The board’s two landlord representatives asked for an increase of 2 percent on one-year leases and 5 percent on two-year agreements. The tenant representatives supported freezing rent increases on all leases. Neither of these proposals managed to get the necessary five votes.Leah Goodridge, a supervising attorney with the Housing Project at Mobilization for Justice and one of the board’s tenant representatives, said while she doesn’t doubt that landlords are hurting from the pandemic, “one person’s business venture” shouldn’t be compared to tenants’ “literal survival.” She said that as the only African American member of the board, she was concerned about the silence around the pain expressed through protests across the country, while the board put too much emphasis on the “pain of landlords losing money” and not on hardships faced by minority tenants.Prior to the final vote, tenant advocate groups had called for the rollback of rents by 2 and 3 percent on one-year and two-year agreements, respectively. In its 50-year history, the board has never decreased rents in this way.The freeze is the third during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s six and a half years in office; the first two were in 2015 and 2016 for one-year leases. Wednesday marked the first time the board approved a freeze for any portion of two-year leases.The decision was in line with the board’s preliminary vote last month. But even before that, a freeze seemed likely. De Blasio had repeatedly called on the board to forgo increases, and even one of the board’s landlord representatives acknowledged the logic of freezing rents on one-year leases, though she bristled at the idea of doing so for two-year leases.Ahead of the final vote, Scott Walsh, a project director at Lendlease and one of two landlord representatives on the board, criticized the voting process as “little more than a theater” that was manipulated by the mayor. He said the RGB’s public members didn’t adequately understand the issues surrounding rental housing nor their duty to property owners.“Public members must understand: Owners are members of the public, and you have an obligation to them through your service on this board,” he said. He went on to call on property owners to “continue the dialogue with public members and to write and communicate with them often to tell their stories.”“When you are wondering how you are going to pay your increased property tax bill on July 1 this year and avoid an 18 percent penalty for any late payment, call the public members,” he said. “When tenants with jobs elect to not pay rent or assert false claims against you, call the public members. When your insurance carrier won’t renew your policy … Call the public members often, make yourselves heard at their workplaces.”Tenant representative Sheila Garcia called Walsh’s comments “tone deaf” and rejected the idea that the board is made up of “puppets,” noting that some public members voted against her and Goodridge’s proposal to freeze rent increases on all leases.Although the board’s landlord representatives ultimately proposed increases, the industry had shown little hope that the quasi-legislative body would approve anything other than a freeze. In fact, the Rent Stabilization Association sent over its statement in reaction to the vote nine hours before it occurred.In the statement, Joseph Strasburg, the landlord group’s president, called Rent Guidelines Board members the mayor’s “puppets” for authorizing an “unjustifiable rent freeze under the guise of pandemic relief.”“Typical de Blasio pandemic politics, denying owners of small buildings, mostly immigrants and people of color, the rent revenue needed to operate their buildings, finance capital improvements, infuse jobs and revenue into their neighborhoods, and pay property taxes that he raises every year,” his statement said. “They ignored the fact that New Yorkers received government stimulus and enhanced unemployment benefits, and that hundreds of thousands of households are either already back to work or returning in the weeks ahead.”He also said City Hall should freeze property taxes. The City Council is considering two bills that would defer tax payments.Over the last three months, the rent board held its meetings and hearings remotely, a process that some criticized for potentially excluding tenants who lacked access to the technology necessary to participate.In its own reports, the board projected that increases of 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent for one-year leases and 3.3 percent to 6.75 percent for two-year leases would be needed to maintain net operating income for landlords of rent-stabilized buildings. According to one of the board’s reports, net operating income declined by 0.6 percent from 2017 to 2018, to $535 monthly per apartment — the first drop since 2003. The board’s reports are considered a starting point for the members’ deliberations on allowable rent increases.The stakes this year — amid a crisis that killed thousands of New Yorkers — were considerably higher for board members, all of whom are de Blasio appointees. They were voting not only during a period of mass unemployment, but