Categories
Computing

Save 63% on a NordVPN subscription with a risk-free trial

If you’re keen to feel safe online but you don’t want to spend a fortune, we’ve found the deal for you. Currently, you can snap up a two-year subscription to NordVPN for the equivalent of $6 per month, working out to only $144 across the two years. One of the best value VPN deals around right now, NordVPN is easily the best choice for most people. If you’re not sure if you need a VPN (you do), read on while we explain everything you need to know.

Why you should subscribe to NordVPN

We’ll cut to the chase — NordVPN is one of the best VPNs you can sign up to right now. Topping our list as the best Fire TV Stick VPN as well as offering one of the best Chrome VPN extensions, NordVPN is considered the ultimate security package for good reason. Being safe online isn’t just about being careful where you browse or avoiding unknown files, with a VPN consistently protecting your data.

Effectively, a VPN provides a line of defense between you and the connection you’re making. Rather than having you directly browse to a website, you take a virtual tunnel through it with the VPN making it appear as if you’re based somewhere else rather than your actual location. By doing so, you get the benefits of an extra wall of encryption so that, basically, no one is going to know where you’re browsing from. Because of that, nefarious sources can’t access any data or information about you, giving you substantial peace of mind.

NordVPN backs up these core principles with a bunch of extra ways to keep you safe. It has a Kill Switch feature so if your VPN connection suddenly drops, nothing will get through. Alongside that, you can add an extra layer by using its double VPN feature. Alternatively, you can use split-tunneling to browse partially via the VPN while using your regular connection to access an app or game at the same time. NordVPN also offers malware protection, an ad blocker, along with a password management tool, and even 1TB of encrypted cloud storage.

This all might sound complicated if you’re not used to using a VPN but that’s far from the case. Instead, NordVPN is as simple to use as anything else. With extensive support for pretty much every device you could own, using it is as simple as opening an app and letting NordVPN do all the work for you.

Normally priced at $398 every two years, you can sign up to NordVPN for just $144 right now, working out at just $6 per month. That’s a tiny price to pay for such great peace of mind, and it’s sure to make you feel safer as you browse online.

Editors’ Choice




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Security

Romanian hacker faces US trial over virus-for-hire service

Cybercrime may be a global industry — but that doesn’t mean criminals are immune from facing prosecution across borders.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that it had extradited dual Romanian / Latvian national Mihai Ionut Paunescu — known as “Virus” — to the US from Colombia for allegedly designing malware used to steal money from bank accounts across the world and operating the infrastructure used to distribute it.

Paunescu is alleged to be one of the creators of the Gozi Virus, a Trojan that infected millions of computers in countries including the US, UK, Germany, Italy, and Finland between 2007 to 2012. Distributed through corrupted PDF documents, the Gozi Virus captured banking login details and passwords from infected machines, allowing its creators to steal tens of millions of dollars from bank accounts around the world.

According to an indictment filed in 2013 in the Southern District Court of New York, Paunescu also ran a “bulletproof hosting” service that was rented out to other cybercriminals, providing servers that could be used for online criminal activity like distributing malware and controlling botnets while keeping the operators’ identities anonymous.

The indictment also claims that NASA was a victim of the malware, with one of the allegations stating:

From in or about late 2011 through at least in or about mid-2012, MIHAI IONUT PAUNESCU a/k/a/ “Virus” … caused approximately 60 computers belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) to be infected with the Gozi Virus, resulting in approximately $19,000 in losses to NASA.

Per other details shared by US prosecutors, Paunescu was also a pioneer of a financial model that has now become commonplace, where he would rent access to the virus and its proceeds to other cybercriminals rather than using it himself. Paunescu allegedly charged $500 per week to use the Gozi Virus as a service.

In the aftermath of the Gozi Virus’ main activity period, Paunescu was arrested in Romania in 2012 but managed to avoid extradition after being released on bail. Almost 10 years later, he was caught in Colombia in June 2021 after being detained at Bogota airport, according to Colombia’s attorney general.

