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Apple v Epic...ding ding round 1

Discussion in 'Mobile and Tablet Games' started by hyperseven, 13 Aug 2020.

  1. cheesyboy

    Capodecina

    Joined: 7 Dec 2012

    Posts: 15,322

    Location: Gloucestershire

    Difficult to see why, as a consumer, we should support Apple's position on this one.

    What's the argument in their favour, other than "that's how other app/game do it"?
     
  2. mrochester

    Soldato

    Joined: 29 Sep 2003

    Posts: 5,632

    Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

    You don't have to give your card details to a multitude of companies and any subscriptions you have can be simply and easily managed from one location.

    There's also fewer attack vectors when you have limited places to install software from.

    So it's all stuff that benefits us users.
     
  3. b0rn2sk8

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 9 Mar 2003

    Posts: 9,275

    I get where the likes of Apple, Google, Steam, Playstation, Microsoft, Nintendo etc. are coming from. But I also see where Epic is coming from, 30% is a lot and some of the other App Store rules are very restrictive but its really not a straight forward Apple bad and Epic good, far from it.

    You can't just look at them with the mindset that the App Store is a store and the fees they take should only cover things like card transactions. It isn't a market place like eBay or Amazon, its much more than that.

    The store is a full publishing platform with things like full QA'ing of any submissions and updates, all billing and some customer support, development of the tools needed for developers to build software for the platform distributed for little to no cost, apps are hosted and distributed for free, discover ability engine, staff picks etc, 5+ years software support for devices running on the platform meaning they can take advantage of the latest API's.

    Could Apple charge less for the above? Yes, absolutely, they make a lot of money off the App Store. That said developers make a lot more. The problem that a lot of developers have with the store are some of the other rules which are designed to protect Apple's position or their users. Are they some kind of evil dictator? No, don't be silly. If you have ever had the pleasure of publishing music or a book, 30% is nothing compared to what the publishes take there.

    At the end of the day if you don't like the terms you are free not to publish or create your own platform. Epic certainly have the resources and the skills to do it. Epic isn't exactly going into this with the moral high ground either. To start, this is a company that has made billions targeting kids with loot boxes and micro transactions. They are attempting to mobilise their user base (mainly kids) to create a trial by social media when frankly they don't understand what is even going on. The latter I take particular exception to, because this isn't about Apple being some kind of evil company, its all business and this whole saga was clearly well thought out and a long time in the making. If they genuinely thought they had an anti-trust case against Apple and Google, they should have just taken them to court. All this drama and toxicity is just a side show and is completely unnecessary. If they also genuinely think 30% is extortion then I'd also like to see them file against Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft at the same time.
     
  4. mrochester

    Soldato

    Joined: 29 Sep 2003

    Posts: 5,632

    Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

    My question is, if these developers have such a huge problem with the way Apple and google do business, why didn’t they support windows phone, Firefox os, etc? These ecosystems failed precisely because developers did not make their apps available on those platforms.
     
  5. HACO

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 Oct 2009

    Posts: 2,334

    Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo also take the same 30% as Apple and Google do, and nobody considers that a problem because they believe building the console ecosystem and supporting it (new releases, distribution, security, SDKs, etc) is worth that. Apple and Google have also built the iOS and Android ecosystems.

    This isn't really a consumer concern, this is a fight between the platform and the developer about how the money is split, there's no pro or anti consumer side here.

    --

    In the end, this isn't about Epic vs Apple or Google. It's about Tencent (who owns 40% of Epic) and their desire to be free of American App Store regulations in China (they own WeChat). Epic is just their weapon in this battle.
     
  6. Rimsy

    Mobster

    Joined: 13 Sep 2008

    Posts: 4,992

    So basically China wanting more money going into China than the US. Makes sense especially in current climates.
     
