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Gaming: Apple reportedly eyes games streaming; Wii Shop waves goodbye; Dragon Ball Z teases new RPG; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Dragon Ball Z Project Z via official YouTube 2019

Is Apple preparing to take a bite out of the gaming market? A new report indicates the Cupertino tech titan may be sowing the seeds for a Netflix-style subscription service that could engage major developers to deliver existing games under the famous Apple banner.

Details of what Apple’s reportedly planning are thin, with a number of anonymous sources reportedly telling Cheddar that the company is eyeing a subscription model that would grant players access to “a bundled list of titles.”

Talks for the service reportedly began late last year, and it’s not clear what type of games could appear on the platform, how much subscriptions might cost, whether the service would prioritize mobile gaming for Apple’s massive consumer base of iOS users, or even whether the company is fully committed to making it all happen in the first place.

Apple declined to comment when contacted by SYFY WIRE.

One of the Nintendo Wii’s longest-lingering shadows will fade into a nostalgic memory this week with the final shutdown of the Wii Shop, the online marketplace that’s served owners of the Mario maker’s innovative console since 2006.

The closure may have been a long time coming (Nintendo first announced this month’s planned shutdown all the way back in 2017), but for anyone who’s been meaning to snag WiiWare games like Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth or Tetris Party, time’s running out fast: The Wii Shop will go dark (mostly; read on for more) on Jan. 30.

While Wii Points will still be spendable right up until the moment the Wii Shop channel goes away, there’ll still be support — at least for a little while — for a small handful of features, including the ability to re-download previously purchased WiiWare and Virtual Console games.

“In the future we will be closing all services related to the Wii Shop Channel, including the ability to redownload WiiWare and Virtual Console games, as well as the Wii System Transfer Tool, which transfers data from Wii to the Wii U system. We will announce specific details as that time approaches,” Nintendo explains on the closure’s Q&A page.

Here’s hoping the games that lapse into legacy status with the Wii Shop’s demise eventually will find their way onto the Nintendo eShop for Switch owners. But in the meantime, if you want to experience Virtual Console games like Dracula X: Rondo of Blood or old-school arcade favorites like Zaxxon, now’s the time to grab them — before they’re gone for good.

Bandai Namco is giving Dragon Ball Z fans their first taste of the series’ upcoming action-RPG game via a new trailer — one that looks like a spot-on current-gen reproduction of the anime show itself, while feeling a whole lot like a throwback to the series’ 1990s heyday.

A new trailer for the game landed over the weekend as part of last week’s Dragon Ball Fighter Z World Tour Finals, and while the clip is short on any actual gameplay, it’s definitely high on style:

Currently known as Project Z, the game doesn’t yet have an official name or a firm release date — but Bandai Namco revealed on the trailer’s YouTube page that fans can expect it before the end of 2019.

When it finally does get its official name, Project Z will be arriving for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

The Epic Store has been lining up a series of exclusives as it ramps up its bid to compete with Steam, and it’s hard to top the latest one: a totally free download of Axiom Verge, the futuristic, Metroidvania-style 2D side-scroller that first lit up consoles back in 2015.

Beginning Feb. 7 and running through Feb. 21, Axiom Verge will be free to any Epic Store member. Created and developed by one person — Petroglyph Games’ Tom Happ — the sci-fi adventure introduced the unique retro-future world of Sudra, where scientist-turned-protagonist Trace wakes up after a lab accident and finds himself in the middle of an epic power struggle.

If you’re not a Epic customer and haven’t checked out Axiom Verge, you can still pay for the game via several other channels: It’s available for just about every platform, including PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and WiiU, macOS, and PC.