Apple and Epic Games Given Court Date

It’s weapons at the ready as a court date for the legal battle between Epic Games and Apple has been set. With the developers of Fortnite suing the American tech-giant over what they describe as a monopolisation of the iOS digital marketplaces, the two are set to go head to head in the courtroom.

Epic Games filed a lawsuit immediately after Apple banned the company from the App Store after the developers were deemed to be in breach of its payment rules. A bench trial – which means there’ll be no jury present – will begin on May 3 next year.

Epic Games’ argument is that with Apple banning third-party companies from running their own stores on the platform, they’ve essentially created a monopoly. This would put Apple in breach of the antitrust law, which was set up to prevent such behaviour.

The timing couldn’t come at a worse time for Apple, as the House Judiciary’s committee on antitrust has recently released a report in which it said the company, along with rivals Google, Facebook and Amazon, have created a monopoly within the tech industry. It may be very difficult Apple to now argue otherwise.

With the two companies at loggerheads, Apple has prevented gamers from downloading Fortnite on iOS devices since August, and players who already had the game before then are now unable to update it. This means players are unable to receive any of the latest seasonal content such as changes to the map or new skins and characters.

This isn’t the first time Epic Games had been shut down. Google Play also took the decision to throw Fortnite off its own platform, although Android users can still access the device on other digital stores that support the operating system.

Due to the on-going pandemic, the court has not decided whether the case should be held in person or virtually via video link, but things should become more clear at the start of next year.

EA Sports Backtrack Over FIFA 21 Demo

FIFA fans will be delighted to know that a demo for the franchise’s upcoming release is coming to PS4 and Xbox One after all.

Fans of the football games were left dismayed after the developer EA Sports announced the traditional demo for the game was being scrapped this year. The announcement meant that anyone wishing to play the latest edition of the title would need to wait until the game’s full release on October 6.

Traditionally, demos have been released so fans can experience the game before the title’s full release. It also gives the developer a chance to iron out any wrinkles before the game’s official launch.

However, with the next-gen consoles due to arrive in the coming months and the developers looking to lighten their workload, EA Sports initially announced they were shelving plans to release the taster, insisting they would prefer to focus on “delivering the best full game experience for current and next-gen consoles.”

But just a short while after the announcement, the developers have backtracked on their original plan and decided they will in fact release a demo, which will be music to the ears of some FIFA fans. The demo is now expected to launch on PS4, Xbox and PC.

 EA Sports will host a celebration tutorial video on YouTube at 4pm UK time. The developer will apparently use this as a platform to announce the demo for the upcoming release, so keep an eye on the preview if you’re interested in getting a sneak peak of the game.

Some gamers had suggested EA Sports were worried about receiving some heavy criticism of the game, which some believe may explain why they were reluctant to introduce a demo. Whether or not the early apprehension suggests a lack of confidence in the product remains to be seen, but at least fans can now get a glimpse of the title before handing over the £50 it’ll cost to purchase.

Gaming Industry Put On Notice Over Loot Boxes

The British government has warned the gaming industry that it’s ready to look into loot boxes with a potential crackdown on the horizon.

Earlier in the summer, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced it would be approaching the public for evidence over loot boxes, with some suggestions the in-game features are encouraging children to gamble.

Today, three months after raising initial concerns, a statement on the government’s website says the DCMS intends to gather evidence to establish whether loot boxes could be causing addictive behaviour in kids.

“The Government has launched a call for evidence on the impact of loot boxes in video games, to examine concerns they may encourage or lead to problem gambling,” the statement reads.

“The open call for evidence will help us understand peoples’ positive and negative experiences of loot boxes in video games. It will seek the experiences of players and their parents or guardians as well as rigorous, high-quality data and research from games companies, academia, civil society as well as any other organisations with an interest in the issue.”

Loot boxes are in-game containers that carry virtual items such as skins or weapons, and players purchase them with either virtual or real-world currency. The contents of the boxes are unknown, so players buy them in the hope they receive something worthwhile.

With loot boxes featuring in games that are predominantly aimed at children, some have suggested they represent a form of gambling, which could lead to addictive tendencies both now and in later life. The aim of the government is to establish the impact loot boxes are having and whether or not they should be deemed as gambling.

The statement also says the government is looking to find out how much the in-game purchase market is in the UK, and it says it won’t hesitate to put new regulations in place if the findings suggest loot boxes are potentially harmful.

“The government stands ready to take action should the outcomes of the call for evidence support taking a new approach to ensure users, and particularly young people, are better protected.”

The calls for evidence will open until 22 November so if you’d like to share your experiences then head over to the government’s official website.

Sony Planning to Change Cost of PS5 in Wake of Xbox Price Release

The never-ending tussle between Microsoft and Sony continues…

According to reports, Sony are now considering a re-think over the price of the PS5 after Microsoft revealed the cost of the upcoming Xbox Series X and Series S. 

Last week, Microsoft beat their rivals to the punch by announcing the price of their next-gen consoles – £449 for the Series X and £249 for the disk drive-less Series S.