just one year after the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 shook the rent-regulation landscape.Before the pandemic, many in the industry thought the board would feel additional pressure to increase rents, given the rent law’s elimination of other mechanisms used by landlords to do so, including vacancy bonuses and high-rent decontrol. The law also curtailed owners’ ability to increase rents after completing apartment and building-wide renovations. Chair David Reiss noted that it was still too early to fully understand the financial impact of the pandemic and rent law on the city’s rental market, but the board would study the issue over the next year.The law, along with guidance issued by the state’s housing regulator last year, created confusion over whether increases approved by the rent board could be applied to vacancy leases. The board didn’t explicitly address the issue Wednesday night, though Reiss said at the beginning of the hearing that guidelines applied to leases that commenced or were renewed on or after Oct.1.Deborah Riegel, an attorney at Rosenberg & Estis, said she had no expectation that the rent freeze would lead the board to compensate landlords with larger increases after the pandemic. She pointed to the fact that the board approved freezes twice in recent years without a pandemic taking hold of the city.“I’d like to hope it will be taken up next year, when presumably we will be in a different place in terms of the crisis, but I don’t know,” she said. “The problem is, it’s not a single occurrence.”Write to Kathryn Brenzel at [email protected] TagsPoliticsRent Guidelines Boardrent regulation Share via Shortlink The decision was in line with the board’s preliminary vote last month. (iStock)For the next year, landlords cannot automatically increase rents on stabilized apartments.The Rent Guidelines Board voted 6-3 Wednesday night to freeze rents for one-year leases and for the first year of two-year leases. During the second year of two-year agreements, landlords can bump rent up by 1 percent. The board approved a freeze on stabilized hotel units as well.Read moreRent-stabilized housing income falls for the first time in ages: report Landlord, tenant groups clash at RGB hearing over potential rent increases Notorious RGB? Rent panel under microscope during pandemic Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink
Brooklyn’s home sales dipped in Q3, but the median home price was above $900K (iStock)The pandemic paradox is holding strong in Brooklyn: Even though the number of homes sold has dipped dramatically from last year, prices remain higher.An analysis of third-quarter property sales by The Real Deal found that the one- to three-family market in Brooklyn suffered a massive slowdown, with the overall number of deals dropping by 57 percent year-over-year.From July to September, 582 sales closed in the borough, totaling $660 million. That’s down from 1,356 totaling $1.4 billion in the same period last year. That was also a 20 percent drop from the second quarter, when 727 homes were sold.While market activity was slow, pricing remained high: The median Brooklyn sale price in the third quarter was $902,000, up 3.8 percent from a year ago.The average price per square foot rose even more, up 4.3 percent to $480. Prices rose in part because the supply of available homes fell.The priciest neighborhoods were very similar to the second quarter, with Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Park Slope and Prospect Heights topping the list.The drop in sales volume is a reflection of the city’s Covid-19 lockdown, which started in March and put the kibosh on home tours for several months. Although in-person showings resumed in June, the closing process on homes usually takes 30 to 45 days, so while there may well be an uptick in sold homes in the fourth quarter — the number of signed contracts was up in August — any sales gains have yet to be reflected in the data.The most expensive sale in Brooklyn’s one- to three-family home market during the third quarter was a single-family townhouse at 314 Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights. The three-story, five-bedroom home closed for $5.9 million, or at a 13 percent discount from the initial asking price of $6.795 million, according to StreetEasy.Read moreSuburban housing market surged in August while Manhattan trailedManhattan is cold, the suburbs and Brooklyn are hot: Here’s what the resi market looked like in JulyAs Manhattan struggles, Brooklyn’s sales market is “booming” Full Name* Contact Akiko Matsuda TagsbrooklynHousing MarketResidential Real Estate Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Message* Email Address* Share via Shortlink
