The Right To Play

The results of Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple are in, they lost eight counts to one. For a lawsuit that ended in a seemingly muddy lose-lose for Epic and Apple, however, it is already having a tangible impact on gamers globally as Fortnite remains off the App Store.

And the implications don’t stop there, what this means for the future operations of other gaming developers is unclear, but we have some suggestions.

Since the App Store’s conception, Apple has had a monopoly on all in-app purchases, providing users with a singular method of payment. And for each payment made in mobile game apps, Apple took a 30% fee (the ‘Apple Tax’).

The judge ruled that Apple must now allow third-party payment options, and this has potentially huge consequences.

Firstly, this stifles a previously guaranteed revenue stream for Tech Goliath whilst growing the potential revenue stream for mobile game developers beyond just Epic.

The general trend of taking revenue from big tech companies goes beyond this singular ruling. South Korea recently introduced a law making it illegal to ban third-party payment systems, resulting in hefty fines for Apple and Google.

As this trend continues to snowball, we should see increased rates of innovation such as the growth of gaming worlds.

These worlds often referred to as metaverses, have a value that can exceed that of some countries’ GDPs. With the onset of mass consumerism in an entirely digital format, new opportunities for growth will appear. Already we are seeing designer fashion labels designing and selling clothes, known as skins, in these metaverses and this is just the beginning.

If, however, the 30% ‘Apple Tax’ revenue is not entirely swallowed by developers, the savings can be transferred to consumers. This too is likely to stimulate the growth of metaverses as the purchasing power of gamers will increase, generating greater competition and innovation in the industry.

Though the outcome of this lawsuit is far from a win for Epic Games, they have successfully challenged the status quo. And what does this mean for other digital stores such as Microsoft’s?

Interestingly, Epic has never contested Microsoft’s charge (that is also usually 30%), but this lawsuit could lead other mobile-game developers to challenge the charges they face in the hopes of increasing revenue and driving innovation.

So how far will the reversal of the mobile games ‘Apple Tax’ truly be felt? It could give mobile game developers the resources to push in-game experiences even further and give their users more spending power. One thing is for certain, this is just the beginning of a mobile gaming revolution.

By: Eulalia Masterton

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