The Apple vs. Epic drama probably isn't over yet, but the courts have come to one conclusion. While it's far from the victory Epic may have hoped for, the court has issued an injunction against Apple that should at least allow developers to point customers to non-Apple payment options. It's a small bit of good news for iOS developers, but it leaves us in Android land wondering: How might this affect Google's Play Store billing enforcement changes, which are set to kick in at the end of this very month?
Children under the age of 13 can't create an unsupervised Google account for themselves. Instead, parents have to set up the accounts for them using Family Link, which is supposed to give them a lot of control over what apps and games kids can get, how much screentime they're allowed, and which websites they can visit. Parents can even get a streamlined overview of their kids' app usage à la Digital Wellbeing. But what does it feel like to sit on the receiving end of the system?
Yesterday, Apple issued a press release that stated the company was willing to make a handful of changes to the App Store to try to wiggle out of a lawsuit regarding the App Store's billing policies. While many are positioning these changes as some long-awaited reversal of the App Store's anticompetitive practices, the strict facts of the concession are much milder. Apple has merely agreed that developers can tell users they can make purchases outside the iOS app. That's it.
At the end of last month, it was revealed that Marvel Future Revolution would land on mobile on August 25th. That day is today, and so Marvel's latest free-to-play RPG is finally available on both Android and iOS. Much like how Genshin Impact, NieR Re[in]carnation, and Sky: Children of the Light raised the bar for the quality of mobile games, Marvel Future Revolution is a highly polished release, at least as far as the presentation goes. At its core, Future Revolution is a brawler, though RPG mechanics are included, which is where all those pesky free-to-play mechanics rear their ugly heads.
Back in June, the release date for the Android port of Northgard was revealed in a YouTube trailer. This popular indie strategy game had already made its way to iOS in April but is only just now landing on Android. Despite the late arrival, the Android port is pretty good, offering acceptable performance, a reworked UI for touchscreen play, and there's even optional DLC available for those looking to extend Northgard's RTS gameplay. It's an acceptable port that should offer hours of fun, and it's currently on sale for 30% off.
Contra is a classic run and gun shooter from Konami that has seen many followups since its debut in 1987 as an arcade game. It would seem Konami saw fit to lend the license to Tencent, so TiMi Studio developed a free-to-play interpretation of the classic sidescrolling shooter. It's called Contra Returns, and it's now available on the Play Store. As you can guess, this is a gacha game that's packed with in-app purchases, as well as a VIP system, and worse yet, user reviews are pretty negative thanks to the game's aggressive permissions.
We learned last week that the latest high-profile gacha game Punishing: Gray Raven would be coming to Android in North America, Europe, South-East Asia, and Australia on July 16th. Well, after a brief pre-load period over the last 24-hours, the game's servers are now live, which means the game is officially available. This is an action RPG, somewhat similar to miHoYo Limited's titles. Essentially the game offers Genshin Impact's graphical polish paired with Honkai Impact's gameplay. It's a sight to behold, though this is still a gacha game, so all of the downsides expected of the genre are here too.
Square Enix has announced that it will bring the Just Cause series to Android with the release of a free-to-play shooter titled Just Cause: Mobile. The game is slated for a 2021 release, though it will not be handled by Avalanche Studios (the devs behind the console and PC games) but will instead be developed by a new team led by Square Enix.
Punishing: Gray Raven is the latest hotly-anticipated gacha for mobile, all thanks to its super flashy graphics. This is a hack-and-slash action RPG, just like Genshin Impact (and its predecessor Honkai Impact), and it will be released in North America, Europe, South-East Asia, and Australia on July 16th, which is next week. The game is already a success in China and Japan, and so it has amassed 300K pre-registrations for its upcoming global release.