|OT| Epic vs Apple/Google - Battle of the Tims

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That is, Apple wants Valve to provide the names, prices, configurations and dates of every product on Steam, as well as detailed accounts of exactly how much money Steam makes and how it is all divvied-up. Apple argues that this information is necessary for its case against Epic, is not available elsewhere, and "does not raise risk of any competitive harm."
In a masterpiece of understatement, Valve's legal counsel writes: "Apple wrongly claims those requests are narrow. They are not."
 
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Alexandros

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By having Valve give Apple all the data instead of having Apple ask each third party individually for the same data.
No, I meant if Apple did get that data, what use do they have of it? How would they use it to defend their case?
 

Jav

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No, I meant if Apple did get that data, what use do they have of it? How would they use it to defend their case?
That the % Epic is defending is unsustainable and banks on other revenue streams. Other side could be just that the 30% is not ''too much'' or doesn't hinder the developers.

Also providing proof that similar players in the market operate the same way as Apple does on a very basic level.
 

EdwardTivrusky

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Epic Games have been told they can't sue Apple UK as Apple UK have no control over policy.


The judge has said that epic can continue to go after Google though.
 
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Arc

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As reported in a paywalled report by Law360, during a virtual discovery hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson ordered that Apple's subpoena for the data to Valve was valid, however, noted that Apple has "salted the earth with subpoenas," telling Valve "don’t worry, it’s not just you."
Sounds like Apple didn't subpoena just Valve. I'm guessing they also went after console manufacturers too.
 

Arc

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Epic will give away some games and Apple will announce a new iPhone and all will be forgiven.
 

Nyarlathotep

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I really don't understand what Apple think they can 'win' by seeing Valves financials.
It either shows you can still be super fucking successful as a storefront even by allowing third party key sellers and in-game purchases where the storefront owner takes no cut, or it shows those third party resellers are such a small percentage of sales that you don't even have to worry about them as the main storefront, and actively blocking them just makes you a greedy dick.

Like... there's no scenario where apple not letting third parties do what they do on every other platform doesn't leave apple looking like greedy dicks.
 

Alexandros

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I really don't understand what Apple think they can 'win' by seeing Valves financials.
It either shows you can still be super fucking successful as a storefront even by allowing third party key sellers and in-game purchases where the storefront owner takes no cut, or it shows those third party resellers are such a small percentage of sales that you don't even have to worry about them as the main storefront, and actively blocking them just makes you a greedy dick.

Like... there's no scenario where apple not letting third parties do what they do on every other platform doesn't leave apple looking like greedy dicks.
Yeah, I'm wondering the same thing. Does Apple really want to go in front of a judge and say "look at how successful a third-party service became on an open platform"? I am going to laugh so hard if Apple ends up shooting its own foot.
 
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C-Dub

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Yeah, I'm wondering the same thing. Does Apple really want to go in front of a judge and say "look at how successful a third-party service became on an open platform"? I am going to laugh so hard if Apple ends up shooting its own foot.
Remember that this legal battle has little to do with the customer side of things. Epic is fighting their legal battle from the perspective that the development community is the marketplace.

Thinking about like that, Apple's subpoenas makes more sense when you look at one of Epic's key allegations: that Apple blocks other competing stores because the competition would force them to lower their 30% cut. Epic's argument rests on the idea that Apple is abusing its monopoly status on its own platform to shake developers down for an unduly large cut of sales.

Apple's argument is that on PC, competition from EGS has not forced Steam to lower its cut, and that on open platforms a competing store with a lower cut has not led to a more competitive marketplace. It's about countering Epic's allegation that if Apple opened up, they'd need to lower their cut to prevent an exodus to competing stores.
 

Nyarlathotep

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Apple are shaking down developers for an unduly large cut of sales though.
There are a whole swathe of companies who will attest to that - and its because Apple will pull a product if it offers purchases that Apple don't get a cut from - they're not just acting like a storefront, they're acting like a payment provider too.

Epics endgame is literally that they want to sell VBucks on their own webfront for like, 10% less than they cost using the in game 'buy it now' button.
And every other platform has allowed that, because honestly, its a win win for everyone involved.

Apples argument is and always has been that the only reason anything is successful on IOS is because of Aples hard work, and they deserve a cut of everything as a result, which is obvious bullshit, and why you have companies ranging from Spotify, Facebook, Netflix, Wordpress and Tinder all prepared to back Epic on this one, because if you are a service provider based company that wants to be on IOS - and have existing customers that want that service on IOS - you are not allowed to offer any payment methods that do not give Apple a cut.

