Epic secures early win against Apple for Unreal Engine, but Fortnite remains barred

    
68
Epic secures early win against Apple for Unreal Engine, but Fortnite remains barred

If we’re keeping score, and really that would be unnecessary since the courts are doing that for us, we’re currently at Epic 1, Apple 1 in the Fortnite-involved legal battle over platform payment monopolies.

Last night, the judge in the case issued an early decision that essentially stops Apple from retaliating against Epic by deleting Epic’s developer accounts and threatening both Unreal Engine and all games that use it. In the temporary restraining order, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers writes, “Apple has chosen to act severely, and by doing so, has impacted non-parties, and a third-party developer ecosystem.”

“The record shows potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally, including on both third-party developers and gamers. The public context in which this injury arises differs significantly: not only has the underlying agreement not been breached, but the economy is in dire need of increasing avenues for creativity and innovation, not eliminating them. Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders. Certainly, during the period of a temporary restraining order, the status quo in this regard should be maintained.”

But the judge didn’t immediately grant Epic’s emergency request for relief relating to Apple’s barring of Fortnite from the Appstore, saying that “the current predicament appears of its own making” and that on that front “Epic has not yet demonstrated irreparable harm.” In other words, Unreal games are safe for now, but Fortnite stays banned while proceedings continue.

I suspect this list is going to get too long to embed before long, but here’s all our coverage of the suit so far.

No posts to display

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
dreamer

Tim Sweeney is insufferable.

Reader
Sorenthaz

“the current predicament appears of its own making”

No duh. Epic was literally prepared to take a dive for trying to look like some sort of martyr fighting against the big bad evil billionaire tech companies despite being one itself. Anyone who isn’t a Fortnite-obsessed zoomer can see right through this charade.

rafael12104
Reader
rafael12104

I’m getting old and jaded. This is fun, but the money they are going to spend on this will be the GNP of a small nation. And, in the long run… what will it mean?

Reader
Bruno Brito

It’ll mean not much. If there’s a loophole that one of these soulless bastards can exploit, they will. This was bound to happen sooner or later.

Reader
Arktouros

Pretty sure dumping out millions even in litigation failure at a remote chance you can get access to the market Apple has created is super worth it from a cost benefit perspective. The cost of getting into the mobile phone business is billions and has an extremely high rate of failure (even companies like Microsoft have tried multiple times and failed).

Reader
Bruno Brito

I mean, sure, but i think the costs are ultimately acceptable for these companies, considering that the rewards must be Shangri-la levels of gold.

You’re not wrong tho. I just don’t feel these costs are prohibitive enough to shy them away from these PR stunts. I mean, it’s clear what Epic wants here, and they’re literally showing themselves as a child throwing a tantrum because they see potential. I don’t like it.

Reader
Arktouros

The big key here that was seemingly unknown or unreported on (or at least I never saw or knew) is that Epic actually multiple entities that one manages their game (Epic Games) and one manages their engine (Epic International). The fact it each have their own agreements with Apple is really what saved them here and I am inclined to agree with the judge that because one has broken their agreement doesn’t mean the other has.

However what I was super glad to see was the Judge’s comments in court (before this order was given) basically wasn’t having any of Epic’s bullshit when it came to their game though. Or her in words:

…you cannot have irreparable harm when you create a harm yourself.

I also liked this from the ending of the meeting:

There’s some measure of a lack of competition and high barriers to market entry. That said, there appears to be evidence that everyone that uses these kind of platforms to sell games is charging 30%. Whether Epic likes it, the industry and not just Apple seem to be charging that. Right now, Epic is paying Apple nothing. Epic itself charges third parties. This battle won’t be won or lost on a TRO, and Apple has a reputation of going the distance so it’s not surprising they acted the way they did here, but like I said, they overreached.

Pretty nice they found a tech savvy judge at least, even if she did previously rule in Apple’s favor.

Reader
traja

Will you now commit to saying that it was all along Apple, and Apple alone, who put developers at risk? That Epic had no responsibility for it whatsoever. Because, obviously, it now turns out that Epic did not break an agreement related to Unreal Engine. and since agreements are all that matters….

Will you be consistent? You were so eager to blast Epic for the terrible thing they did to developers. Where is that rage for Apple now?

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

The one who started this whole thing was Epic. So, no; as much as I hate the control freak nature of Apple (and won’t ever touch their products for what matters), the one who recklessly endangered Unreal-using devs was Epic.

BTW, the developer agreement do give apple the power to kick out all entities related to the one that breached the agreement, as Apple was attempting to do. Also, kicking out all related entities has been Apple’s modus operandi up to now. So, unless Epic’s strategy was devised by blatantly incompetent fools that can’t even do basic research, Epic was well aware that starting a fight with Apple by very publicly violating their store policies would endanger every developer that relied on the Unreal engine.

