A new ‘metaverse’ ETF wants to expose investors to the future of the internet

Fortnite 2
  • A new “metaverse” ETF is looking to court investors bullish on internet innovation.
  • The fund defines the metaverse broadly as the intersection of many virtual worlds and the physical world.
  • The fund’s biggest holdings include household names like Microsoft and Amazon as well as Nvidia and Roblox.
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A new ETF listed on Wednesday is looking to court investors bullish on internet innovation with exposure to the future of the internet.

The Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF, debuting today on the New York Stock Exchange, focuses on seven categories – including virtual platforms, cloud computing, and hardware – which collectively comprise the so-called metaverse.

The fund will track the Ball Metaverse Index, developed by the venture capitalist Matthew Ball.

The fund sees the metaverse, defined broadly as the intersection of many virtual worlds with the physical one, as a “quasi-successor state of the internet,” akin to how smartphones reshaped earlier versions of the web. Growth in the metaverse will accelerate as new technologies like VR and blockchain gain mainstream adoption, according to an investor pitch deck.

The fund’s biggest equity holdings include household names like Microsoft and Amazon as well as companies well known to gamers, such as Nvidia, Roblox, and Tencent – which owns the world’s most-watched esport, League of Legends. The Chinese conglomerate also holds a 40% stake in Fortnite-maker Epic Games, which has invested heavily in the metaverse.

Ball has written extensively about the metaverse, arguing in one essay that it could “alter how we allocate and monetize modern resources.” The essay points to “gold farming,” referring to players performing in-game labor for real-world compensation, as an early example. Gold farming has already become commonplace in Venezuela, where some games’ virtual money is more stable than the official bolívar, according to The Economist.

The ETF launched at $15 and was trading up 0.73% at 10:30 a.m. ET.

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Microsoft just took a direct shot at Apple’s controversial App Store policy with Windows 11

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • Microsoft unveiled the next version of its major operating system, Windows 11, on Thursday morning.
  • Part of that event was a not-so-thinly veiled shot at Apple.
  • Going forward, app and game makers with their own payment systems can skip using Microsoft’s system.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Microsoft just took a shot at Apple with a feature in its next major operating system, Windows 11.

Going forward, the Microsoft Store will allow software makers to use their own payment systems – something Apple refuses to allow on its App Store. Rather than paying Microsoft a cut of each transaction, software makers can charge users directly with their own systems.

“If you do bring your own commerce engine, you keep 100% of your revenue,” Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay said during a Microsoft livestream featuring Windows 11. “We keep zero.”

It’s a major point of contention between Apple and a variety of software makers, and it’s at the heart of ongoing litigation between “Fortnite” maker Epic Games and Apple.

Epic Games filed suit against Apple last summer after its hit game was pulled from Apple’s App Store.

Apple says it pulled the game because Epic violated the terms of its developer agreement when Epic implemented a payment system in the game that enabled players to circumvent Apple’s App Store. Epic says the App Store is a monopoly, and argues that iPhones and iPads are no different from computers.

Microsoft previously issued a letter to the court on behalf of Epic Games, and a Microsoft employee appeared as an expert witness during the trial. Arguments have ended for both sides in the ongoing case, and it’s unknown when the judge will issue a ruling.

Windows 11 is a free upgrade for Windows users, and is scheduled to launch “this holiday,” according to Microsoft.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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At its heart, the legal battle between Apple and ‘Fortnite’ maker Epic Games is about whether or not the iPhone is a computer

Fortnite 1984 Apple ad parody
  • Apple and “Fortnite” maker Epic Games are fighting in court over how the App Store works.
  • The three-week trial began wrapping up on Friday, with Apple CEO Tim Cook taking the stand.
  • At the heart of the fight is a fundamental disagreement on whether or not the iPhone is a computer.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Apple and “Fortnite” maker Epic Games are nearing the end of a protracted legal battle that could have major implications for the future of the App Store.