  7. Mekrel

    Soldato

    Joined: 2 Aug 2004

    Posts: 7,162

    Location: Buckinghamshire

    Even if they did build those ecosystems from the ground up, regardless if they invested billions in doing so also, they can't then abuse that fact and cut out competition. There's plenty of similar examples of companies being slapped down for abusing their market dominance, even if they did invest plenty of money to get there. For example: Microsoft with Internet Explorer, Google with search.

    Games on consoles can only be sold if people own the hardware, and said hardware is only in the hands of consumers because Sony etc hardly break even on getting those consoles out. Apple certainly make more margin on their devices and Steve Jobs once said the App Store wasn't created to be high turnover or profit in its own right, it was there to sell more iPhones. Yet here we are with the app store turning over $50Bn a year - that's on top of the margin they make on iPhones, iPads and Apple Watch.

    I agree that Epic pointing this out is ironic, like a nudist pointing out your fly is undone, but your fly is still undone.
     
  8. HACO

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 Oct 2009

    Posts: 2,334

    There's definitely some validity in the argument that consoles sell at break-even point while phones are highly profitable for manufacturers. Personally, I think this isn't that relevant to the platform cost discussion, their margin on hardware shouldn't be relevant to the game developer. If Sony sold PS5 at $1000 at 40% margins it doesn't mean they should reduce the 30% platform charge. The 30% that Apple and Google charge are for the developer to access their platform. A market that wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for them.

    Unless we believe that there should just be no platform charge at any of these markets. I just haven't seen anyone argue that.
     
  9. Mekrel

    Soldato

    Joined: 2 Aug 2004

    Posts: 7,162

    Location: Buckinghamshire

    I just think there should be choice, Google are just as bad but you can still at least offer your app on another store if you don't agree to their terms.

    At least that way developers can't complain if their install rate is 90% lower than distributing via the recognised app store that comes on the device, because paying 30% on a 10x higher turnover is better than paying nothing/much less on a 10th of the turnover.
     
  10. Cryfreeman

    Mobster

    Joined: 28 Jan 2003

    Posts: 3,563

    Location: Devon

    So now all of Epic/Unreal engine being removed from iPhones and Mac.. that went from 1 to 100 real fast :eek:
     
  11. Jonnybmac

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 17 Dec 2009

    Posts: 1,972

    I read your link and what I got from it was that Tencent don't actually get involved with the politics of micromanaging companies and actually leave them to remain independent; moreso they've rescued a few companies from hostile dictatorships
     
  12. b0rn2sk8

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 9 Mar 2003

    Posts: 9,275

    The Internet Explorer and Google examples are not really relevant either.

    Internet explorer was about its dominant market position, Apple isn't stopping 3rd party developers from publishing on the platform or favouring/promoting its own apps over others. The IE thing was also complete nonsense either way and were back to the status quo with Edge being the default browser and is aggressively pushed within the OS. The reason Edge/IE is no longer dominant on windows is because it went through a period of being complete garbage and better products ultimately won out which is the way it should have been. Back in the day IE actually offered a pretty decent experience and it wasn't always dominant but built position up be being the best browser on the market at the time.

    The google example isn't relevant because Apple isn't restricting people from creating better quality apps than their own, for example, Spotify offers a much better music experience than Apple music. Almost if not all of the core OS functionality that Apple uses for its own apps is available to 3rd party apps to also use, though I appreciate that hasn't always been the case. Siri integration being the most recent example of that.

    As others have pointed out the margins MS/Sony make on hardware isn't relevant, Nintendo make 'Apple like' margins on theirs so explain that one to me.
     
  13. HACO

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 Oct 2009

    Posts: 2,334

    Yeah sideloading is irrelevant because it’s never used by a meaningful percentage of users. 90% is pretty generous, it’s probably closer to 99%.

    They’re not removed yet, just a threat from Apple to scare them off.

    They’re pretty benevolent. Like the CCP never actually gets involved in the politics with their companies. This dropping by a Tencent company, Epic not wanting lower fees but their own iOS App Store, immediately after the US pursuing a ban on WeChat in App Store and Play Store, complete coincidence.

    kidding aside, they don’t get involved, until they do. This screams involvement.
     