Reader
traja

I agree, Epic is also to blame for this. However Ark should not agree since to him all that matters is the agreement, and Epic did not break a relevant agreement when it comes to Unreal Engine.

Reader
Arktouros

Absolutely not.

As Apple has stated, continued to offer and the court agreed had Epic filed suit without breaking it’s agreement the litigation could have continued without any disruption to anyone. As the court also acknowledged this entire scenario was engineered, planned and executed by Epic. Saying Epic had no responsibility what so ever is just factually and objectively incorrect because there was another way they could do this and chose not to.

Where my mind has been changed is that because Epic runs Unreal Engine from a sub company which had it’s own agreement that it’s reasonable that the judge would pause Apple from also banning that affiliated company. Other companies do rely on Unreal Engine and even though Epic did engineer this scenario it’s not that surprising the judge doesn’t want to let the battle between the two affect others. The claims Apple is making that Epic could engineer Unreal Engine to enable all sorts of things that break the agreement (IE: IAP via Epic) is a bit far fetched since they could just go back to the court and show Epic breaking the agreement again and get Unreal Engine lifted from protection from being banned.

Also if you read through the TRO document the judge ordered this isn’t the end reprieve for Unreal Engine. What the judge said is that such a complicated matter can’t be decided in just the TRO and will be re-examined more thoroughly when the court case continues. Here’s a pretty good break down of it.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

From what I’ve read, it seems what truly saved Epic’s bacon here is that Epic has a separate subsidiary that handles development of the Unreal Engine, and holds the Apple developer accounts. Thanks to that, the judge found that the development subsidiary itself never violated Apple’s policies, and as such shouldn’t have the developer accounts revoked.

cmdr_cotic
Reader
cmdr_cotic

I really hope this backfires on Epic.

Reader
John Kiser

The fact remains is that apple is in an area here that is questionable. Controlling all aspects is questionable for apple. They want to control all places applications can be, they want to control all payment providers on the platform, and they want to take a huge cut. 30% in the case of epic games has been close to 1 billion pay out to Apple for just fortnite alone since it went live on the app store. They have paid out up to 682 mill at one point… That’s absurd period.

Also Apple going after unreal as a whole is just a dick move and is hugely questionable considering they literally pulled access to the development of official shit on the Mac front and not just iOS development.

(Edited by mod to remove excessive ad hom. Please take a hint and stop doing this.)

Reader
Arktouros

All of this is 100% acceptable business practices. This is how business works, even if we don’t like it. However, what what makes it unbearable is the self righteous bullshit that comes along with it from Tim Sweeney. It would be one thing if he just recognized the success of PS4 over XBOne via exclusivity deals and just said he’s starting a store and he’s buying out these exclusives to be successful and here’s a bunch of free games. No, not Tim. Tim has to be the good guy in all this. He’s the scrappy do gooder Hero taking on the big bad evil Steam corp who is strangling the gaming market. He’s going to create lots of competition against Steam…by buying out exclusivity deals effectively removing consumer choice from the market.

Why did EGS need exclusives if the lure of a smaller revenue cut was so appealing to developers? The answer is ultimately that a smaller revenue cut for developers doesn’t translate to any benefits for us consumers and thus we have no reason to switch. Instead of investing money into making a better platform for consumers that could get us to switch they instead focused their money on buying out exclusive games to remove consumer choice from the market. Again perfectly fine business approach but the self righteous bullshit that goes along with it is not going to strike a chord with people.

Controlling all aspects of their device and ecosystem is literally the Apple playbook for the last 40 years. In all respects the courts have backed them up on it too. What you’re simply ignoring is they want to control all places applications can be, on their devices. They want to control the payment providers, on their devices. They want to take a standard cut used throughout most digital industries, on their devices. There are other devices and platforms than Apple, and in fact Android makes up the majority of the global and domestic marketplace here in the US for mobile phones. People who want to make brazen claims about monopolies really should be actually going out and reading up on what those terms legally actually mean.

But yes Apple did overreach when it came to Unreal engine since Unreal engine is apparently managed by a different subsidiary of Epic.

cmdr_cotic
Reader
cmdr_cotic

However, what what makes it unbearable is the self righteous bullshit that comes along with it from Tim Sweeney.

Yup, this is what grinds my gears more than anything and why I would have a good giggle if it all backfires on them.

Reader
Bruno Brito

On principle, i kinda want this shit to blow up in their collective faces, so Epic finally stop this garbage of pretending to be better than what they really are, and Apple learn some good lessons about not being neurotic freaks controlling everything they can.

That being said, rules are rules, and they were pretty clear for Epic. Not only that, but everything Epic says they are against, they pull. It’s textbook hypocrisy, and i want nothing with this stunt.

cmdr_cotic
Reader
cmdr_cotic

Holy hell dude. Talk about diving off the deep end. You make a whole host of assumptions and write three paragraphs in defense of a game store of all things while suggesting it must be me who is the fanboy :D

You crazy! Let’s have some more!