If Epic were to win the trial, Apple could be forced to allow alternative app stores on the iPhone and iPad – a result that could cost Apple billions of dollars in the long term.

At the heart of the fight is a disagreement on the nature of the iPhone: Epic argues it’s a computer, while Apple argues it’s fundamentally distinct. That argument is critical because of how the App Store operates, with Apple acting as the sole arbiter of what can and cannot be published on the iPhone.

If the iPhone is a computer, then the App Store is a monopoly, Epic’s lawyers argued. If it isn’t, and it’s a distinct category of device, then Apple says it is protecting its users by keeping alternative digital storefronts off the iPhone.

Read more: Big Tech has a new battleground: self-driving cars. Here’s how Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, and Sundar Pichai hope to capture the $290 billion market.

“Epic is here, demanding that this court force Apple to let into its App Store untested and untrusted apps and app stores,” one of Apple’s lawyers, Karen Dunn, said in opening remarks. “Apple’s unwavering commitment to safety, security, reliability and quality does not allow that – and the antitrust laws do not require it.”

Tim Cook Tim Sweeney 2x1
Both Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, right, will appear as witnesses during the trial.

On the contrary, Epic’s lawyer argued, the “walled garden” of the App Store isn’t intended for security: “It’s about business,” Katherine Forrest of law firm Cravath, Swaine, and Moore said. An expert witness interviewed by Forrest estimated Apple’s App Store margins in 2018 and 2019 to be around 75%.

Another major point of contention between the two companies: the 30% cut Apple takes from transactions on its App Store.

By refusing to open the iPhone to other app stores, Epic’s lawyers argued, the company is engaging in anticompetitive behavior. They compared Apple to a car dealership that takes a cut from gas stations every time you refuel.

Apple’s lawyers pointed to other digital storefronts, like the wildly popular Steam, as having established the 30% precedent.

“Apple did not establish the 30%,” Apple’s lawyer Karen Dunn said. “It was Steam, another game platform, that set the 30% in 2003, and by the time Apple entered the market in 2008 the 30% was, as Epic’s internal documents will show, industry standard.”

With Apple CEO Tim Cook taking the stand on Friday, witness testimonies are officially wrapped up. Lawyers for both companies are expected to deliver closing remarks on Monday.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Epic Games, the video game giant in a legal battle with Apple, is turning a defunct mall into a new headquarters – see inside

Fortnite
An attendee stops to text next to Epic Games’ Fortnite sign at E3, the annual video games expo in Los Angeles.

  • Epic Games spent $95 million on a North Carolina mall that will become its new headquarters.
  • Epic, the maker of “Fortnite,” is involved in a major lawsuit with Apple in California.
  • Epic plans to turn the mall into a multimillion-square-foot complex.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Epic Games, the creators of the popular game “Fortnite,” bought a failed mall in North Carolina for $95 million that will eventually become its new headquarters.

The gaming giant closed on the deal on December 31, Daniel Geiger at Insider first reported. Epic plans to create a multimillion-square-foot headquarters, with hopes to open it by 2024.

Read more: Kids are losing tens of thousands of their parents’ money betting on video games like ‘Fortnite.’ Here’s a look inside the secret underworld.

The purchase comes after a wild year for Epic, which sparked a debate in the tech world around app-store policies when the company offered an in-game payment system for “Fortnite” that bypassed the usual app-store fees. Apple and Google both subsequently pulled the game from their stores, and now Epic and Apple are battling it out in a California courtroom.

Here’s the mall that Epic spent $95 million on.

Cary Towne Center encompasses 980,000 square feet of space on 87 acres.

Cary Towne Center
Cary Towne Center.

Source: Epic

The mall was a victim of the similar forces tanking malls across the country: anchor tenant JC Penney closed, and within months Sears and Macy’s followed.

Cary Towne Center
Cary Towne Center.

Source: Business Insider

Developers Turnbridge Equities and Denali Properties bought the property in January 2019 from mall chain CBL & Associates, which filed for bankruptcy in November 2020.

Cary Towne Center
Cary Towne Center.

