Microsoft pulls ‘Minecraft’ for Apple TV due to low demand

You probably didn’t have a hankering to build Minecraft worlds on your Apple TV, and Microsoft has quietly acknowledged that reality. The company recently started notifying players that it had stopped updating and supporting the Apple TV version of the game on September 24th in order to “reallocate resources to the platforms that our players use the most.” To phrase it differently, there weren’t enough people playing to justify the investment. The game will continue to work, including Marketplace purchases, but you won’t see new features. It’s not available in the App Store, either.

Via: The Verge

Source: Mac-Interactive (Twitter)

War Stories: Serious Sam almost didn’t happen—until crates saved the day

Video shot by Nikola Mosettig and edited by Lee Manansala. Click here for transcript. Ars would also like to extend special thanks to Croteam members Davor Hunski and Damjan Mravunac, who were instrumental in helping this video project come together.

Welcome to another edition of “War Stories,” where we coerce developers into talking about problems that almost kept them from making the games that made them famous. We’ve previously chatted with the likes of Ultima‘s Lord British, Thief’s Paul Neurath, and Stardock‘s Brad Wardell. Today’s video takes us across the Atlantic to Eastern Europe, to the offices of Croatian developer Croteam—the folks who brought us the classic FPS Serious Sam.

Serious Sam is a fast-paced explosion-fest, filled with Duke Nukem-esque one-liners and gibs galore. Released way back in 2001, the first game spawned a bloody dynasty that continues to this day and even has a

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Elder Scrolls Online will move to Metal from OpenGL

c/o Khronos

c/o Khronos

Apple’s move to deprecate OpenGL in favour of its own powerful Metal technologies caused the usual suspects to say the move would kill gaming on the Mac. They were wrong, at least according to the people behind The Elder Scrolls Online.

Games developers heavy on Metal

Apple prepared for the move to Metal early on – when it did it chose a standards-compliant way to make it a little easier for developers to move to Metal.

That’s when Khronos introduced open-source tools to port Vulkan applications to Apple’s platforms in early 2018. (You can read an interview I conducted at that time with Khronos Group President Neil Trevett).

Trevett told me that this support would let developers “bring their Vulkan-based applications to macOS and iOS with very little or no re-writing of the GPU compute and rendering functionality.”

Higher specs, higher performance

This appears to be the

PlayStation VR

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Facebook hopes to prove AR is more than selfie filters and games

As I’m surrounded by software engineers in a conference room with no natural light, playing augmented reality games on an iPhone, I forget for a second that I’m in Seattle visiting Facebook. Not Amazon or Microsoft. Facebook, a company that’s evolved from a simple social network to a full-on technology behemoth. Here, inside the largest engineering hub outside its Menlo Park headquarters, Facebook says people are working on many of the projects that will impact its 10-year roadmap and mission of “bringing the world closer together,” including Games, Groups, Messenger and, of course, ads. But I’m there to talk about one particular emerging technology that the company believes will be key to its future: augmented reality.

Logitech’s new mouse packs gaming prowess in a workplace-friendly design

Enlarge / The Logitech G Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse. (credit: Logitech)

Gaming hardware is not often known for the tastefulness of its design, but the $150 Logitech G Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse bucks that trend—you could use this in public without drawing any undue attention to yourself.

The new mouse has been designed with the feedback of more than 50 pro gamers—including a pro Overwatch team that used it when it won the first Overwatch League—to ensure a comfortable size and shape. The gaming cred shows in a few places: it has a new 16,000 dpi sensor that can track movement at over 400 inches per second to enable quick, precise motion, and it can report its motion up to 1,000 times per second to ensure low latencies. Its low weight (80 grams) and lack of cable mean that it can be thrown around effortlessly, enabling the fastest reactions.

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Valve’s “Steam Play” uses Vulkan to bring more Windows games to Linux

(credit: Aurich Lawson)

Valve announced today a beta of Steam Play, a new compatibility layer for Linux to provide compatibility with a wide range of Windows-only games.

We’ve been tracking Valve’s efforts to boost Linux gaming for a number of years. As of a few months ago, things seemed to have gone very quiet, with Valve removing SteamOS systems from its store. Last week, however, it became clear that something was afoot for Linux gaming.

The announcement today spells out in full what the company has developed. At its heart is a customized, modified version of the WINE Windows-on-Linux compatibility layer named Proton. Compatibility with Direct3D graphics is provided by vkd3d, an implementation of Direct3D 12 that uses Vulkan for high performance, and DXVK, a Vulkan implementation of Direct3D 11.

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Netflix tries bypassing Apple’s App Store for payments

Netflix is bypassing App Store for its recurring subscription fees. Currently, Netflix pays a 30 percent cut of first-year subscription fees to Apple and 15 percent for each recurring year. But now in 33 countries, TechCrunch reports that new or lapsed customers in places including Canada, Germany, Mexico and Poland will be asked to pay via mobile web rather than in-app. The streaming service did something similar on Android earlier this year.

Source: TechCrunch

‘Minecraft: Education Edition’ arrives on iPad in September

Minecraft: Education Edition is heading to the iPad and educators will have access to it starting next month. The education version of the game launched in 2016 and Microsoft says there are now 35 million licensed users in 115 countries. “Minecraft: Education Edition on iPad unlocks new and intuitive ways of collaborating and sharing and has revolutionized the way our students and teachers explore curriculum and projects,” Kyriakos Koursaris, head of education technology for PaRK International School, said in a statement. “The features allow for deep and meaningful learning, and the values it promotes, from inclusivity to 21st century skills, empower everyone to use technology with extraordinary results,” said Koursaris.

