Culture News

Fortnite Versus Apple: Battle of the Microtransactions

Epic Games takes on Apple and Google in a landmark battle royale.

Epic Games

Sometimes the biggest boss battles in video games aren't the ones that play out onscreen.

Currently, the mobile gaming industry is in the midst of a reckoning. Epic Games, the video game publishing and development company behind Fortnite, has gone to war against Apple. And to anyone who thinks that a legal battle between major tech companies sounds boring: Buckle up, because this one's spicy.

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This Content Is Dangerous: Trauma in the Age of YouTube

Digital space is both the crime scene and respite.

Remember when a great concern of the zeitgeist was whether playing violent video games would encourage violent behavior?

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Why YouTube Creators Want You to Boycott YouTube

The #YoutubeWalkout movement is hoping to get YouTube to remove a controversial provision from their terms of service

Photo by: Szabo Viktor / Unsplash

There is corruption in the government, the Middle East is in turmoil, and YouTube creators are mad at YouTube.

Any day you choose to read that sentence, all of those statements will continue to be true. And in a lot of cases the anger at YouTube is unjustified or misguided. Their algorithm is way too complicated to expect an easy fix. Conservatives who shout about bias and censorship because of demonetized videos are ignoring the equal weight of demonetization across the political spectrum. And while copyright strikes are often frivolous and harmful, that is fraught legal territory that YouTube can't be expected to navigate perfectly—though hopefully they're working to improve. But the YouTube Walkout this week is different, because in the latest issue there's not a lot of room to give YouTube the benefit of the doubt. In this case, they definitely suck.

About a month ago YouTube updated their terms of service to include, among other things, a clause stipulating that if your channel was deemed "no longer commercially viable," they could "terminate your access or your Google account's access to all or part of the service." The absurdly vague terms involved have been interpreted in any number of ways, any one of which could reflect YouTube's actual intent. Are they setting things up to delete Neo-Nazi accounts and channels devoted to traumatizing children? Or the collected crust of weird pseudo-p*rn living in their loopholes? Or are they preparing to oust creators who make their money through Patreon and your 12-year-old cousin who makes Pokemon-unboxing videos?

The truth is, it doesn't really matter what their intentions are. The language is so vague that they can decide to turn it against anyone they want to down the road. Maybe next week there will be a purge of white supremacists, but the week after Youtube could use this clause to delete accounts that are critical of the government, or accounts that are critical of Youtube itself.

Considering the number of legitimate, hard-working creators whose livelihoods are tied to their YouTube accounts, it's no wonder there's been a backlash. That's why you might not see so many new videos this week, particularly from YouTubers with a political bent. Creators are participating in a Youtube walkout from December 10-13. And they're asking you to participate by staying off the site until this weekend. If enough of us can stave off our Youtube addiction by just opening a book—or, you know, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Veoh, Twitch…—we may be able to push YouTube to treat their creators better and maintain the openness that we love about their platform.

So please—just until Saturday—stay off YouTube.

Screenshot from Fortnite Season 6 Battle Pass - Now with Pets! / Fortnite /

Season 6 of Fortnite starts today. Here's a rundown of all the updates:

One thing that will stay the same is how the usual Weekly Challenges will be broken up into Free Challenges and Battle Pass Challenges. Before Season 5, Weekly Challenges were only accessible to players with a Battle Pass — now, there will be three Challenges for both pass holders and non-pass holders.

However, the Challenges themselves will present new gameplay. For example, you'll have the option to regain health from a Cozy Campfire in a Free Challenge. Other Free Challenges will include Pickup a Legendary Item in Different Matches and Stage 1: Search Chests. Battle Pass Challenges will include Apply Shields, Stage 1: Land at Junk Junction, Dance Under Streetlight Spotlights, and Eliminate Opponents in different locations.

After completing three Challenges, the player will unlock a mystery loading screen that contains a secret Battle Star. After completing four, the player obtains a bonus of 4,000 XP. Completing extra Challenges will gain you extra XP and Battle Stars, helping you to level up more quickly and encounter free loot, including skins, emotes, gliders, and pickaxes.

The new Battle Pass will include 100 levels and over 100 rewards. Battle Passes will cost 950 V-Bucks, available for purchase either directly in-game or earned through playtime. To gain more V-Bucks, prices in USD include: 1,000 V-Bucks for $9.99, 2,500 for $24.99, and 6,000 V-Bucks for $59.99.

Other than the new Battle Pass, the update will include Pets, little creatures that will travel with you on your adventures. Also introduced are Shadow Stones, new consumables that can be found around the map, which will also be updated. Players will be able to find floating islands, growing crops, and approaching storms.

Fortnite will also introduce a new enemy to its Save The World mode: Riot Husky, a zombie-like masked figure who carries around a refrigerator door for protection. Also, there will be a Cram Session mini-event to earn additional rewards. Other updates will fix general issues and bugs to enhance gameplay.

Amber Wang is a freelancer for Popdust, Gearbrain and various other sites. She is also a student at NYU, a photographer and a marketing intern.

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