In a statement, Damian Williams, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, emphasized the willingness of prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to track cyber criminals over the long term.

“Even though he was initially arrested in 2012, Paunescu will finally be held accountable inside a U.S. courtroom,” Williams said. “This case demonstrates that we will work with our law enforcement partners here and abroad to pursue cyber criminals who target Americans, no matter how long it takes.”

Previously, another Latvian programmer involved in designing the virus was also extradited to the US and sentenced to 37 months in prison and a $7 million fine after taking a plea bargain.

So-called “bulletproof” hosting services play a crucial role in enabling global cybercrime, but operators often escape prosecution by hiding their identities or basing their activities in obscure locations. In 2019, police in Germany raided a former NATO bunker that had been converted into a bulletproof hosting data center by a Dutch national who had bought it from local authorities.

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Categories
Game

Google Stadia free trial gives you 30 minutes to see what the fuss is about

Game streaming is becoming more or less a staple in the gaming industry, but not everyone is sold on the idea yet. In fact, some might even be apprehensive about trying a 30-day free trial, especially if they’re the type that forgets such a trial automatically charges you at the end of the period. For those who just want to dip their toes into that market, Google Stadia is apparently testing a new experiment that gives you half an hour to test if game streaming is for you.

One of the dreams of game streaming is the ability to simply click on an ad for a game and immediately start playing that game. That hasn’t happened yet, for better or worse, though Google Play’s Instant games come close to that vision on Android. That idealized system would have been a good way not only to test a game but also to test whether you have the hardware or Internet connection to support that game.

Google might be testing out that idea by playing around with a new type of free trial for Stadia. The game streaming service confirmed to The Verge that it is running an experiment where Stadia semi-randomly offers a game to try for a short period of time. That time period is currently limited to 30-minute sessions, but that could also change, depending on Stadia’s whims.

Unlike Stadia’s normal 30-day free trial, the entire library isn’t available for testing. Only one game at a time will be offered, currently Hello Engineer. Different testers, however, might see other titles, but this experiment hasn’t become widely available just yet.

One other key difference with this new free trial is that it only requires signing into a Google account and nothing else. You will still have to go through a couple of pages of notices and confirmations, but that still beats having to provide payment information before getting a game streaming appetizer. It’s still not as instant, but Stadia might eventually move towards that model if this experiment turns out to be successful in turning testers into paying subscribers.

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Categories
Computing

VPN Free Trial: The Services That Offer a Free Trial in 2021

A virtual private network is a great thing to have in your digital toolbox today, but if you’re new to all this and just want to give one a spin, then it’s not a bad idea to look for a good VPN free trial. The good news is that many of the best VPN providers do offer a free VPN trial to new subscribers (or at least a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee period, which effectively lets you try out their service without being locked into a contract), meaning you don’t have to commit to a costly plan before you’re 100% sure it’s what you need.

Some virtual private network operators even offer free plans. Although a paid service is almost always going to be better, faster, and safer than even the best free VPNs, this is still an option worth looking into if you just want to see what a VPN can do on the most basic level. Whatever your situation is, though, if you’ve arrived here, it’s because you’re hunting for a free VPN trial — and we’re here to help you find it. Below, we’ve rounded up a list of all the top services that offer a VPN free trial in 2021, along with some answers to any questions you might have.

NordVPN

NordVPN has been our favorite virtual private network service for quite some time now, and we’re not the only ones — far from it, in fact, considering that NordVPN remains the most trusted provider on the market today. You may have heard of NordVPN before even if you’re still asking, “what is a VPN?” Without getting too far into the weeds with details, just know that NordVPN has everything we look for in a good virtual private network: It’s fast, it’s reliable, it’s secure, it gives you several different encryption protocols to choose from (if you’re picky about that sort of thing, anyway), and it works well across multiple types of devices and software interfaces.

