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      Epic’s new motion-capture animation tech has to be seen to be believed / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 23 March, 2023 - 12:33

    Would you believe that creating this performance took only minutes of video processing and no human tweaking?

    Enlarge / Would you believe that creating this performance took only minutes of video processing and no human tweaking? (credit: Ninja Theory / Epic )

    SAN FRANCISCO—Every year at the Game Developers Conference, a handful of competing companies show off their latest motion-capture technology, which transforms human performances into 3D animations that can be used on in-game models. Usually, these technical demonstrations involve a lot of specialized hardware for the performance capture and a good deal of computer processing and manual artist tweaking to get the resulting data into a game-ready state.

    Epic's upcoming MetaHuman facial animation tool looks set to revolutionize that kind of labor- and time-intensive workflow. In an impressive demonstration at Wednesday's State of Unreal stage presentation , Epic showed off the new machine-learning-powered system, which needed just a few minutes to generate impressively real, uncanny-valley-leaping facial animation from a simple head-on video taken on an iPhone.

    The potential to get quick, high-end results from that kind of basic input "has literally changed how [testers] work or the kind of work they can take on," Epic VP of Digital Humans Technology Vladimir Mastilovic said in a panel discussion Wednesday afternoon.

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      Get ready for a flood of self-published games on the Epic Games Store / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 9 March, 2023 - 16:54

    Epic Games Store Epic Games Store Epic Games Store Epic Games Store Epic Games Store Epic Games Store...

    Enlarge / Epic Games Store Epic Games Store Epic Games Store Epic Games Store Epic Games Store Epic Games Store... (credit: Epic)

    Epic has just made it much easier for small and individual developers to get their titles on the Epic Games Store. The company's self-publishing tools, which came out of closed beta Thursday , allow any developer to submit their game to Epic's platform for a $100-per-game fee.

    Since its late-2018 launch with a small, curated selection of games , the Epic Games Store has slowly expanded to include nearly 2,000 titles . But those games have been selected by Epic for inclusion based on a "high quality standard," as Epic's Tim Sweeney put it to Ars in 2019 , leading to the publication of a number of "how to get published on the Epic Games Store" tutorials.

    "We're not going to be that sort of venue [that accepts everything] because we don't think we can help those games to reach users," Sweeney told Ars in 2019. "So it's going to be driven by quality."

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      Why Roblox’s definition of “games” is key to the Epic vs. Apple case

      Kyle Orland · / ArsTechnica · Monday, 17 May, 2021 - 15:31

    Just some of the characters that don

    Enlarge / Just some of the characters that don't star in games anymore, according to Roblox.

    Roblox, the massively valued user-created gaming platform, has removed any mention of "games" from its user interface. It's a seemingly small semantic change that nonetheless could have some major implications in the ongoing Epic Games v. Apple trial .

    The Verge notes that what was once the "Games" tab on the Roblox website is now listed as "Discover" (though the URL still retains the old address). Individual games are now referred to as "experiences" across the website and the mobile Roblox apps, while the word "game" seems to have been scrubbed altogether.

    "The term 'experiences' is consistent with how we’ve evolved our terminology to reflect our realization of the metaverse," a Roblox spokesperson told The Verge. "Roblox is an online community where people do things together in virtual worlds, and over the years, we began referring to these worlds as experiences, as they better represent the wide range of 3D immersive places—from obbys [obstacle courses] to virtual concerts—that people can enjoy together with their friends."

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      Steam’s “price parity rule” isn’t wreaking havoc on game prices

      Kyle Orland · / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 13 May, 2021 - 10:45

    Monopoly control is a hot topic in the games industry these days. Lawsuits against Apple , Valve , and Sony all take slightly different tacks in arguing that these companies exercise unfair monopoly control over their platforms' market for downloadable games.

    Each suit also argues that this monopoly control leads to higher game prices for consumers. Platform holders charge higher commission fees than they would in a truly competitive environment, the arguments go, and those higher-than-normal publishing costs are passed on to consumers via higher-priced games.

    There's something intuitively appealing to the idea of game publishers trying to attract more market share by "passing on the savings" of lower storefront commissions by lowering the asking price for their games. In practice, though, prices for the same title tend to remain consistent across platforms, regardless of the competing platform holders' specific revenue cuts.

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      Epic takes its fight with Apple across the sea with new EU complaint

      Kate Cox · / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 17 February, 2021 - 17:51

    <em>Fortnite</em> on an iPhone... back when that was a thing.

