The Epic Games versus the Apple Bench trial, one of the leading court cases in the recent memory, began on Monday this week, and is intended for the whole technology and gaming industry.
This Epic Games lawsuit against Apple is aimed at freeing Apple’s tight control over its App Store, which is reportedly classified as an unfair monopoly.
The 2008 App Store provides the Cupertino giant with billions of dollars each year and Epic Games aims to adjust Apple’s policies for game developers, who have to share a heavy 30 per cent of each in-game transaction that a user makes.
In recent years, Apple has been subject to an antitrust and complaint scanner, but is much bigger this time.
How it all started
Everything started in August 2020 when Epic Games updated its Fortnite iOS version with the option to shop for Epic directly in the game.
This clearly violated the policies of the App Store and prohibited the game.
Epic Games, on the other hand, prepared themselves for an epic combat against Apple right now.
Following the preliminary findings of the trial, a document of over 300 pages has been submitted and full trial status granted before District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.
On the 1st day of the trial in Oakland, Calif – CEO of Epic Games at a federal court, Tim Sweeney stated clearly that “Epic is only looking to change the future behavior of Apple,” and they are not in search of financial damages.
Epic Games’ allegation
According to Sweeney, the first witness to this event on the first day, Apple has an antitrust attitude against its iOS – especially App Store – ecosystem which does not allow alternative app stores on its devices to be optional.
This, Sweeney states, cultivates a whole anticompetitive ecosystem by acting like an illegal monopoly and is contrary to the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.
Epic’s lawyer Katherine Forrest’s argument focuses on Apple’s obligations to third-party apps throughout the App Store.
The developers must bear the cost of hosting the game and from there all the sales in the game (for instance Fortnite V-bucks), as Apple only allows its own payment system.
That is not unfair, and Apple should allow the developers of the game to use their own payment methods to fix the balance.
Another argument that sounds morally justified is that smaller developers are at a major disadvantage compared to Apple’s own apps, which clearly don’t have an additional charge of 30 percent.
Apple is profiting nearly 80% simply by acting as a mediator in each transaction, which is not justified, Epic lawyers claimed.
Sweeney said Apple makes more money than the app’s maker by cutting 30 percent!
Apple has defended all of the allegations so far and its lawyers have stated in the opening statement that the 30 percent fee is used to safeguard user privacy and security – as a tool for quality control of iOS ecosystems.
According to Apple lawyers, Epic Games wishes Apple to, “permit unreviewed and untested apps on all iOS devices in any and all third-party app stores.”
Apple labeled the study as an attack on the iOS philosophy, in order to allow third party applications to sideload devices on Apple, they would have to spend additional money to fix the loopholes they created.
Each other game platform has more or less the same Apple commission rate, so why is Epic only targeting them?