Tag Archives: Epic Games

Play Fortnite For Free With Xbox Cloud Gaming



Catherine Gluckstein, Vice President and Head of Product, Xbox Cloud Gaming posted a blog titled: “Play Fortnite on iOS, iPadOs, Android Phones and Tablets, and Windows PC with Xbox Cloud Gaming for Free”. To me, this sounds like a great way to make Fortnite accessible to players who have disabilities by allowing them to play Fortnite on the platform of their choice.

“As part of our mission to bring the joy and community of gaming to players wherever they are and to make gaming more accessible to people around the world, I’m excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Epic Games to make Fortnite available on supported browser-enabled devices for free with Xbox Cloud Gaming (beta) in 26 countries”, Catherine Gluckstein wrote.

If you love Fortnite you only need two things to play in cloud-supported markets:

  • A Microsoft account
  • An iOS, iPadOS, Android phone or tablet, or Windows PC with internet access.

With no installation or memberships required, all you need to do is go to Xbox.com/play on your web browser and sign-in with your Microsoft Account to party-up with friends or earn your next Victory Royale in Fortnite. Players have the option of playing Fortnite with native touch controls or a supported controller, and it is easy to jump into Fortnite with Xbox Cloud Gaming.

This is the first free-to-play title that has been added to the cloud gaming catalog. Microsoft looks forward to bringing more free-to-play games people love in the future. This means there will be more games in the cloud gaming catalog – and we just have to wait and see which ones get added.

CNET reported that Microsoft struck a deal with Epic Games to offer Epic’s hit title Fortnite for free through Xbox Cloud Gaming. The move will effectively let people play Fortnite in a way similar to how they stream videos from companies like Netflix, regardless of how beefy their gaming device is.

CNET posted a statement from Microsoft. “This is just the beginning for us — we’re going to learn, implement feedback, and in time look to bring even more free-to-play titles to players through the cloud”. According to CNET, Microsoft’s Xbox team said it believes streaming will be a key way for people to play but has also tempered expectations for how quickly it will catch on.

For me, there is a lot to like about Microsoft’s decisions. First, it offers accessibility in gaming, where people with disabilities can play Fortnite (and, eventually, other games) on the system of their choice. Some will prefer Windows PC, while others may feel more physically comfortable to play on a phone or tablet. And secondly, the free-to-play games make it much easier for people on a tight budget to play Fortnite with their friends.


Fortnite Raised $144 Million for Ukraine Relief



There were several gaming companies who chose to prevent people in Russia from playing their games. Two gaming companies went the other direction, and created fundraisers to help people who are in Ukraine. Personally, I think raising money as a form of support is a good way to provide help to those in need.

The Verge reported that Fortnite raised a total of $144 million for Ukraine relief efforts in two weeks. The game raised $36 million on its first day alone.

The Fortnite Twitter account @FortniteGame tweeted: “Our deepest thanks to everyone who joined us in supporting humanitarian relief efforts for people affectedly the war in Ukraine. Together with the Fortnite community and @Xbox, we raised $144 million USD for @DirectRelief, @UNICEF, @WFP, @Refugees and @WCKitchen.”

Direct Relief has a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. The UNICEF Twitter account’s bio reads: “As war escalates in #Ukraine, UNICEF is on the ground reaching children with water, health and education services. Here’s how you can help.” @WFP is The United Nations’ World Food Programme. @Refugees is the United Nations’ refugee agency. @WCKitchen is the World Central Kitchen. It was founded by Chef Jose Anders, who goes to the frontlines in times of crisis to provide meals to people.

Engadget reported that the Fortnite campaign aligned with the start of Fortnite’s latest season, meaning that many players were buying V-Bucks to unlock the latest Battle Pass and scoop up new in-game items. Epic and Xbox donated their cuts of gifted Battle Passes, Fortnite Crew subscriptions and gift cards redeemed during that time to relief efforts as well.

Riot Games (maker of League of Legends) also held a fundraiser to help people in Ukraine. @RiotGames tweeted: Thanks to the efforts of our amazing players, we’ve raised $5.4 million total in funds to support humanitarian efforts in Eastern Europe”.

The tweet was the start of a thread which provided further explanation. Riot Games tweeted that $1.8 million will be going to the International Medical Corps. Another $1.8 million will be going to Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders. And another $1.8 million will be going to the International Committee of the Red Cross.