    Enlarge / Fortnite on an iPhone... back when that was a thing. (credit: Savusia Konstantin | Getty Images )

    Epic Games, maker of Fortnite , is loading up a new map in its ongoing fight against Apple as it files an antitrust complaint against the mobile phone maker in the European Union.

    Epic alleges in its complaint that Apple uses its sole control over iOS apps to block competitors and benefit itself at developers' expense in violation of European competition law, the company said today.

    "What’s at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms," Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in a written statement. "We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field. It’s bad for consumers, who are paying inflated prices due to the complete lack of competition among stores and in-app payment processing. And it’s bad for developers, whose very livelihoods often hinge on Apple’s complete discretion as to who to allow on the iOS platform, and on which terms."

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      North Dakota lawmakers jump into Apple/Epic fight with new app store bill

      Kate Cox · / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 16 February, 2021 - 19:48 · 1 minute

    North Dakota

    Enlarge / North Dakota's capitol, in Bismarck, features convenient floral labeling. (credit: pabradyphoto | Getty Images )

    The North Dakota state Senate is jumping into a simmering feud between Apple and iOS software developers with a bill that would make it illegal for device makers to require to use their app stores and payment systems.

    The bill ( PDF ) has two main prongs. First, it would make it unlawful for companies such as Google and Apple to make their app stores the "exclusive means" of distributing apps on their platforms. Second, it would prohibit those providers from requiring third parties to use their digital transaction or in-app payment systems in their applications.

    The proposed law applies to app stores for which gross sales receipts to North Dakota residents exceed $10 million in a calendar year. It applies to any "general-purpose hardware," including tablets and smartphones, but it explicitly excludes "special-purpose digital application distribution platforms" such as gaming consoles, music players, and "other special-purpose devices connected to the internet." Thread that needle, and you're left with a pretty firm arrow pointing directly at Google's and Apple's mobile app platforms. (It could also apply to the Mac OS and Windows app stores for laptop and desktop computers, but those platforms are already less restrictive.)

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      Ce 17 décembre, Cities Skylines est offert gratuitement sur l&#8217;Epic Games Store

      Julien Lausson · / Numerama · Thursday, 17 December, 2020 - 16:30

    Cities Skylines

    À partir du 17 décembre et pour quinze jours, l'Epic Games Store offre un nouveau jeu vidéo chaque jour. Les joueurs et les joueuses n'ont alors que quelques heures pour s'en emparer, avant que l'offre n'expire. [Lire la suite]

    Voitures, vélos, scooters... : la mobilité de demain se lit sur Vroom !

    L'article Ce 17 décembre, Cities Skylines est offert gratuitement sur l’Epic Games Store est apparu en premier sur Numerama .

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      Spotify et Epic s&#8217;insurgent contre la baisse de la taxe Apple sur l&#8217;App Store

      Julien Lausson · / Numerama · Wednesday, 18 November, 2020 - 17:47

    App Store

    Ni Spotify ni Epic n'approuvent la baisse annoncée par Apple sur l'App Store pour les développeurs de petite et moyenne envergure. Et les deux entreprises le font savoir. [Lire la suite]

    Abonnez-vous à notre chaîne YouTube pour ne manquer aucune vidéo !

    L'article Spotify et Epic s’insurgent contre la baisse de la taxe Apple sur l’App Store est apparu en premier sur Numerama .

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      Apple can continue blocking iOS Fortnite as Epic Games trial moves forward

      Kyle Orland · / ArsTechnica · Monday, 12 October, 2020 - 15:14


    Enlarge / Artist's conception of competing lawyers from Apple and Epic Game focusing their legal arguments on the court. Metaphorically, of course.

    Apple can continue to block Epic Games' Fortnite from the iOS App Store as the parties move to a trial, Federal District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said in a ruling issued late Friday.

    In the 39-page ruling , Judge Rogers restates her previous finding that any harm Epic is currently facing to its Fortnite business, or to the game's reputation, is self-inflicted on Epic's part. The company brought about the current state of affairs when it issued a hotfix update offering a new Epic Direct Payments in-app purchase (IAP) system for Fortnite , a move that was in direct violation of its iOS App Store development contract with Apple.

    "In short, Epic Games cannot simply exclaim 'monopoly' to rewrite agreements giving itself unilateral benefit," Judge Rogers writes in denying Epic's request for an injunction restoring Fortnite to the App Store. "The current predicament is of its own making."

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