One noteworthy feature of NordVPN is split-tunneling, which allows you to select which sites and services you want to route through the VPN and which ones you want to remain on the “clearnet.” You might want your web browsing traffic to be on the VPN, for example, but may not necessarily need or want your online gaming sessions to be run through remote global servers. That breadth of features and customizability is what keeps NordVPN at the top of the list of the best VPNs. More good news is that it’s actually one of the cheaper services (as low as $3.30 per month if you sign up for the two-year plan), and one that offers a 30-day money-back guarantee that serves as a VPN free trial period.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is another top contender for the best virtual private network, with the caveat that it’s a bit more expensive than others including NordVPN. The advantage of this service is that it offers one of the widest selections of remote servers of any network operator — the provider boasts a spread of servers in more than 90 countries (160 locations altogether) throughout the globe, with excellent coverage in high-traffic regions like Europe and North America. That makes ExpressVPN an attractive option for users who are particular about the end-point for their VPN connection for things like streaming or government censorship that employ region-based content restriction.

When we tested ExpressVPN, we liked how easy it was to set up the VPN and run it on multiple devices. It is, as we mentioned, a little pricier than some others (the best value is the $100 yearly package, which averages to $8.32 monthly), but if you’re looking for the best VPN to bypass regional content restrictions, ExpressVPN is arguably the top choice. It also offers a 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee if you want a free VPN trial before you commit to a recurring subscription plan.

Surfshark

NordVPN is a great value if you sign up for its two-year plan, but if you’re looking for a top-tier virtual private network that’s even cheaper, then Surfshark is another trusted provider and one of our favorites. With more than 3,200 servers in 65 countries, its server network isn’t quite as large as that of its biggest competitors, but that won’t be an issue for most users. It’s fast, reliable, secure, and does what you want a VPN to do. Best of all is the fact that there is no limit to the number of devices you can use Surfshark VPN on simultaneously, making it a great choice for family homes and local office networks.

If you’re looking for a VPN free trial with no device limitations, Surfshark is a fine choice that offers the same 30-day refund window as NordVPN and ExpressVPN. Better still is its unbeatable price: The two-year plan is billed at $60 for your first two years, which comes to about $2.50 month-to-month (just bear in mind you have to pony up the cash in advance). With a virtual private network that’s this cheap, there’s really no reason to even bother with sub-par free VPNs which won’t offer protection that’s nearly as comprehensive.

IPVanish

Another one of the best VPNs is IPVanish, which offers an optional data backup and recovery service as an add-on to its virtual private network. Along with letting you tunnel your connection through one of the 1,600-plus servers that IPVanish operates in 75 countries, its VPN + Backup plan allows you to select folders and files that you want to automatically keep uploaded to remote and secure cloud storage. This shields you from potential ransomware attacks by preventing your sensitive data from being held hostage, and it’s also useful in the event of a hardware or software failure that renders your local data inaccessible. And, like Surfshark, the IPVanish VPN has no restrictions on the number of devices you can use it on simultaneously.

IPVanish offers its own VPN free trial in the form of a 30-day money-back guarantee, with one catch: It only applies to the yearly plan. We’re not sure why that is, but if you try it and find you like the VPN, you should sign up for the yearly plan anyway because it’s going to be a better value (this is true of all of these services, not just IPVanish). Also note that there are two plans to choose from. The standard package includes just the VPN service for $45 for the first year, or you can grab the VPN + Backup plan for $50 for the first year. These average to $3.75 per month and $4.58 per month, respectively.

Hotspot Shield

If speed is your number one priority — maybe you’ve given some other free VPN trials a test run and found them to be too sluggish for your needs — then Hotspot Shield is worth a look. Virtual private networks reroute your connection through remote servers (i.e. you’re connecting to a remote server before whatever site or service you’re accessing, rather than connecting to the site or service directly), and one unfortunate side-effect of using a VPN is that download and upload speeds can suffer a little. That’s not a problem for most things but can become a noticeable issue for bandwidth-heavy activities such as gaming or 4K streaming.