Epic and Activision Blizzard Halt Their Games in Russia



Epic Games and Activision Blizzard have joined several other gaming companies by suspending sales of their games in Russia. These decisions are in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

On March 4, 2022, on the Activision Blizzard website, President and COO Daniel Alegre posted a message in an employee letter, and then shared that letter publicly. It included the following:

…Today we are announcing that Activision Blizzard will be suspending new sales of and in our games in Russia while this conflict continues. We will continue to look at ways to support the Ukrainian people. I want to reassure you that the safety of our employees is our leadership team’s top priority. We are doing everything possible to assist employees, and their families, who are being directly affected by this tragedy. If you or a colleague needs support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your manager or local HR leaders. I’d also like to remind you that our Employee Assistance Program is available to those who need emotional support during this difficult time…

On March 5, 2022, the Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) tweeted: “Epic is stopping commerce with Russia in our games in response to its invasion of Ukraine. We’re not blocking access for the same reason other communication tools remain online: the free world should keep all lines of dialogue open.”

On March 1, 2022, Ubisoft posted news about how they are supporting their teams who are in Ukraine. From the news:

…Our top priority is to take care of the safety and wellbeing of our teams and their families. Over the past months, Ubisoft has been closely monitoring the situation, and our primary focus has been the security of our teams. As events escalated in February, Ubisoft recommended all teams to take shelter in a place they considered safe. To support them as they made these difficult decisions, each team member was provided additional funds to help cover costs and paid their salary in advance to account for any potential disruptions to banking system…

Ubisoft did not mention anything about halting their games in Russia or anywhere else.


Bandcamp is Joining Epic Games



Bandcamp announced today that it is joining Epic Games. At first glance, I find this confusing. What does a website that focuses on music have in common with a company that makes video games?

Here is some explanation from Bandcamp’s Ethan Diamond:

…Bandcamp will keep operating as a standalone marketplace and music community, and I will continue to lead our team. The products and services you depend on aren’t going anywhere, and we’ll continue to build Bandcamp around artists-first revenue model (where artists net an average of 82% of every sale), you’ll still have the same control over how you offer your music. Bandcamp Fridays will continue as planned, and the Daily will keep highlighting diverse music on the site…

In addition, Bandcamp pointed out they are working with Epic “to expand internationally and push development forward across Bandcamp, from basics like our album pages, mobile apps, merch tools, payment system, and search and discovery features, to newer initiatives like our vinyl pressing and live streaming services.”

Epic Games also posted information on their website:

Today, we are thrilled to announce that Bandcamp will become part of Epic Games. Bandcamp is an online music store and community where fans can discover, connect with, and directly support the independent musicians they love.

Fair and open platforms are critical to the future of the creator economy. Epic and Bandcamp share a mission of building the most artist friendly platform that enables creators to keep the majority of their hard-earned money. Bandcamp will play an important role in Epic’s vision to build out a creator marketplace ecosystem for content, technology, games, art, music and more…

It’s the “and more” part that troubles me. In October of 2021, Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted: “Epic Games Store will welcome games that make use of blockchain tech provided they follow the relevant laws, disclose their terms, and are age-rated by an appropriate group. Though Epic’s not using crypto in our games, we welcome innovation in the areas of technology and finance.”

My concern is that Epic Games will enable musicians to create NFTs and sell them on Bandcamp. NFTs are polarizing because some people love them while others (including myself) see them as an MLM scam. I love Bandcamp and have bought plenty of music from it. My hope is that what I love about Bandcamp won’t suddenly become cluttered with NFTs.


Appeals Court Granted a Stay on Part of Epic v. Apple Ruling



An appeals court has paused one of the most consequential parts of the Epic v. Apple ruling, placing a stay on the enforcement of the injunction issued by the lower court, The Verge reported. According to The Verge, the stay allows Apple to maintain its IAP system as the sole source of in-app payments on iOS, despite the district court’s earlier ruling that the exclusive arrangement is illegal.

The Verge embedded a copy of the ruling into their article. From the ruling:

…Apple has demonstrated, at minimum, that its appeal raises serious questions on the merits of the district court’s determination that Epic Games, Inc., failed to show Apple’s conduct violated any antitrust laws but did not show that the same conduct violated California’s Unfair Competition Law… Apple has also made a sufficient showing irreparable harm, … and that the remaining factors weigh in favor of staying part.. of the injunction and maintaining the status quo pending appeal.