Reader
Bruno Brito

Don’t waste your time. This guy is clearly not right in the head.

Reader
wratts

Truthfully I don’t understand how the judge can rule Epic hasn’t shown irreparable harm in being banned from the Apple store.

If you’re making the case that a marketplace is a monopolist and engaged in anti-competitive behavior, and they shut down your entire channel to that market in retaliation, they’ve kind of proved your point that they’re an anti-competitive monopolist.

Reader
Jim Bergevin Jr

The key is when the Judge said “of its own making.” Meaning that Epic initiated the action that got Fortnite banned. Had Apple just done it out if the blue, or before Epic did their own payment thing, then the Judge might have decided otherwise.

Reader
Utakata

So yeah, the onus of proof in this dispute appears to on the one making the claim…so to speak. And that would be Epic.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

The fact it was a calculated move by Epic — as amply proved by the ready-to-go media blitz Epic initiated — seems to also have weighted in that decision.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

I haven’t had the time to read the decision but the summary sounds like the judge decided that both parties came to her court with “unclean hands” and ruled appropriately. I expect Tim expected this kind of ruling and with it in hand, Apple and Epic will come back to the negotiating table. I definitely want to find the time to read what Judge Rogers has to say in full, I like what I read about her decision so far.

Reader
Arktouros

She decided that Epic Games came to her court with “unclean hands” but that Apple overreached because it also banned Epic International which has a separate development contract for Unreal Engine. So they’re okay to ban Epic Games/Fortnite but not okay to ban Unreal Engine.

Reader
John Kiser

Frankly these companies need to start acting grown up. The grown up thing to do in all of this would be agreeing to a favorable sliding scale setup that is good for devs and still brings apple in money. They can have 30% on stuff up to a certain level then do like 25% and so on. They could also allow different payment processors and charge a yearly fee to access their customer base to do that along with providing tools for customers to block use of other payment providers.

Ultimately I think some of the flack epic is getting from some people is their hate of EGS exclusives instead of actual merits of what is going on. I think we need to actually address what is going on in an objective way and I really think these “rules” need to be something that is questioned now and then. These people that think Apple can do whatever it wants simply because people “agreed” to it doesn’t mean much of anything if it ends up woefully unfair to a single party. Apple in this case is taking a huge sum of money at times when an app may pull in the kind of money Fortnite has on that one store front.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

The reasons I think Apple can do pretty much whatever it wants with its store are:
– It’s their walled garden, developed from bottom to top by them. While I’m of the opinion that Apple should be forced to allow consumers to install non-store software if they so desire, even including installing alternative and competing stores, I don’t think it’s appropriate to mess in any way with how Apple’s store itself operates.
– Apple doesn’t have monopoly power, no matter how much Apple wishes it had. It’s only ahead of Android in a few markets (one of which being the US), but when you look at the global market iOS has only about a third of the market share of Android.

BTW, I very much despise Apple. I used to love the brand back when it was made by hackers, for hackers, but the way it evolved during the last few decades made it into a brand I wouldn’t be caught dead with.

Reader
John Kiser

Apple doesn’t need to be an actual monopoly to have some anti-monopoly anti-trust laws hit on them and epic very much tried to work with apple before-hand is the thing here. Also it doesn’t matter if apple built it from the ground up if they are abusing their position. When you give users no option other than what you do you are in a position where you are potentially violating the public “trust” which is where anti-trust suites and some of the anti-monopoly laws come into play.

This also isn’t necessarily saying how the apple store itself operates, but rather how purchases inside applications operate. Forcing all IAP to be through apple pay no matter what is sort of questionable in that it causes them to potentially be in anti-trust territory when there is no alternative means with the product. Their overall behavior is also massively questionable given not allowing xcloud and stadia which would have a subscription that doesn’t necessarily have to be on their store for the sub and would just be an application which the devs have to pay a yearly developer license to get their application up as is.

Apple’s overall behavior (not just in the epic situation) may be called to attention because they are quite clearly abusing the situation they are in which is most definitely an anti-trust violation.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

When you give users no option other than what you do you are in a position where you are potentially violating the public “trust” which is where anti-trust suites and some of the anti-monopoly laws come into play.

Apple’s market share isn’t large enough to eliminate customer choice without resorting to, say, exclusivity deals. Which, to the best of my knowledge, they don’t; Apple might purchase an app maker and shut down its development for other platforms, as has happened a few times, but I’m not aware of Apple paying independent third-parties to prevent them from releasing versions for competing platforms.

In other words, Apple isn’t so big that you have no option but to deal with it, and doesn’t seem to be using its power to limit which options you can have on competing platforms. You can very much build a successful global business without ever interacting with Apple or its devices.

