Epic has started a war against Apple (and Google) for “abuse of power and monopoly”, however remain calm with the policies of Microsoft (Xbox), Sony (PlayStation) and Nintendo. Are they so different from each other?
Apple and Google have been led to a public war and lawsuits by Epic, developer of Fortnite, which ensures that the rules that the two American companies impose on developers are abusive and monopolistic. In the statement that Epic has issued about its lawsuit against Apple, it assures that the main problem is the inability to install applications from a store other than the App Store. To this we have to add the 30% commission that Apple takes for all purchases from its application store.
Epic has done the same in its version of the game for Android, despite the fact that here you can install applications from stores other than the official one. The only thing that Google requires is that if your application is in its official store, you must comply with its rules, among which is the 30% commission for purchases. But developers are completely free to choose other app stores, such as Samsung’s, or even install their apps from a website, without the need for a store as such. Sure … the official store is much more relevant, it is a magnificent showcase that Epic wants to take advantage of without leaving a penny to Google.
If we take a look at the 30% commissions it seems like they are more of an industry standard, because all large stores charge exactly the same. In the table (courtesy of Eduardo Archanco, @eaala on Twitter) you can check. Perhaps all these companies are just as abusive and monopolistic as Apple, so let’s see what happens in the world of video consoles.
Video consoles: exclusive stores and 30% commission
What is happening with video consoles? Is the situation very different? Well the reality is that no, practically identical to what happens with Apple and its application store. Both Sony with PlayStation, Nintendo with Switch and Microsoft with Xbox we find exclusive application stores, there is no possibility of installing other sources to install video games, which means that if someone wants their game to be played on any of these game consoles, they must go through the manufacturer’s official store. Does it sound familiar? Yes, exactly what Apple imposes on its iPhone and what Epic bitterly complains about.
And how much do they charge as a commission for purchases made in these stores? 30%, exactly the same as Apple. So why doesn’t anyone mess with them? You just have to take a look at the reaction on social networks after what happened with Epic and Apple. Apple has long been immersed in a sea of complaints for abuse of a dominant position or directly monopoly, which for the moment have gone nowhere, but which have created the widespread idea that “Apple abuses developers.” However, we have already seen that it does nothing that the other major brands do not.
Another reason why Epic won’t dare enter a war with game consoles is that 80% of Fortnite players play on these devices. Can you imagine losing 80% of your users suddenly? It would be catastrophic for the company, and I personally highly doubt that they intend to risk it. We would also have to see the reaction of the players, who perhaps here would not be so clear who would be the bad guy in the movie.