Archive for January 31, 2022

Monday, January 31, 2022

Sony Acquires Bungie

Michael McWhertor (via John Gruber):

Sony is buying Bungie, the developer of Destiny 2 and the studio that originally created Halo, in a deal worth $3.6 billion, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced Monday.

Bungie will remain a multiplatform studio — Destiny 2 is available on PlayStation, PC, and Xbox platforms — with the option to self-publish its games. The studio “will remain independent and multi-platform, will enjoy creative freedom, and their track record in developing massively successful franchises in the sci-fi shooter genre will be highly complementary to SIE’s own IP portfolio,” SIE president Jim Ryan explained in a statement.

Jason Schreier:

[Another] seismic gaming deal that comes just two weeks after Microsoft purchased Activision Blizzard.

Bungie put Xbox on the map. Now it’s part of PlayStation Studios.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Won’t be long before all games are owned by companies that Apple has burned bridges with, rejected from the App Store, or is embroiled in lawsuits with 😛 […] At some point, Apple’s going to have to buy a big games studio just to not be locked out of the future completely.


A look at the first ten years of Bungie Software, charting their path from tiny Mac indie to Microsoft golden goose, and the sacrifices they made to achieve their immense success.


Update (2022-02-04): See also: Ben Thompson, Hacker News.

Update (2022-02-16): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

CMA Report on Apple Cloud Gaming Restrictions

Stijn Huijts, on the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s interim report:

When it comes to gaming on mobile devices, the great advantage of cloud gaming is that it can far exceed the technological capabilities of even the newest model smartphone, because the storage and processing occurs mostly in the Cloud. As a result, cloud gaming removes the restrictions of a phone’s storage and processing capabilities and therefore expands the range of games available on mobile devices. It therefore becomes less important for consumers who enjoy mobile gaming to have a top-end mobile device to be able to play the best games on a mobile device.


However, the forced reliance on web apps rather than being able to offer native apps on iOS is having a detrimental impact on cloud gaming. In particular, the CMA highlights that web apps are not listed or discoverable on the App Store. Users can only find them by navigating to the web app via a browser, they are not automatically added to the user’s home screen, and cannot send push notifications to re-engage users.


The CMA also had indications that a range of features and functionalities of cloud gaming services were hindered by using a web app over a native app. A key reason for this is another restriction by Apple: that all browsers on iOS must use Apple’s WebKit. WebKit lags behind other browser engines in functionality, in particular when it comes to support for web apps.


To determine the potential harm to competition from Apple’s decision to restrict cloud gaming, the CMA assessed what Apple’s incentives might be for these restrictions, looking at Apple’s own hardware, Apple’s control over how apps are discovered and accessed on iOS devices, and Apple Arcade, Apple’s own subscription service giving access to a catalogue of games.


Getting Feedback to Apple

Becky Hansmeyer:

Reflecting on the whole iCloud kerfuffle, I think one major issue is that none of us know how to escalate a critical problem to the right person. Support folks usually lack an understanding of the context, the dev forums aren’t monitored, and radars are likely backlogged.

There’s a reason so many developers on Twitter include feedback/radar numbers in their tweets: they are more likely to reach the correct person/team here on Twitter. So, we find that problems tend to start on Stack Overflow/dev forums, then bubble up through Twitter —> media.

What’s the solution to this? Apple has already created successful Q&A environments where participants are heard, understood, and given feedback: the Swift evolution forums, and the WWDC Digital Lounges.

I realize it’s hard to scale that to a system that is: open year-round, and includes narrow access to someone from every single framework team. But something or someone has to act as a better switchboard: a “sure, let me transfer you to the SwiftUI department.”

As of right now, it is an absolute fact that Twitter is a developer’s best avenue for getting a bug fixed: IF they can get their tweet in front of an Apple engineer, either by having a large following or being retweeted by someone with a large following.

Alex Rosenberg:

Iff you had actual Radar access and iff you knew the component that they use to actually track operational issues with iCloud, then it would be 💯% effective. However, the culture is broken by secrecy and nobody outside that org would know or be able to see the correct component.

Matthew Cassinelli:

Yes. I know every specific bug for Shortcuts but to communicate them to my old team feels like harassing them and not actually being a friend.

It’d also take me 8 hours straight of filing radars for free for things that have been clearly broken for years


What does seem to work in situations like these IS to run to the press. I’ve seen issues from before I started seeing it reported on various sites. And when it cropped up on one tech site, all of a sudden it’s everywhere. Boom. Problem fixed in like a week?


I’ve currently used a Code Level Incident to get some extra eyes on FileProvider-integration, because the documentation is from 2017 (WWDC video + slides and not complete) and it’s buggy on a few sides.

My experience is that you can pay DTS to confirm that a bug is in Apple’s code rather than yours. Sometimes they will have a workaround to offer you. You can give them a bug number to associate with your case, but I can’t say that this seems to escalate the bug and lead to it being fixed any faster.

Dave B:

Tim Cook isn’t a product guy like Steve was. He doesn’t have hands-on knowledge or insight into the products. He’s an incredible businessman but not a product guy.

That’s why when there’s a problem with a product, people have to let him know so that he passes it down the chain to fix it.


The best way to call attention to these kinds of issues is to bring them to popular figures in the Apple community.


Update (2022-02-16): Rich Siegel:

There was a time when “write to DTS with the bug number” was a recommended course of action, and they’d either provide a workaround or explain in detail why it wasn’t possible. I think those days are gone, though.

On Photo Sharing

Mike Rockwell:

I’ve since deleted the Instagram app from my iPhone and have only jumped back into my timeline once or twice through a web browser. Each time I came out of it feeling worse than when I went in. I don’t want to do that anymore.

But it got me thinking about photo sharing in general. And more specifically about how we’ve created this efficient system for sharing to a mass audience. The personal aspect of photos is lost in the sharing process. When I would post a photo, I wouldn’t receive any comments, it never sparked any conversations. I would just get a handful of likes and that was that. What’s the point? It’s become a game of vanity where the number of likes you receive is the only feedback mechanism. It stinks.

As an experiment, I started sharing photos with individual people, privately, over iMessage. I wouldn’t send them a whole collection of photos, just one at a time here and there. And what I found is that when you send an individual person a photo privately, you actually spark a conversation.

Requesting Maps Privacy

Killian Bell:

It’s not uncommon to see certain things blurred out inside Apple Maps and Google Maps. Both services regularly conceal things like faces and license plates. However, it is rare to see entire buildings hidden behind big, blurry walls.

But that’s all you get when you visit Cook’s house in Palo Alto, California, today.


If you would prefer for your home to be censored inside Apple Maps and Google Maps, all you have to do is file a request. Apple has a webpage that explains the process, while Google takes requests inside Google Maps.


Update (2024-03-29): Cabel Sasser:

I had no idea that when you ask Apple Maps not to include your house in Look Around, they convert your house into Minecraft.