It’s no secret that Apple and Epic Games have had a rocky relationship since the release of Fortnite on the App Store. Epic Games announced that it would delay the launch of Fortnite on iOS until it could offer the game without the requirement of players being connected to the internet.
The plan was to have an offline mode included in the initial launch of the iOS port. Still, a few days before the game’s scheduled July 12 release, Epic Games, unfortunately, announced that they are separating themselves from the Apple Store. And that they will be selling all their games through their own website. It’s a big reason why the Google Play Store is growing so rapidly, but it looks like things are about to get a lot worse for Apple.
Epic Games – the company behind Fortnite, one of the most popular video games of all time – has filed a lawsuit against Apple over the 30% revenue cut that Apple takes from apps distributed through its App Store. The lawsuit claims that Apple has no right to charge developers this fee for in-app purchases. Epic cites $100 billion in revenue that Fortnite has generated since its release in July of 2017 as evidence that Epic is justified in its complaint. Epic Games said that “The high prices we must charge on the App Store restrict our developers from creating more fun, innovative, and engaging content.”
Just last week, the judge working on Epic Games’ and Apple’s case asked Epic Games if they really had a case of antitrust with Apple or if they just wanted to help young people get unnecessary purchases. The judge talked about how important where and how people paid with their money on apps and suggested a change on App Store Policy, something Epic never even considered a deal with Apple.
Epic went to court with Apple because they banned the game Fortnite from IOS. This was all because of a direct in-game payment for Fortnite’s game currency, V-Bucks. Epic said that the Apple company was being plainly unfair and monopolistic. Still, then Apple argued back that developers get to sell in-app purchases with a price discount, so there won’t be any lockout. Epic was quite busy on how they could explain why web app is not perfect substitutes for ones that are native. David Evans, who is an expert witness, brought up a big issue, and that were “anti-steering rules.”
Originally, Mr. Evans was trying to explain what in-app purchases are with comparing Uber and Apple, comparing Apple, a developer of apps, to a simple uber driver that just, fortunately, made a good relationship with one of his customers. The customer wants to hire the driver directly, but the company we look at as Apple still demands that their customer still pays through their official app.
The judge did not seem convinced. In fact, she said that a player purchasing v-bucks seemed like a passenger still paying the journey directly. Evans said that in this analogy, Epic couldn’t event message app users that use IOS, “You can go to Apple’s web and get v-bucks more cheaply.” He said that’s like a cab driver not being able to give passengers their phone number’s even if they wanted to. He also added that the problem was that Epic had to use the Apple payment processing along with barriers that made it way harder to reach users and tell them they can purchase v-bucks for cheaper at the safari.
Judge Rogers then asked, “Would Epic still have a problem with the Apple System if there was no anti-steering provision?”
Evans then admitted that it wouldn’t really put an end to the market power the Apple company has, but it would definitely decrease it. Mr. David Evans also added that it would bring much more help for a few apps since it’s a pretty good thing for companies that are subscription-based and have a separate website, though he did acknowledge he didn’t really know that much about the topic, so he wasn’t of how big the issue would still be.
That’s it, just some little news on how the case is going.