By making coding simple, this type of code could make coding accessible to many more people – not only because it makes coding simple, but also because it is so simple. With OpenAI Codex, you can create your own programs using only your voice. It’s only a beta at the moment, but it has a huge potential to change coding.
We’re just now wondering what kinds of games could be created using this technology. Would they be simple 2D point-and-click adventures? Or is there potential for more complex games to be made here? The possibilities for the future are endless!

NO Fortnite App On Apple App Sites

Due to the ongoing legal battle, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney revealed that Fortnite could be exiled for at least five years by Apple.
Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple regarding in-app purchase methods outside of those available on the App Store last year. Honestly, this is a bloated back and forth legal battle that won’t end any time soon.
During the legal dispute, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney published a series of communication documents between Epic and Apple. Sweeny claims that Apple has broken its promise.
Sweeny also claimed that Epic Games has allegedly been banned from the App Store because of the legal battle. Fortnite and other Epic Games software could be permanently removed from the App Store.
According to reports, Apple will not consider Epic Games software for the App Store while Epic Games appeals the court case.
Epic’s CEO tweeted late yesterday that Fortnite would be banned from Apple’s ecosystem until all court appeals are exhausted, which could take more than five years.
How do you feel about the Epic Games vs. Apple legal battle? Let us know on our social media channels.

Parent Group in UK Believes That Roblox Is Exploiting Its Child Customers

August 22, 2021

Children’s game platform Roblox is exploiting its younger users, according to a new investigation from People Makes Games.
Roblox has 200 million users a month, and its core audience is between the ages of 9 and 15.
Roblox users can make money from games they create on the platform, but the company gives them a much smaller cut of the revenue than is industry standard.
Developers earn 24.5% of their revenue on Roblox, compared to 70% on Steam, and 88% on the Epic Games Store.
It is not easy for users’ games to become popular and profitable after release. There are very few discovery features on the platform, and the home page usually displays about 1,000 popular games.
According to the investigation, creators can either hope that their games can gain popularity organically, or they can pay Roblox to feature their game on the front page.
Robux, the in-game currency, is required for advertising. Robux can be purchased using real money or earned by selling games and content.
Users can then bid with virtual money for the chance to have an ad slot for their game.
People Make Games spoke with a creator who said the possibility of making a popular and profitable game is similar to that of a Tiktok video or meme going viral.
Users who want to cash out their earnings into a real bank account need at least 100,000 Robux, which costs about $1,000. Since Roblox converts at a 1% rate, the creator receives only $350 when cashing out.
Consumers with Roblox premium subscriptions, which cost $5 per month, can also withdraw funds.
A parent watchdog group wrote a warning about Roblox’s “casino-level” spending in June 2021.

New Castlevania Game To Be On Apple Arcade Soon

August 17, 2021

Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls will launch exclusively on Apple Arcade “soon”. The Apple Arcade store page can be found here, while the official website can be found here.
The game was originally announced back in 2018 as a free-to-play mobile title, and it even had a soft launch in Canada in 2019, but it was never released.
Here are some details and screenshots from Konami’s announcement. We’ve also included an old trailer showing some of the characters and gameplay from the mobile version.
The following is a press release about the new game:

Featuring the classic 2D action Castlevania fans know and love, Grimoire of Souls offers players a variety of ways to tackle each of its 60 stages through its five playable characters that include well-loved heroes from Castlevania’s back catalog, each with their own unique abilities. Gamers can play as Alucard, best known from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Simon Belmont from the original Castlevania, Maria Renard from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Charlotte Aulin from Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, and Shanoa from Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.
Players will be challenged as they must choose between mastering the character that best suits their playstyle or learning them all to use the one that best suits each level. The game will also offer daily / weekly missions.
Furthermore, famous series creators Ayami Kojima and Michiru Yamane have contributed their expertise to the Grimoire of Souls. Kojima, revered for her work in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and other Castlevania titles, is behind the designs of key new characters introduced in Grimoire of Souls; Yamane, who created iconic melodies for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night as well as Genso Suikoden III, has composed the game’s main theme.
Grimoire of Souls will be available in 16 languages: English, French, Canadian French, Italian, German, Spanish (Latin and es), Russian, Turkish, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Korean and Japanese. It will also be playable across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple TV, and support controller and keyboard compatibility for players.

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Game Bits: Say Good-Bye To Magic: Legends and Two Final Fantasy Games On Steam

June 30, 2021

Magic: Kegebds Says Bye on Halloween

On October 31, 2021, Magic: Legends will say goodbye to the virtual world.
In the event that you were a player at the time of the closure, all of your virtual money will be returned to you in full.
Until D-day, all servers will be open. We will eliminate Zen Shop as soon as possible.
Aether, the free in-game currency, will soon be used to purchase all items.
They think they missed the mark, but they are proud of what they achieved.
Wizards of the Coast will assist the publisher to bring the Magic: The Gathering Multiverse to a wider audience. They should be able to explore new approaches within the established ARPG genre.
The published has learned from its past mistakes and will use them to improve its future development efforts.
They thank their fans for exploring their Multiverse.