Now guess which company is resorting to outright anti-competitive tactics, forcing customers to deal with them if they want products from certain independent third parties. IMHO, if there is one company in this fight that deserves to be slapped hard over their anti-competitive practices, it’s Epic.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

Apple might purchase an app maker and shut down its development for other platforms, as has happened a few times, but I’m not aware of Apple paying independent third-parties to prevent them from releasing versions for competing platforms.

Uh, every game on Apple Arcade has a mobile exclusivity deal to not be on Android.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

I wasn’t aware of that, since I restrict my mobile gaming to just things like puzzles and point-and-click. Not all of Apple Arcade’s games seem to be exclusive, though, and when there is exclusivity, it seems to only be in the mobile space.

Anyway, thanks. I’ve added a few more games to the list of games I would rather pirate than purchase, some of which were previously in my Steam wishlist.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

Yeah, best I can tell, they are only limited to exclusivity on mobile. But if the reverse were true: Epic said that developers could release their games on mobile, iOS and Android, but still had to remain exclusive to the EGS on PC, would it change anyone’s opinion of the situation?

Apple only gets away with it because nobody actually gives a crap about mobile games.

Reader
Arktouros

Apple only gets away with it because nobody actually gives a crap about mobile games.

Finally something we can all agree on.

Filthy fucking mobile gamers, just the worst.

Reader
cursedseishi

The whole ‘Apple Arcade’ shtick is a collection of games, both mobile and mobile ports. They’re exclusivity is tied explicitly to ‘Apple Arcade’, which is honestly a shame. It is nice that a lot of the mobile games released through it have Apple helping fund them…

But there’s little difference there and with what Epic is doing. It’d be great to be able to buy those games on IOS, but part of the ‘exclusivity’ deal really shoots Apple in the foot because it doesn’t allow for a release on any mobile storefront, not even their own.

If its available elsewhere? Honestly, I’d recommend buying it there or wherever the developer will be most able to receive the funds for it. I wouldn’t fault smaller developers for taking a funding deal, from either Epic or Apple. The issue comes when its clearly not a necessity (Assassin’s Creed/Most any AAA title), or when it comes at the expense of prior support and without any warning or chance of refund to prior support (Shenmue 3 is an easy example of such).

Reader
Bruno Brito

While I’m of the opinion that Apple should be forced to allow consumers to install non-store software if they so desire, even including installing alternative and competing stores, I don’t think it’s appropriate to mess in any way with how Apple’s store itself operates.

I am completely on the same ship here. The devices themselves should be entirely free for their customers to install whatever they want, but Apple also should be allowed to only offer the softwares they see fit in the Apple Store.

There. We’re done.

Reader
Arktouros

@John Apple already charges a $99 yearly fee to access the developer program. Before you jump on that one, no that wouldn’t justify the cost of the tools or other services they offer as part of it. A few of the programs I use at work are multiple thousands of dollars liscening fees a year to give you an idea. Increasing the fee to cover it would make it so smaller developers were unable to enter the market.

Personally I would love it if people would just address what is actually going on rather than trying to just brand everyone who is calling Epic out on their bullshit trial antics an Apple lover or EGS hater.

Most contracts are pretty enforceable so long as they’re reasonable. One of the big problems in Epic’s case is that it has to show that Apple is going out of it’s way to be unreasonable (or “unfair” as you put it) such as charging a larger cut because it has control over it’s market. However Apple hasn’t done that and has largely operated the same way and a 30% cut is very much the standard in multiple digital industries storefronts (books, games, etc). Per Apple’s response to the TRO filing 80% of the App Store apps pay nothing to Apple beyond the Apple Developer fee either because they are free or because they just don’t make any money.

Reader
John Kiser

I label a lot of the people as Epic haters because a lot of them sadly are. They want epic to fail for reasons unrelated to the lawsuit and don’t talk about the issue at hand and just spew “I hope this backfires on epic” and that’s typically them hating on epic simply because of the exclusives as opposed to the actual issues.

Also while I agree that the $99 isn’t enough I’d point out that apple could charge payment processors a larger fee to access their customers. I think it reasonable that Apple put in a sliding scale and while 30% may seem reasonable at certain revenue levels it becomes unreasonable at times. Epic shouldn’t need to be paying close to a billion dollars to apple over a 2 year period and that becomes somewhat unreasonable.

Apple has also given special consideration to applications like WeChat and the like that draws into question if they blanket apply their rules and the like. While 30% is “standard” for a lot of stuff that is actually changing largely because of Epic bringing up the question that is it really that fair to the publishers particularly in the digital world.

Let’s actually take a look here. Epic has built the tools, distribution channel and the like for unreal engine and unreal marketplace and yet even with unreal marketplace (where developers can sell assets they make) they only take a 12% cut, they used to take more, but they made it 12% retroactively and actually went back and paid asset developers for earnings they’d of gotten if it had been at 12% at the time.

Epic thinks 30% is too much and yeah they are trying to change that.