Steam link and Steam app have to be seperate apps, because Apple would pull both if you could buy a game and then stream it to your phone; what is apples justification for that? Why would they 'deserve' a 30% cut of a steam purchase? What expenditure did they have enabling that to happen? On what basis is their hard work enabling that, and that they should be compensated for?
 

Alextended

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We know that's what they want. With the highest revenue being from f2p, especially on mobile, where's the benefit to building a big platform and successfully running a storefront if you don't get fees from mtx? Have you not read any of the thread? You're not saying anything new. What "every other platform"? As far as we know console stores have fees in the in-app purchases as well, Steam has fees which has been a point Epic has attacked, etc. Are you just informed via Tim? Granted any company is free to make speciifc deals with specific other companies for different terms and benefits from each other beyond standard practice. None of us know what exactly goes on behind the scenes for this or that exclusive, timed or otherwise after all, it's what companies do, business deals. Standards aren't in effect for everyone to be equal, it's to make more deals faster with more companies than make up new contracts for every random indie.

If Epic wins what stops all devs/pubs from not paying a dime to any store ever, by having even "traditional" games as "free" games that are little more (or even less) than demos you pay mtx to unlock the full campaigns/modes of (or just never making such games again if that's somehow objectively quantified and not allowed, hard as it'd be, and still unfair treatment of traditional devs vs f2p devs anyway) and if that happens what's the incentive to running a store at all? What happens then, Steam is somehow obligated to still run their great service and all those servers and backend and features etc. but they can't actually make money from it except through what, adding google adsense on their pages or something and their own few first party games? Might as well just shut down at that point, lol, obviously they'd have never made Steam into what it is today, they'd have left it as their first party games downloader/launcher with next to no other features, if the terms Epic wants to oblige everyone else (but ignoring consoles for now) into now were dictated back when Steam was first being created.

Streaming/cloud streaming has muddied the waters a bit but that's all it is, it'll get cleared up in due time. Ie, I don't even agree with publishers wanting GeForce Now to pay them/ask them to allow the games you've already bought on Steam and other supported services to work. But of course it's different for services like Stadia where it's obvious they should be getting paid for their games sold there. Beyond such cases it's pretty clear platform holders wouldn't make platforms if they didn't benefit from them and jumping in to take their platforms out of their hands after they've done that hard work is in no way justified.

Consumers want what apple sells, their closed system and store, if you want to benefit from the consumers Apple cultivated, well, sorry, you gotta pay up. Otherwise there are other platforms that you can sell through your own stores and not pay anything to anyone except banks or whatever you set up yourself. Unless you use an existing store on said platforms and pay up to that. Etc. Maybe Apple can be fairer, have lower fees, maybe they've done shitty things in this or that case they should be held accountable for, but the core of the issue at hand, no, it's their platform, Epic won't be the one to dictate Apple its terms. I mean, android even lets Epic have their own store outside google play yet somehow they're still attacked because epic wants the play benefits, for free. Clearly they're not after some nobler goal like just having third party stores allowed on iOS (which while nobler wouldn't necessarily be justified either, just as they aren't asking for that on consoles). They want to be on first party stores, for free, and pretend fighting for all. They want to steal others' years of legwork for 100% free.
 
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Nyarlathotep

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We know that's what they want. With the highest revenue being from f2p, especially on mobile, where's the benefit to building a big platform and successfully running a storefront if you don't get fees from mtx? Have you not read any of the thread? You're not saying anything new. What "every other platform"? As far as we know console stores have fees in the in-app purchases as well
Its not a question of 'building a platform and not getting fees from MTX' - its a question of being the ONLY place to obtain fees via MTX.

Steam don't care if you release a F2P game and have the option to buy MTX either from steam or directly from the creators of the game own website; they care if you release a game and then do not allow steam users to purchase MTX via steam, which was the position EA orchestrated to justify moving their titles to Origin, and why you had things like 'bioware points' for various DLCs when they were trying to pull that stunt.

Steam don't care because the majority of steam users will just buy through Steam with their existing account, stored payment provider etc, as it is a frictionless transaction from a 'buy it now' button in a game client that open up the steam overlay. The majority of users will use that option, rather than opening up a seperate storefront, signing up a new account, attaching payment details, writing down a redemption code, etc.