Source: Business Insider

At the time developers bought the mall from CBL, it was at only 65% occupancy.

Cary Towne Center
Cary Towne Center.

Source: WSJ

When they purchased it, developers told WSJ that they planned to turn the mall into a mixed-use space with offices and residential areas.

Cary Towne Center
Cary Towne Center.

Source: WSJ

Developers paid about $40 million for the property in 2019, less than half of what Epic paid two years later.

Cary Towne Center
Cary Towne Center.

Source: Business Insider

“It’s minutes from downtown Raleigh, it’s close to the airport, and it’s one of the only critical masses of land ready to build on in one of the fastest-growing markets in the country,” Jason Davis, a managing director at Turnbridge, told Business Insider.

Cary Towne Center
Cary Towne Center.

The new headquarters will likely be much larger than Epic’s current 250,000 square foot office, also in Cary, North Carolina.

Cary Towne Center
Cary Towne Center.

The facilities will include both office buildings and recreational spaces. “We are committed to working with the Town of Cary to explore ways some of this property might be used by the community,” Epic spokeswoman Elka Looks told Insider while declining to share details about the plans and size of the future headquarters.

Cary Towne Center
Cary Towne Center.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is among the high-profile executives that will testify in the upcoming ‘Fortnite’ court case

Tim Cook
Tim Cook.

  • Apple’s Tim Cook, and Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney, will testify in the Fortnite case.
  • It marks the latest in a series of lawsuits Epic Games has filed against Apple.
  • The court case is tentatively scheduled to start on May 3.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple Inc and Epic Games have called their chief executive officers to testify as part of the upcoming “Fortnite” App Store trial, court documents show.

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, SVP Craig Federighi, and former marketing chief and present App Store vice-president, Matt Fischer are on the list of tentative witnesses to testify live and face-to-face in the courtroom, among others.

Epic Games submitted its founder and CEO Tim Sweeney, its store manager, Steve Allison, and Thomas Ko, chief of online business strategy, as its witnesses for the trial.

“The chorus of developers speaking out against Apple and their anticompetitive practices has become louder,” Epic Games said, according to Reuters.

Apple responded in a statement to Bloomberg, saying they feel “confident the case will prove that Epic purposefully breached its agreement solely to increase its revenues.”

The fight began after Epic Games circumvented rules Apple and Google have in place over in-app payments made through their App Stores. Developers are obliged to pay Apple and Google a 30% commission on any payments that are made inside their apps. Epic Games claimed this was anti-competitive.

Epic Games then implemented its own payment system inside “Fortnite,” which led to it being kicked off Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, as Insider previously reported.

The Apple court case is provisionally due to start on May 3, with Cook due to give a 7-hour deposition.

Apple says its top executives “look forward to sharing with the court the very positive impact “the App Store has had on innovation, economies across the world and the customer experience over the last 12 years,” as reported by The Verge.

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Valve is fighting to stop Apple from demanding troves of information as part of its fight with ‘Fortnite’ maker Epic Games

Tim Cook Tim Sweeney
Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney.

  • Court documents show Apple is trying to subpoena Valve in its fight with Epic Games.
  • Valve has refused to hand over certain information about its revenues and the games it hosts.
  • Valve claims Apple is asking for too much information, given it is not a mobile platform.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Apple’s fight with Epic Games is apparently dragging other video game companies into its net.

A joint court letter filed on Thursday and spotted by Ars Technica reveals Apple has been trying to subpoena Valve, the company behind the hugely popular online game store Steam, for information.

Apple has been engaged in a legal battle with Epic Games, the studio behind the wildly popular “Fortnite,” since August. The fight centers around Epic Games’ refusal to comply with Apple’s App Store rules on in-app payments in its iOS version of “Fortnite.” 

Apple requires app developers to use its own payment system, which levies an automatic 30% tax on in-app purchases. Epic Games claims this is anti-competitive, and in August decided to implement its own payment system, after which Apple kicked “Fortnite” off the App Store.