Reader
rosieposie

Thank you for being sane.

Reader
Arktouros

Reasonableness is a difficult metric to gauge because it varies greatly on the position you’re at. While certainly Epic could argue that the tools and distribution that Apple provides on the store is valuable that the amount it’s costing them isn’t worth the dollar amount. However also equally Apple could argue that the only reason Epic has access to these customers and additional revenue it’s making is because of amount of resources Apple has devoted to building it’s platform and customer base that Epic is taking advantage of. Both are “reasonable” arguments.

Also I’m not sure where you get your numbers but Apple has stated that it paid out 245 million in receipts to Epic in 2019 which was part of it’s 1.8 billion it made across all platforms that year (most of Fortnite revenue comes from consoles). So you keep saying “billions” to Apple but that isn’t backed up on the numbers disclosed.

Regardless if Epic thinks 30% is too much it ultimately doesn’t have the ability to tell another company how much it can charge on it’s agreements or deals. It can challenge them for being anti-competitive or using a monopoly like power over a market to take advantage of it but again Apple has always kept a 30% and hasn’t increased it despite having control over it’s market. That 30% is also on par with other digital storefronts meaning it’s not outside the norms such as to be excessively high to take advantage of people.

If you don’t like how someone is doing business, your choices are to not do business with them. I don’t like the way Epic does business, so I don’t do business with them. I don’t like the way Apple does business, so I don’t do business with them.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

If Epic didn’t resort to exclusivity deals I would be all for them.

Since Epic does resort to that kind of deal, I’m of the opinion that they are doing far, far more damage to the industry than any good they could do, and thus that the gaming industry right now would be in a better place if Epic was wiped from the face of the earth. And no, my opinion won’t change, at least not until a full year after the last of Epic’s exclusivity deals has expired.

BTW, Epic isn’t the only, or even the first, digital store to offer a better cut. Discord, for example, allows devs to sell games directly from their Discord channel while charging 10% — less than Epic — since before Epic even announced they wanted to create a store. And I fully support those initiatives, as (apart from Epic and their blasted anti-consumer approach) they only increase options for both devs and players.

Also: no, I don’t give console makers a pass here. Those jerks chasing third party exclusives is pretty much the reason I became a PC gamer instead.

Reader
John Kiser

And this is why i say people are anti-epic in the lawsuit instead of looking at it. The exclusivity deals were necessary. Let me repeat they were necessary.

I don’t know why people like you cannot wrap your head around this very basic concept. Epic can’t just make a game store and hope for customers that isn’t how it works in the real world. Almost no developer sells a game on Discord at all and many people are in fact completely unaware that it exists.

Epic’s approach isn’t anti-consumer. It’s anti-fanboy. Just because you can’t go out and buy your game on steam doesn’t mean it is anti-consumer it simply means that the game is on a different store front for awhile deal with it like an adult instead of a child that doesn’t understand business.

Let’s actually put the real scenario out there since you don’t seem to grasp what is going on. If Epic makes a store that has no customer base for developers to sell to developers don’t use it, which means less customers use it which means less devs are likely to use it (it’s cyclical). Epic or anyone else trying to court AAA developers are going to be in the same exact position of needing to get exclusivity to drive customers to their store and before we get into it – No, feature parity or a better feature set than steam has would not drive a large enough customer base to the store. So to make it clear you are perfectly fine with one company alone controlling the marketplace to a point that if you don’t release your game on that platform you simply don’t get good sales (CDPR had that issue with a witcher spinoff game not being on steam and being GoG only).

Steam may not take a cut when you request keys and sell elsewhere, but it is still literally controlling distribution meaning that other stores are just selling keys for steam. Epic wanted to make a competing store front and establish their own relationships with developers and drive a customer base with their own application and the like and not just resell steam keys that link back to steam and went about it literally the only way they can.

The gaming industry would not be in a better place if epic were wiped out. For one we’d be left with one less engine which is the main driving force of a lot of current development in the gaming space. You let your hatred for EGS black actual logical thinking and don’t even realize that your hatred is misplaced. Epic is doing what it has to do to drive a customer base to their store and thus developer interest in their store.

Also let’s address discord. They had an actual game store. It failed. It is why shit is on discord channels only now and is not really used. Even an example game they use (into the breach) doesn’t sell their game via their discord. I’ve even joined alphas and betas via a discord and it was done via a steam key. So… I mean that’s a show there. Unless you drive a customer base people do not use a store front like that and it becomes something that is really just a money sink. Epic is doing what they need to do with this and while people like you can’t appreciate it because you don’t want to live in the reality of how business works that doesn’t mean it isn’t a necessary thing.

Exclusivity contracts exist all over varying businesses. They are designed to drive consumer interest in a particular store and are necessary in a lot of instances particularly when you have a behemoth of an incumbent like Steam.

