New Apple Guidelines Permit Payment Outside of App Store

Following an announcement in August that it had settled a class action lawsuit, Apple has introduced new App Store Review Guidelines. Specifically, Apple now permits its registered developers to communicate to customers how they may pay for iOS apps using payment means outside iOS and Apple’s App Store. The guidelines now explain developers may request customer information, including name and email, but must permit customers to provide that information at their discretion. The third change is how to use a new Apple feature called in-app events that Apple says is unrelated to litigation. Continue reading New Apple Guidelines Permit Payment Outside of App Store

USC Students Compete in Second ETC Metaverse Challenge

University of Southern California students were invited to participate in the second of two scheduled Metaverse Experience Challenges, hosted by ETC@USC. Making use of current and emerging tools, students were tasked with developing original ideas for compelling metaverse experiences. Ten teams started work at 1:00 pm on Friday, October 8 and presented their ideas to judges from Epic Games, Universal Pictures, Disney Studios, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud at 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 9. Each member of the winning teams — MetaversEdu and MetaMall — received a Nintendo Switch “Fortnite” Edition, courtesy of Epic Games. Continue reading USC Students Compete in Second ETC Metaverse Challenge

ETC Launches First of Two Metaverse Experience Challenges

University of Southern California students were invited to participate in the first of two scheduled Metaverse Experience Challenges, hosted by ETC@USC. Making use of current and emerging tools, students were tasked with developing original ideas for compelling metaverse experiences. Six teams of randomly-grouped students started work at 1:00 pm on Friday, October 1 and presented their ideas to judges from Epic Games, Universal Pictures and Disney Research at 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 2. Each member of the winning teams — Meetaverse and Virtual Vinyl — received a Nintendo Switch “Fortnite” Edition, courtesy of Epic Games. Continue reading ETC Launches First of Two Metaverse Experience Challenges

Equinix and ETC Present ‘Virtual Production at Cloud Speed’

Global data center leader Equinix and the Entertainment Technology Center at USC will present a series of discussions that address virtual production and cloud workflows across various media and broadcast industries. The free webinar is slated for September 23 and will feature thought leaders from AWS, Epic Games, Equinix, ETC@USC, Google, Lux Machina, Mo-Sys Engineering, Paramount Pictures, PGA Tour Productions, Quintar, Silverdraft, and T&P Productions. Visit the webinar page online for more information and to register for what promises to be a compelling event. Continue reading Equinix and ETC Present ‘Virtual Production at Cloud Speed’

Judge Loosens Apple Stranglehold on App Developer Profits

Apple’s notoriously strict terms of doing business in its App Store appear to be loosening. A federal judge has ordered the company to allow developers to offer customers alternative payment methods after ruling that all payments go through Apple violate California’s unfair competition laws. Apple is ordered to within 90 days begin allowing developers to include in their apps payment links to processors other than the App Store. Developers now see a path to avoid handing Apple commissions of up to 30 percent for handling sales through the $100 billion online market.  Continue reading Judge Loosens Apple Stranglehold on App Developer Profits

‘Vans World’ Opens Shop in the Metaverse via Gamer Roblox

Lifestyle apparel firm Vans has teamed with Roblox to bring skateboard destination “Vans World” to the online gamer’s vast audience. The creator of iconic footwear for boarders of all stripes is the latest brand to plant its flag in the metaverse, where kids are spending increasingly large chunks of time. Sony Music Entertainment, Gucci, BMG, Warner Bros. Pictures, Hasbro and Nike are among the firms that have partnered with Roblox, a global social platform with its own currency that in Q2 reported more than 42 million daily users who create and share immersive 3D experiences. Continue reading ‘Vans World’ Opens Shop in the Metaverse via Gamer Roblox

Apple Allows Reader Apps to Use Outside Payment Systems

After an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), Apple agreed to let Netflix, Spotify and some other companies use payment methods outside Apple’s App Store when users sign up for subscriptions. Analysts dub the move a “strategic retreat” from what has been a huge source of revenue for Apple. During Epic Games’ lawsuit against the tech giant, lawyers revealed that 81 percent of the App Store’s 2016 revenue came from games, 3 percent from music and 4 percent from other forms of entertainment. Continue reading Apple Allows Reader Apps to Use Outside Payment Systems

