The fight for developer freedoms is becoming a bit of a circus..
The Apple vs. Epic Games situation is something we’ve been documenting for a bit now, noting especially how it’s a reckoning moment for Apple, as developers and software providers for iOS have been harboring frustration against the company for a while now. But the first hearing held for their case has been…quite dramatic to say the least, coming after Apple essentially threatened to remove all games using Apple’s unreal engine from the iOS App Store and Epic not releasing the latest Marvel-themed expansion of Fortnite on iOS devices(and Android as well). But if the CNET video above is anything to go by, then even with Apple’s apparent fault in this matter, it’s getting a little out of control already.
Now just to put the facts straight, we generally believe Apple is the one to blame more here, after all it’s App Store policies have led to small developers barely breaking even if their app isn’t a mega-hit, while larger companies like Microsoft and Google are essentially shut out from distributing potential revenue options for Apple, which is why game-streaming apps like XCloud and Google Stadia aren’t on the App Store. However Epic Games isn’t exactly playing fair here, after all they’ve essentially denied millions of Fortnite players access to the game. Yes that’s because Apple removed the app from their store, but Epic knew that and continued anyway as they knew it gave them an upper hand at a time where nearly everyone is rallying against Apple. In fact as we speak, Microsoft, Spotify , Basecamp and even news apps have all shown support for Epic’s moves or disdain for Apple’s policies , and that’s without factoring in the multiple small time developers expressing the same thoughts. Epic took that one bit further however because as we mentioned last time, it’s essentially ruining Apple’s brand and image not only in the eyes of millions of Fortnite fans, but specifically millions of kids too. Which is morally ambiguous at best, no matter which way people look at it. Just imagine a kid crying to their mom because they can’t play Fortnite on their iPad. It’s the kind of public relations nightmare Apple dreads, and it’s definitely still trying to make Epic play according to its rules. This is why it threatened to remove all Unreal Engine based games from its store, which is essentially Epic’s second biggest revenue model, and the backbone of countless games, hence Apple’s threatening the livelihood of millions of game developers as well. Again, not great for their brand and image, but crippling for Epic too now, especially since developers will wonder if Epic was willing to roll the dice on all their games to get back at Apple too. Thankfully, the judge in charge of this first hearing denied Apple banning Unreal Engine, while also calling out Epic for the fact that it’s behavior inconveniences and even endangers it customers and developers, hence ruling that both these companies could have handled this better, regardless of how it all turns out.
Regardless this case definitely has a ways to go , and both Apple and epic are going to be the subject of much scrutiny here, but if nothing else , this whole case will definitely change the future of iOS’ gaming landscape, and how especially developers view both Epic and Apple. We’ll see how it progresses in the months (and maybe years) to come.