A losing battle, Epic games sacrifices its iOS users

Continuing to follow up on the ongoing court battle between Epic Games and Apple, recently el Court ruled that Fortnite will not return to Apple's App Store anytime soon.

The judge in charge of the case, Yvonne Gonzales Rogers, ruled on Epic's request of a court order. The latter did not get Fortnite's temporary maintenance on the App Store until the end of the test.

This is because Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store since August 13 after Epic released an update to the game with its own in-app payment system.

Epic's payment system allows you to avoid paying the 30% commission required by Apple when making in-app purchases. 

Therefore, the denial of the order to Epic means that the situation in which Epic is banned from releasing new games on iOS and unable to distribute Fortnite on the App Store in its current form will remain in effect for the duration of the lawsuit, unless Epic decides to remove its own in-app payment system that sparked the bitter legal dispute in August.

Note that the court also ruled that Apple cannot take other more punitive measures against Epic attacking the entire Unreal engine, which would cause a ton of collateral damage to games and apps that don't belong to Epic at all.

Court documents reveal some pretty staggering statistics on what

  • Fortnite has 116 million mobile users on iOS who have spent more than 2.86 billion hours in the game.
  • Of these, 73 million only played Fortnite on iOS and no other platform.
  • 2.5 million of players on iOS play Fortnite every day, which is almost 10% of the total number of daily Fortnite players across all platforms.
  • Fortnite players on iOS spent more on in-app purchases than players on Android, but they spent less than gamers on game consoles like Sony's PlayStation 4 or Microsoft's Xbox One.

It's unclear how many million players Epic has quit. following a similar ban on the Google Play Store. Players are likely to number in the millions, but the deal falls short of its dispute with Apple given that technically Fortnite can still work on Android devices outside of the Play Store.

And yet the longer it goes on, the more difficult the battle will be for Epic, It must convince the courts of the merits of the situation on several fronts.

First, the "ploy" of getting Apple to ban them from the store by deliberately breaking the rules to avoid 30% royalties seems to work against Epic. 

Epic must convince the court that the 30% royalty is oppressive and unjustified when it's the industry standard on Apple, Google, Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and many other similar app stores.

Epic it also needs to convince the court that Apple is acting monopolistically.

There are no alternative platforms for your game to be successful if you want to distribute it elsewhere.

Some observers are convinced that Epic is technically "right" here, especially that Apple has a monopoly and is abusing its position. 

For them, the entire mobile ecosystem must be open to look more like a PC with competing stores. 

Finally, even though Epic is losing the battle, this does not mean that everything returns to as if nothing happened, because the simple fact that Epic has taken the initiative to go against Apple and the high fees in stores, has laid the foundations for what is possibly a scenario of many more demands, as many developers have begun to join the cause.

And on the consumer side, maybe we could benefit from "a little" lower prices.

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