If you're into gaming, or in the app development world as a whole, this week's news might not have passed you by. But, if your interests lie elsewhere, and you somehow missed the Apple vs Epic Games debacle that's been developing since mid-August, we've got you covered. Because the ongoing saga is really something everyone should know about. Here's what went down between tech company Apple and renowned video game and software developer Epic Games, earlier this week...
The Apple vs Epic Games saga
Who is Epic Games?
The American video game company was founded in the early 90's and continues to be one of the top-performing gaming establishments of our time. It has an equity valuation of over $17.3 billion. Owner and CEO Tim Sweeney is a qualified programmer and, with the success of Epic Games, is also a billionaire businessman.
The company has brought you popular games such as Infinity Blade, Robo Recall and, of course, Fortnite. As well as producing video games, the company is also an expert software development house. It's responsible for the development of open and real-time 3D creation platform, Unreal Engine. And this has become crucial in them game development world. In short, Epic Games is a pretty big deal.
What is the fight about?
For a while now, app developers have criticised Apple for their high fees and policies on the App Store. The standard fee for having an app on the App Store is 30% - reduced to 15% after a consumer uses the subscription for over a year. According to recent findings, the 30% fee is billed to 350 000 of the 2.2 million apps available on the App Store. Developers are arguing that these numbers are too steep and that the policies are simply there to benefit Apple's own services.
The fight came to a head on 13 August, when Epic Games announced it would start offering customers a discount if they bought Fortnite items as a direct purchase, rather than going through the App Store. Tech giant, Microsoft came out in support of this decision by Epic Games. And that got tongues wagging. Apple's response was to remove the Fortnite app from the App Store completely, cutting off over a billion customers.
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Is there a legal battle?
Absolutely. On Monday this week, a US judge announced a ruling that wasn't really a win for either party. On one hand, she said Apple was not required to bring back the banned Fortnite game to the App Store. Because Epic Games' direct payment option violated the App Store policies. This resulted in the newly released Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 4 update not being released on iOS and macOS systems.
On the other hand, the judge determined that Apple cannot delete the developer account of Epic Games that supports the development platform, Unreal Engine.
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What happens next?
Things are at a bit of a stalemate at the moment. Epic Games clearly doesn't want to pay the 30% App Store fees. But Apple won't bring back the Fortnite game until the video game company remove their direct payment option. This is, therefore, probably going to be an ongoing debate. And, possibly, a battle of wills. We'll keep you posted.