Reader
Arktouros

@John I disagree that exclusivity deals are necessary.

Exclusivity deals are one business tactic to create a customer base by reducing their options to get a product to only your store front. IE: If you want X game you have to go to Y store/platform.

However there are other ways to build a customer base. For example you can focus on the quality of your storefront. Steam for example offers a number of features such as built in Mod support (workshop) and other similar such features. Epic not only failed to meet or even try to exceed those features it did actually nothing to try to make a compelling platform.

So exclusivity deals are only necessary if you’re unwilling to do literally anything to attract customers to your platform by making a good platform. Again that’s a perfectly valid business tactic anyone can do, but then you can’t self righteously imply you’re doing it all to save the industry from competition while using tactics that reduce competition in the market by limiting products to a single market.

Reader
John Kiser

Steam is the incumbent. You fail to understand that they are necessary once you have an incumbent player. You can disagree all you want it does not change the reality of the situation. Steam’s feature set and the incumbent nature of it literally makes it impossible for someone to come in and compete and even most examples of “competing” stores that people can pull out are literally just using steam to distribute the game which isn’t good.

Wanting game X and having to go to Y store/platform is specifically how this works. They need to do this to build a customer base and that’s how it works in the real world. You are really going to sit there and argue that people will move on their own based on feature sets or what have you? You aren’t living in reality if you actually think that is how any of this works as it simply does not actually work that way. I’ve seen so called “compelling” platforms / stores die left and right simply because people don’t want to move onto something if their friends are not there.

Epic also isn’t “reducing competition in the market by limiting products to a single market” they have not signed a single deal that has not been a 6 month to 1 year timed exclusivity contract. They aren’t requiring developers to sign onto their store on a permenant basis which is what they’d need to be requiring for your argument to even sort of make sense.

Let’s put out the real scenario that would happen even if epic had a better feature set or even feature parity shall we? “I’m not going to buy my games on EGS none of my friends use it why would I bother?” That’s the reality of it and that’s how it works out in the real world outside of your head. The only people that would be attracted are the people that absolutely hate valve/steam which is not a large enough base to try and attract developers/publishers and even epic’s cut would not be enough unless those devs/publishers got guarantees which is what the exclusivity contracts are about.

You are far to optimistic on consumer behavior and how consumers behave vs how they actually behave. My scenario is the reality and your scenarios are the idealistic scenario that would happen if reality worked in the idealistic sense.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

Epic’s approach isn’t anti-consumer.

Exclusivity deals are very close to the very definition of anti-consumer. And I will always to my best to make sure any company that resorts to that receives less money from me — and from any person I can convince or influence — than if it instead competed fairly.

Let’s actually put the real scenario out there since you don’t seem to grasp what is going on.

I know it’s hard to compete with Steam. But Epic is doing it in a way that causes far, far more harm than good.

And sincerely, I don’t mind Steam’s dominant position as long as they doesn’t start using anti-competitive behavior in order to block potential competition. A near monopoly by a well behaved player is a much, much better situation than having a company behaving like a jerk — like Epic is doing — attain any real market power.

The gaming industry would not be in a better place if epic were wiped out. For one we’d be left with one less engine which is the main driving force of a lot of current development in the gaming space.

A worthy price to pay if it made other companies afraid to use exclusivity deals in order to force their entry into the market. So, yes, IMHO the market would be in a better place if Epic was wiped out, even if it took the Unreal Engine with it.

your hatred for EGS

I don’t hate the EGS per see. What I hate, with all my heart — and will always hate — is their tactic of using exclusivity deals. Eliminate the exclusivity deals and — after some time, to make sure they don’t relapse — I could even support the EGS.

But until the very last of their exclusivity deals expire I will be doing my best to hinder their business.

Exclusivity contracts exist all over varying businesses.

I know. I use that information as a map of business to avoid if at all possible, or to minimize how much I spend with them if I can’t work around that.

Heck, if Epic successfully drove competing stores out of business, I would fall back to piracy instead of allowing them — or the publishers who signed exclusivity deals with them — to get a single cent of my money.

But my opinion about the merits of this legal proceeding isn’t due to that. What Epic seeks is undue interference in how another company runs its business. Like I said elsewhere, if Epic was asking for iOS users to be able to install apps from outside Apple’s store — like Android users can — I would be all for it; but asking for Apple to be forced to change how its store operates, to dictate how much Apple can charge or force it to allow content not vetted by it in the store, is simply wrong.

Reader
John Kiser

You and others simply don’t get it and don’t live in reality. You show being a fanboy whether your realize it or not. How exactly does having to buy the game in a different store front on the same god damned platform actually harm the industry. You have your head so far up your ass with hate that it is mind boggling and quite evident that you don’t actually care about reality.