Sony, MS and Nintendo also don't care for the same reason - which is why you can (right now) buy Vbucks direct from epic, and then use those unlocks on Playstation / Xbox / Switch.
Shit, you can, if you want, buy Fortnite MTX through the Xbox store, where MS will take the cut, and then use those unlocks on the Switch, without Nintendo ever seeing a dime from that purchase.
The amount of people doing that are so negligible, that it really is not in Nintendos interest to get butt hurt and kick Fortnite off of the platform though; the majority of people buying MTX for Fortnite on Switch are doing so via the eShop.

But thats what Apple are mad about; there was a possibility that you could use a purchase and they didn't get a cut from it.
 

Alextended

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But, that's not what Epic did that caused Fortnite's removal, they added micro transactions that didn't go through apple's service and so didn't have their fees within the actual App Store version of it, and undercut them on top. Same for the Google Play version. Like said, they want all the benefits of first party stores without paying. Hence the third party store version on Android is still functional. I don't see their only point being allowing EGS/website-bought mtx to work on all other platforms, they want to sell them through all other platforms, for free. And if that's the norm then again what stops Epic from only offering mtx through their own store, for games shipped via other platforms? It won't be negligible and something others don't care about allowing at that point, that's for sure. Make a game that uses Steam services, apple services, google services, ship it via their own stores, have them take all the hit, use up all their vast user reach to your own benefit, make the mtx only available on your own store, or available there for 5% of a prohibitively high price you set elsewhere, profit. Where's the line? If Nintendo think Switch having Fortnite even if they don't really benefit from it directly outweighs everything else that's their deal, Apple doesn't have to agree, but again, Epic didn't add Epic-powered mtx within the actual Switch, PS, Xbox versions of the games, they'd have been removed there too if they did that. Nor is crossplay and cross support some legally binding necessity, those who offer it do it because they feel it benefits them in some way, even some devs don't necessarily care to have it on different platforms that otherwise would allow it, it's up to how they treat their own game, you can't force anyone to do it, it's just something you've come to acknowledge as a benefit for some f2p game yet acknowledge if you want to play game x on platform y and z you have to buy it separately. If Capcom comes along and makes SF6 a service game and you just buy it on their site and it's enabled on PS, Nintendo, etc. all the same, they don't have to allow that if they don't want to, just as the next COD game doesn't work like that. Even if they work around it by making it like a f2p. It's complicated see.
 
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C-Dub

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Epic basically set up a lemonade stand in a supermarket and then cried monopoly when the supermarket threw them out for not consulting them first and just going and setting up a lemonade stand and cutting the supermarket out of any cut. Additionally, this was after the supermarket agreed to sell their lemonade in the first place, only any sales had to be sold through their checkouts because it's their own goddamn store.

I don't like the closed nature of Apple devices, but them's the rules. Epic doesn't have a divine right to be on anyone's platform or ecosystem - they made a business agreement with Apple when they released the iOS version of Fortnite then intentionally breached the agreement to deny Apple a cut, then sued them because Apple reacted in a sane and predictable way by pulling Fortnite from the store (so predictable, in fact, that Epic had already pre-prepared their Nineteen Eighty Fortnite video, #FreeFortnite marketing campaign and t-shirts and a long-ass lawsuit in anticipation). They're freeloaders, plain and simple.

Also, the App Store isn't the only place people can buy MTX from, it's just the only place on Apple devices. Apple are under no obligation to let anyone else into their walled garden. If Epic doesn't like that there are a multitude of other hardware platforms which are open.
 
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Nyarlathotep

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But, that's not what Epic did that caused Fortnite's removal, they added micro transactions that didn't go through apple's service and so didn't have their fees within the actual App Store version of it, and undercut them on top.
That is what they did - they didn't remove the ability for Apple users to buy using the existing payment methods within the appstore - which I would agree would be fair grounds for terminating that relationship.
They added an additional method of purchase. and so what?

The number of people who would go that route instead of the zero-friction route are negligible.
Apple wouldn't be losing a significant percentage of revenue, and they would still be making a lot of money - epic would just be making slightly more than they currently are.

Also, the App Store isn't the only place people can buy MTX from, it's just the only place on Apple devices. Apple are under no obligation to let anyone else into their walled garden.
Which is true, but an extremely minor compromise on Apples part would have completely avoided this entire lawsuit.
A compromise that hardware manufacturers who are not the most profitable on the planet were all also willing to make.