Hotspot Shield attacks this problem by offering market-leading connection speeds of up to 1Gbps. This isn’t an idle boast, as this VPN operator has indeed been named the fasted virtual private network by Speedtest.net. Another notable benefit is that Hotspot Shield offers a genuine 7-day VPN free trial along with a 45-day refund period. There’s even a free VPN plan, although speeds for that are capped at 2 Mbps. The annual Premium plan costs $96 (averaging to $8 per month) for five devices. A 25-device Premium Family plan is also available for $144 per year.

What is a VPN free trial?

Free trials for paid services typically work like this: You create an account to sign up for the service, enter your payment information, and then get to enjoy that service for a set amount of time — usually somewhere between a week and 30 days — before the automatic recurring charges kick in. A VPN free trial generally works differently in that you still have to pay for the subscription period upfront (be it a month, a year, or even longer), but you then have a set length of time during which you can cancel your plan for a full refund at any given time. This “money-back guarantee” period usually lasts for 30 days, which is ample time to give the VPN service a thorough tryout and decide if it’s a good fit for online habits and local network setup.

Should you use a VPN free trial?

In our opinion, a VPN free trial should only be used as just that — a trial. The same goes for free VPNs. If you want real protection and the full suite of features, multi-device coverage, encryption protocols, connectivity speeds, and other benefits (not the least of which is peace of mind) that you get with a proper virtual private network, you should pony up the cash for one of the best VPN providers we mentioned above. The good news is that they’re pretty cheap for all they give you, and all of the ones listed offer a money-back trial period if a service you signed up for ends up not jiving with your digital lifestyle.

Is there a commitment with a VPN free trial?

Other than the fact that you usually have to pay up-front and cancel it yourself before your trial period is up, no, there’s no commitment. The money-back-guarantee ensures that if you sign up for a service and end up changing your mind before the VPN free trial period is up, you can cancel your plan and get your cash right back. That said, if you change your mind after the refund window is closed, you’re likely to have a hard time getting your money returned to you if you cancel your subscription. If you signed up for a service, make sure you give it a good try-out and test out everything before the free VPN trial period is over.

Should you use a free VPN or a VPN free trial?

A VPN free trial is always going to be better, faster, and safer than a free VPN. The most basic reason is that when you sign up for a paid virtual private network plan with a money-back guarantee period, you’re not getting a limited or “free” version of that service. You’re getting the whole shebang: All the features, software, device coverage, bandwidth, upload/download speeds, server options — everything the VPN has to offer.

That’s not the case with a free VPN, which will be extremely limited in terms of network speeds, encryption protocols, server selection (if you’re even allowed to choose this), and so on. That’s even before you consider the fact that few things are truly free; there’s always a price to be paid, and in the case of free VPNs, companies generally recoup their costs by collecting and selling data. That negates much of the point of using a VPN in the first place, and it also means you can pretty much forget any sort of no-logging policy. Our recommendation? Give so-called “free” VPNs a wide berth and sign up with a trusted service that offers a money-back trial period instead.

Can you do a VPN free trial without a credit card?

Typically, no. Free trials for any service normally require you to create your account and then sign up for the service, which means entering some sort of payment information (although online payment services such as PayPal might be an alternative to entering your credit or debit card info). Then the VPN free trial period begins, meaning you won’t be charged until after a certain date. After the trial period dries up, your recurring subscription fees kick in.

That’s also naturally the case with “money-back guarantee” periods, which is what you’ll usually get from top VPN providers rather than standard free trials. You have to pay up-front — meaning you’ll need to enter your payment information when you sign up — but you have the option to get a full refund during the trial period. If you really don’t want to enter your payment information, though, then you might want to give one of the free VPN tiers a try, but only if you fully understand and accept their limitations and drawbacks.

Why do VPN free trials exist?

As newbie-friendly as the best VPN services are nowadays, providers understand that some people might be wary about fully committing to a monthly or yearly (or even multi-year) subscription plan with no ability to get out of the contract. A VPN free trial period gives new users sufficient time to give the service a spin, get a feel for its capabilities, and decide if it’s a good fit for their needs before fully committing to a subscription.