Tagsjorge perez Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Full Name* Message* Email Address* Share via Shortlink Jon Paul Pérez and Jorge PérezUPDATED, Oct. 21, 12:45 p.m.: Jon Paul Pérez was named president of the Related Group, taking over some leadership of the company from his father, Jorge Pérez.Jorge, who founded the Miami-based real estate giant in 1979, will stay on as chairman and CEO when Jon Paul becomes president in November, according to a release.Billionaire developer Jorge Pérez, known as the Miami condo king, has spoken about his succession plan in the past. Both Jon Paul and his brother Nick worked for the Related Companies in New York before joining the Related Group. Jon Paul joined in 2012, while Nicholas joined in 2018. Last year, Matt Allen, Related’s executive vice president and COO, said Jorge would hand over some control in 2020 and the firm said Jon Paul was expected to become CEO within the next year.Jorge Pérez said in the release that Jon Paul “brings the same tireless energy that defined my early years,” as well as “a new way of thinking that will expand the business far beyond anything I could’ve imagined.”The Related Group is South Florida’s most prolific condo builder. The company, which is moving its headquarters from downtown Miami to Coconut Grove, has also grown its mixed-use, commercial and affordable housing divisions over the years, expanding to other parts of Florida, the Southwestern U.S., and Latin America.Jon Paul, who was most recently promoted to executive vice president, has increasingly taken the lead on developments over the past two years, including Residences by Armani/Casa, Wynwood 25, The Bradley in Wynwood (now known as Domio Wynwood), the company’s proposed Terminal Island development, and a new project proposed in downtown Miami. He will also be working with Related executives on Solemar, a luxury condo planned for Pompano Beach; the Ritz-Carlton Tampa; SLS Tulum; and affordable housing projects throughout Miami-Dade, according to the release.In 2017, Jorge Pérez, who got his start in affordable housing, told The Real Deal he expected both sons to lead the firm when the time was right.“I would hope that in the future they would be in the leadership of the company when they’re ready,” he said. “And [when] I’m ready.”An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Jorge Pérez was handing over the title of president. Contact Katherine Kallergis
Sniper Elite franchise reaches 10 million soldRebellion is planning a month of celebratory content James BrightmanWednesday 30th September 2015Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleRebellionTactical shooter Sniper Elite was first released in 2005, and today independent UK developer Rebellion proudly announced that the series has reached 10 million sales worldwide. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “Whether you’ve bought one or whether you’ve bought all of our Sniper Elite products, thank you very much for supporting indie development in the UK,” said Rebellion CEO and Co-founder Jason Kingsley. “It’s been a pleasure to deliver great games for you and hopefully we’ll go on to do more in the future.” To celebrate the sales milestone and a decade of Sniper Eliter development, Rebellion said it’s “planning a month of special celebratory content, including new videos, livestreams, giveaways and more, starting today with a live video ‘AMA’ with developers from the original Sniper Elite game released a decade ago.”Additionally, there will be a number of sales on different platforms. On Steam this week, for example, the entire Sniper Eliter Trilogy is being discounted by 81 percent, and in Europe the PlayStation Store is offering discounts on on the PS4 editions of Sniper Elite 3 (regular and ultimate edition).Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesRebellion launches board games divisionUK developer and publisher will kick off new business with tabletop version of Sniper EliteBy James Batchelor A year agoOliver Twins leaving Rebellion to start own consultancy firmPair prepare to move on after overseeing transition of former studio into Rebellion WarwickBy Haydn Taylor 2 years agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyIan O’Hare3 years ago @Luke Parkes: I was thinking the same thing. I found it hard to get into the games industry back in 2007. There was so much competition already.I think the reason why companies push so hard for more graduates than they can handle is basically to leverage supply and demand. The more the supply the lower salaries they can pay. Video games graduates have more than doubled in five years“We need to continue to increase the supply of highly skilled games graduates,” says TIGA CEOHaydn TaylorSenior Staff WriterThursday 1st March 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleTIGAThe number of students graduating with a video game degree has doubled in the past five years, according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).Since 2012/13, the number has leapt 116 per cent, up from 595 graduates to 1,290. However, these figures to not include students studying video game art and animation courses.The growth in graduates is accompanied by growth in the sector as a whole. According to trade body TIGA, the video games industry is growing at 7 per cent per annum, with the majority of new roles requiring people with university education and industry-ready skills.TIGA’s CEO, Dr Richard Wilson welcomed the news, saying there was a high demand for skilled graduates given the industry’s continuing growth. “Universities have different success rates when it comes to graduates securing roles in our industry,” he said.