In this week’s news, Epic continues their legal war with Apple, toxic workplace allegations surface at Rocksteady Studios, and Oculus announces mandatory Facebook integration for all users.
Epic continues legal battle with Apple
In the latest development in the legal war between Apple and Epic Games, Apple revealed an email sent by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney to Apple CEO Tim Cook and several other Apple executives that laid out Epic’s plan to cut Apple out of payments in “Fortnite” on iPhone and iPad. The move to circumvent Apple’s App Store was a direct violation of the terms-of-service agreements Apple makes with app developers. Epic knew this, according to Sweeney’s letter, but proceeded regardless because of, “the firm belief that history and law are on [their] side.” As a response, Epic announced a Fortnite tournament taking place August 23rd where players will be able to compete to win anti-Apple prizes. Players who compete in the tournament have the opportunity to win an in-game skin of the evil-looking apple from their “1984” commercial parody, a “Free Fortnite” hat, and non-iOS gaming hardware, including an Alienware laptop, a Galaxy Tab S7, a OnePlus 8 phone, a PlayStation 4 Pro, an Xbox One X, or a Nintendo Switch. The Verge and Kotaku both wrote that Epic may be taking advantage of young gamers who don’t fully understand the situation, while NBC News noted that the lawsuit will likely take over a year to resolve.
Allegations of a toxic workplace surface at Rocksteady Studios
Rocksteady Studios, the London-based video game developer behind the Batman Arkham series and the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, has come under fire after the revelation the company did not take action when presented with stories of sexual harassment within the company. The Guardian published a report regarding a letter signed by over half of Rocksteady’s women employees back in November 2018 that alledged, among other things, a litany of sexual harassment issues experienced in the workplace. The letter raised issues about a workplace that included “slurs regarding the transgendered community” and “discussing a woman in a derogatory or sexual manner with other colleagues,” as well as “unwanted advances, leering at parts of a woman’s body, and inappropriate comments in the office.” IGN noted that these allegations come at a terrible time for the company as its latest game, Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League, is about to be released at the upcoming DC Fandome. The Verge noted that new allegations are still being raised via social media, and that the company will have to address them in some way in the very near future to avoid the controversy affecting sales of Suicide Squad.
Oculus announces mandatory Facebook login for all users
VR leader Oculus announced on Twitter and in a press release that any new users who join after October will need to log in with a Facebook account in order to access any of their features. While there’ll be a grace period for anyone with a separate Oculus account, Facebook will end support for those on January 1, 2023. The announcement was met with disdain by VR users on social media, with many pointing to a statement made by the founder of Oculus on Reddit in 2014 promising that users would never have log into Facebook when they wanted to use the Oculus Rift. Gizmodo and PC Gamer noted the overwhelmingly negative reaction on social media, rounding up several of the funniest or most negative tweets. Ars Technica published an opinion piece arguing that, “the Facebookening of Oculus VR is bad for users, devs, and competition.”