Nothing screams dystopia more than two massive corporations conscripting their massive audiences into a petty legal war. No viewer should care which studio controls which Marvel movie rights.
No consumer should take a side in the ongoing war between Apple and Epic Games over Fortnite direct payments. And yet here we are, sighing while Epic adds Marvel characters to Fortnite to rub iOS players’ noses in what they are missing due to Apple’s stubbornness. #FreeFortnite.
Despite its cynical strategy, Epic’s stance is closer to the honest future of gaming, at least philosophically. Apple is the champion of the closed platform. But as walls collapse and platforms blur together, the path forward becomes a path we all share. The gaming singularity has nearly arrived.
Consider how Fortnite, battle royales, and other live Games-as-a-Service maintain their massive multiplayer audiences. They merge them. Not that long ago, the idea of PlayStation players competing against Nintendo or Xbox players was unheard of, even if they were all playing the same game. Now, crossplay becomes more common every day, uniting communities and allowing them to thrive.
When a single game becomes more important than the platform you play it on, fascinating things start to happen. Removing Fortnite from Android and iOS can’t and won’t kill Fortnite. The game already exists on too many other devices. Instead, it makes platform holders look like overbearing parents yanking their kids out of the party. Funnily enough, one of Fortnite’s key mechanics happens to be tearing down walls other players desperately build up.
Consider the fact that Epic’s Unreal Engine is also the same technology that powers everything from Fortnite on mobile to the most visually impressive next-generation tech demo we’ve seen so far. Not only that, Epic gives away the engine for free via the Epic Games Store for other creators to use. Don’t worry about the platform, just make your game.
I’m as big a supporter of unique, weird video game hardware as any Nintendo fan. But I can’t deny the benefits of console makers humbling themselves just a little bit, admitting that their devices primarily exist to connect players with great games, respecting and playing nice with other devices with that same mission. No one watching a live stream cares what interchangeable box the person is using.
The Nintendo Switch is a tablet with controllers that lets you play games on the go or on a TV. You can get a pretty similar experience attaching a Razer Junglecat, Razer Kishi, or PowerA Moga XP5-X Plus controller to your phone. You can play many of the best mobile games on either machine. Plenty of casual Apple Arcade games come to Switch, albeit not in a subscription. If you want to play mobile games on a TV, connect a DualShock or Xbox controller to an Apple TV, plug an HDMI cable into your phone, or use Chromecast for screen mirroring. You have choices for reaching the same basic gaming idea.