Epic wants to compete and this is the reality of competition once you have an entrenched incumbent player. You hate EGS period don’t pretend you don’t and again the exclusivity deals aren’t anti-consumer. I don’t know how often I can explain this. Not being able to buy a game in a store you want is not hurting you unless you are a fanboy and refuse to buy a game anywhere from steam which suggests you are perfectly fine with anti-consumer behavior so long as it comes from your incumbent player that you prefer and you can’t see that due to blind hatred.

Epic’s goal isn’t to drive other stores out of business. You have your head so far up your own ass with the hatred that it’s just filling your eyes with crap. Their goal is to drive people to use their store which is why they are only signing timed exclusivity deals which to bruno and all you that think it’s somehow doom and gloom you have your heads in the clouds. You are still buying the game on PC, you are still getting the game released and hell even getting a better game released in some instances where that cash infusion allowed further development of a title.

This nonsense needs to stop because you hear exclusivity and you think of it like a console and plant your head squarely in your ass and go la la la i can’t hear you and don’t want to actually think about shit in any logical sense. The reality of what you want is to have a single incumbent player that is what you prefer and everything else can go to hell.

The fact you think a company deserves to die because you refuse to admit you are a fanboy and can’t actually realize the realities of business and how it operates is staggeringly alarming as it shows just how blind the hatred really is and you may say “I don’t hate them per say”, but your behavior shows that you in fact do. The exclusivity deals came for a reason, they are timed for a reason, and those reasons are to drive interest and a customer base to use EGS that would not otherwise exist even if EGS had feature parity or a better feature set.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

You hate EGS period don’t pretend you don’t and again the exclusivity deals aren’t anti-consumer.

Here we will have to agree to disagree. I consider exclusivity deals the most anti-consumer thing ever created; always have, always will. As such, I automatically dislike any and every company that resorts to exclusivity deals, and do my best to not only avoid doing business with them but also to undermine their business.

So, unless and until Epic stops with the exclusivity deals, there’s nothing you can say or do to make me accept them or their store.

The reality of what you want is to have a single incumbent player that is what you prefer and everything else can go to hell.

Not everything else, just the scummy store that employs exclusivity deals. In fact, I have purchased about five hundred games from GOG, and the only reason I didn’t purchase more from them is because far too many publishers still refuse to sell new releases on GOG due to its DRM-free policy.

I’m all for competition, as long as all the players are well behaved. Epic isn’t, so I want them to either start behaving themselves by stopping the exclusivity crap or else to be driven out of the market.

BTW: yeah, I am aware that the exclusivity deals are temporary. I keep note of which games have ever been exclusive, and refuse to purchase them without a steep discount; I don’t think any publisher that signs an exclusivity deal deserves more than a small fraction of the asking price for their games. I’ve also been shifting more of my purchases to publishers who never signed exclusivity deals, as I believe in rewarding good behavior, and punishing bad behavior, with my wallet.

Reader
Jim Bergevin Jr

@schmidt Is that just for gaming, or any business in any industry? Because exclusivity deals are nothing new and has been used in every conceivable industry from Film, TV, Music, Books, and Retail to drive business.

Reader
Jim Bergevin Jr

@schmidt is Epic forcing devs into these exclusivity contracts? Seems to me the it is an agreement from both parties, therefore you should be hating the devs/pubs of these games just as much as Epic.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Exclusivity deals are the doom of gaming development. It fucked Gigantic, it fucked Killer Instinct because on both games, you were forced to get Windows 10 or have an Xbox. The exclusivity deal forced Gigantic into a development limbo that made the game need 6gb of ram as a MINIMUM requirement because of crossplay for Xbox ( which never happened ), and Killer Instinct, while being a extremely hyped release, didn’t achieve the same status as games like SF, Marvel x Capcom, MK or Smash on the FGC because everyone who wanted to join KI had to get a Xbox.

Don’t defend this shit. This is anti-consumer as it gets. And Epic is not a goddamn hero. They’re the same as Apple, and in this stance, they’re playing predatory shark.

And there’s nothing “sad” about people being EGS haters. Fuck’em. Epic is as much scum as Apple is.

I’m just not naive enough to think this idiocy will be the end for either.

Reader
John Kiser

Why do you use Gigantic as an example here. It was never an exclusive title. It was released on Steam, Windows 10, Arc, and Xbox… It was only an exclusive very early in it’s timeline and hadn’t been an exclusive from 2016 onward and frankly it was because the game was flat out terrible that it failed and had little to nothing to do with exclusivity as plenty of other games have done well that have required windows 10. I played Gigantic and it offered literally nothing good vs other MOBAs.

Blaming exclusivity for truly terrible games is just yeah. The game was only ever in an exclusivity period during it’s beta phase (1 year into it) and was never during it’s release phase. They made a ton of shit decisions, put in a ton of shitty features, didn’t listen to feedback, and just overall made something that “looked good”, but ultimately was not a good game. Exclusivity wasn’t what killed them so much as bad management, bad development, bad decisions, and a slew of other crap.