Source: Microsoft

Apple plans ‘Time Bandits’ remake as a new TV show

We still don’t know what to make of Apple’s original content TV plans, but Deadline reports that the latest series in development is an adaptation of the 1981 Terry Gilliam film Time Bandits. While the movie is already a cult classic, the potential of a trip through history with six dwarves on the run from the Supreme Being seems like an idea that you can stretch to a full season or three. Gilliam will reportedly be a “non-writing executive partner,” so we’ll see if the new creative team can live up to our nostalgia.

Source: Deadline

The best free and inexpensive mobile games

If you’re a gamer on a budget, you don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars on a console or $60 a pop on the latest triple-A titles. Chances are you already have a fantastic gaming machine in your pocket: your smartphone. While you won’t get the graphics of a high-end PC or the community of PSN, your phone can scratch that gaming itch for a fraction of the price.

Mobile-gaming titans keep ripping off indies

The word “casual” has long been flung out as an insult on video-game forums and social media. It’s deployed to belittle the interests of people who enjoy more relaxing experiences than gritty shooters, strategy-rich online games or time-sucking RPGs. Unsurprisingly, it’s most often hurled at anyone who says they like mobile games.

For Voodoo, “casual” isn’t an insult. It’s a cash cow.

Rash of Fortnite cheaters infected by malware that breaks HTTPS encryption

Enlarge (credit: Rainway)

Tens of thousands of Fortnite players have been infected by malware that hijacks encrypted Web sessions so it can inject fraudulent ads into every website a user visits, an executive with a game-streaming service said Monday.

Rainway CEO Andrew Sampson said in a blog post that company engineers first detected the mass infections last week when server logs reported hundreds of thousands of errors. The engineers soon discovered that the errors were the result of ads that somehow were injected into user traffic. Rainway uses a technique known as whitelisting that permits customers to connect only to approved URLs. The addresses hosting the fraudulent addresses—hosted on the adtelligent.com and springserve.com domains—along with unauthorized JavaScript that accompanied them made it clear the traffic was generated by malware infecting a large number of game players using the Rainway service.

“As the errors kept flowing in, we

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Dealmaster: The NES Classic comes back tonight—here’s where to get one [Updated]

Jeff Dunn

Update: Contrary to an initial statement we received from a GameStop representative, GameStop made the NES Classic Edition available online, both individually and through bundles, at 12am ET. As of 2am ET, however, individual consoles are no longer up for purchase on the site.

Best Buy, meanwhile, has the system available online as of 1:20am ET. We’ll continue to update this post as the device becomes available elsewhere.

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Valve removes game purchases from Steam Link’s iOS beta

Apple and Valve have been at an impasse for weeks over the release of Steam Link for iOS, but it looks like they might be closer to an arrangement… if not necessarily the one you’d hope for. TouchArcade has discovered that the latest beta test for Steam Link’s iOS edition removes purchasing from within the app. If you visit a game’s product page, the usual buying options are replaced with a notice that the content is “available for purchase from your PC.” You can use any existing funds in your wallet when you’re in the Steam Marketplace, but you can’t add funds.

Via: MacRumors

Source: TouchArcade

The new Mac App Store is inspired by iOS

Apple has revealed a redesigned Mac App Store at WWDC 2018, which takes clear design cues from the iOS version of the shop. You’ll notice right away that it now looks a lot like the one on your iPhone and iPad, featuring a “Discover” tab that will highlight a wide range of curated content, anything from “best apps” lists to tutorials and behind-the-scenes stories from developers. Ratings and reviews of applications are now front and center, too, while video previews are making its debut on the Mac App Store for the first time — that’s a feature that launched on iOS in 2014.

Lego is basically building AR ‘Sims’ for its playsets

Lego is infusing its bricks with digital magic in a series of new augmented reality experiences using Apple’s updated ARKit 2. The Lego AR experiences, due out later this year, combine real-world Lego buildings with digital landscapes. Build a physical Lego structure, such as the Assembly Square building that appeared on-stage at Apple’s WWDC 2018 conference, and hold up a tablet or phone running the AR app to see the entire thing come to life. Streets appear at its base, alongside trees, grass, digital buildings, little Lego people and cars.

Apple’s augmented reality is shared and persistent

Apple has been flirting with augmented reality for a bit. Now, the company is ready to take it to the next level. ARKit 2.0 is just that. Apple even tapped Pixar for a special file format, USDZ. Cupertino’s plans for AR go beyond just file formats, though. Using the new Measure app, you can take full measurements of an object using nothing but your iPhone’s camera. Lowe’s and Mercedes are probably frothing at the mouth for this update. Senior Vice President Craig Federighi used it to measure his college suitcase and a photo of him as a baby.

Op-ed: Game companies need to cut the crap—loot boxes are obviously gambling

Enlarge / Roulette is a particularly silly form of gambling. (credit: Yuki Shimazu / Flickr)

Game companies now lean heavily on loot boxes to monetize their products. Legislators around the world are threatening to impose regulations on the boxes, claiming that they’re gambling. Industry groups, however, insist that the boxes are not.

I play games that are funded with loot boxes. My favorite game of all time, Dota 2, is funded almost exclusively through loot boxes. Regulations that tightly restrict or absolutely prohibit loot boxes will definitely hurt the gaming industry and will hurt, perhaps even fatally, games I love. There will definitely be economic harm, and games companies will have to figure something out to fill the monetary gap. It’s no surprise that game companies are defending the practice.

But here’s the thing: loot boxes are gambling. The essential features of the transaction match those of gambling,

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