“Indeed, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all operate similar walled gardens or closed platform models as Apple.”
The ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple is likely to have “significant and serious ramifications” for the rest of the gaming industry, according to a judge presiding over the case.
In court documents shared on Friday, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers intimated that the row about forced profit share that requires developers to give up 30 per cent of revenue generated on the App Store was no different from the “walled gardens” online stores of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo on their respective consoles.
It’s the latest development in the two megacorps’ public spat that ignited when Apple blocked Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games circumvented Apple and Google’s system to retain 100 per cent of the funds generated by its in-app microstransactions. Microsoft also filed a statement in support of Epic and Unreal Engine.
“Indeed, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all operate similar walled gardens or closed platform models as Apple, whereby the hardware, operating system, digital marketplace, and IAPs are all exclusive to the platform owner,” the judge said, before adding: “a final decision should be better informed regarding the impact of the walled garden model given the potential for significant and serious ramifications for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft and their video game platforms.”
“Epic Games’ avers that the iOS platform is unique from other gaming devices,” the Judge said (thanks, VGC). “Specifically, Epic Games argues that gaming consoles and computers require electrical outlets and separate screens and thus lack capacity for mobile play, which demands portable, battery operated, and cellularly connected devices with built-in screens.
“Yet, Epic Games repeatedly ignored discussion of gaming laptops, tablets, and the Nintendo Switch, all of which can be played in a mobile fashion. These devices could have significant overlap with the iOS platform in terms of the ultimate consumer.
“Again, however, at this stage, the record does not contain sufficient information to determine whether such other devices are economic substitutes or are merely complimentary to iOS devices.”
The court proceeded to deny Epic’s request to be reinstated to the App Store pending the result of the lawsuit, but did issue a restraining order to prevent Apple from removing Unreal Engine support.