The Court wrote: “Therefore we grant Apple’s motion to stay part(i) of paragraph (1) of the permanent injunction. The stay will remain in effect until the mandate issues in this appeal. The existing briefing schedule remains in place.”

The New York Times reported: “If the appeals court had not ruled, Apple on Thursday would have had to start allowing companies to include links within their apps directing customers to outside websites where they can pay for those companies’ services or subscriptions. That would have prevented Apple from taking a cut of up to 30 percent on those transactions.”

The New York Times also reported: “In a brief document, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit wrote that Apple could wait to make any changes until the appeals process for the Epic lawsuit concluded, which could take more than a year.”

Given this information, it appears that the Epic v. Apple case could continue to drag on through the courts an indeterminate amount of time. The outcome of the case could change is it works its way through the courts.


Judge Orders Apple to Allow External Payment Options



The Epic v. Apple lawsuit feels like a never-ending one. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said Apple must comply with an order to let developers add links and buttons to external payment options, denying Apple’s request for a stay, The Verge reported. As you may have guessed, Apple announced that it would appeal the Judge’s decision.

You can read a copy of Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ ruling on The Verge. They have embedded it into the article. Here are a few key parts of the ruling:

…Having considered all the filings, and oral argument, the Court finds Apple has failed to satisfy its burden, and the request is framed is DENIED. In short, Apple’s motion is based on a selective reading of this Court’s findings and ignores all the findings which supported the injunction, namely incipient antitrust conduct including supercompetitive commission rates resulting in extraordinary high operating margins which have not been correlated to the value of its intellectual property. This incipient antitrust conduct is the result, in part, of the anti steering policies which Apple has enforced to harm competition…

…Further, even if additional time was warranted to comply with the limited injunction, Apple did not request additional time other than ten days to appeal this ruling. Thus, the Court does not consider the option of additional time, other than the requested ten days…

The New York Times reported that Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodriguez interrupted Apple’s lawyer, Mark Perry, when he argued that allowing developers to include links to outside websites within their app would take months to figure out.

According to The New York Times, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said: “You did not ask for a few months. You did not ask for six months. You didn’t ask for a limited amount of time. You asked for an across-the-board stay, which could take three, four, five years.”

Apple is seeking a reversal of the Judge’s decision. The Verge reported that Apple plans to appeal to the Ninth Circuit for a stay, since it did not get one from Judge Gonzalez Rogers. According to The Verge, pending a stay of some kind, the injunction is scheduled to go into effect on December 9, 2021.

This really feels like a lawsuit that is going to be slowly moving through the courts for an indeterminate amount of time. I guess that’s what happens when two big companies decided to fight each other via the courts. Perhaps the result will be that whichever one of them has the most money will win by attrition.


Fortnite Will Not Return to the App Store Anytime Soon



Fortnite will not be returning to the iOS Apple Store anytime soon, The Verge reported. This was clarified by Apple recently in a series of emails between Apple and CEO and co-founder of Epic, Tim Sweeney.

Recently, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued a permanent injunction to Apple, to restrain Apple from “prohibiting developers from including their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing and communicating to customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.” That seemed to be in Epic’s favor.

In addition, the judge also sided in Apple’s favor, requiring Epic to pay damages to Apple in an amount equal to 30% of the $12,167,719 in revenue Epic Games collected from users on the Fortnite app on iOS through Epic Direct Payment between August and October 2020, plus 30% of such revenue Epic Games collected from November 1, 2020, though the date of judgement, and interest.” In short, the judge felt Epic Games had breached its contract with Apple.

Epic Games decided to appeal the ruling.

CEO and co-founder of Epic, Tim Sweeney, posted on the Epic Games website about this situation (and also tweeted about it).

Tim Sweeney wrote, Apple lied. Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they’d “welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else.” Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly over a billion users. According to Tim Sweeney, Epic has paid Apple $6,000,000 as ordered by the court.

The blog post includes a screenshot from Tim Sweeney to someone at Apple. There is also a screenshot of a response from what appears to be a lawyer for Apple. The response briefly reviews the outcome of the case. The key points appear to be these: “Apple has exercised its discretion not to reinstate Epic’s developer program account at this time. Furthermore, Apple will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgement becomes final and nonappealable.”