Apple is trying to seize the Fortnite publisher’s revolt

Video game publisher Epic Games has embarked on a crusade against Apple’s 30% commission system with Fortnite, its popular online game. A legal battle is underway on Monday over allegations of abuse of a dominant position against Gafam.

Far from the Mediterranean gas field or the Belarusian events that make the news, a Homeric strifehas been shaking up the digital world since mid-August.

In the role of challenger, video game publisher Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, filed a complaint against Apple on Monday, August 17, to prevent the Japanese giant from excluding the game from its application store. Against him the apple stands firm $ 1.9 trillion of market value in the guardians of the temple. Topic of the dispute: the sacred rule of 30% commission charged by Apple for transactions from third-party publishers conducted on iOS.

The attack turns out to be bad for the Cupertino company, which, like the other Gafams, is being targeted by accusations of anti-competitive monopolistic practices.

Epic wants public opinion on its side

The spark that ignited the powders is Epic Games decisionon August 13 last year to offer in the mobile version of Fortnite access to the game’s virtual currency – which, for example, allows to personalize their avatars with real euros or dollars – without going through the systems from Apple or Google.

A method that allows Epic Games to avoid their commissions, but which violates the terms of use that the two Gafams have introduced in their respective online stores. The reaction from the California behemoths was quick: within a few hours, the game Fortnite was banned from these stores, which prevented all new users from downloading it on Android and iOS systems.

An escalation expected by Epic Games, which on August 17 draws a lawsuit for abuse of a dominant position and requests that the game be made available again. A few days earlier, a parody video of an old Apple commercial condemning an Orwellian computer universe on Fortnite and social networks aired.

“Epic Games has defied the App Store monopoly. In revenge, Apple is blocking Fortnite at one billion units. Join the fight to prevent 2020 from becoming” 1984, “writes the video game publisher, which has pledged public support in what it expects to be a shooting war.

Many content publishers are watching the ongoing struggle with interest. Some have already emerged from the shadows, such as the online listening service Spotify, which in 2019 launched a similar procedure for European justice.

Rebellion revolves around the Apple Citadel

For the giant in Cupertino, it was therefore urgent to tip these slopes into revolt in the bud. Apple’s response took the form of an ultimatum that risks leaving the rebellious publisher KO standing.

Epic Games thus announced that Apple threatened to withdraw their access to all their developer accountson iOS and macOS by August 28 if it does not fall in line. These accesses are important for the video game publisher, who derives a good portion of its revenue from it game engine, Unreal Engine. The latter is offered under license to other developers for whom the iOS environment is a natural outlet. Apple’s ultimatum therefore puts Epic Games at odds with its own customers.

The apple company defended a 30% commission as the price to pay for maintaining a healthy and functional environment for third-party publishers.

For his part, the director of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, protested against the “tyrannical treasures” that he represents these missions taken by online stores – AppStore, but also Google Play for Android or Steam for computer games.

A price to pay that seems exorbitant to the boss of Epic Games. He who started his career in 1991 by sending his first video game on disk to his customers … with the mail.