Epic VS Apple & Google

By | August 16, 2020

Recently, the struggle between Epic and Apple & Google has caused a huge shock in the technology industry. When Fortnite has been removed from the AppStore and Google Play, its publisher,Epic, may recall the winter when it declared war on Steam two years ago.

In just two years, this trouble loving game developer has launched a charge against the PC overlord steam and the mobile overlord Apple and Google.

Why did AppStore and Google Play remove Fortnite?

Both apple and Google said that Epic had violated its terms of selling goods or services on their platforms. In fact, Epic’s approach is very simple. Epic quietly adds the Epic direct payment option to the recharge page of Fortnite.

If players buy virtual goods in the AppStore or Google play store, the price is the same as usual, but they can get 20% in-game currency discount through the new payment channel, avoiding 30% of the middleman’s Commission in the AppStore. For example, 1000 game coins in the game cost $9.99 to buy in the AppStore, while the payment channel using epic costs only $7.99.

Screenshots of payment: AppStore (top) and Google Play Store(bottom)

According to the data of Sensor Tower, a market research company, since its launch, “Fortnite” has been installed 133.2 million times on Apple devices, and has generated $1.2 billion in global AppStore revenue. The 30% draw is not a small amount, so it was quickly removed from the AppStore.
As soon as Apple and Google have removed this game, Epic took out a 60 page lawsuit sued Apple and hired Christine Varney, the head of the antitrust Department of the U.S. Department of justice during the Obama administration, to fight the lawsuit.

Epic 状告谷歌诉讼书

Epic said that the lawsuit is to end unfair and anti competitive behavior. Apple maintains its monopoly position in the IOS application distribution market and IOS payment method in violation of the law, and requests the court to issue an injunction to end Apple’s “unreasonable and illegal practices”. Epic also released a satirical video inside youtube and Fortnite that paid homage to Apple’s 1984 Classic ad, mocking the “Apple tax.”.

Taking advantages of its own to become a rule maker is the normal of the commercial market.Since it was launched in July 2008, AppStore has alwarys been charging for developers with 30% fee. Although it has caused many companies’ dissatisfaction, but its set of rules has continued to this day.

At present, Epic’s tactics of law and public opinion, seemingly with countless game manufacturers and distributors, are trying to make apple and Google fall into the situation of tens of thousands of players from the high point of morality. In fact, controlling public opinion and pressure is just a repetition of steam’s old skill in the war.

Epic – the troublemaker in the game world

Back in August 2018, since Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic, accused Steam and Gog platforms of taking too much 30% of the fee, it laid the groundwork for all subsequent conflicts. At the time, Tim Sweeney said in an interview with GameInformer, “After Epic Games calculates that after deducting 2.5% to 3.5% of the payment cost, the highest 1.5% of CDN cost, and negligible platform development expenses, the game store will draw 30% and the profit margin can reach 300% to 400%, which is a very amazing business. ” Four months later, Epic launched a “price war” on its own store, pointing at Steam, the overlord of the PC platform.


In its official announcement, Tim Sweeney said developers on the platform could get an 88% share of game sales. This means that epic charges only 12% of steam’s 30% cut – and 5% of the virtual engine’s license fee if it is used to make games.


Is 30% of the cost expensive?

Many readers may not know that the rule of the game platform charging developers with 30% fee has been used in the industry for more than ten years. The earliest trace back to the first generation of game console, Xbox, PSN, Nintendo do not charge. However, the three big factories under the banner of free to compete with their competitors, not long after they have to disarm, to join the ranks of charges.

For the platform, the game server and platform maintenance are extremely expensive, and 30% of the fee is its main source of survival. But there is also a paradox – too much fee will make developers can not accept it, too little will lead to a large number of junk games, which will also endanger the survival of the game platform. Finally, game developers and game platforms reached a consensus on 30% of the fee.

Nowadays, there are many PC game platforms on the market. Steam, Gog, win10 store of Microsoft, uplay and origin of EA are all selected by default to 30% standard. Apple and Google are not the only ones to do so.

How do you think of it?

From the perspective of game players, they don’t care what kind of business logic is behind the game developers at all. They only care about whether the game is fun, whether it’s convenient to connect with partners, whether the game price is favorable, and so on. All behaviors that damage user experience will be abandoned by users.

As for the 30% fee, as I said earlier: “it is a very common phenomenon for any commercial company to take advantages of its own to become a rule maker.” if you are not satisfied with the platform’s rules, you could choose to not use their platform, or you can create a new platform to fight against it. If you want to play on with its platform but don’t want to follow its rules, they will have to drive you away. The platform has reason and ability to do so, after all, this is in its own home, it does not infringe on any benefits of you.

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