Gaming

Fortnite removed from Google and Apple’s app stores

Its new in-app purchase system is to blame

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Apple iPhone XS

Fortnite — the famous battle royale game by Epic Games — has been removed from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store following a change that has big implications for developers and publishers worldwide.

The latest change involves the game’s in-app purchases (IAP). Epic Games implemented an update recently that let Fortnite bypass Google and Apple’s purchase system. This update prompted Apple to remove the game from its iOS store. Google followed suit, citing guideline violations by the publisher.

Challenging the 30% cut

Both Apple and Google mandates the inclusion of their own in-app purchase system on all games published on their platforms. As for Apple, it is strict on what purchases are done within an iOS app. It also takes a 30% cut on all purchases. Major tech companies have challenged this rule, stating that the rule is anti-competitive.

Google is less strict with in-app purchases on Android apps. However, it requires all Android games to implement the company’s own in-app purchase system. In the process, it also gets a 30% cut for all purchases.

This 30% cut is one of Epic Games’ major motivation for implementing its own in-app purchase system that circumvents Google and Apple’s system. In response to getting booted out of the major app stores, the publisher already filed a lawsuit against the two companies. The lawsuit company alleges anti-competitive conduct for both companies.

Apple responded to the lawsuit by stating that allowing Epic Games’ move will create special arrangements and an uneven the playing field for developers. Meanwhile, Google says that they’re open to future discussions with the publisher.

Paving the way for change

Epic Games’ new in-app purchase system seems more like an orchestrated move to challenge both Google and Apple’s store policies. Right after the removal of Fortnite, it launched the #FREEFORTNITE campaign and even posted a video that mimics Apple’s famous 1984 ad. As of now, iOS users can only hope for the best as the company shows no sign of relenting even after Apple removed Fortnite from store listings.

Android users are much luckier. They can still download Fortnite right on the Epic Games website. Back in 2018, the game publisher launched Fornite for Android directly on its website. Due to clamor, however, it relented and published the game on the Play Store. Google’s removal just reignites the publisher’s continuing clamor for the company to take a lesser cut on in-app purchases.

Fortnite gamers can only hope that something good comes out of this issue. On a bigger scheme of things, this issue fundamentally affects store policies that govern mobile apps and games. If this issue plays out, users may see some changes on their respective platforms. However, those hoping for bigger changes are out of luck. Both Apple and Google showed time and time again that it is willing to protect its store revenues.

Gaming

Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel trailer breakdown

The trailer has fans guessing

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Remember Breath of the Wild? I don’t know. Just the single most amazing open-world game Nintendo published? Yeah, well, we’re all collectively getting a sequel come 2022 with Nintendo tickling us with their The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (Not the official title yet, by the way) trailer.

Nothing screams new and improved like a new hair-do. The trailer features Link’s sweet new hairdo, abilities, enemies, and corrupted arm. 

Familiar place, new arms

After a shot of ominous red and black goop and a foreboding shot of Zelda falling, Link sky-dives between clouds into floating islands that look just like the last game’s Skyward Sword Skyloft. The scene cuts to him gliding into the Slyloft-like structure at night and him running on a floating islet at sunset.

A sneak peek into Link’s right arm appears from this falling and gliding sequence. Whereby, the arm is reminiscent of the classic Fullmetal Alchemist mechanical arm but with Sheikah technology.

New skills for familiar targets

Link’s new abilities are closely tied to his corrupted arm. And, Nintendo shows these new abilities off by first showing new targets. In the next scene, Link glides by Bokoblins hanging out in a fort built on top of a Stone Talus. Which, effectively combines two enemies in the previous game, into a hellish moving enemy target.

Nintendo then decides to tease us with a quick look-see of Link’s green-glowing corrupted arm. The scene skips to Link mid-climb with a group of enemies sending a spiky ball his way. He quickly reaches out with his corrupted hand; freezes the ball; and rewinds it back up the hill. All while taking out some Bokoblins along the way.

Sheikah Slate, who’s she?

Link’s new abilities build upon his Breath of the Wild skills. From freezing objects (instead of time) to a quick shot of a flamethrower arm, to swimming through obstacles.

We get an allusion to his new abilities with a drop of water ripple back into a droplet. Whereby the shot is of Link swimming through a stone structure and out the other end. We’ll have to wait to see if the arm augments other powers like Magnet, Remote Bomb, and Cryonis. But, so far, Link looks to be bending objects if not through them.

Nintendo is looking to release the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild some time in 2022. 

