Apple vs Epic case: both lost, but it got worse for the creator of Fortnite

The tussle between Apple and Epic Games, which had been going on for more than a year, has come to an (apparent) ending in recent days. Neither party exactly won. On the other hand, there are plenty of arguments that allow us to say that who got the worst was the developer of Fortnite.

If you have been left out of the disputes in the gamer market in recent months and have no idea what was going on, feel like there comes history.

Epic sued Apple in August 2020 after Fortnite was removed from its app store. According to Tim Cook’s company, the battle royale developer was wrong: Epic would be violating the terms of use by allowing users to “take a shortcut” to complete microtransactions — like buying a paid game skin, for example — without charging the 30% commission from Apple. Fortnite’s creator, on the other hand, stamped her foot, saying it was wrong to demand that this be the only means of payment.

Cut to 2021. A California judge ruled last Friday (10) that it is illegal for Apple to prevent its users from making transactions outside of its App Store. What does that mean? That Apple will need to open up its payments system, warning consumers that they can pay for microtransactions in other ways.

From now on, developers who have games sold on Apple’s app store will be able to offer their own purchase mechanisms. Apple’s mediation will no longer be required — and the additional 30% charged each time a user purchased a paid item or feature. More than that, Apple prevented developers from saying that there were alternative ways to complete that purchase, outside of the Apple store. In the court’s view, this was an anti-competitive practice, and it can no longer happen.

For the creator of Fortnite — and other companies that sell their apps in the Apple store and use the built-in microtransaction feature — this is great news. No longer having to pay an Apple fee can allow services to become cheaper — and, by the way, more attractive to consumers. O Bitniks, magazine of the Gizmodo Brazil, by the way, did a report on this impact on the view of Brazilian developers, which you can check clicking here.

But not everything in the decision was flower in the case of Epic

Another decision, by the same judge, found that the developer broke the contract with the apple company when it decided to implement alternative forms of payment for Fortnite in the past.

The blow to revenue was big: Epic was ordered to pay 30% of the revenue it obtained in this way until the app was banned from the store. It is estimated that this value is around US$ 3.6 million (or R$ 18.7 million). The company declared, last Sunday (12), who intends to appeal the sentence.

There is also another problem with the move. The decision that Epic felt the most — banning its apps from the iOS store after breach of contract — is not going to be reversed. The American court ruled Apple’s right to simply ban the games released by Epic for its users.

As you can imagine, being left out of this gigantic window has a heavy impact on the company’s revenues. second point this matter of forbes, it is estimated that Epic has already lost $500 million betting on the Epic Games Store, its own store — which is not expected to make a profit until 2027. The numbers reveal the size of the “AppStore dependency” that all game developers face. In the first two years of launch, Fortnite earned $614 million on its iOS version alone.

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The fact is that Epic’s initiative served as a pretext for other companies to take advantage of the breach — and began to close the siege of Apple regarding its policy of payment in microtransactions.

Pressed to prove it wasn’t holding a monopoly, the apple company had already committed last week to letting certain apps, such as Netflix and Spotify, be able to place payment links to their own sites — which would allow users to bypass the infamous 30% fee. The big difference is that, in the case of these others, the dependence on Apple’s window is much less. Someone had to pull the line, right, Epic?