June 16, 2021

Everything That’s Happening In The Apple vs Epic Case

The big court case between Apple and Epic is one of the most important legal showdowns in the history of video games. It’s also throwing up a ton of very funny and interesting looks at how these billion-dollar companies do business behind the scenes.

Epic instigated the lawsuit back in 2020, believing that the 30% revenue cut that Apple was taking from games (like Epic’s wildly popular Fortnite), and the restrictions it placed on other companies implementing in-app purchases in their own titles, were unfair.

After attempting to bypass Apple’s in-store payment system with an updated version of Fortnite, Epic’s flagship shooter was removed from the App Store and Apple filed a countersuit, claiming that this circumvention violated the terms of Epic’s contract with Apple.

The trial itself, which began on May 3, is seeking to decide both these matters, with the verdict potentially having enormous ramifications not just for the relationship between Apple and Epic, but for the precedent it could set for the way games are sold and managed on other online marketplaces as well.

Below you’ll find a comprehensive roundup of our coverage of the case, which will be added to as it continues (if you’re on mobile, tap on the headline to continue to the linked story).


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You know how in courtroom dramas an attorney will ask someone if they can point out a vital piece of evidence, and they slowly raise a finger before saying, “This one…it was exhibit B”? In a Very Funny Thing that happened earlier today, Epic boss Tim Sweeney was asked to do just that, only for a bunch of video game consoles.


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So long as capitalism remains the law of the land, nothing in this world is free—not even “free” video games. But, by giving them away, Epic managed to lure new users to its fledgling store for next to nothing, so there’s a lot to be said for the appearance of free stuff.


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While the documents and emails being released as part of the Epic v Apple case are often important and full of detailed information, I am very much enjoying the ones—like this—where billionaire executives are forced into embarrassing apologies when their company fucks up.


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As the trawl through Epic’s court documents continues, another figure jumps out: $1 billion—the amount Epic had spent on securing exclusives by 2019.


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As the bizarro-world bunfight between Epic and Apple enters its second day in court, more extraordinary information is coming out in court documents. Like, how Epic paid Take-Two/Gearbox one hundred and fifteen million dollars for the exclusive rights to sell Borderlands 3.


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Today, the trial between Epic and Apple finally began after nearly nine months of legal filings and pre-trial hearings. During the court proceedings, new documents surfaced providing more data on how these companies operate. For example, we now know that Fortnite made $9,165,000,000 in two years.


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Is there porn on the Epic Games Store? Seems like a pretty easy “yes” or “no” question. Today, however, the ongoing, increasingly contentious Epic v. Apple court case showed us that actually it’s possible to have a nearly 10-minute argument about it.


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During Apple’s cross-examination of Steven Allison, general manager of the Epic Games Store, Apple’s lawyer walked all assembled, piece by piece, through the Epic Games Store. Alongside saying game titles like Warframe and Necromunda: Hired Gun like they’re normal human words, Apple’s lawyer also pointed out a glaring, perhaps even fatal, discrepancy on the store.


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On Wednesday, vice president of Xbox business development Lori Wright testified in the ongoing trial between Epic and Apple. Now, Apple wants the court to make an “adverse credibility finding,” due to Microsoft withholding pertinent documents in her testimony.


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Today, as part of the ongoing Epic v. Apple court case, Apple counsel Rich Doren, while cross examining Epic engineer Andrew Grant about a Minecraft Earth-related email chain between Epic employees, asked a very important question.


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Another day, another collection of very funny and insightful documents being released as part of the Apple vs Epic lawsuit. For tonight we have a 2015 email from Epic’s Tim Sweeney to Apple CEO Tim Cook, where one executive issues an impassioned plea for marketplace reform, and the other says, “Who is this man?”


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An email between Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and Xbox head Phil Spencer, made public today as part of the ongoing Epic versus Apple trial, shows Sweeney trying to entice Spencer to take “free-to-play” multiplayer out from behind the Xbox Live paywall to coincide with Epic’s war against the App Store.


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According to internal documents filed in the ongoing Epic Games vs Apple case, Microsoft has plans to reduce its cut on digital downloads on the Xbox console store from 30% to 12%.


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It’s Very Important To Nintendo That Publishers Don’t Work For The Yakuza

After being delayed by technical issues that resulted in a conference call full of screaming Fortnite children, the long-awaited Epic vs Apple court trial is finally underway this week. As part of the proceedings, Nintendo provided documents that include a publisher contract—though honestly, “include” might be a stretch.


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