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “The TIGA University Accreditation System was introduced to recognise the very best undergraduates and postgraduate university courses, enabling students and industry to find those courses that are developing industry-ready graduates and strengthening the link between industry and academia. “18 universities have secured TIGA University Accreditation status. Up to 67 per cent of graduates on some TIGA Accredited courses are securing jobs in the games industry.”We need to continue to increase the supply of highly skilled games graduates, encourage more women to consider a career in the sector and work with our universities to ensure that the UK is the best place in the world to develop video games.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesConsole remains largest employer of development staff in the UKOnly 13% of UK studios have console development as their primary focus, but it still represents 46% of the workforce in the country, TIGA saysBy Marie Dealessandri 5 months agoGrowth in UK games industry fastest ever recordedGames development headcount is at an all-time high of 18,279 in the UKBy Marie Dealessandri 6 months agoLatest comments (2)Luke Parkes Senior Technical Designer, Bohemia Interactive3 years ago “We need to continue to increase the supply of highly skilled games graduates”You really don’t. If anything, the number of graduates needs to be reduced for the benefit of those in that field of study.There are already far too many graduates in games orientated fields (by my own rough estimate closer to 2500 when you take art and animation into account).There are less than 10,000 people total in full time employment in some sort of development vocation within the UK games industry (https://ukie.org.uk/research). How many of those 10,000 positions are going to be an open-vacancies for graduates in a given year? Certainly not one-in-four, and probably considerably less than one-in-ten. That’s a massive excess of graduates with nowhere to go (except perhaps abroad, but Brexit may well see an end to that).The industry growing at a rate of 7% per annum isn’t going to anywhere near enough to make space for the ever-growing volume of graduates. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Edited 3 times. Last edit by Lindsay Cox on 3rd December 2018 11:05am 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. 2 years ago The tiers should be exactly the other way around! Ubi, EA, etc. don’t need that money. Indies do! Like being able to share sales data though. Valve adds revenue share tiers for developersOther updates include confidentiality clarification to allow developers to share their own sales dataRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterSaturday 1st December 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleValveValve announced today it has updated its Steam Distribution Agreement with a number of small changes as well as two much larger ones, including a new revenue share tier system that offers a higher revenue share to developers who meet certain sales thresholds.Currently, Valve’s revenue share for Steam developers is the industry strandard 70 percent to the developer, 30 percent to the platform. Beginning with sales on October 1, 2018, a new tier system will take effect. Games that make over $10 million in total sales (including games, DLC, in-game sales, and community marketplace game fees) will switch to a 75/25 revenue share for sales beyond that mark, and games that make over $50 million will switch to an 80/20 share.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “The value of a large network like Steam has many benefits that are contributed to and shared by all the participants,” reads Valve’s blog post on the subject. “Finding the right balance to reflect those contributions is a tricky but important factor in a well-functioning network. It’s always been apparent that successful games and their large audiences have a material impact on those network effects so making sure Steam recognizes and continues to be an attractive platform for those games is an important goal for all participants in the network.”In addition, Valve has updated its confidentiality agreement to make it clear that developers are permitted to sell sales data about their own games with other developers, third-parties, or anyone else as they like.Other, minor changes include clarifying language to reflect GDPR, and basic VR safety warranties.