I have little sympathy for Epic, being who they are and how they show themselves to do business, but I have even less for Apple, and these kind of shitty strongarming tactics are straight out of the '90s MS playbook, and deserve oversight.

It makes zero sense for Apple to be able to demand 30% of a netflix subscription just because that customer happened to sign up on an iPad.
 

Alextended

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The so what is the previous post, that you argued against with that point, even though that's not what they did.

As for how negligible it is, you have no stats to back that up, it's not the same as external website/store purchases to have it right within the same in-game click reach, and clearly offered cheaper, and negligible in that case is subjective to apple anyway. Again it's not like that on other platforms you used as examples.

You're not arguing on good faith, my bad, I'm off. Not gonna sit around and circle jerk repeating the same things when nothing new was added/considered.
 
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Nyarlathotep

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Sorry, if you don't understand the line of argument I am making, you can ask for clarification, or if you think I have made an error in my line of thinking you can point that out, or you can even just plain disagree, but FOH with this 'bad faith' nonsense.

I don't see how allowing a customer to buy a product from either their vendor of choice, or direct from the manufacturer is a bad thing.
It helps keep both sides honest.

Is it against the vendors TOS? Yes.
So what? Vendors literally write up TOS / EULAs unilaterally for their sole benefit, which is why they can be challenged in court.

Would Apple see a drop in revenue allowing this? Yes.
So what? They are literally a trillion dollar company, they have a huge profit margin on their hardware from customers, they take a cut on all software sold to customers, AND they have an ongoing licencing revenue stream from all software manufacturers.

I claim that it would be a negligible drop and they would still be making insane profits by allowing this without any direct evidence? Yes.
I say this because I have deductive reasoning.
Console manufacturers do not have huge profit margins on their hardware like Apple do.
They also do not have a customer refresh cycle as frequent as Apple do.
They also do not sell as many units as Apple do.
They also are limited solely to entertainment purchases from customers, unlike Apple.
They also have to contend with a second hand market for all available software, unlike Apple.

And yet somehow all of the console manufacturers can weather this horrible revenue storm of allowing people to buy Vbucks slightly cheaper directly from Epic. Because most people will not go that route, even if Apple allowed it. The convenience is worth the 10-20% discount.

Apple would still be making an aggregate 27 cents pure profit on the dollar of every transaction, instead of the 'full' 30.

So I say again; So what? What's the 'bad faith'? Where are am I missing the need to chicken little if a court compels this?
 
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ISee

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So what? They are literally a trillion dollar company, they have a huge profit margin on their hardware from customer .
So what? Epic is a billion dollar company. They have a huge profit margin on skins and dances that are relatively easy and cheap to produce. Who cares if they make three cents more or less per Fortnite Transaction. Their profit margins are already incredible.
You see, if you claim that "economical winnings" are irrelevant for Apple as an argument, than Epic's economical growth also needs to be irrelevant in a discussion.

Console manufacturers do not have huge profit margins on their hardware like Apple do.
I understand that it seems similar at first, but Epic isn't trying to establish their own Playstation Store in the long run. It doesn't take a lot of deductive reasoning to conclude that Epic's plan is to open up the App Store and to establish their own store.
My point is: You are comparing "apples" and oranges here, as we have two different situations. They only appear to be similar on first glance.
Loosing a bit of mtx money isn't equivalent to having to fight against competition trying to open their own distribution platform.

Where are am I missing the need to chicken little if a court compels this?
Because once Epic starts establishing their own iOS store things will get worse quickly. Piece of evidence: The PC Epic Games Store

I'm not an iOS user, but my understanding is that privacy and data security is a big feature and reason to join the apple club.
An Epic apple store would introduce app store exclusivity to iOS while giving Epic total control over security and privacy data on said store.
This would be a big breach in the feature set that makes the Apple and iOS brand. It would be significant damage to how people look at the Apple property and how people use it. And let's be honest here: Apple's success is due to marketing and brand position.

This Epic versus Apple conflict is not just about app money, it is also about control of the brand. This pillars is to important to be given up or shared with another party. After all this is Apple's most important asset.