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Gaming

Razer announces the new Razer Blade 14

‘Ultimate AMD gaming laptop’

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Razer Blade 14

Razer is holding firm to its position as the maker of the world’s most powerful compact gaming laptop with the release of the brand new Razer Blade 14.

Powering this bad boy is the 8-core AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX. It also features up to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU, and up to a Quad HD 165Hz display. These are all packaged into the world’s most compact 14-inch gaming chassis.

Elsewhere on the laptop is your usual Razer Blade things. There’s per-key Razer Chroma RGB backlighting, immersive THX Spatial Audio for dynamic sound, and an abundance of ports. These are: USB 3.1 Type-A port, USB-C port, an HDMI 2.1 port, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

Razer Blade 14

Despite all this raw power, Razer promises cool, quiet efficiency, with the new Razer Blade 14. They claim it can last you for up to 12 hours so you won’t have to worry about power outlet hunting when you’re out and about.

Going back to the display, there are two options: QHD 165HZ — the ultimate combination of resolution and refresh rate; and FHD 144HZ — focus is purely on speed, then secure that split-second advantage with an ultra-high refresh rate.

Price and availability

The all-new Razer Blade 14 starts at US$ 1799.99 and is available with RTX 3060, RTX 3070, and RTX 3080.

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Gaming

Diablo II: Resurrected [Game Bulletin]

All updates and news related to Diablo II: Resurrected

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Diablo II: Resurrected gets a release date
Update as of 6/15/2021

Diablo II: Resurrected is coming to PC, and for the first time to the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch on September 23.

The game supports up to 4K resolution and includes fully remastered 7.1 Dolby Surround audio. While Diablo II: Resurrected takes full advantage of today’s modern gaming hardware, it also preserves the timeless hack-and-slash gameplay that is as engrossing and enjoyable today as it was twenty years ago.

Of course, it comes with a few quality-of-life updates Diablo veterans have been clamoring for, such as a larger stash and automatic gold pickup. Players experiencing teary-eyed nostalgia as they relive fond memories of spinning hammers and exploding corpses can seamlessly swap between the modern graphics and the original 800×600 resolution experience with the push of a button.

Diablo II: Resurrected will be available as a standalone experience  or as part of the Diablo Prime Evil Collection which includes:

  • Diablo II: Resurrected
  • The Diablo III Eternal Collection, comprising Diablo III, the Reaper of Souls expansion, and the Rise of the Necromancer content pack
  • The Mephisto pet and Hatred’s Grasp wings for Diablo III

Diablo II: Resurrected begins first public test
Update as of 4/7/2021

Diablo II: Resurrected Single-player Technical Alpha is the first public test of the game available to a limited number of players, press, and content creators from around the world.

A limited amount of PC players who have pre-registered on the Diablo II: Resurrected website will be able to download the Technical Alpha. If you weren’t able to pre-register you may still participate in future tests. Here are the recommended PC specs:

  • Operating System: Windows® 10
  • Processor: Intel® Core i5-9600k/AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • Video: Nvidia GTX 1060/AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Storage: 30 GB
  • Internet: Broadband Internet connection
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Here are some highlights:

Explore the first two acts of Diablo II in full  — Navigate perilous areas of eastern Khanduras, from the Rogue Encampment to the Monastery, and then head East to walk the sands of sunlit Lut Gholein.

Try out three beloved characters — Crush demons in fierce melee combat as the Barbarian, slay your enemies from afar as the Amazon, or master deadly spells as the Sorceress.

Test the single-player experience — While multiplayer will be a huge part of Diablo II: Resurrected upon release, we are focusing on testing solo play during this Technical Alpha

Play with mouse and keyboard or a controllerDiablo II: Resurrected will allow you to control the game the way you want it, and we will be testing both input methods in the Technical Alpha.

Internet connection required for testing only — To ensure security of the Technical Alpha, a constant online connection will be required during play. (A constant Internet connection will not be required for the final version of the game.)

English language-only for the Technical Alpha — When released, Diablo II: Resurrected will be localized in more than a dozen languages including English, French, Italian, German, European Spanish, Korean, Polish, traditional Chinese, Mexican Spanish, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and Russian. Additional supported languages to be announced later.


Blizzard announces Diablo II remaster for 2021
Update as of 2/20/2021

To celebrate the original game’s 21st anniversary, Diablo II Resurrected brings the classic game to a new generation, complete with new graphics. During its time, the original game had crude, but reliable graphics laid over an isometric format. As shown in the short announcement trailer, Diablo II Resurrected features new graphics similar to that found in the third entry, Diablo III.

The HD remaster will launch sometime this year for the PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, and Xbox Series X/S. Notably, the PC version will allow cross-platform progression across the different console version.

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