Epic Games and Apple are headed to court over Fornite being removed from Apple’s app store, and Epic has also filed an antitrust complaint against Apple.
In some recent court filings in the case it has been suggested that Epic Games planned this lawsuit against Apple around 2 years before it was actually filed.
If that is the case, then Epic can hardly claim that that it was surprised to have its game removed from the app store, if it instigated the lawsuit against Apple a couple of years before their game was removed.
Epic’s flagship game, Fortnite, illustrates the competitive landscape. Apple supports “cross-plat- form” play and cross-platform transactions. The same consumer can make in-app purchases of V-Bucks on her iPhone (through the browser) during a lunch break, and on a console at home in the evening. Apple (unlike some of its competitors) allows “cross-wallet” play, so that in-game purchases–called V-Bucks in Fortnite–can be made on one device and used on another. In other words, an iOS user can purchase V-Bucks on a PC and then (prior to Fortnite’s removal) use them in Fortnite on their iPhone or iPad–with Epic owing not even a penny’s commission to Apple.
This was all part of a pre-planned media strategy called “Project Liberty.” Epic retained Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and a public relations firm in 2019, and this lawsuit is the culmination of that effort. Epic seeks to portray Apple as the bad guy so that it can revive flagging interest in Fortnite. Yet, ironically, when Epic got kicked off the iOS platform, it told players that they could continue playing on consoles, PCs, and other devices–demonstrating the existence of competition and the absence of monopoly.
So there is the possibility that this was a carefuly orchestrated campaign against, Apple, we heard previously that Epic has asked Apple for different terms and fees to other developers on the platform. It will be interesting to see what happens in the lawsuit between Epic and Apple.