It can also take a bit of time to really give a virtual private network service a proper try-out. You’ll probably want to install and use it on multiple devices, get a good feel for the user interface and all the features available, stress-test its connectivity speeds and encryption capabilities on the sites and services you use most throughout the day (such as your favorite streaming apps), and so on. That takes a little bit of time. It’s simply good customer service to give new subscribers the chance to do this with the option for a refund if a VPN proves not to be a good fit. This is a market that depends heavily on trust, and the best virtual private network operators aren’t trying to rope you in and steal your money.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Game

Razer iPhone Kishi released with “free” Xbox Game Pass Ultimate trial

There’s a new Razer Kishi Universal Gaming Controller for iPhone (Xbox) out in the market this week. Right alongside the launch of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cloud streaming at Xbox (dot com), Razer’s teamed up with Microsoft to deliver a controller that’s made to work on this platform, top to bottom. Users will plug their iPhone in to this device, open Safari (the web browser), go to the official Xbox website, and log in.

You do not need this specific controller to play Xbox games on your iPhone. That’s not what this is all about. This is simply one of several ways in which an iPhone user can make the whole Xbox streaming system work with the greatest of ease.

This version of the Kishi for iPhone works with a new design with Monochrome face buttons. This version also works with MFi certification, connects with most (not all) iPhone models released over the past few years, and “seamlessly works with controller-compatible iOS titles” from Xbox and with Apple Arcade.

There is very little difference between this Razer iPhone Kishi and the one that’s been released in the past. This one (with the Xbox in the name) comes with a 90-day “free trial” of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – which is different from the versions that’ve come before. This device is one of many Kishi controllers for a variety of devices

This Razer Kishi Universal Gaming Controller for iPhone (Xbox) will cost approximately $100 USD (or 110 Euro) when it becomes available in the Razer Store online and at retailers in the USA and throughout Europe. We published a Razer Kishi Review back in June of 2020 in an earlier iteration. If this newest version is as good or better than that, it’s not going to be difficult to recommend the hardware to prospective users of Xbox cloud gaming on iPhone devices – not difficult at all!

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Categories
Tech News

App Store XCodeGhost malware details revealed in Fortnite trial

It’s not unusual for companies to experience data breaches that put their customers at risk. When that company happens to own the one and only sanction app store for its platform, however, then it becomes a rather scary prospect. That is always one of the risks of Apple’s App Store when the tools used to upload apps are themselves infected with malware, which is what happened almost six years ago with the XCodeGhost incident whose details are only surfacing now thanks to a lawsuit involving Fortnite of all things.

It’s not that Apple didn’t admit that infected apps got through the usually stringent App Store review process, but only due to some less discerning developers using tainted tools. And to be fair, it did warn affected users and cautioned developers that were using the unofficial XCode development tool against those attempts to steal their personal information. What it didn’t disclose, however, was the actual extent of that hack, which would have really tarnished its reputation.

As part of the legal battle between Epic Games and Apple over Fortnite, evidence was submitted revealing exactly those numbers. Email communication showed that Apple knew that 128 million users downloaded the more than 2,500 apps that were affected by XCodeGhost. 18 million of those were counted to have come from the US while more than half the victims were traced back to China.

Perhaps more telling was that the company was debating whether to reach out to all those 128 million iOS users that may have been compromised by the hacking attempt. While it may be common practice now or even legally mandated, back then Apple seemed to have had the wiggle room to even consider not doing so, given the logistics nightmare it would have incurred. It did say it reach out to users but, again, it never admitted to how many they reached out to.

Apple would later say that they were not aware of any actual use of the exploit, suggesting that users were still safe despite the number of infected apps and potential victims. Still, Epic Games could use this as ammo against Apple to prove how it used its power and control to monopolize the iOS app market.

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Categories
Game

Epic Games vs. Apple trial is unearthing more than intended

The Epic Games vs. Apple bench trial, one of the most high-profile court cases in recent memory kicked off on Monday this week and it is destined to have some ramifications for the tech and gaming industry as a whole. This antitrust lawsuit filed by Epic Games against Apple intends to free the tight control of Apple over its App Store, which is allegedly categorized as an unfair monopoly.

