Home Gaming “The end of these ridiculous 30% fees is near.” Tim Sweeney crows victory in Epi | Pocket Gamer.biz

“The end of these ridiculous 30% fees is near.” Tim Sweeney crows victory in Epi | Pocket Gamer.biz

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“The end of these ridiculous 30% fees is near,” Tim Sweeney celebrated, basking in the glory of his major win over Google in the battle on app store fees.

After all, Epic Games has just won its court case against Google on every count, with a unanimous jury voicing agreement that Google has an illegal monopoly over Android app billing and distribution. They also agreed that the internet behemoth has been carrying out anticompetitive behaviours that maintain this monopoly.

It’s a big blow to Google – especially after Apple got away relatively scot-free – but the Play Store’s upheaval remains far from certain with plans for Google to challenge the verdict and doubtless drag their heels over any mandatory changes down the line.

An uncertain victory

As CEO of Epic Games, Sweeney got into an immense battle with Apple and Google over their 30% app store fees back in 2020 and years-long legal suits have ensued. The Apple case was full of challenges and turnarounds, and while the same is looking increasingly likely with Google, as of today Sweeney is making sure everyone knows he’s “won”. What shape that victory will take is uncertain, but it is a victory on paper nonetheless. 

Of course, pre-Apple and pre-iPhone there were no simple, on-every-device ‘app stores’, and with that, no unified, simple process for users to find and download apps or mobile games.

Essentially – credit where it’s due – Apple is responsible for the app market as we know it today while Google simply did the right thing, taking a good idea and running with it. Whether or not this has had any bearing on Apple’s more favorable court response, Sweeney has highlighted in the past: “Two facts about Apple. 1: Apple is number three in the world in game revenue. 2: Apple doesn’t make games.”

This is due to the 30% fee placed by Apple’s App Store (and Google’s Play Store) upon mobile games – essentially a distribution fee, and one that in an era of huge downloads and repeating revenue, an increasing number of developers are looking to avoid. In some cases this is more feasible, such as Niantic offering in-app purchases as better rates via its web store, where it can dodge the requirement to share revenues. For others like miHoYo it hasn’t worked out so well, nor has it for Epic Games, with Fortnite getting banned from the Play Store and Apple App Store during it’s attempts to sell in-game assets direct to players.

That’s what kicked off the court cases to begin with, but ultimately, despite this win against Google, it’s entirely possible Fortnite would have made more money in the same amount of time since if Sweeney had just continued forking over the 30% fee and remain on stores… But, he chose to fight both mobile giants instead. Now he gets to celebrate something of a victory.

A lot to say

Thus Sweeney has taken to Twitter to share Epic’s plans for the future: “We’ll compete, and we’ll also put Fortnite on any serious store that gives all developers an awesome deal,” Sweeney tweeted. “Steam, Microsoft, OneStore, anyone: give all developers an awesome deal and we’ll support you. The end of these ridiculous 30% fees is near.”

And, speaking to The Verge, he commented on the court case itself, in particular the aspect of Google essentially paying to keep big players on side – a move that came to bite them in the Epic case as Epic were able to spin Google’s endavours to strike deals with their friends as being anti-competitive.

“It was really disconcerting to see the extent of bad faith efforts that were going on in a company of Google’s size… Activision and Riot and Supercell had direct distribution plans that they were planning on; Google paid them not to pursue those plans. Just direct blatant violations of anti-competition law, it’s crazy a company of Google’s scale would do that.”

The scotched plans for an Epic, Activision Blizzard and Supercell store emerged last week in evidence during the case.



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