I believe that a company has the right and privilege to dictate the future and messaging of the brand they invented. They can make their products and brands as "good" or as "bad" as they want to. As long as there is an alternative and strong competition.
There is an alternative to iOS, it is called Android and the brand that Apple invented belongs to them and no other third party should be allowed to mess with it.

As a consumer, I'd be wary about data protection on Apple devices should Epic be allowed to distribute apps on their own. After all many important apps would become exclusive with only one method to get them; a third party option without any kind of pro privacy stance.




A funny thought I had: The reason why we are having the iOS = monopoly discussion in the first place is because the PC market is free since forever and people got used to the idea that hardware shouldn't be bound to one operating system or to a single software distributor.

Epic is using that "image" to fight against Apple, while establishing themselves on the PC side with exclusives.
 

Nyarlathotep

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I understand that it seems similar at first, but Epic isn't trying to establish their own Playstation Store in the long run. It doesn't take a lot of deductive reasoning to conclude that Epic's plan is to open up the App Store and to establish their own store.
But if Epics end goal is to create their own cross platform storefront, how does that not also affect the console manufacturers?
Why do you believe if that really is what they want to do, they would ignore those platforms?

What percentage of iOS owners would be prepared to 'jailbreak' their devices for chump change discounts on certain games?
The basis of epics suit against Google is literally that people aren't going to do that.


My point is: You are comparing "apples" and oranges here, as we have two different situations. They only appear to be similar on first glance.
Loosing a bit of mtx money isn't equivalent to having to fight against competition trying to open their own distribution platform.
No, what they are asking for is apples to apples; what you are extrapolating as a hypothetical future goal is where your objections are based.
Epic aren't being backed by other software companies because those other companies want a new epic storefront; they're being backed because apple are being needlessly greedy.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, etc.
Epic were right about cross platform play, and they're right about Apple over reach.

If you want to litigate a court mandated epic store 'sideload', feel free to do so if and when that ever happens, but thats not whats happening here.

Compelling apple to ease off on their restrictions that force companies like Wordpress to be unable to update their app, and simultaneously gag developers from letting customers know about Apples payment demands is in no way a 'slippery slope' into forcing iOS to become an open ecosystem for developers or vendors; allowing alternate revenue streams is not the same thing as allowing unsigned code.

Because once Epic starts establishing their own iOS store things will get worse quickly. Piece of evidence: The PC Epic Games Store

I'm not an iOS user, but my understanding is that privacy and data security is a big feature and reason to join the apple club.
An Epic apple store would introduce app store exclusivity to iOS while giving Epic total control over security and privacy data on said store.
This would be a big breach in the feature set that makes the Apple and iOS brand. It would be significant damage to how people look at the Apple property and how people use it. And let's be honest here: Apple's success is due to marketing and brand position.

This Epic versus Apple conflict is not just about app money, it is also about control of the brand. This pillars is to important to be given up or shared with another party. After all this is Apple's most important asset.

I believe that a company has the right and privilege to dictate the future and messaging of the brand they invented. They can make their products and brands as "good" or as "bad" as they want to. As long as there is an alternative and strong competition.
There is an alternative to iOS, it is called Android and the brand that Apple invented belongs to them and no other third party should be allowed to mess with it.

As a consumer, I'd be wary about data protection on Apple devices should Epic be allowed to distribute apps on their own. After all many important apps would become exclusive with only one method to get them; a third party option without any kind of pro privacy stance.
Again; that's not whats happening here, and just because epic pull shitty stunts with the EGS doesn't make them in the wrong here.

They were right to put pressure on Sony for cross platform play.
They are right to put pressure on Apple for blocking alternate payment portals.
 

Durante

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Sony, MS and Nintendo also don't care for the same reason - which is why you can (right now) buy Vbucks direct from epic, and then use those unlocks on Playstation / Xbox / Switch.
Shit, you can, if you want, buy Fortnite MTX through the Xbox store, where MS will take the cut, and then use those unlocks on the Switch, without Nintendo ever seeing a dime from that purchase.
The amount of people doing that are so negligible, that it really is not in Nintendos interest to get butt hurt and kick Fortnite off of the platform though; the majority of people buying MTX for Fortnite on Switch are doing so via the eShop.

But thats what Apple are mad about; there was a possibility that you could use a purchase and they didn't get a cut from it.
To be fair, that possibility was implemented directly into the game as distributed and launched on Apple's store.

