Epic v Apple, or, The Quest for More Money

Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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Writes 🏳️‍🌈🦅 and 🏳️‍🌈🦅 accessories
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Jul 5, 2020
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The Rottenest City on the Pacific Coast
Not sure how many of you are games industry or games industry-adjacent, but things are getting spicy.

On last Thursday, Aug 13, Fortnite announced they were having a sale on their in-game premium currency: 20% off! All you have to do is pay Epic (developer) directly. This was only available on Google Android and Apple iOS, as their app stores take a 30% cut of in-app purchases. As you can imagine, this is against the terms of service of both stores. Apple removed Fortnite from their store, as we all expected they would.

Epic retaliated with a several-hundred page lawsuit stating that Apple has an unfair monopoly on the app marketplace on iOS and launched a PR campaign to #FreeFortnite. They even had an ad that was a shot-for-shot remake of the infamous 1984 ad...because Apple is big brother and needs to be taken down. Ridley Scott was not amused. Google also removed Fortnite and Epic says they will sue them as well, but their PR campaign has mostly been aimed at Apple.

Today, Apple announced that they will remove all developer licenses of Epic employees by the end of the month. This means that any Epic game, software or app will not be allowed to run on iOS or Mac, not just Fortnite. Before Fortnite, Epic was known for their Unreal Engine which was mostly used by game developers but has also been used on Lazy Town, Westworld and The Mandalorian for vfx (and I'm sure plenty of other films/tv).

So millions of people will not be able to play the new season of Fortnite that is set to start soon (since they cannot update their app, since the app is not on any app store)* and thousands of game developers and dozens of shows/movies will have to totally rethink their workflows and switch to another engine/program or do this work on their Windows machines instead. All because Epic, a $17.5 billion company, wanted 10% more margin on their in-game currency--which is 100% margin because it's printing Monopoly money--thinks they can take on a $1.5 trillion company that has a history of not giving a heck as to what the game industry or gamers want.

*Android users can side-load it or get it from the Samsung app store, but how many 10 year olds know how to do that?
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