Epic v Apple: Emails are forever, leaks are inevitable

    
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As we noted yesterday, the Epic v. Apple trial got underway this week and has already been offering up some choice nuggets, though less in the form of the typical popcorn drama we’ve come to expect from this showdown and more in the form of industry bombs and financial figures. Let’s peek at the highlights from yesterday.

First, this trial is leaking like a sieve. For example, internal documents submitted as evidence in the legal proceedings have literally leaked the fact that Walmart has apparently been working on a cloud gaming service. What?

According to IGN’s Rebekah Valentine, it’s become a massive problem for the trial as third-party companies are mad that their confidential documents are being offered into the testimony and and then tossed online in the clear so everyone can look. That Sony slip yesterday? That was also apparently not supposed to be released to the public, which is bizarre, since it was something everyone already knew about PlayStation. It’s caused the trial to grind to a halt several times and the judge to grumble about things she’d ordered sealed getting leaked. The most notable moment came when point the judge said she had “received — I don’t know what, ten? — motions from third parties asking me to seal information” – but not about one that turned out to be regarding Paradox Interactive.

Apparently, Epic attempted to talk Xbox into a subscription-free multiplayer option, in general and for Fortnite, in 2020. As Gamasutra notes, it was a pretty big request from Epic’s Tim Sweeney, and Xbox’s Phil Spencer seemed amenable.

Less kind to Sweeney is the release of an email from 2015 wherein Sweeney casually asked Apple’s Tim Cook to fundamentally alter the entire AppStore configuration. “Is this the guy that was at one of our rehearsals?” Cook emailed to colleagues.

It gets worse: Another email from 2019 shows Tim Sweeney prostrating himself before Ubisoft executives, apologizing for scammers scooping up bajillions of copies of The Division 2 leading to 70-90% fraud rates. Just a PSA here: Emails are forever; never type anything you wouldn’t mind seeing in live court later.

Finally, at one point, the judge allowed the boss of a yoga app to testify in regard to non-game apps on the AppStore, so that happened.

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Brinto Sfj

Why is a sincere apology bad and hilarious? All I see is that Tim Sweeny acting like an honest and upfront person while Tim Cook, as usual, acting like total douchebag. Well I expect nothing less from a company and its CEO who sell overpriced pile of garbage. The fact that Apple makes over 64 billion $ a year from their app store and still has the horrifying 30% cut, tells us enough what kind of scums they are. But it seems people will forever suck their filthy dicks and pay them for it. Well suit yourselves, if you want to be a scummy company’s dick slaves, more power to you.

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Bruno Brito

Why is a sincere apology bad and hilarious? All I see is that Tim Sweeny acting like an honest and upfront person

Wat

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Schmidt.Capela

The apology isn’t bad. The reason why he had to apologize — that his store was so lax with key security that up to 90% of the copies of The Division 2 were fraudulently obtained — is pretty much damning. It’s the kind of screw-up you never want to see in a partner or supplier.

And we will have to disagree on the assessment of Tim Sweeny. Until the day he drops the anti-consumer tactic of signing third-party exclusivity deals I will consider him to be a blight on the industry to such an extent I would prefer to his company to implode, even if it took together all their other products including the Unreal Engine.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

I honestly can’t think of a Apple product I’ve bought.

Only ever used someone else’s devices from Apple, and I hated the Mac’s operating system, I think I used one of those colored cube-like ones years ago that we inherited from my great aunt. Played a few games on there, but very painfully. Along with first learning how to use computers/type on the old box/rectangular Apples at school.

My extended family out in CO practically all use Apple products, their computers, their phones, their other doodads.

I definitely was not one of the participants in making that ugly monstrosity of a company, but I was forced to fund their competitor a few times for things like operating systems and computer parts and whatnot, to be able to participate in my favorite hobby – games and technology.

I haven’t funded Epic either, that I can think of. Isn’t that the one that made a game popular and then ‘became big’/had money to throw around and that’s why this case exists?

I mean, people assume ‘everyone’ participates in getting their hands in all these things, but there’s still pockets of the world where basic tech other than smart phones still hasn’t proliferated…

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Jeremy Barnes

Timmah’s making a lot of friends in the industry.

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McGuffn

Don’t file lawsuits and your skeletons don’t get out.

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

I was expecting some amusing court moments like Sweeney being asked to identify a PS5 or a Switch (or him fumbling to put a Switch together), but the amount of evidence released intentionally or not is incredible. I figured we’d get some interesting tidbits but between the mistakes and the actual public evidence this is an absolute GOLD MINE. Seriously, there’s so much valuable information companies are probably grabbing it all pretty quickly assuming they’re not lamenting that their secrets got leaked.

It’s a bit of a clown show to be honest, but I don’t think anyone expected anything less given the way this has been going so far.

Tim Apple’s (yes, that’s just what I call him. I prefer that name, it amuses me) “Who the heck is this guy?” email is glorious. And so is Sweeney just starting of with, “Y’all…” in that email. If there was ever any confusion about how important and influential Sweeney thinks he is, these email exchanges have cleared that up.

Note: I LOVE Y’ALL! It’s a great word. But maybe not the best way to kick off an email where you’re asking the head of a far larger company than you to like, massively change their business structure when you two apparently don’t know each other very well.

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Bruno Brito

I think my favourite part about all this shitshow was the reporter herself making a remark about how the gaming industry has so many stupid secrets.

Like, personally, i find it hilarious, these people must think they’re playing spy games or something.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

But, they’ve all got to keep their ‘trade secrets’ of how they have turned the populace into a cow stuck in a cage with milkers on…with various ideas of how to continue doing so while giving them the bare minimum they can provide while getting as much as possible from them!

/sarcasm