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesWolfire Games files antitrust lawsuit against ValveThe developer argues that Valve uses its dominant position on the PC market to “exploit publishers and consumers”By Marie Dealessandri 12 days agoValve blocks Super Seducer 3 from SteamMultiple product reviews left Valve at “an impasse” with seduction game creator Richard LeRuinaBy Matthew Handrahan A month agoLatest comments (8)Dariusz G. Jagielski Game Developer 2 years ago Activison/Blizzard, EA, and Ubisoft have very reliable platforms to launch and patch their games. If Bethesda is behind then that is no argument for everybody to go back to Steam exclusivity.The rise of Discord and the way it helps organize communities of all sizes is the best proof that beyond selling and copy-locking games all PC store fronts and platforms are hot garbage. Forget about patches to make games playable, without Discord, Teamspeak, etc. plenty of games would be very unplayable. Voice chat and group management is rudimentary at best, even in games designed to transition endgame players into highly social experiences. I am sure six months from now Bioware will be wondering why people quit Anthem after completing the solo content and resign to the fact that players are that way, when in fact the biggest hurdle to Anthem’s success will be getting people to connect to Discord and helping them find a group of people to play with.Jim Sterling’s product is not helping indies who deserve to make more sales. His product is entertainment. Dressing in a skin-tight purple suit with face paint might give it away sometimes. So stop sending codes, dress in a shiny green skin tight suit and challenge him to a wrestling match determining the quality of your product. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyDariusz G. Jagielski Game Developer 2 years ago @Tudor Nita: They do so anyway and any large launch outside of Steam was a hot mess. Just look at recent Falout 76 debacle. I doubt they try an “out-of-Steam” release in future, incentives or not. The Steam is literally the only game in town (well, there’s also GOG but it requires you to drop DRM and Ubi/EA/etc. will never do this). Origin access is a joke and so is Uplay.Not only that, the big companies will STILL want more. They won’t do any business with steam as long as they get anything less than 100% of the revenue.Meanwhile, reversing the scheme would help struggling indies and would generate a lot of good publicity. Not to mention in all normal countries it is the rich who pay the bigges taxes. 2 years ago @Tudor Nita: Excuse me? Indies get good value out of Steam? Tell that to the devs of hundreds of objectively good games (bug free, fun and so on) that gets no reviews where asset flips and games by shady developers are getting the spotlight, not thanks in the least to SidAlpha and Jim Sterling. While I appreciate the work of both, I feel like they’re doing way too little to highlight good, unheard of games.And maybe Fallout 76 itself would be a mess on Steam, but at least wouldn’t delete users’ files and uninstall correctly!Not to mention the only game that’s is doing good outside Steam is Fortnite, but it’s mostly because it’s Fortnite. Other titles on Epic Launcher (UE4 excluded as it’s an engine not a game) aren’t doing that great. For example, few years back Epic decided to make an entirely new Unreal Tournament game. Some sites wrote about it, some maps were made and then the thing just died off silently.And here’s the kicker: Those objectively good games that gets no reviews and no CAU? Their developers are likely never to make other games while ilk of DigiHom gets to profit. These small creators needs every dollar they can get to stay in the business and make good games. And AAA games are a tripe nowadays anyway, maybe with the exception of CDPR. Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tudor Nita on 3rd December 2018 8:33am 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyKlaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyTudor Nita Lead Programmer, Gameloft Romania2 years ago @Dariusz G. Jagielski: Far from wanting to argue here but it’s weird how devs. & consumers are roughly the same when it comes to asking for stuff.3 years ago, to be listed next to The Elder Scrolls would have been the bees-knees. Granted, there are way more titles on steam now, but you still get enough eyeballs when compared to any other platform available today. Yes, it’s not an instant success but the value proposition is there. It’s up to the devs. to make something of it.You, also, just hit the nail on the head. Shovelware would be the first to benefit from lower rates.At the end of the day, Valve does what is best for its bottom line, as it should. It’s not an indie store-front, it’s a multibillion-dollar business. From that POV, this was a smart move. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyTudor Nita Lead Programmer, Gameloft Romania2 years ago @Dariusz G. Jagielski: It’s not about need. You can think of it as a form of local tax-incentive for large factories. A way to make sure they come to your city and stay there. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyShow all comments (8)Tudor Nita Lead Programmer, Gameloft Romania2 years ago @Dariusz G. Jagielski: Yes, F64 was a mess. Would of been the same mess on steam quite frankly. On the other hand Epic did well, Blizz is making moves of their own, etc.That’s a segment you want to keep around and extract money out of. Yes they will want more but I do not see an issue with that. Eventually this will trickle down to the smaller, less interesting publishers. That is, if steam decides that it won’t make shovelware even more of a problem.Imho, indies still get good value out of steam. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyLindsay Cox Games Programmer, Mediatonic2 years ago @Dariusz G. Jagielski: The unfortunate fact is that there are so many lacklustre indie games going to the store that make Valve peanuts compared to these guys, so there is no business reason to give that end of the market the same treatment. Even with this cut, Valve are still gonna make a killing of Rockstar, Squenix, etc rather than Platform Jump Man 2 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyDariusz G. Jagielski Game Developer
