Epic Games Says Mobile Stores’ Gatekeeping Is Hurting Industry

Epic Games slams mobile app stores, claiming "gatekeeping" practices are harmful to the games industry.
Fortnite Shooting On A Train
Image: Epic Games

The game Fortnite, developed by Epic Games, has been in a dispute with Apple regarding the operation of mobile app stores. Epic believes that the control app stores have over their platforms hinders the potential of the gaming industry. This conflict escalated in 2020 when Fortnite was removed from the App Store due to Epic’s intentional violation of Apple’s policies, prompting a legal battle.

The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) has designated Apple as a “gatekeeper,” legally requiring Apple to open the iOS App Store to changes. This includes allowing external app stores and application side-loading. Epic sees this as a significant victory and anticipates that Apple will ultimately be compelled to ease its restrictions further.

I’ve worked on games that went into mobile, and I have to say the standards are a lot higher than Steam or Epic Games. Those games on PC fronts are also more expensive, so you can expect to make more, whereas mobile games tend to cost less, so the 30% cut is a real hit.

According to an interview with Eurogamer, Epic’s top executives, including CEO Tim Sweeney and vice-president Saxs Persson, claim that the current mobile industry poses challenges for creating long-term successful business models. They specifically highlight strict rules on user experience, in-app stores, and how purchases outside of the App Store are managed. Epic plans to introduce its rival store in 2024, expecting increased regulatory oversight to encourage platforms like Apple’s to be more accommodating.

“What we have to work towards is interoperability between these major, major ecosystems, or we’re essentially telling players: choose. Right? You can go with your mates, or you can play your game, or just, like, dissolve your party and then evolve your party again on this other platform. That doesn’t make any sense when we could just move you between these two things.”

Saxs Persson

At the core of Epic’s position is a vision for a more open and interconnected online gaming space, often called the “metaverse.” The company believes players should not have to pick between their favorite games and friend groups because of incompatible platforms. Epic is aiming for greater interoperability, enabling smooth transitions between different gaming ecosystems.

Epic also champions user-generated content (UGC), heavily integrated into Fortnite through the game’s creative mode. Persson views UGC as a crucial aspect of Fortnite’s ongoing success and believes giving players creative freedom is more beneficial than traditional models where developers tightly control all content.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.

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