Last year rounded out with the news that the popular games developer, Epic Games, who are known for games like Fortnite would be trapped in a legal battle with the tech giants in Apple and Google – the case labelled “Project Liberty” by Epic which had been supposed as helping the little developer was brought about as a change to a payment method on their mobile game would circumvent the 30% commission for app store purchases and led to the game being removed, and the launch of the legal case – but the latest company to become included is games development giant and owner of the biggest games marketplace, Steam, as Apple are eyeing up their own defence.
A few years ago, Epic launched their own gaming marketplace and library similar to that of Steam, and whilst it has done little to remove the long-established favourite, it has been a requirement for some big titles particularly with those tied to exclusivity – with Valve relying on its two esports giants in Counter-Strike and DotA and the betting scenes here that have grown alongside them, they have since moved away from new development somewhat, but continue to be a huge name in gaming. By targeting Valve and requesting sale numbers be released, which has been granted by court order, Apple hopes that it will counter the claims that Epic had made about the anti-competitive nature of the app marketplaces, and how what Valve has built with Steam, who also charge a 30% commission through their own marketplace, is no different to the argument Epic are making.
Valve were of course unimpressed by this, and request a few changes to the motion that would require each individual developer be willing to release their own sale numbers, but that was ruled against, and it seems the gaming developer has no choice but to release figures in a move they feel could give their own competition, with one being Epic, a small advantage, but does show instances that the case is moving forward faster than many had though – it was expected that this would be drawn out into a multi-year fiasco which still looks to be the case, but with new names being picked out left and right, it seems that Apple are certainly gunning for certain implications to be shut down fast. Whether or not they’ll be successful is yet to be seen, but for now it does appear that any argument Epic Games is able to make, Apple are able to have a very strong counter, and have typically come out on top thus far.