Tim Sweeney, the founder and boss of Epic, opened the ball rolling just after the presentation of the arguments of Epic Games and Apple yesterday. Her testimony is now complete and it has revealed some of the Fortnite publisher’s contradictions.
Apple’s lawyer conveyed the message that the manufacturer had done everything to make Epic’s life easier. In particular by allowing players to spend V-Bucks purchased on other platforms in the iOS version of Fortnite. These purchases do not earn Apple anything. The Apple cleared the game cross-play (cross-platform) and transactions cross-wallet, which is not the case for all.
Sweeney confirmed that negotiations were held in 2018 between Epic and Sony to allow cross-play gaming, with a shocking argument: banning a kid from playing with his friends on other platforms would place the manufacturer of the PlayStation in ” untenable position “. Sony would be accused of ” destroy friendships And it might not even be legal. Under pressure, Sony ended up allowing cross-platform play but not the use of V-Bucks purchased elsewhere than in the PlayStation game. A facility yet offered by Apple.
Apple’s defense has had a great time talking about the relationship between Sony and Epic. If iOS only represents 5.5% of the revenues generated by Fortnite in 2020, the PlayStation being the dominant platform for the game, both in terms of number of players and turnover. If the publisher was so worried about the 30% commission, why not go straight to the platform that weighs the most in the accounts? Because Sony takes the same commission as Apple.
Tim Sweeney explained that console makers are more open to negotiation, which makes the 70/30 ratio more bearable. Microsoft, for example, never hesitates to put the package on marketing, partnerships and small advantages. The boss of Epic even indicates that he has never negotiated a reduction in the commission with the consolers.
The main argument that he says differentiates game consoles from the iPhone is that the former are largely devices that are used only for gaming, while the latter is multi-purpose. Sometimes the iPhone is even the only computer a person owns. In addition, manufacturers produce their consoles at a loss and then rely on game sales and therefore on their commissions.
Tim Sweeney may have shot himself in the foot when one of Epic’s lawyers shot him request if he would have accepted an agreement with Apple to lower the commission of the App Store. An agreement whose terms would have benefited only the publisher and no other developer, a bit of the same kind as the one signed with Amazon: ” Yes i would have He replied. We cannot blame him for his frankness, but at the same time who would have refused?
In documents published during the trial, we also learn that the boss of Epic directly advised Tim Cook to turn iOS into an open platform. In the email, Sweeney admits that the App Store did ” a lot of good for the industry “But that Apple could no longer be” the only arbiter of expression and commerce on a platform [de distribution] apps approaching one billion users “.
Sweeney suggests separating the editorialization of the App Store from the distribution of apps, which themselves would be separated from the app review process. In this scheme, Apple would only manage the security functions on its platform, by decentralizing the distribution of applications. Of course, Apple didn’t.
In his response to Phil Schiller who forwarded Sweeney’s post, Tim Cook simply wrote: “ Is that the guy who was at one of our rehearsals? “(Probably a subtle way of not writing:” Who is this guy ? “). Three weeks before this email, an Epic team presented the Mac version of Fortnite on the WWDC stage …