London Games Festival names Ensemble 2019 exhibitorsExhibition highlights work by industry creatives from black, asian, and minority ethnic backgroundsHaydn TaylorSenior Staff WriterTuesday 2nd April 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareThe London Games Festival has today launched Ensemble, an exhibition highlighting work by games industry creatives from BAME (black, asian, minority ethnic) backgrounds. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Curated by Sharna Jackson, Ensemble brings together work from UK industry talent, looking at their careers with reference to concept art, sketches, design documents, prototypes and more.The exhibition will feature work from Hutch Games UI/UX designer Anisa Sanusi, freelance game and narrative designer Brenden Gibbons, Bunnyhug Games co-founder Luciana Nascimento, Biome collective founder Malath Abbas, Asobi.tec founder Quang Nguyen, Six To Start producer Ranjani Natarajan; Xbox Interactive presenter Shay Thompson, and Sumo Digital level designer Zi Peters. Debuting today and tomorrow at Somerset House, tickets to the exhibition are free.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesActivision no longer working with Call of Duty actor after hateful sexist commentsA video resurfaced on social media showing Jeff Leach making offensive, sexual and threatening remarks targeting women By Marie Dealessandri 2 days agoHow Women in Gaming survived its publisher’s demiseMeagan Marie explains how Crystal Dynamics stepped in after Prima Games, the original publisher of her book, shut down right after launchBy Brendan Sinclair 4 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Apple ruling opens a can of worms for digital storefronts | OpinionThe Supreme Court ruling could open the floodgate to consumer lawsuits for digital stores — including the content of developer agreementsRob FaheyContributing EditorFriday 17th May 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleAppleCourt cases are not speedy things. This week’s highly publicised US Supreme Court judgement against Apple is a ruling in a case that was originally filed back in 2011 — way back when App Stores were still a pretty novel kind of idea — and it doesn’t even mark the end of that case, with the Supreme Court’s decision merely clearing the path for the substantive case to be heard. This case, Apple vs. Pepper, is actually a pretty good example of how the ponderousness of legal processes and the speedy nature of technological development — always moving fast, always breaking something — can be seriously mismatched. The original case was arguing that Apple’s control of the App Store was monopolistic and being used to drive up the price of software for iPhones, a claim that may still have some legal merit but which looks a little peculiar in an era where the standard price for most smartphone apps has fallen to zero.”The case was originally filed back in 2011 — way back when App Stores were still a pretty novel kind of idea” Of course, Apple could still lose the broader case (we likely won’t know for a couple of years), and if that does happen it would have huge implications across the industry. If Apple, a minority player in the smartphone market, is judged to be a monopoly for running a walled garden App Store, then the knock-on implications for every company with a walled garden digital distribution system would be dramatic — including, of course, every console platform holder. However, we’re a long way from that point. The courts aren’t yet considering any arguments about monopolies or anti-trust, with the rulings made so far being entirely about the plaintiffs’ actual right to bring a case against Apple in the first place. Yet even if that aspect is an unintended stop along the way for this legal process, it’s also got some boat-rocking implications of its own.At the heart of this ruling is an argument over whether a system like the App Store is a service provided to developers in order to help them sell directly to consumers (in which case the developer is Apple’s customer, and the consumer is the developer’s customer), or whether it’s actually effectively a retailer (in which case the consumer is Apple’s customer). Apple argued that it’s the former case; you’re a customer of Apple when you buy an iPhone, but when you then buy an app for that iPhone, you’re a customer of the app developer, while Apple’s role in that second transaction is simply as a service provider to the developer. That’s important here because it impacts who has standing; Apple was arguing that consumers couldn’t take an anti-trust case against the App Store because they’re not customers of