As far as I am aware, that would be against the Playstation / Xbox / Switch ToS, and would have legal consequenses / get you kicked from those platforms as well.
 

Nyarlathotep

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To be fair, that possibility was implemented directly into the game as distributed and launched on Apple's store.

As far as I am aware, that would be against the Playstation / Xbox / Switch ToS, and would have legal consequenses / get you kicked from those platforms as well.
Oh, I have absolutely zero doubt that the way this was handled and implemented was in such a manner so as to force a confrontation and subsequent lawsuit, and that they had their PR offensive including parody apple adverts ready for release before taking this action.
 

ExistentialThought

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Apple lowered their few structure, and to stay competitive, Google lowered their own to match?

In the industry I work in, we constantly stay privy to what other companies are doing in order to align ourself to the market, often times matching those companies. That is what competition looks like in captialism.

Not saying it is right, just saying it is the reality. Framing it as something unique to monopolistic policies is simplistic and Tim should know that well.

Companies will rarely forgo profit margins to push ahead of the competition, unless it is for some other reason such as to grow or retain market share.

If you want change, it will take a new economic system (yes, please), or at the very least, regulation proposals not written by companies themselves, including and not limited to, Epics lobbyist group.
 
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Arc

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Yeah he's going a bit too far into the conspiracy theory angle. It's just tit for tat and it took Google nearly 5 months to follow up Apple's intial move. If anything, I hope it pushes Valve and the console manufacturers to do something similar with their fee structure.
 

Nyarlathotep

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Yeah he's going a bit too far into the conspiracy theory angle. It's just tit for tat and it took Google nearly 5 months to follow up Apple's intial move. If anything, I hope it pushes Valve and the console manufacturers to do something similar with their fee structure.
Valve already modified their fee structure, they just did almost the inverse of what Google did; they lower percentage taken at the higher end of sales.
 
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prudis

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Apple and Google broke Timmys narrative and now he's spiraling, LOL.
well reading his rants like
While a reduction in the Google app tax may alleviate a small part of the financial burden developers have been shouldering, this does not address the root of the issue. Whether it's 15% or 30%, for apps obtained through the Google Play Store, developers are forced to use Google's in-app payment services. Android needs to be fully open to competition, with a genuinely level playing field among platform companies, app creators, and service providers. Competition in payment processing and app distribution is the only path to a fair app marketplace
it was never about "help to small suffering developers" , despite the stronng marketing/journalist push to making him a messiah
It always was about a way for devs to be able to use epic's services insead of google/apple ones
 

CommodoreKong

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Valve already modified their fee structure, they just did almost the inverse of what Google did; they lower percentage taken at the higher end of sales.
Interestingly enough former Valve employee Chet Faliszek just tweeted about that saying Valve's change in cut actually affects Valve much more than reducing the cut like Google or Apple would of. I'm assuming the games that make enough to get to the 25 and 20 cut make up most of Valve's revenue from Steam.

 

boop beep

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Interestingly enough former Valve employee Chet Faliszek just tweeted about that saying Valve's change in cut actually affects Valve much more than reducing the cut like Google or Apple would of. I'm assuming the games that make enough to get to the 25 and 20 cut make up most of Valve's revenue from Steam.

Even if Valve's bottom line is worse off, not only does the trade-off favor Steam's growth by drawing in bigger fish like EA once again, the net effect is a "rich get richer" type of affair when it's the small and medium sized studios whose livelihoods are much more precarious and would stand to benefit more in terms of security by being levied a smaller cut. It also reinforces existing hit-seeking patterns among smaller studios rather than enabling them to more comfortably develop a game focused on a niche or otherwise limited audience, among other spillover effects. A throwback arcade racing game isn't going to hit that 20% cut target, but some kind of survival game, a rogue-like or something that streams well sure might.

For me at least, this issue was never over Valve making less for what they do because they supposedly don't deserve it (as a lot of vocal critics on social very narrowly frame it); the core of the issue is about fairness and security rather than Valve's bottom line, and this regressive type of cut doesn't really improve either of those factors meaningfully from my perspective. I don't think Chet's argument here is very sound from that perspective, because it's not just about raw numbers. Valve has smart people work there, so I'm sure they could come up with a system that eases up on small projects without having market distorting effects.
 