Introduced in 2008, the App Store generates billions of dollars for the Cupertino giant every year and Epic Games wants to set right Apple’s policies for game developers who have to part with a hefty, 30-percent share for every in-game transaction a user makes. Over the years and recently too, Apple has come under the scanner for antitrust investigations and complaints but this time it is far bigger.

How it all started

It all began in August 2020 when Epic Games updated its Fortnite game version for iOS with the option to make in-game purchases directly from Epic. This was a clear violation of App Store policies, and the game was banned from the Store.

In turn, Epic Games prepared itself for an epic battle that is unfolding right now against Apple. After the pre-trial fact findings, a document of more than 300 pages was filed in front of District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, and full trial status was granted. On the first day of the bench trial taking place in a federal courthouse in Oakland, Calif – Epic Games CEO, Tim Sweeney clearly stated that “Epic is solely seeking changes to Apple’s future behavior,” and they are not seeking any financial damages.

Epic Games’ allegation

According to Sweeney, who was the first witness on day one, Apple conducts an antitrust behavior on its iOS ecosystem – App Store in particular – which doesn’t allow the option of alternative app stores on its devices. This according to Sweeney cultivates an anti-competitive ecosystem on a whole and violates the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 by acting like an illegal monopoly.

The argument put forward by Epic’s lawyer Katherine Forrest focuses on the Apple’s bindings for third-party apps on the App Store. The developers have to pay for hosting the game and from there on for all the in-game sales (Fortnite V-bucks for example) as Apple only permits its own payment system. This is opposed as being unfair, and that Apple should let the game developers use their own in-app payment methods to set the balance right.

Another argument that sounds legitimate on moral grounds is that smaller developers are at a grave disadvantage against Apple’s own apps that understandably don’t have the added 30-percent fee burden. Epic lawyers claimed that Apple makes a profit of almost 80-percent by simply acting as a mediator on each transaction, which is not justified. Sweeney said, by taking 30-percent cut, Apple makes more money than the creator of the app!

Apple’s defense

So far Apple has put up a staunch defense for all the allegations, and in the opening statement, its lawyers said that the 30-percent fee is utilized to safeguards the security and privacy of users – as an instrument of quality check on iOS ecosystem. As per Apple lawyers, Epic Games wants Apple to, “allow in any and all third-party app stores so that they can distribute unreviewed and untested apps on all iOS devices.”

Apple labels the trial as an assault on the iOS philosophy, wherein it would have to spend more money to fix the loopholes created if it were to allow third-party apps sideload on Apple devices. Every other gaming platform has more or less the same commission rate Apple affirms, so why Epic is only targeting them – logical reasoning indeed.

Revelations that’ll attract eyeballs

As a part of the trial, Microsoft vice president of business development for Gaming, Media & Entertainment, Lori Wright gave his testimony this week. It was regarding the highly hyped scenario where Microsoft tried to get around App Store to get the Project xCloud on the Store. The focus was on how much sales revenue digital storefront should be entitled to collect.

When asked by Epic lawyers, how much money they make on Xbox consoles, Wright said they sell each unit at a loss. Their model is about subsiding the hardware and then earning profit from the software and services. Sony also does the same with its game consoles. Microsoft counters the difference by making 30-percent of revenue from the developers for Xbox games.

Epic Games is a private company, it is not generally required to announce its financial results, but the trial has placed it under the scanner as well as the court documents are in the open for scrutiny. Some of the eye-popping revelations here include the fact that Epic Games spends more than $1 billion on exclusives and the Borderlands 3 exclusivity alone costs them $115 million. Sweeney’s apology to Ubisoft in 2019 for the extraordinary Division 2 fraud on the Epic Store was one of the pinching highlights too.

Other than this it also came to light that Walmart was working on its own cloud gaming platform and that its beta could arrive this year. Sony also popped up in the documents since it is found to be charging for crossplay support to protect PSN revenue.

What’ll be the outcome?

One thing is for sure, the bench trial will reveal more uncomfortable details for all those involved and legally bind them to produce documents and testify. Tim Cook’s testimony is going to be the talking point of the trial for a number of reasons and Epic lawyers will be looking forward to it.