the App Store. “The knock-on effects will take years to unravel, and some of those years are likely to be spent in a series of court cases” On the face of it, that might seem a little absurd. When I walk into a convenience store to buy a cold drink, I’m a customer of the convenience store, not of the Coca-Cola Company, so why should different logic apply when I open the App Store on my phone? Yet Apple’s argument wasn’t entirely without merit either (that’s why it made it all the way to the Supreme Court, I guess). Apple isn’t buying the software from the developer and reselling it to you (as a convenience store does with your Coke Zero), it’s providing a storefront to the developer, who has responsibility for how the software is presented, what they put into it, how it’s priced, and so on. In that way the App Store could be argued to be more like something along the lines of Shopify, or other e-commerce service providers that are used across a wide range of different websites. The key difference of course being that the App Store is also a unified store interface for lots of software, not just a kind of “business middleware” that developers plug into to allow them to distribute their creations.Apple’s arguments hinged on some old case law about a company that makes bricks, where it was ruled that a consumer (specifically the State of Illinois, which was annoyed at being overcharged for a building project and reckoned the overcharging could be traced back to hiked prices for some bricks) couldn’t sue the brick manufacturer over an issue they had with the building firm. Apple was basically arguing that it’s equivalent to the brick manufacturer (just supplying something to the developer, who is the entity with the actual consumer relationship). The Supreme Court disagreed; it ruled that the customer relationship clearly exists directly between Apple and the consumer, not via the developer as an intermediary.”Valve and Epic are two firms that will no doubt be watching this closely” I suspect that there are a fair few lawyers across the games business (and the broader media business) who are burning through a lot of billable hours this week figuring out exactly what the implications of this are. The precedent is now set; if Apple’s digital distribution consumers are considered to be direct customers of the company, and thus to have standing to challenge its business practices in court, this also holds true for every digital software or media store out there.That’s a pretty big deal. Walled-garden stores on console platforms are one thing, and they’re now open to the same kind of anti-trust action Apple faces. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t hold my breath for the Apple case, and the much more niche nature of Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft’s game consoles compared to iOS devices, plus the availability of disc-based games at retail — for the time being — would make those even tougher cases to argue. This isn’t all just about anti-trust, though; the precedent established here is wider and likely means that almost any digital storefront now faces a subtly but crucially changed relationship with its customers. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games That includes the likes of Steam and the Epic Games Store — and the question of where the line gets drawn will no doubt need to be teased out in further court cases, but could have big implications for service providers like Shopify, which are used by lots of PC indie games developers. The knock-on effects will take years to unravel, and some of those years are likely to be spent in a series of court cases — some meaningful, some frivolous and frustrating — to figure out exactly where the new boundaries lie and how much power the Supreme Court has just, wittingly or unwittingly, handed over to consumers. One potentially enormous corollary to the ruling is that consumers now have standing to take cases over the nature not just of a store’s treatment of them as customers, but over any knock-on impact the terms of the store’s business agreement with developers may have on said consumers. If App Store consumers have standing to sue over Apple’s revenue split with its developers, then consumers of any store can presumably sue over any aspect of the store’s business relationship with developers that they consider to have negatively impacted them — which is going to open the door to a lot of legal messes.That’s why the lawyers will be earning their big bucks this week, even for companies a long way from the smartphone app space. Valve and Epic are two firms that will no doubt be watching this closely, since the competition that’s heating up between them in the PC space is increasingly using developer agreements — revenue shares, exclusivity deals and so on — as a battleground. The very existence of that competition will shield the dominant Steam platform from most anti-trust claims, of course, but if consumers have standing to take legal cases based on the content of those developer agreements, it means there’s now a whole new legal minefield for these companies to tiptoe around as they try to go head-to-head over the future of the PC digital distribution space.