And after seeing their rivals lay their cards on the table, Sony are said to be considering changing their own plans to bring them more in-line with what Microsoft have put forward.

That’s the word on the grapevine, with European gaming publication Gamereactor citing an anonymous source who said Sony’s price for the PS5 was considerably more expensive than that of the new Xbox consoles. If the rumour is to be believed, the difference is so large that Sony feel they need to slash the price in order to make their consoles more competitive.

Microsoft announced the Xbox consoles would be released on November 10th, with pre-orders starting on September 22nd. As of yet, there’s no official news on the release date of the PS5 but expect something soon as neither company is ever far behind when their rival makes a move.

News of a possible price reduction will be music to the ears of those considering buying the PS5 console, so hats off to Microsoft for releasing their price plans early as they may have just saved PlayStation fans a few quid too!

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the two tech giants jostling for a larger share of the market, and if history’s anything to go by, it most certainly won’t be the last. With both consoles set to go head-to-head once more, it should be interesting to see who comes out on top.

Compatible Upgrade Banner Arrives on PS4 Box Art

If you were avoiding purchasing games for your PlayStation 4 due to the upcoming release of the PS5 then you’ll be glad to hear that a number of games will now be playable across both consoles.

For those planning on jumping across to the next-gen systems, buying new games right now might not represent the best value of money with the PS5 set for release in the next few months. But plans to make games cross-console have been revealed on the box art of Immortals Fenyx Rising, meaning you can continue playing some PS4 games when the next-gen console drops.

An image of the artwork for the Greek mythology open world game was posted on Amazon, and to the bottom of the cover it says “PS5 Upgrade Available”. The message will now be present on compatible titles in an effort to make consumers aware of the initiative.

The upgrades will work differently across titles and how you claim yours could depend on which version of the game you own. For example, if you own a digital copy of Far Cry 6, you’ll only be entitled to a free download on the PS5. On the other hand, if you own a physical copy of the game then hold onto the disk as you’ll need it to play on the PS5.

This means if you purchase a physical copy of a game now, you won’t get a free digital version if you end up purchasing the disk drive-less PS5 Digital Edition, so bear that in mind.

The news comes amid rumours Sony are set to re-think the pricing of the PS5, with the tech giant looking to slash the price of the new console to compete with the surprisingly cheap upcoming Xbox releases. So, with another piece of welcome news, it’s been a good week for any PlayStation fans keen to save some money for Christmas!

PlayStation 5 Price and Release Date Finally Revealed

Sony has announced the price of the upcoming PS5 – and it’ll cost exactly the same as the Xbox Series X.

In a 40-minute presentation last night, the Japanese tech-giant revealed the cost of the flagship PS5 would be £449, mirroring the price tag of the Xbox series X and setting the stage for both consoles to battle it out once again this Christmas.

Sony also revealed the next-generation console will hit UK shelves on 19 November with some stores are already taking pre-orders.

Although the cost of the regular consoles will be the same, each will arrive on the shelves with a disk drive-less alternative, where gamers will need to download their favourite titles rather than play using disks. Priced at £359.99, Sony’s Digital Edition will cost a whopping 40% more than the low-end Xbox machine, meaning the race to become the best-selling console could be close this time around.

In previous years, PlayStation has outsold the Xbox by 2-to-1, but despite matching price tags on the regular consoles, with such a large disparity on the cost of the digital versions, experts believe Microsoft might finally bridge the sales gap this year.

Sony also used the presentation to announce some of the upcoming titles for the PS5, and the price of some of the games raised one or two eyebrows. Some of the new first-party games will set gamers back £70 – even more than the already-announced £65 for third-party titles.

Despite the eye-watering cost of the games and the massive difference in the price of the digital-only console, initial signs suggest PlayStation fans aren’t put off, with pre-orders already selling out across the world.

But with Microsoft aiming low with its own pricing on the Xbox Series X and Series S, it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top in the console battles this time around.

Mortal Kombat Developer Teases Announcement

Fans of Mortal Kombat 11 are getting excited after the game’s director sent out a cryptic post on Twitter suggesting an announcement was coming soon.

Game Director Ed Boon, who has a history of teasing fans online, sent out a mysterious Tweet to his near-600,000 followers. The post read: “I see a tease in our future.” That was all Boon wrote, but the 7-word Tweet was enough to get Twitter tongues wagging, with fans of the game pondering what the impending announcement could be.

The Tweet was then responded to by another, this time from the official Mortal Kombat 11 Twitter account. The post featured a meme of game character Liu Kang trying to fathom what the original post from Boon could mean.

As well as teasing fans on an upcoming announcement, Boon also chose to address one of the most talked-about Mortal Kombat leaks currently doing the rounds. Rumours that Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell is set to make an appearance in the game were fuelled by Scorpion voice actor, Ron Yuan, who told fans Campbell’s character Ash Williams was coming to Mortal Kombat 11.

However, Boon nipped that idea in the bud, claiming the rumour is untrue: “The silver lining to the many “leaks” is … there are so many wrong ones… which conveniently drown out the true ones,” he posted on his official Twitter page.