Epic Games subsequently sued Apple, and the two companies have been battling it out ever since – with Apple CEO Tim Cook scheduled to give a seven-hour deposition ahead of the case going to court in May. Epic Games has kept up the pressure, this week filing an antitrust complaint with the EU.

Valve is not directly involved in the legal fight between the two companies. Apple said it is asking for documents showing Valve’s yearly sales and revenues as well as information about each app on Steam, including its pricing, as a way of gaining an understanding of the market Epic Games operates in.

Apple complains in its letter that Valve has resisted complying with some of its requests for information, and that when it has handed over information it’s been heavily redacted.

Valve claims Apple is asking for too much information, given Valve is not a concerned party in its fight with Epic Games and it is not a mobile platform. More broadly, Valve is also claiming that because it’s a distributor of PC games, the information it can provide is largely irrelevant to the fight between Apple and Epic Games.

“Valve does not make or sell phones, tablets, or video games for mobile devices, or otherwise compete in the mobile market,” it says in the letter. It added that Apple’s requests would impose an “extraordinary burden” on Valve to collect all the data Apple wants.

“The extensive and highly confidential information Apple demands about a subset of the PC games available on Steam does not show the size or parameters of the relevant market and would be massively burdensome to pull together,” Valve said in its letter.

Apple argues that Valve should be compelled to offer the information because Samsung complied with similar requests. Valve’s counter-argument is that Samsung is a public company so it is used to keeping records of that kind of information, which could be produced much more quickly and easily.

“Somehow, in a dispute over mobile apps, a maker of PC games that does not compete in the mobile market or sell ‘apps’ is being portrayed as a key figure. It’s not,” Valve says.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to play Jackbox games on a TV, whether you’re using a gaming console, computer, or streaming device

Friends celebrating around TV
Jackbox makes hosting in-person or virtual game nights through your TV fun and easy.

  • There are several ways you can play Jackbox games on a TV. 
  • You can download Jackbox on gaming consoles, such as the Nintendo Switch, or connect your mobile device or computer to a TV, or stream a game with services like Apple TV.
  • You’ll need to determine what devices a Jackbox game or party pack is compatible with before you choose how to connect it to your TV for gameplay. 
  • Additional apps and equipment like Chromecast or an HDMI cord may be necessary to play Jackbox games on your TV. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Jackbox, a purveyor of party games, is best seen on a TV for the excitement of watching your silly drawings, clever wit, and inside jokes play out on the big screen. And whether you realize it or not, you likely already have access to one of many methods available for playing a Jackbox party pack or standalone game on a TV. 

But before you learn how to play through your TV, you’ll want to confirm which games are compatible with your device. This will help you make the best decision setting up play through your big screen. To do this, just click on the game or party pack you want to purchase and scroll to the compatibility section beneath the game or pack’s description. If you see your platform or device listed, you’re ready to buy. 

Once you’ve made your purchase, ensure you also have a device like another iPad, computer, or smartphone available to log into Jackbox.TV, as that’s how you’ll enter your answers, make your drawings, and vote on the best of the bunch each round.

Here’s how you can play Jackbox on a TV.

How to play Jackbox on a TV with a gaming console

If you own a Nintendo Switch, Playstation 3, 4, or 5,  Xbox One, or Xbox Series S/X, these consoles all support hosting some or all of the games in the Jackbox catalog through their respective stores. Download Jackbox games to your console and, if an HDMI cable is required, connect it from your TV to your console to play – just like you would with other games.

How to play Jackbox on a TV with a streaming device

Jackbox can also be played directly on Apple TV and iPad with the app version. To play the game on your iPad, you want to mirror it to your Apple TV using AirPlay. For iPad users with Google Home, you can also cast the game on your TV through the app’s built-in mirroring tool. 

Amazon Fire TV users can simply purchase the Jackbox app from Amazon and play straight from their TV, while Android TV users can also purchase the Jackbox app in the Google Play Store and start having fun through their compatible TVs.