Two Final Fantasy Games Will Soon Disappear from Steam

Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI have been updated on the Steam pages with a disclaimer stating that each title will no longer be available to purchase starting July 27. The message reads:

After July 27, 2021, this game will no longer be available for purchase. Please consider purchasing the pixelated remaster version of “FINAL FANTASY VI,” coming soon.

The two titles are based on the mobile releases from 2013 and 2014, respectively, which are notorious for their redrawn art style – particularly the character sprite style. As the Pixel Remaster series will be bringing new versions of Final Fantasy V and VI to the platform, Square Enix wants to avoid having multiple versions on its storefront. It is worth noting that the mobile pages for these games do not currently have a similar disclaimer.

As Square Enix inadvertently uploaded a longer video overview on the upcoming Pixel Remaster series, we were able to get a closer look at the upcoming new versions of these classic games. The video has since been removed, but not before we had a chance to compare the Pixel Remaster to other versions of Final Fantasy 1 through 6.

Square Enix has delisted titles from Steam due to re-released versions of their games in the past. There are no longer Steam ports of Dragon Quest XI available, as the current version is based on the Switch release, despite a slight decrease in visual fidelity. In addition, The Last Remnant was removed from Steam when the PS4/Switch remaster was released in 2019, so the PC version is no longer available.

There is no exact release date for Pixel Remasters. From the now-removed video, they know the titles will be released individually with the first one landing sometime next month. The remasters are currently slated for Mobile and Steam.

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Game Bits: Dying Light 2 Episode 2 Streams On July 1, 2021, NIS America Has Announced Trailers For Many Games Are Coming Out Soon

June 26, 2021

New Episode of Dying Light 2 Coming July 1, 2021

The second episode of Techland’s Dying Light 2 showcase, “Dying 2 Know”, will be streamed live on July 1, 2021. The stream is expected to last for 30 minutes.

The second episode of Dying 2 Know will focus on the infected enemies you will encounter in the game, according to a Techland press release. We need supplies to restore the remnants of hope in the hearts of the few loved ones we have and to build our lives on the rooftops, but before you hit the streets, you need to know what’s hiding in the darkness.”.
“The reward is high, but the price you will pay if you stay in the dark for too long will be even higher.”

View the first episode of Dying 2 Know to see what to expect from the upcoming showcase on July 1, 2021.

Leak From Epic Games Store Leads To NIS America Announcing Game Trailers

In response to the big leak from the Epic Games Store recently, NIS America has officially announced localizations for The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero, The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie, and The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails.

Trails from Zero is due for release in Fall 2022, and Azure and Zero are set for release in 2023. The official website for Zero and Azure lists Steam and GOG as PC platforms. Oddly, Epic is not listed despite store pages already being online.

There is an official website for Trails into Reverie here, and an official website for The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails here, both showing Steam and GOG.

In addition to the recent fan translations for Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure, Geofront announced that they will be working with NIS America on the official published release of the two games. A lengthy blog post from the translation team can be found on the Geofront blog.

Facebook Adds Unit 2 Games To Its Growing Gaming Company Collection

June 6, 2021

Crayta, free-to-play game creation, and sharing tool was developed by Unit 2 Games, which Facebook acquired today.
According to the social network, the addition will increase the number of gaming content creators.
This will make the Facebook Gaming platform more accessible to people who create, publish, and share games and experiences.
Vivek Sharma, vice president of Facebook Gaming, said, “We can now make content creation easier than ever by bringing together our team and Unit 2 Games’ technology.”
Future Facebook users will be able to create experiences in a matter of minutes without having to learn to code, and advanced creators will be limited only by their imagination.
Unit 2 Games stated that there would be no layoffs since the company is staying together.
Unit 2 Games’ vision with Crayta was to democratize game creation, empowering more people than ever before to make, play and share games, regardless of experience or background.

US Game Spending Declined 2 Percent In April 2021

May 28, 2021

According to NPD Group’s April 2021 results, US game spending has dropped for the first time in 13 months, although it was only a 2% decline.

Last month, the US spent $4.7 billion on games. Hardware lost the most, dropping 30% year-over-year to $296 million.

Nintendo Switch led in unit sales and dollar sales for the month. Further, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are still in short supply, which limits sales of both consoles.

Spending on console, mobile, PC, cloud, and subscription services grew by 12% to $4.1 billion in the software category.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (physical sales only) was dethroned by MLB: The Show 21 in April and fell to second place.

Nintendo’s Switch-exclusive New Pokemon Snap ranked third, and Square Enix’s RPG remaster Nier Replicant placed fifth. Returnal, a roguelike shooter from Housemarque, debuted at number eight.

Mortal Kombat 11 ranked sixth on the best sellers list in April 2021, marking its first appearance in the top ten since July 2020, when it ranked ninth.