Another recent leak came from a datamine of the game’s files, which indicated there are another 19 pieces of DLC on the way. But whether that means a further 19 characters or just new skins for the existing ones remains to be seen, as Boon refused to be drawn on that topic.

So, it looks like those hoping for some additional DLC characters will just have to wait and see. But with the tease saying some news is coming soon, hopefully Mortal Kombat aficionados won’t have to wait long to find out.

Hunting Simulator Slammed by Animal Rights Group

Animal rights activists have expressed dismay at a game where players can hunt wildlife in the Scottish Highlands.

Hunting Simulator 2 allows eager amateur hunters to stalk and kill prey such as deer and rabbits in locations across the world including the Scottish mountains, but one animal right group has slammed the game after claiming it “normalises” the killing of animals.

Speaking on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports in Scotland, Robbie Marsland said: “It’s mind-boggling that that anyone could think this is the best way to use the beautiful Scottish countryside.”

“The league has just published a report that reveals that up to a quarter of a million animals are killed each year so that there are more grouse to shoot. If online gamers want to virtually shoot each other, that’s okay. But leave off the animals – they already have a bad enough time in reality!”

Hunting Simulator 2 offers an immersive, virtual hunting experience, with players given the chance to explore vast open landscapes on the trail of their prey. Gamers can track up to 37 species of animals using a cache of weapons that includes crossbows, longbows and Winchester and Browning rifles.

Players can also use specialist kit including callers, wind powders and lures, which contribute to providing a real-life experience in the comfort of your own home.

Developers of the game Nacon describe it as a “true simulation of hunting” that offers hours and hours of immersion in some of the world’s most well-known hunting areas. But rather than some harmless fun that’s simply a way for gamers to experience the excitement of hunting in a virtual arena, Marsland believes the game sends out the wrong messages to players.

“Things like this desensitise people and make them think that if it’s okay to shoot something online then it’s okay to do that elsewhere – it normalises killing animals for entertainment.”

Nacon have yet to offer any comment on the criticism.

Resident Evil Finally Set for TV Series Adaptation

The much-anticipated Resident Evil Live-Action TV adaptation has finally been given the go-ahead by Netflix.

Ever since a description of the plan was accidentally posted on the Netflix Media Centre back in 2018, we’ve waited with bated breath for an official announcement. After 18 long months, we’ve finally received the confirmation we were craving.

The show has received the green light for an initial 8 hour-long episodes, with more to come if the project proves a success. Esteemed writer Andrew Dabb is the man tasked with penning the brand-new series.

As well as confirming the show, Netflix also gave us an idea of what’s to come by sharing details about the plot and the main characters in the upcoming series.

Announcing the show on its official Twitter account, Netflix said: “When the Wesker kids move to New Racoon City, the secrets they uncover might just be the end of everything. Resident Evil, a new live action series based on Capcom’s legendary survival horror franchise, is coming to Netflix.”

Elaborating on the plot further, Netflix revealed the series will take place over 2 timelines, giving fans an idea of what to expect once the show finally hits our screens. The statement describes how in the first timeline, two 14-year-old sisters named Jade and Billie are relocated to New Racoon City. Despite seeming like a normal place to live at first, the more time the sisters spend in the city, the more they get the sense something just isn’t quite right. Before long they discover the city is concealing some very dark secrets.

The second timeline will dart 10-years into the future where there are only 15-million people left on Earth with the rest of humanity turned into flesh-eating zombies and other monsters infected by the T-virus.

With Dabb still busy working on the upcoming ‘Supernatural’ series after production was delayed due to the pandemic, no announcement has been made on when we can expect the show to hit our screens. As soon as any info is released, we’ll be sure to keep you updated. 

EA Access and EA Origin Consolidated to Form EA Play

Electronic Arts Inc. has revealed the EA Access and EA Origin subscription services will be merged into one platform, known as EA Play.

After starting life as EA Access on Xbox One, the service adopted a number of different monikers as it made its way across each platform. But as it finally makes its long-awaited arrival on Steam, EA has decided to merge everything under one banner: EA Play.

The brand-new all-in-one service allows PC and console gamers to play a selection of EA titles, as well as some of the brand new and upcoming releases, all for a single subscription cost.

For £4 a month or £20 a year you’ll receive access to EA’s gaming catalogue, a 10% discount on EA gaming purchases and 10 hours play time on a selection of upcoming new releases.

You can also upgrade your subscription to the EA Play pro tier, which removes the 10-hour restriction on new titles and offers access to a wider selection of games. The cost of this subscription is £15 or £90 per year.

The platform is a great way of revisiting some of the older EA titles and getting a taste for some of the new stuff coming up, so depending on your preferences as a gamer this may be a great subscription that you’ll get excellent value from.

If you’re an EA sports junkie who can’t get enough of the Madden or FIFA games, for example, then you’ll benefit from using the service as you can delve into a massive choice of the old titles without having to purchase each individual game.

As well as being accessible on the PlayStation and X Box stores, EA Play will also be available on Steam for PC users. The service is set to launch on Steam on August 31.