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Wok

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I'm assuming the games that make enough to get to the 25 and 20 cut make up most of Valve's revenue from Steam.
Not just for Valve but for Google and Apple too. It must be one of these cases where the 20% top selling games make up for 80% of the bottom line.

the trade-off favor Steam's growth by drawing in bigger fish like EA once again, the net effect is a "rich get richer" type of affair when it's the small and medium sized studios whose livelihoods are much more precarious and would stand to benefit more in terms of security by being levied a smaller cut
True. Valve is not a charity: by seemingly taking a hit and decreasing the cut, they must have anticipated that they would catch the big fish back again. It is better to earn 20% of 1 billion USD revenue than 30% of 1 million USD revenue. That would not be surprising if Gabe had foreseen the outcome of such a bet.

That being said, to come back to Google and Apple, the decreased cut is mostly PR. The fact that they decrease the cut for the first million only shows that they fight to keep their cut and give away barely nothing in hope that the general public sees their move for more than it really is.

 
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Alextended

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Don't want even more asset flips and babby's first game that they'll try and sell rather than learn from just cos it's easy and risk free to do so. Seems like people won't be satisfied until it's free to get on a platform like Steam since there will always be some example of a dev whose costs outweighed the revenue - fees. And then it will become all about visibility complaints all over again like it has been about before to naturally pimp newer and thus less populated stores. Maybe EA's next game will have 10 different Pokemon-esque versions to choose from just to technically sell less of each separate game and be on a different fee tier!
 
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Wok

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Don't want even more asset flips and baby's first game that they'll try and sell rather than learn from just cos it's easy and risk free to do so. Seems like people won't be satisfied until it's free to get on a platform like Steam since there will always be some example of a dev whose costs outweighed the revenue - fees. And then it will become all about "visibility" complaints all over again like Epic has already spouted about before.
True. It could be the reasoning behind Valve's move. Because if most of their bottom line lies in the top 20% best-selling games, then they could have decreased their cut to 20% for everybody without that move costing them much more than their actual move. Gabe must be wary that this would be air suction for low-quality apps.

I think what Valve could do in the near-future is to decrease the sale-threshold for the 20% cut. This way, they disincentive low-quality apps and give back more to mildly successful devs.
 
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boop beep

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True. Valve is not a charity: by seemingly taking a hit and decreasing the cut, they must have anticipated that they would catch the big fish back again. It is better to earn 20% of 1 billion USD revenue than 30% of 1 million USD revenue. That would not be surprising if Gabe had foreseen the outcome of such a bet.

That being said, to come back to Google and Apple, the decreased cut is mostly PR. The fact that they decrease the cut for the first million only shows that they fight to keep their cut and give away barely nothing in hope that the general public sees their move for more than it really is.

Regarding Google and Apple, yeah it's a little self serving. Though I think Sweeney's criticism here is what's more self-serving under the surface, because this move does not benefit him and companies that make as much as Epic. Even though this is arguably PR, it will have tangible benefits for lots of developers, and I'd like to see Valve implement something similar that targets smaller studios. Sweeney, like Chet, is talking about the "majority" of revenue which is also generated by a very small fraction of already very successful apps out there for the developers of whom a smaller platform cut is, I imagine, just icing.

I think this is very telling of what Sweeney actually wants, i.e. a flat reduction in the platform cut, rather than his stated fairness (recall he set up the "Coalition for App Fairness"). While that flat reduction is certainly also good, that doesn't make the playing field fairer, which demands equity-driven policy. So, true to the tech libertarian stereotype, Sweeney is probably not at all interested in fairness as much as he is in reducing perceived inefficiencies, regulations, "taxes" and so forth. I think this move by Apple and Google is conceptually more agreeable with me than reducing the overall rate by a few percent, because it does have a fairness-enhancing effect. The top end of the cut could do with some reform, sure, but that's not that interesting to me.

Ideally, it would follow a progressive structure whereby the more you sell (and in turn the more people use a platform's resources), the higher the cut goes, but from a business standpoint of a platform-holder who wants to generate revenue rather than maintain a healthy and fair market, that's not very realistic. But because Apple and Android are as large as they are and constitute effectively the entire market (unlike on PC and consoles where you still have bounded choices of where and how to distribute), it does demand some new ideas about how to regulate that. Forcing down how much they take seems like a very narrow solution that ultimately doesn't change the fact that two private companies for a large part dictate the terms of an entire economic sector.

The game-shaped object or asset flip issue is certainly relevant, but I don't think overall policy should be shaped by outliers like that for whom exclusionary categories could be applied.
 