Additionally, accessories spending decreased 23% to $168 million, with the PS5 DualSense controller remaining the best-selling peripheral.

According to the NPD, gaming spending increased 35% in April 2021. (At the time, the NPD’s monthly report did not include mobile spending, subscriptions, and other major contributors to the consumer spending figure.)

Here are the US Top 20 (based on dollar sales) for April 4, 2021, through May 1, 2021:

Last Month This MonthTitle
NEW 1 MLB: The Show 21^
1 2 Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War
NEW 3 New Pokemon Snap*
3 4 Outriders
NEW 5 NieR: Replicant
14 6 Mortal Kombat 11
2 7 Monster Hunter: Rise
NEW 8 Returnal
22 9 It Takes Two
6 10 Mario Kart 8*
11 11 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
5 12 Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Sony)
4 13 Super Mario 3D World*
10 14 Minecraft
8 15 Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
9 16 Super Mario 3D All-Stars*
12 17 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
7 18 Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
13 19 Pokemon: Sword/Shield*
16 20 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
*Digital sales not included

^Xbox digital sales not included

The Head of Apple Software Engineering Testifies in Apple V. Epic Games Trial

May 24, 2021

Craig Federighi, Apple’s software engineering head, recently testified in court, explaining the key differences between the iPhone and Mac operating systems.

Third-party software can also be downloaded from the MacOS App Store. However, iOS systems have never allowed third-party downloads.

Epic’s key argument in this trial is that Apple’s behavior can be considered anti-competitive and monopolistic by not allowing third-party app downloads or stores.

Despite the fact that there have always been a greater number of iPhone users than Mac users, Federighi stated that there are still a lot of iPhone users. Considering this, he said the iPhone is likely to suffer more malware attacks.

Macs are less than a tenth as common as iOS devices, so from an attacker’s perspective, iOS is a much more attractive market to attack.

As well, he argued that iPhone users are much more casual than Mac users, and are more likely to download malicious software without realizing it.

Federighi explained that iOS users have just become accustomed to getting apps all the time, quoting Apple’s famous slogan: “There’s an app for that.”

Federighi also discussed the sensitivity of data and the casual nature of iPhone users. Mobile devices are designed to be carried wherever a user goes in addition to carrying the user’s most sensitive information — contacts, photos, documents, bank details, and even their location.

“Iphones are very attractive targets,” he said.

You have them all the time, and they have some of your most personal information — of course, your contact info, your photos, but also other things.”

An attacker can gain access or control of any of these devices for a great deal of money from all of these factors.

Last but not least, Federighi suggested that iPhone and Mac are designed for completely different audiences — the latter being far more technologically literate.

Mac computers are marketed as specialist devices for professionals who understand how to download software safely. However, iPhones are marketed towards those that might not know how to protect themselves from malicious attacks, such as children.

The Mac has been part of this generation of systems where the expectation is you can get software wherever — you can give it to your friend and he’ll run it, that is part of the expectation. But Mac users also expect a degree of flexibility that helps them accomplish their goals. to what they do. Some of them are software developers, some of them are pros running their unique tools, and having that power is part of it,” Federighi said.

It’s as if the Mac is a car — you can drive it anywhere and off-road if you want. It comes with being a driver, you’ve got to be trained, there’s a certain level of responsibility, but that’s what you bought. Your goal was to buy a car.
“With iOS, we were able to create something that kids — heck, even infants — could operate and be safe doing so. That’s a real game-changer.”

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Disco Elysium: A Final Cut Has Been Approved To Play on Game Consoles in Australia

May 16, 2021

Disco Elysium: A Final Cut has finally been rated for console release in Australia, after originally being banned.
ZA/UM’s hit expanded edition was rejected by the Australian Classification Board back in March 2021. However, the decision is now under review by the Classification Review Board.
According to Kotaku Australia, the decision regarding the game’s rated R18+ status has been reversed, meaning that the game will only be allowed for adults.
Initially, Disco Elysium was rejected due to its themes, mature language and references to drugs. However, the board wrote in the document explaining their decision that the game presents a nuanced portrayal of the subject matter that is tailored to a mature audience.
Despite the short-term benefits, drugs ultimately have negative long-term effects, which is why the board ultimately approved the game.
“While drug use linked to incentives and rewards cannot be accommodated at R18+, this game does provide disincentives for drug-taking behavior, to the point where regular use of drugs causes negative consequences for the player’s prog. It was, specifically, the disincentives for drug use that influenced the Review Board in making their decision,” the board stated.
A PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 release of Disco Elysium: The Final Cut was originally scheduled for March 30th, 2021, in Australia, with a Switch and Xbox One release expected later in the year. It is unclear at this point when the title will release in Australia.
Previously a journalist, PR specialist, and senior game designer at Wargaming, Leigh Harris shared how the classification had been rejected because of Australia’s long-standing problem with alcohol.