Epic Games sues Apple and Google over app store 'monopoly'

  • The creator of hit game Fortnite has launched a lawsuit against Apple and Google alleging that they maintain a competitive monopoly over the mobile app market.

    Epic Games has been making major in-roads in the global games industry in recent years, using the success of its online game Fortnite to launch the Epic Games Store as a competitor to the market dominance of Steam for PC gaming. The company has also given out millions in Epic MegaGrants to developers working in the Unreal game engine, and has released Fortnite on consoles and mobile devices.

    To launch a game on Apple's iOS App Store or the Google Play store on Android, developers have to agree to a set of terms and give the store about a 30% cut of all sales. In the case of free-to-play games such as Fortnite Mobile that use in-app purchases rather than selling the app for money, each store has its own payment solution that gives the store a cut of every purchase.

    This week Epic Games made an update to Fortnite Mobile on iOS that circumvented the approved in-app purchase system and replaced it with a third party payment provider. This violated the terms of service that Epic had agreed to, and so Apple removed the game from the store. In response, Epic launched a massive lawsuit against Apple that claims it's maintaining a monopoly on the app store market.

    Not long after, the Android version of Fortnite got the same treatment when it was updated to use a new payment provider and removed from the Google Play store for breaking its terms of service. Epic then added Google to its lawsuit, alleging that while Google allows apps to be downloaded outside of the Play store ecosystem, it puts those apps at a disadvantage.

    Some of the lawyers involved in the case are big names in the area cases dealing with monopolies and unfair business practices, and Epic definitely has the money to see this case through to the end. A victory for Epic could result in Apple and Google being forced to offer better terms to those wishing to publish apps and games on iOS and Android.

    Source: The Verge, The Verge

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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