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According to google, only 1% of a 3%* makes more than a 1M, so in that sense Sweeney is right, the vast majority will stop complaining. It's just that he still doesn't want to admit that he wants to make more money (which is a fair thing to want, but it doesn't have the same PR sound).

(*)The 3% are apps that charge money (either directly or as an in-app purchase)
 

C-Dub

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Sweeney crying about this is the mask slipping. He was weaponising smaller developers to go after Apple and Google. Apple and Google conceded they could give those guys a break while not giving anything to Epic, and now Tim is crying like a petulant child because they outplayed him.

It just goes to show this was always about Epic lining its pockets. If they'd succeed in taking on Apple and Google you can bet they would go after others like Sony, MS and Nintendo too.
 

Arc

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Sweeney crying about this is the mask slipping. He was weaponising smaller developers to go after Apple and Google. Apple and Google conceded they could give those guys a break while not giving anything to Epic, and now Tim is crying like a petulant child because they outplayed him.

It just goes to show this was always about Epic lining its pockets. If they'd succeed in taking on Apple and Google you can bet they would go after others like Sony, MS and Nintendo too.
The console part is what bugs me about his entire argument. He says it's okay for consoles to charge 30% since their hardware are loss leaders. That's not always the case since Nintendo hardware is almost always profitable from day one and Microsoft and Sony hardware usually becomes profitable after a year or two. There is no written rule or law saying console hardware has to lose money. If you think the 30% fee is too high, at least apply it consistently.

My personal opinion is Epic cut a sweetheart deal on Fortnite with the console manufacturers and he turns a blind eye to them. It would explain why V-Bucks also got a price cut on consoles and Tim didn't try to implement a third party payment processor on those platforms.
 

Mivey

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The console part is what bugs me about his entire argument. He says it's okay for consoles to charge 30% since their hardware are loss leaders. That's not always the case since Nintendo hardware is almost always profitable from day one and Microsoft and Sony hardware usually becomes profitable after a year or two. There is no written rule or law saying console hardware has to lose money. If you think the 30% fee is too high, at least apply it consistently.
Don't forget about the R&D necessary to * checks notes * put laptop APUs into a box or discover the idea of SSDs in 2020.
With such huge development and research costs, it's understandable that Tim Epic would readily accept the 30% console tax.
 

TioChuck

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As has been said, it's pretty obvious Epic has a pretty sweet deal on consoles, so he's happy to throw developers paying 30% under the bus because Epic got theirs.

What a duplicitous snake.
Funny thing is, doesn't matter if Epic will go after consoles if they succeed on this, they will create the precedent against walled gardens, and anybody could make the case to launch a independent digital store on those boxes.
 

C-Dub

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Funny thing is, doesn't matter if Epic will go after consoles if they succeed on this, they will create the precedent against walled gardens, and anybody could make the case to launch a independent digital store on those boxes.
If Epic wins, I want to open a third party dance store in Fortnite (which Epic has described as a platform) and give dance creators a fairer cut.
 

Arc

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A bill in Arizona that would have forced Apple and Google to allow alternative payment systems was set to be voted on today by the state's senate. The bill simply disappeared and nobody knows why.


Additionally, the trial set for May 3 will have testimony from both Tim Cook and Tim Sweeney.
 

Arc

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Epic internal documents related to "Project Liberty" suggest that Epic has been plotting against Apple and Google since 2008. Epic began Project Liberty when it saw a decline in its average monthly active users and revenue, devising a strategy to pay less commission while still taking advantage of the benefits of the ‌App Store‌ and the money that Apple has invested into the ecosystem.

Epic internal documents related to "Project Liberty" suggest that Epic has been plotting against Apple and Google since 2008. Epic began Project Liberty when it saw a decline in its average monthly active users and revenue, devising a strategy to pay less commission while still taking advantage of the benefits of the ‌App Store‌ and the money that Apple has invested into the ecosystem.


‌Epic Games‌ hired lawyers and a PR firm as part of its plan to launch a lawsuit against Apple, ultimately shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars. Epic outlined its plan to get Fortnite approved with hidden alternate payment options, which was then activated by a hotfix, leading to the current dispute. Epic internal documents described the legal battle against Apple and Google as "fun!" and contemplated how to get Apple and Google to reconsider their fees without ‌Epic Games‌ looking like "the baddies."