The Second Week of the Apple vs Epic Trial

Epic has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple for removing Fortnite from the App Store. This all came to a head after Epic activated in-app purchases that circumvented the Apple ecosystem and avoided the 30% surcharge that Apple takes from all App Store exchanges.

app store epic

We have now reached the end of the second week of the trial. So far it has been full of complaints and bloviating from both sides about what can be considered a game, a market place, and the differences between console and mobile gaming.

The first week gave Epic Games the upperhand, they came prepared with some heavy hitting expert witnesses like Aashish Patel, director of product management at Nvidia and Lori Wright, Microsoft’s VP of business development for gaming media and entertainment.

They were able to discern the differences between games marketplaces. Now that the trial has reached the end of the second week, they have started to get into the real nitty gritty details of their arguments.

The Economists

fortnite

The second week of the trial has been given over to economists on both sides of the lawsuit. They are still attempting to define the specifics of the Apple gaming market. Experts on the side of Epic Games attempted to define the App Store as its own gaming universe, meaning that there are players who choose to only interact with video games through Apple devices.

On the other hand, Apple has tried to argue that gaming on their devices is more of a fleeting experience. They argue that gamers would only choose to play Fortnite on iOS devices if they could not access their console or PC. This argument was backed up by the statistic that only a little more than 10% of Fortnite players and 13% of the game’s revenue came from players using iOS.

The Judge

epic apple markets

Another major point of interest in the second week of the trial, was the conduct of Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers. She is certainly not new to the world of tech lawsuits, but the gaming industry was relatively new to her. Despite that, her interjections and questions throughout the trial shows a remarkably quick acclimation to the world of gaming.

The questions that the judge is asking hints at what the potential outcome of the case may be. She is focused on the idea of choice, even saying at one point: “What’s so bad about it anyway, for consumers to have choice?”

This could hint at a future of the Apple ecosystem where they may be forced to let developers offer third party payment systems. This would certainly not be the best outcome for Apple, but it would also not be the ideal one for Epic either. She seems to be stuck in the middle.

The Upcoming Week

apple vs epic games trial

The final week will be focused on Apple getting the chance to fully defend their position as a walled garden ecosystem that cannot accept the inclusion of third-party payment systems. In terms of a realistic outcome, it is still too early for the decision to become clear although the questions asked by the judge does hint at a potential option for a relaxing of the App Store restrictions.

So far, the trial seems to be leaning in favour of Epic Games, but the end result may not end favourably for either party. The judge does not seem to be buying their Apple as a monopoly argument, but she is certainly open to the idea of introducing more choice to the customer. This may not be the huge win that Epic was expecting but it could certainly eat into the App Store profits.

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