This Week in Gaming: Apple v. Epic fallout, PS5 get SSDs, and yet more delays
While the gaming world is still reeling from the Sony showcase last week, most of the news has been a bit muted. Luckily, we can finally address the elephant in the room that is the Apple vs Epic legal battle, which seems to have finally come to some kind of resolution with no real winners on either side.
Federal judge hands down verdict in the Apple v. Epic legal case
Technically this is last week’s news, but we might as well talk about it now since I doubt it’s the last we’ll hear of the case. The judgment, in this case, was handed down by Federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who heard some fairly tortured and inane arguments from both major companies. In case you hadn’t heard the gist of the case, Epic rolled out a patch to the mobile version of Fortnite that added a direct purchase mechanism for IAP that circumvented Apple payments. When Apple banned the game in response, Epic sued, claiming that Apple was a monopolist and the market they’re abusing is the iOS App Store. That’s about as simple as I can make it.
Judge Gonzalez Rogers handed down a verdict that Apple was not an antitrust monopolist, but that its anti-steering practices were anti-competitive. Now, Apple must allow apps to direct users via way of a button or external link to outside payment methods. That’s it, that’s the only change. The Judge did not force Apple to open up iOS to alternative app stores or sideloading, and Her Honor also did not force Apple to reinstate Fortnite or Epic’s developer account.
As you might imagine, Epic was not happy about this conclusion, but to quote Her Honor: “The Court disagrees with both parties’ definition of the relevant market… the Court finds that the relevant market here is digital mobile gaming transactions, not gaming generally and not Apple’s own internal operating systems… Having penetrated all other video game markets, the mobile gaming market was Epic Games’ next target and it views Apple as an impediment.”
So, what’s going on with Nintendo?
Nintendo is a company notorious for not reducing the price of games no matter how much time has passed since it launched. So, seeing “Nintendo” and “discount” in the same sentence might be a bit jarring. However, Nintendo has indeed slashed the price of the base model Switch… in Europe, at least. Apparently, we Americans don’t get the same break. The discount is supposed to clear the way for the more expensive Switch OLED model, with the original Switch being more of a mid-range option between the OLED and the Switch Lite.
In other Nintendo Switch-related news, it seems that Nintendo is finally rolling out an update to the Switch that brings a long-awaited feature: support for Bluetooth audio via headphones, earbuds, speakers, etc. There are also hints that Nintendo could be bringing more retro games to the Switch, as a mysterious FCC listing (via Vooks) implies that the Big N has a new controller in the works, and new evidence suggests it could finally be bringing N64 games to the Switch Online platform, but only with a higher-priced subscription tier.
Sony rolls out PlayStation 5’s big SSD update
One of the more promising features of the PlayStation 5 is the ability to expand its internal storage with an M.2 SSD, installed in a bay within the console itself. Sony has finally rolled out the update that will allow users to upgrade their storage, after offering it in beta in July. Granted, this will only work if the SSD in question fits a very specific set of dimensions and comes with its own heatsink, but there are already a few models on the market that are being advertised as perfect for the PS5.
This would upgrade the PlayStation 5’s internal storage in that it would allow users more room to play PS5 games. While PS4 games can be stored and played on an external storage drive, the same can’t be said of PS5 games. Sony’s taken a bit of heat over the PlayStation 5 in the last few weeks, as a new, slightly lighter model rolled out that many believed didn’t have as efficient a cooling system after some early tests. The new consensus, following more rigorous testing by the folks at Gamers Nexus and Digital Foundry, is that you shouldn’t be concerned about what model you get. We recommend watching their video to get a more complete picture of what the differences between the two models.
A few more game delays to round out the year
We were low on game delays before, so how about a few more for the road? While we haven’t gotten quite as many delays as we got earlier this year, there are a few very important games that are coming out later. The biggest delay is probably Battlefield 2042, which has moved from October 22 to a November 19 release date — which, coincidentally, puts it in the same month as Call of Duty: Vanguard. With those two franchises locked in an eternal game of tug-of-war, it remains to be seen if that delay will hurt or help Battlefield.
The other big delay we heard about this week is Dying Light 2. Originally one of the only games to be released in the December bracket, now it seems that Halo Infinite will have to do the heavy lifting of keeping us occupied in December. Dying Light 2 has been in development for quite some time, and this isn’t the first time it’s been delayed. At least we’ve seen plenty of the game at this point, meaning we can be fairly confident it’s far along in development. The game is now coming out on February 4, adding yet another game to the release-heavy Q1 2022 window.
September’s Free Games Via Subscription Services
- Flynn: Son of Crimson
- I Am Fish
- Aragami 2
- Lost Words: Beyond the Page
- Subnautica: Below Zero
- Tainted Grail: Conquest
- Lemnis Gate
- Astria Ascending
- Phoenix Point