South Korea to Let Consumers Select App Payment Provider

South Korea is on the verge of becoming the first country to initiate legislation that would provide consumers with the choice of which app payment provider to use. The Telecommunications Business Act, which is “almost certain” to pass a vote in the assembly, could end the “effective duopoly” of Apple and Google. It would also enable companies like Epic Games to transact directly with users and avoid hefty commissions charged by those two companies. In the U.S., Apple and Google face legislative actions and an Epic Games lawsuit. Continue reading South Korea to Let Consumers Select App Payment Provider

Apple Makes Changes for App Developers, News Publishers

Facing increased regulatory scrutiny, Apple announced significant changes to its App Store, enabling developers to inform customers about ways to pay outside the App Store and expanding prices they can offer for subscriptions as well as in-app purchases and paid apps. The company settled a class-action lawsuit with software developers and is expecting a judgment in a suit filed by Epic Games over many of the same issues. Apple’s move is the biggest it’s ever made in response to developers alleging anticompetitive behavior. The company separately announced plans to cut its commission rate for publishers on Apple News. Continue reading Apple Makes Changes for App Developers, News Publishers

Senate Measure Could Impact Developers, App Store Models

The U.S. Senate introduced the Open App Markets Act to give consumers more control over their devices; stop app stores from ‘disadvantaging’ developers and allow them to inform consumers about lower prices and offer competitive pricing; improve the ability of startup apps, third-party app stores and payment services to compete; require devices to allow ‘sideloading’ of apps; and continue to protect privacy, security and safety of consumers. If voted into law, the Act could end Apple and Google’s monopoly over the app ecosystem. Continue reading Senate Measure Could Impact Developers, App Store Models

SIGGRAPH 2021: AWS on Next Steps for Content Production

At this week’s SIGGRAPH 2021, Amazon Web Services (AWS) chief technology officer for media & entertainment Eric Iverson spoke with some top technologists and artists about future trends in content production. With COVID-19, the media industry was forced to find ways to work remotely, which jumpstarted the move to the cloud for production and CG pipelines. Now, he said, “we’re seeing three big trends: the rise of remote production, the acceleration of production pipelines and the need to keep costs under control.” Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2021: AWS on Next Steps for Content Production

NEP Acquires Companies to Open Virtual Production Division

NEP Group is buying three companies in order to offer virtual production (VP) services for films, TV and interactive exhibits. Prysm Collective, Lux Machina and Halon Entertainment will form NEP Virtual Studios, a new division that, says NEP Group chief strategy officer Carrie Galvin, will be “a technical and creative services partner for content creators around the globe.” She added that NEP’s existing virtual production tools “start at the creative stage” and include special effects, augmented reality, and LED stages. Continue reading NEP Acquires Companies to Open Virtual Production Division

Facebook Posts Strong Earnings, Plans Its Metaverse Future

In Q2 2021, social giant Facebook’s profit doubled from a year earlier to $10.39 billion and revenue rose 56 percent to $29.08 billion, both numbers beating Wall Street expectations. Shares fell 3+ percent in after-hours trading, however, when Facebook predicted that revenue growth will slow for the rest of the year. Through the end of Q2, its stock has grown 22 percent. The company also said that Apple’s privacy changes in the new iOS will have a stronger impact in the current quarter as more users update their iOS devices. Meanwhile, Facebook continues to eye its metaverse future. Continue reading Facebook Posts Strong Earnings, Plans Its Metaverse Future

Korean Virtual Production Stage Features Samsung’s The Wall

Samsung has partnered with CJ ENM, a major Korean entertainment media production company to build a virtual production facility in South Korea. CJ ENM, which previously inked a deal with Epic Games to use its Unreal Game engine, will rely on Samsung’s next-generation MicroLED display, also known as “The Wall.” The facility will open later this year in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. Because of the savings offered to film and television via virtual production, the Göteborg Film Festival predicted it will be the norm in filmmaking in five years. Continue reading Korean Virtual Production Stage Features Samsung’s The Wall

Latest Multi-State Antitrust Lawsuit Targets Google Play Store

Alphabet’s Google is being sued by a group of 36 states and the District of Columbia that claim the Big Tech company abuses its market dominance with the Google Play Store. Although it is the fourth such state or federal antitrust lawsuit filed against Google since October, this lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is the first to take aim directly at the tech giant’s app store. The other suits have focused on search and advertising. California, Utah, North Carolina, New York and Tennessee lead this suit. Continue reading Latest Multi-State Antitrust Lawsuit Targets Google Play Store