As of Friday Apple Inc. announced that it had terminated Epic Games’ account on the App Store. This comes after Epic announced that doing so would revoke third party access to their proprietary Unreal Engine, a mainstay for innumerable games currently available on a plethora of platforms. This was a bold stance taken indeed, covered in a recent article by ABG. Particularly when up against a company now worth more than the GDP of Italy, the world’s eighth largest economy.
In comparison Epic was last valued at a poultry $17.3, which to maintain the analogy is about equivalent to that of Bosina, one of the most war ravaged countries in Europe. But let’s consider Apple’s pecuniary potential for a moment. The average US lawyer earns about $144k a year. There are about 1.35m lawyers in the US at last count. So, if they so chose, Apple could hire every single lawyer in America for an entire year to fight this particular battle. It’s at this point you start to wonder if Epic really thought this through.
An Epic Threat Falls Flat
Following the ban, and in stark contrast to Epic’s threats, Apple commented that this would not affect developer access to the jumped up publisher’s unreal engine. It does mean, however that no new users will be able to download the popular battle royal game to their various Apple devices. People who already have the game installed will be able to continue playing Fortnite but will no longer be able to make in-app purchases, the pivotal focal point in this legal tête-à-tête.
All in all this is a predictable move by Apple, following the federal court decision on Monday denying Epic’s bid to forestall the ban. Apple has always maintained that it would re-admit Fortnite to the store should Epic remove the debated direct payment feature that initiated this debacle. But in a stoic show of conviction Epic again reiterated its position, saying that removl of this feature would be, “to collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments in iOS”.
This decision all but sealed Fortnite’s fate, securing its ban from distribution on the app store, despite the court recommending that it comply with Apple’s guidelines whilst the case moves forward. Guidelines that they have “followed for the past decade”, an Apple spokesman added.
Fight the Good Fight
And so, the contention continues. Frankly, it’s all getting a bit tedious, isn’t it? Whilst I tend to agree with Epic’s position that Apple does indeed have and could well be in abuse of their monopoly on app distribution, I abhor the levers they are using to make this point. Those levers to be clear are us, the gamers, and countless developers reliant on their industry staple Unreal engine. The argument of monopoly unfortunately cements the impact as manifest.
Apple has around a 15% share worldwide of all smartphones shipped, representing 37 million devices shipped in Q4 2019. So that’s 148 million customers acquired over the next year that will not have access to arguably the most influential, popular game ever made. Did we, the consumer request this fight? I certainly don’t recall being asked.
Sit down, and shut up already
Yet it is we that will suffer as Epic continues to posture flamboyantly all in the name of consumer fairness, audaciously citing Orwell in its frankly cringe worthy campaign. Considering Apple’s position and now the American courts guidance, despite a recent promotion to the big boys table, we think it might be about time for Epic to pipe the fuck down. By all means, Epic are welcome to fight the good fight, just don’t put us in the firing line next time.
But this is a divisive topic for sure. So please let us know what you think in the comments below, and keep up with ABG for breaking news on this hot topic.
Fancy being social? We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Or if videos and/or podcasts are more your thing, why not subscribe to our YouTube and Twitch channels and track us down on Spotify. And if you wanna show your allegiance to ABG, you’ll be happy to know we have our own merch! All proceeds go to helping fund the site.
Don’t forget to drop us a comment down below
“Video games are great. I should know, I’ve played some.”
Olly S, July 2020