KIller Instinct is a mix of a shitty version of a series that was good back in the day, but was bad vs their competitors. DId you actually play it? There is so much of it that is just bad and that has little to nothing to do with exclusivity deals. I’ve played a lot of fighting games particularly modern ones and Killer Instinct has to be one of the worst I’ve played ever and I’ve even played better fighting games that were cartoonish from indie developers that played and felt better. You blaming exclusivity for a bad game doesn’t make it a non bad game.

Also those problems actually show why steam needs competition and why those exclusivity deals on games people actually want that are good games are an important factor in driving a customer base to use a store. The mentality of “if something doesn’t release on steam” it does bad is not something we should applaud.

(Edited by mod to remove ad hom, again. I don’t know how to make this any clearer: Stop attacking your fellow posters.)

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

The judge also indicated that, while the court will look at whether the 30% cut is appropriate, allowing publishers to use an option that gives a 0% cut to Apple — like what Epic did when it added a separate payment processor — isn’t in the cards.

Reader
John Kiser

Epic initially didn’t want to use their own payment provider. They wanted a smaller cut taken which ultimately had apple responded responsibly they’d of had a situation where both parties could benefit well.

Reader
Arktouros

Epic initially didn’t want to use their own payment provider. They wanted a smaller cut taken which ultimately had apple responded responsibly they’d of had a situation where both parties could benefit well.

This is factually incorrect as we can see from Epic’s own initial email they are asking to provide payment processing and a rival storefront themselves. They never even mentioned a smaller cut in any of their emails or demands.

Untitled.png
Reader
John Kiser

I stand corrected however. Epic still considers a lower rate to be more fair and would of likely been open to actually negotiating on it. Also fun read here https://tidbits.com/2020/08/13/developers-v-apple-outlining-complaints-about-the-app-store/ there are more developers quite irritated at apple than just epic.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

Of course. Apple is a control freak. The curation on their store alone was, from the start, sure to cause a lot of friction with developers.

But it’s not illegal to be a control freak, or to have a curated store.

Reader
John Kiser

It depends if it violates the public trust. In the case of apple they do play favorites and have apps the compete with others and don’t take a cut from certain applications and the like so we’re in a situation where epic may be able to prove that if they dig a little.

Reader
Arktouros

I’ll tell you a not so secret fact about the world of storefronts and publishers: Everyone hates them and has hated them since the dawn of time. Everyone thinks publsihers/stores take too large of a cut and that without their creativity that created the product there would be no money at all. However these all ignore the realities of the situation that often times without the publishers/stores that there’d also be no avenue for people to get said creativity to people.

In the age of physical media, such as physical books, it’s often the case that authors will see just 5-15% of the sale prices of their books for example (meaning 85-95% when to the publisher who had to print the book and see it distributed etc). There is no small amount of criticism in those regards and such criticism continued even after the transition to digital media where authors will see a much larger cut. Guess how much the standard publisher cut is there? 30%.

So saying there’s people irritated at Steam or Apple or Google or anything is really unsurprising. The big question is if they overreached and abused their position within the industry to get more and so far the answer has been no.

Reader
John Kiser

They are abusing their position though. They promote their own applications above others after making competing applications (music is a good example and then they rank other stuff lower). While the 30% is the norm they are not giving people an option any other way.

Let’s also break down that a ton of developers beyond just epic do have an issue. 30% was the norm in a lot of stuff and well you know what? It’s time to readdress that as more and more stuff becomes digital and the profits made from all digital become higher and higher .Even steam realized that the 30% cut was too much and adjusted their cut based on what a title makes.

30% is a lot when we start talking about certain scales and it becomes an unreasonable amount to take. Most of those books won’t generate 1-2 billion in revenue yearly nor will most applications and the like. Addressing it so that 30% is the starting point and it goes down based on revenue made by the title is fair toward the developer/publisher and the store front ultimately.

Ultimately there are ways a ton of this could be avoided on both sides and apple could make changes that would net it a ton more good will from developers and the like. If apple wants to have such tight control it needs to be pushed into a certain situation where they either need to be willing to do a sliding scale on the rate or simply allow other store fronts and payment providers from those store fronts or the like. We shouldn’t have a situation where almost a billion in revenue over 2 years or so has been paid out by one developer no matter how much they have brought in.

Reader
Dystopiq

Because Epic did it to themselves. They purposely made the change in hopes of getting banned. The judge isn’t stupid. Neither are we. We know that was the plan.

Leo
Reader
Leo

The judge so far sounds reasonable

Reader
Adam Russell

Im a little surprised to hear a judge give due consideration to gaming.

Staff
Kickstarter Donor
Chris Neal

The judge in this case seems spectacularly well-informed on the matter overall.

Reader
Utakata

Isolating it to the dispute at hand was the best recourse here. So there’s some good news in this for what that’s worth.