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEpic vs Apple – Week One Review: Epic still faces an “uphill battle”Legal experts share their thoughts on the proceedings so far, and what to expect from the coming weekBy James Batchelor 10 hours agoEpic Games claims Fortnite is at “full penetration” on consoleAsserts that mobile with the biggest growth potential as it fights for restoration to iOS App StoreBy James Batchelor 13 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Red Dead Online’s in-game poker unavailable in certain regionsDespite no connection with real-world money, players in countries with strict gambling laws may not be able to access minigameRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterMonday 20th May 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleRockstar GamesIn a recent update to Red Dead Redemption’s online multiplayer mode, Red Dead Online, it appears that players in certain regions cannot access one of its new features: poker.The poker games added to Red Dead Online use the in-game currency “cash” to play, which is not able to be purchased with real-world money. Although real-world money can be used to purchase “gold” for use in other parts of Red Dead Online, there is no way to convert gold to cash.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Even so, a number of Reddit users have reported being unable to access the poker games, with users specifically from Argentina and unspecified countries in the Middle East weighing in on the problem. One shared an email they received from Rockstar in response to them complaining about the absence of poker.”We are sorry to let you know that the availability of Poker in Red Dead Online is dependent on regional laws and regulations and may not be available to all players,” the email read. “In short, poker won’t be available in countries where online gambling is restricted or illegal. We apologize if this had caused any inconvenience.”Upon reaching out to Rockstar for comment on the absence of poker in certain regions, Kotaku received a link to a Red Dead Online support page that cites (among other reasons) “regional restrictions” as a possibility for why a feature may not be available in the game.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesTake-Two reportedly takes down reverse-engineered GTA3, Vice City source codeGitHub project blocked by DMCA, although project creator unable to rule out trollsBy James Batchelor 2 months agoRed Dead Online gets a stand-alone releaseRockstar selling the Red Dead Redemption 2 online mode as its own product on Xbox One, PS4, and PC starting December 1By Brendan Sinclair 5 months agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Nintendo moves some Switch production to VietnamJapanese publisher confirms the move is to diversify its manufacturing locations, and is unrelated to proposed tariffsMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefTuesday 9th July 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleNintendoNintendo is moving some production of the Switch to Vietnam, to decrease its dependence on China for manufacturing.The rumour that Nintendo was seeking other locations for Switch production surfaced last month, but the Japanese company would not offer official comment on the specifics of its plan.Today, a Nintendo spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that the new location will be Vietnam, and the shift in its operations will happen this summer.Nintendo also said that the move was not motivated by the current tension between China and the United States, and the likelihood of higher tariffs on products shipped between the two countries. Games console were included on a list of products upon which the Trump administration is considering imposing a 25% tariff. The list prompted Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to send a joint letter in opposition of the move.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The US is one of Nintendo’s biggest markets globally, both for the Switch and the company as a whole. In the financial year ended March 31, 2019, the Americas contributed around 44% of all revenue, with the US the single biggest contributor overall.At present, Nintendo does not sell the Switch in China, though it has formed a partnership with Tencent that could result in its launch in the territory. For the record: A previous version of this story stated that the move to Vietnam was motivated by tensions between China and the US, when it should have said it was not motivated by them. This has been corrected above.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesNintendo appointing Despicable Me studio head to board of directorsAnimation studio behind Mario movie gains influence as Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri expected to join board next monthBy Brendan Sinclair 5 days agoNintendo reports record full-year profits as Switch nears 85m units soldAnd, despite forecasting decline, the platform holder expects console to beat Wii’s 101 million lifetime sales this yearBy James Batchelor 6 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.