That said, the odds are in favor of Apple as antitrust laws are inclined toward big corporates. Epic Games have so far not been able to dig deep into Apple’s skin, and are far from impressing the judge. At best Epic Games could force a small hit to the Apple revenue model. It could also in fact help Apple in its other antitrust arguments. Yes, we are talking about the Spotify argument.

The silver lining for a neutral user is that the revelations to come from this case will offer a very deep insight into the gaming industry as a whole. Some uncomfortable facts could be unearthed as the trial progresses, so keep tuned in.

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Categories
Game

Apple vs Epic: Every Key Revelation From the Ongoing Trial

As the monumental Epic Games-versus- Apple trial unfolds, key revelations are starting to come to light. The two megapowers are finally squaring off over Apple’s treatment of app developers, a fight that began when Apple removed Fortnite and other Epic apps from the App Store last year. The long trial has only just begun, but things are already getting heating up.

There’s a lot to process already, and it’s only going to get more complicated over the next three weeks or so. Here are all of the key takeaways from the trial so far.

The opening day was a mess

On the first day of the trial, more than  200 people dialed into the public call line and screamed for around 20 minutes, as court clerks attempted to mute the callers. According to The Verge, many of the callers were kids who screamed “free Fortnite” and  “bring back Fortnite on mobile, please judge.” The result was a chaotic mess, but at 11:30 a.m. ET, court officials managed to bring order in the court.

This comes after Apple removed Fortnite from iOS due to Epic Games’ implementing its own in-game purchase system that bypassed the App Store. In the wake of Apple’s decision, Epic began rolling out a “Free Fortnite” marketing campaign, which became a rallying cry for many players.

Epic pays extra for Fortnite crossplay on Sony platforms

In 2018, when Sony was under fire for its opposition to Fortnite crossplay, Epic Games worked to reach a solution. That solution, as revealed during the beginning of the trial, was for Epic Games to pay Sony a higher cut to bring Fortnite crossplay to PlayStation platforms.

While on the stand during the start of the trial, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney explained that Sony gets more of a cut than other platform holders for crossplay functionality.

“Sony has a policy that requires if the ratio of payments across platforms for a given PS user gets out of sync with the playtime, then we have to pay them a commission on other platform revenue,” Sweeney said. “So if someone were primarily playing on PS but paying on iPhone, they’d [inaudible] compensation to Sony.”

Although it’s common for all platform holders involved to get a cut when Fortnite V-bucks are purchased, Sony reportedly has been getting more than others since 2018, per its contract with Epic Games.

Fortnite generated over $9B for Epic in first two years

It’s not surprising that Fortnite performed well for Epic Games from 2018 to 2019. Through financial documents that were made public as part of the trial (as relayed by The Verge), we learned that Epic Games earned over $9 billion in revenue from Fortnite within its first two years on the market.

It’s unclear how much of the company’s profits were attributed to Fortnite within that time, but Epic Games reported profits of $5.5 billion during that two-year span. What is clear is that Epic earned more from Fortnite than any other of its video game-related businesses from 2018 and 2019. That includes the Epic Games Store, which is reportedly operating at a loss, per the documents.

Epic plans to add Samus, The Rock, other skins to Fortnite

Fortnite is known for its licensed (and original) character skins that are the driving force of the game’s revenue. Since its launch, we’ve seen character skins for God of War’s Kratos, Halo’s Master Chief, Batman, The Mandalorian, and more. As part of the trial, an internal document that outlined plans for Fortnite’s future was made public, and it features details about a basketball mini game and new character skins that are in the works.

Epic has evidently looked into creating skins for Samus Aran, Naruto, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Bride from the Kill Bill films, Snake Plissken from the Escape from New York movies, and others. The document also detailed plans for an NBA collaboration, with the aforementioned sports mini game referred to as “a Fortnite version of arcade basketball.” This collaboration would also include a character skin for NBA player LeBron James.

Editors’ Choice




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