How to play Jackbox on a TV with a computer

The Steam, Humble, and Fanatical gaming platforms all have Jackbox available to download for PC, Mac, and Linux users. Epic Games also offers Jackbox for PC and Mac devices. Once purchased, you’ll be able to access the games from your purchase library. 

To play games from these platforms on your TV, you’d just need to connect your computer to your TV with an HDMI cord, use screen-mirroring tools from AirPlay on your Mac, or cast from your Mac or PC with Chromecast.  

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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How to download ‘Fortnite’ onto your Android using a workaround from Epic Games

epic games logo phone
You can still get “Fortnite” on your Android despite the game’s absence from the Google Play Store.

  • Though you can’t directly download “Fortnite” on an Android through the Google Play Store, there is a workaround. 
  • If you have an Android phone, you can download “Fortnite” through the Epic Games app, which you can get directly from their website.
  • Due to a feud between Epic Games and Apple and Google, “Fortnite” is not available for download on any mobile app stores.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

We’re well past the original craze that surrounded “Fortnite” when it first came out in 2017, but the reason for that craze hasn’t gone away – it’s a fun and addicting game.

It’s a good thing then that there are tons of different ways to play “Fortnite” from Epic Games – it’s not only available on your desktop computer. Aside from being available on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch consoles, you can also download “Fortnite” to play on your Android phone.

You used to be able to play “Fortnite” on your phone easily, no matter which model or operating system you used. In the summer of 2020, however, Epic Games got into a feud with Apple and Google, and as a result, the “Fortnite” app was removed from mobile app stores. 

If you have an iPhone, this is where the story ends – you either had the app before they took it off the app store, and you’re safe, or you didn’t. On Androids, however, you have more options. If you have a Samsung Galaxy, you can just download the game from the Galaxy Store. If you have another Android phone, it’s not as simple, but there’s a relatively easy workaround.

How to get ‘Fortnite’ on your Android

1. In your mobile browser, go to the Epic Games website and tap the “Download” button to install their app.

How_to_get_Fortnite_on_Android_ _1
Go to epicgames.com and tap the “Download” button.

2. Per the on-screen instructions, wait for the download pop-up to appear. When it does, tap “Open” to begin installing the app.

How_to_get_Fortnite_on_Android_ _2
Tap open on the pop-up to begin the installation process.

Note: A warning may appear saying the file could harm your device. This is safe to ignore, in this case – tap “OK.”

How_to_get_Fortnite_on_Android_ _3
Tap “OK” on the warning if it appears.

3. You may get another warning that says your phone is not allowed to install apps from this source. If this happens, tap “Settings” on the notification.

How_to_get_Fortnite_on_Android_ _4
If you get a warning that you can’t download the app, tap “Settings.”

You’ll be taken directly to the correct Settings page in your phone – just toggle the switch next to “Allow from this source” to the “on” position.

How_to_get_Fortnite_on_Android_ _5
Toggle on the “Allow from this source” switch.

4. Return to your browser and tap “Install” on the Epic Games pop-up to begin the download. When it’s finished, tap “Open.” 

How_to_get_Fortnite_on_Android_ _6
Tap “Install” on the pop-up, then “Open” when it’s done.

5. When you open the app, “Fortnite” will likely be the first game to appear. If it isn’t, swipe left until you see it. Tap it, then tap “Install.”

How_to_get_Fortnite_on_Android_ _7
Tap “Install” when you find the “Fortnite” application.

6. You will likely see the same pop-up as in step three. Do the same thing outlined there, then return to the Epic Games app. Tap “Install” on the prompt from “Fortnite” to begin downloading the game.

How_to_get_Fortnite_on_Android_ _8
Repeat step three if necessary, then tap “Install” on the prompt.

7. When the download is finished, another pop-up will inform you that the app was installed successfully. Tap “Open” to go to the app and begin playing.

How_to_get_Fortnite_on_Android_ _9
Tap “Open” when installation finishes.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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