Changes Coming for Mobile Marketplaces?

A few months ago, the legal battle between Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, and the two big tech giants of Apple and Google would begin – codenamed “Project Liberty” by Epic, the lawsuit would focus on a change that was made to the mobile version of Fortnite to allow players to buy the in-game currency directly from Epic, avoiding the 30% tariff applied to other app store purchases. This change led to the game being removed from both the Apple and Google marketplaces, and the eventual argument that this tariff was anti-competitive and unfair, which has become the crux of the argument for Epic, but things have since expanded outwards, and involving other giant names in gaming.

Much of the argument is currently around how much being removed from the app store may have hurt Epic’s revenues, with a developing esports scene on both PC and mobile with separate markets at becoming more available, some of the argument had been that the removal of Fortnite on the app store had a marked effect on the potential earnings and losses, with Apple arguing the opposite that Epic had managed to find just as much success early on from the representation – the latest name being brought into the argument has been with gaming giant Valve, as they’ve now been asked to disclose sale numbers in a bid to discover whether or not Epic launching its own PC platform had hurt sales for Valve, building a case against the anti-competitive argument that Epic has placed on Apple. With Valve’s own gaming platform of Steam also charging a 30% commission on sales, much like the mobile marketplaces, this could be a big cause of change in the legal battle given Steam remains the largest online gaming marketplace, and the results from the release of earnings could provide a much clearer answer.

It does raise the question of whether or not big changes could be on the way for online marketplaces, particularly on mobile – it’s undoubtable that representation on the marketplaces offers a huge opportunity, but some developers may find the 30% commission to steep still – the legal battle will still be a lengthy one though, with some expecting it to be dragged out for a number of years particularly as different companies are being brought into the argument to iron out more details – these details and decisions made going forward could have huge impacts for the gaming market, however, if change is made could see big implications for the major marketplaces.

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