Fortnite is one of the most popular games ever made and soon to be one of the most popular. Apple on Thursday filed its description of its soured relationship with Fortnite developer Epic Games with the U.S. District Court in California, where the two companies will face off in a lawsuit starting next month. The tech giant argues that Epic, after earning more than $700 million in the two years since Fortnite was published in the iPhone’s App Store, devised a plan to earn even more – and at Apple’s expense.
In describing the events, Apple outlines a media strategy, called Project Liberty, that Epic allegedly planned for months last year with its lawyers and public relations firm in an attempt to attract more attention to Fortnite.
Last summer, Epic intentionally violated Apple’s App Store policy, which requires that all digital products such as Fortnite’s victory poses, dance moves, and new looks for characters be purchased through Apple’s payment processing service. Apple subsequently removed Fortnite from its App Store for violating the rules. Epic responded by filing a lawsuit in August and launching an ad campaign that went viral on social media.
“Epic simply wants to hitch a ride on Apple’s innovation,” Apple said Thursday in its lawsuit, in which it argued that Epic was using the lawsuit to “revive the waning interest in Fortnite.”
An Epic spokeswoman declined to comment on the filing but noted that Epic has been pushing for fewer restrictions on Apple’s App Store at least since 2017. And in a competing filing, Epic reiterated its earlier arguments that Apple’s App Store rules stifle innovation and that the commissions lead to higher prices for consumers.
For many people, the filings are the latest twist in a corporate battle between a billion-dollar company and a trillion-dollar company over who makes more money when a gamer spends money. But for Apple, it represents an existential threat to the iOS software and tools it has built around its iPhone, one of the best-selling technology products ever.
Apple’s success is due in part to the App Store, a service Apple launched in 2008 that allows developers to create special applications and games and then market them through Apple’s central service. Apple receives a commission of up to 30% on digital items purchased through these apps, a business model the company says is designed to offset the costs of running the store. The technology giant only allows people to download iPhone apps from its App Store, and any developer who does not agree to the terms is forced to create interactive websites.
Google has similar but less restrictive rules for its Play Store, requiring developers who publish apps on its service to pay commissions on the sale of digital goods. Google also allows users to “sideload” apps from other app stores, effectively allowing them to download competing platforms onto their devices, something Apple does not do. On the same day that Epic violated Apple’s app store rules, the company did the same thing to Google and was expelled from Google’s Play Store. Epic is also suing Google over Fortnite in a separate case.
In its 13 years of existence, Apple’s App Store has helped propel the iPhone to astronomical heights: as of January, more than 1 billion devices were actively used. During last year’s holiday season, at the end of a year ravaged by a global coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic catastrophe, the iPhone helped Apple set financial records. iPhone sales alone reached $65.6 billion, up 17% from a year earlier.
According to Apple, the lawsuit is an attempt by Epic to change the iPhone business model. The company previously published emails in which Epic CEO Tim Sweeney asked Apple to allow alternative payment systems and download services, effectively allowing it to set up its own app store on the iPhone. If a court enforces such a change, industry watchers say it could fundamentally alter Apple’s operations, disrupting not only its finances but also the security and reliability the company has built around its tight control.
“Apple is among the most innovative, competitive, dynamic, and creative companies in the United States, and millions of people benefit from its products and services,” Apple said in its filing. “Those products and services are the result of billions of dollars of investment, in addition to substantial time and thought, and represent Apple’s intellectual property.”
For Latest News Follow us on Google News
- Show all
- Trending News
- Popular By week