  14. HACO

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 Oct 2009

    Posts: 2,334

    There are legitimate concerns for iOS App Store monopoly in my opinion. Even using your music example, Spotify can’t integrate into the entire ecosystem like Apple Music does (with HomePod and other devices). They also can’t be the default music player (iOS 14 only allows changing default browser and email apps).
     
  15. HACO

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 6 Oct 2009

    Posts: 2,334

    Two years ago, Epic released Fortnite on Android, but not on Google Play Store, but as a direct download, citing the same issue they do now: Google's 30% cut is too much. Their CEO gave interview about this:
    https://www.gamesindustry.biz/artic...st-says-sweeney-as-fortnite-skips-google-play

    It failed, and they abandoned this and went on the Google Play store, accepting that Google's 30% cut is worth it because they make a lot more from the 70% cut on the official store compared to 100% of sideloading:
    https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/21/...gle-play-store-available-third-party-software

    This just proves the value that Google Play and App Store add to the developers is very significant, and Epic already knew this. They ran a freaking experiment on the exact same game.
     
  16. b0rn2sk8

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 9 Mar 2003

    Posts: 9,275

    Home pod doesn’t have an App Store or even pretend to have the option of 3rd party integration, how is that anti competitive? It’s also rubbish and you shouldn’t buy it. Apple also supports 3rd party smart speakers like Sonos etc. Spotify has an Apple TV app which is the only other thing Apple actually sells outside of iPhone/pad and Mac.

    Why would you need to change the default music player? That’s a not great example. You can’t start playing music without opening some kind of music app first.

    This is completely different to clicking a hyperlink in an email which up until iOS 14 will always open safari and I agree that is a problem that is being addressed. Maps perhaps could be added to the list but generic links to map locations which trigger Apple maps don’t really crop up that often.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are issues in the ecosystem but in the grand scheme of things they are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.
     
  17. Yaayuh!

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Nov 2010

    Posts: 21,875

    They have two board members appointed at Epic. So they do get directly involved in some way.
     
  18. james.miller

    Capodecina

    Joined: 17 Aug 2003

    Posts: 19,540

    Location: Woburn Sand Dunes

    You dont buy a $330m 40% stake in a company and not get involved.
     
  19. Mekrel

    Soldato

    Joined: 2 Aug 2004

    Posts: 7,162

    Location: Buckinghamshire

    They're relevent because they were in reply to "xyz invested and built up abc platform/ecosystem". Both Microsoft and Google had invested significant money to get those products to market but in the eyes of at least the European commission, that doesn't justify them abusing that position.

    Internet Explorer was garbage even when it had dominant share and there were also better browsers on the market back then. The real reason I.E share figures tanked was because Google targeted them aggressively.

    You don't get good share of the market by just having a good product, otherwise Firefox, Opera/Vivaldi etc would all have better share than they ever had. Getting your product into people's hands by forcing it there e.g. Google paying good money for Google to be default search in Firefox, or by marketing it so people choose to install it (like Google did with Chrome on sites like search, Gmail and YT - three of the world's most frequented sites).

    Also as for Apple not restricting better apps than there own, that's laughable. Apple have outright rejected xCloud and Stadia platforms from being allowed on iOS. In this instance their policies aren't being applied consistently as they're claiming each game on xCloud for example would need individual submission. Why does this then not apply to Netflix? They're both streaming services.

    The App store policies are in place to benefit Apple first and foremost, any benefits for the end user (and there are some benefits) are very much secondary priority and are a smoke screen to cover their primary objective.
     
  20. b0rn2sk8

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 9 Mar 2003

    Posts: 9,275

    Apple don’t make any game streaming apps. I agree that some policies are not being applied consistently and they need to do better but that isn’t an example of Apple banning apps in favour of its own. I get that Apple Arcade is a thing but that isn’t a competitor for project Xcloud or stadia, just because their games doesn’t mean they are competitors, they are a completely different class of product.