Slasher Shares the Reasons Behind the Epic Games Fortnite Lawsuit

by in Fortnite | Aug, 19th 2020

What a wild week or two it’s been for esports and online gaming! Epic Games owns Fortnite and began discussing “alternate payment methods” for their in-game currency. This is to counteract Google and Apple’s incredibly high fee of 30% on each transaction made on their platforms. This would have put more money in Epic’s pocket, while also saving some money. This chain of events led to Apple pulling Fortnite from their platform, and Epic Games suing Apple in response. Recently, Rod “Slasher” Breslau went on Fox Business to discuss this Epic Games Fortnite lawsuit of Apple and its means.

There’s a lot of talk on both sides of this argument. It’s a trillion-dollar company versus a billion-dollar company, and they are arguing about who is right. Some say that this is about China’s (Tencent’s) stake in Epic Games. But let’s be honest. This is about Tim Sweeney of Epic Games. This was his decision, and it’s in line with his general line of thinking.

At least on Google Play, you can still play Fortnite, which we covered here.

A Situation Snowballing Wildly Out of Control

Who is right in this situation, though? This is an Antitrust issue. Antitrust laws prohibit shady and dishonest business practices—price-fixing, monopolies, and corporate mergers are likely to ruin the competitive nature of the market.

Apple is well within their right to charge whatever they want; after all, it’s their platform, and the same goes for Google, Sony, and any other storefront that houses free-to-play content. Epic Games tried to get people to spend less money on a storefront that houses their game, save the player money, and put more money in their pockets instead of Apple’s.

Here’s a solid example. Typically, 1,000 V-Bucks (Fortnite’s currency) cost $9.99 on the Apple Store. However, through Epic Games directly, you would spend $7.99. It might seem like peanuts, but that two bucks add up after a while. Apple’s response was to take Fortnite off its platform, which resulted in Epic Games suing Apple.

In the lawsuit filed, Tim Sweeney and Epic Games state that most payment companies (EG: PayPal, Stripe) have a fee of about 3%. Apple’s is 30%. This creates what Epic Games calls in their Fortnite lawsuit, “Anti-competitive practices,” and harms competition on that particular storefront. Epic, of course, also want to have Fortnite back on their platform.

A Heated Back and Forth

At the beginning of this situation, Epic Games fired their own salvo at Apple with a take on George Orwell’s 1984. If you haven’t read the book, you may remember the Futurama episode with the sleazy ’80s guy. The commercial they made to take shots at “Mom’s Friendly Delivery Company” is a direct parody of a commercial Apple made against Macintosh in the 80s. Epic Games created this brilliant commercial to shoot at Apple, in the same way.

Fortnite, whether you like it or not, is the definitive global game. It’s a game that you can (or could before this kicked off) play anywhere. With anyone, on top of that! Whether you played on a cellphone, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One, anywhere, you could play with other people around the world, on any platform. It was a cross-platform game. Slasher points out that Tim Sweeney works for a more open platform, whereas Apple is the most closed platform possibly in the world.

You aren’t allowed to run your store to download games on iOS, for example. Google, on the other hand, does not deny other storefronts to run on their platform. This could have seriously far-reaching consequences across gaming and online store.

Fox Business also asked Slasher about this being an Antitrust issue. They asked him who he thinks is right in this argument.

“Well, I will say that Epic has gotten some very high-profile lawyers on board that have a lot of experience in Antitrust cases, and they wouldn’t have jumped on this case if they didn’t think Epic didn’t have a real shot at taking down Apple,” he said. “And while it is both Apple and Google, Apple is much more of the focus here, including the ad that Epic had already had pre-produced, ready to go, and the lawsuit ready to go, because they knew Apple was going to do this. They wanted to try and change the way Apple looks at the entire ecosystem, they want it to be a little more like Google, and have things a little more open, have developers to create their own stores on the platform if they want to.”

Slasher points out that just a month ago, we had congressional hearings about Antitrust issues, and now we have an instance of it in gaming! If you didn’t know about the Antitrust hearings in Washington, we don’t blame you. This story has way more heat on it because of video games, we guess. Slasher also points out that many in Congress/Senate are pretty technologically ignorant. On the opposite side, most people in the esports/gaming bubble are tech-savvy and understand the problems.

Slasher thinks Epic Games has a real shot at changing how things are at Apple (or at least on their storefront) with this Fortnite lawsuit. Honestly? We’re in the same camp. The way Apple handles these kinds of things is deplorable. Sure it’s their platform, but that doesn’t make their business practices fair or reasonable.

If Apple loses this lawsuit, they aren’t going to be out of business or anything. Apple, as a company, has more money than they could know what to do with. Worst case, they lose, Fortnite re-enters the iOS/Google storefronts, and perhaps their business practices could get a little fairer. Do we expect Apple to allow other storefronts on their platform? No, but anything could happen.

This is certainly a fascinating situation, and one to keep an eye on. It’s not a “David and Goliath” story. This is Godzilla versus Mecha Ghidora at best. Where do you stand on the issue? Try not to look at it through a lens or liking/disliking Fortnite. Instead, consider the implications this has on gaming in general. If Apple changes how they do business, games on their platform could make a more reliable living, and free-to-play games on iOS could be an overall better experience, from a financial standpoint.


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