The Week in Geek: Apple sets a date, Resident Evil to return and Valve set to fight back against the EU

This week’s Week in Geek is about looking forwards. Looking forward to the launch of a new iPhone, or gameplay footage from the latest Resident Evil. 

It’s also for talking about the future. This will be my last Week in Geek column as I’m leaving the business to work out what’s next. We don’t talk a lot about departures at Trusted Reviews, and my colleague and certified nicest man in tech Alex Walker-Todd also left this week for pastures new, but I wanted to take a minute on the column that has become one of my favourite parts of the job to mention the incredibly talented team of writers and editors that I’m leaving behind.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

iSpy

Three things are certain in life: death, taxes and the countdown to a new iPhone each year. This year is no different, and we now know when we’re going to get a look at the iPhone 11

The splash tells consumers “by innovation only”, along with an older style rainbow coloured Apple logo. It has a lot of firsts going for it: iOS 13 will run on the iPhone 11 devices out of the box, bringing a host of new Apple services for those willing to fork over the cash. Factor in the rumoured triple-camera setup on the rear, another first for the fruit-phone. 

What else? The biggest battery so far, the brand new A13 chipset will power it all and in a not-first, Apple is likely not pushing out 5G with any of this year’s phones. 

This year, Apple is taking a bigger gamble than usual. 

Smartphone sales, particularly for flagships like Apple’s iPhone have been in a slump, and trade posturising between America’s Sentient Wotsit in Chief and the Chinese government could end up making Apple’s flagship more expensive or even entirely withdrawn from sale in the region. It’s hard to say what the impact will be because it’s sitll ongoing and it’s an unpredictable time for the industry, what with China making up such a huge chunk of the mobile phone industry. 

To paper over the potential for weak sales on the device, Apple is hoping services like Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade and even the Apple Card can perk things up a bit. 

So, for a lot of reasons, there’s a reason to watch the live event on September 10 as it could end up being a successful reinvention for Apple, or a further harbinger that even the coolest brands in tech can go through a rough patch.  

Residential

Capcom is bringing a new Resident Evil game to the masses, and will be showing it off in September. 

This is great news, especially as it is heavily rumoured to be a multiplayer-focused title that shares DNA with the before its time Resident Evil Outbreak, the multiplayer survive-’em-up that launched in 2003 for PS2 and suffered for that consoles lack of a large online player base. 

The title, currently nicknamed Project Resistance, will be shown off during Tokyo Games Week and livestreamed on September 9 at 3pm in Blighty. 

A multiplayer iteration of Resident Evil could be great if it includes some of the tense moments that created drama in Outbreak: while later Resident Evil titles included fairly generic co-op for looting and shooting, Outbreak often had characters playing their own survival adventures, interacting with each other in weird ways as they stomped around, holding doors closed to buy players time to escape or sharing healing items. 

The game generated drama by forcing players together. For every diligent helper there was a survivor that would betray you for their own reasons, or even for the basest reason of all, their 

Expect this one to be huge on Twitch if similar horror multiplayer efforts like Dead By Daylight are anything to go by. 

Getting Steamy

All the way back in April, the EU claimed it was intending to target publishers for blocking download codes brought from non-home regions throughout europe, and named six publishers they would be seeking to resolve issues with. 

Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and Zenimax, according to Reuters, are intending to settle. Meanwhile Steam owners Valve have announced plans to fight the charges head on and has asked for a closed-door hearing to make its case before the European Commission and national bodies. 

This is huge. Valve hasn’t yet commented publicly outside of Reuters report, but it did state in April that region locking was turned off in Europe back in 2015, and that only 3% of all games were affected by region locking. 

It’s a complicated scenario. I remember using a VPN back at University to set my region to Mexico so that I could buy Titanfall for a few quid instead of its £40 cost on EA’s Origin Store. This was a bad move, and I’ve felt awful about it a few times since because I was, if you’ll excuse the language, taking the p**s. 

Economic inequality around the world is often the reason behind regional pricing and it seems fair that company’s should be able to take steps to stop the more affluent areas of the world from taking advantage. After all, the alternative would be that the company just brings the prices up to something comparable to £40 everywhere, which is going to hit those the worst off the hardest.  

“In a true Digital Single Market, European consumers should have the right to buy and play video games of their choice regardless of where they live in the EU,” said the EU commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, in April this year. 

“Consumers should not be prevented from shopping around between Member States to find the best available deal.”

But when you consider that the average salary in the UK is £28,677 and in Poland it is at the much less favourable £8,500, a game priced at £40 everywhere is a totally different value proposition for a gamer from Poland compared to someone from the UK. Hence regional pricing – which is a good thing. 

Not that it matters. While we’re looking towards the future, it’s looking likely that our very own silly-haired political bobble-head is going to take us out of the EU – deal or no deal – on October 31, so it’s unlikely to set a precedent for how UK gamers interact with codes through the EU in the new future. 

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