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Apple’s citing an email Sweeney sent to Sony exec Phil Rosenberg in 2018 calling lack of cross-play an “untenable position” — saying it would tear kids’ friendships apart and might not be legal.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
Lawyer’s getting at the fact that Sony (and Nintendo) lock down how people can spend money through Fortnite, and Epic chose to strike a deal with Sony instead of doing something like suing.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
“When a player did that, Apple would not receive any commission … and yet those V-Bucks would be spent by the player on the iOS device,” says lawyer. Apple permitted cross-play and cross-wallet transactions, Sweeney agrees, and not all platforms did.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
Epic Games' presentation to the board on launching Project Liberty (Free Fortnite). Basically we have to do this now because:— julia alexander (@loudmouthjulia) May 4, 2021
a) Marvel is the perfect event to capitalize on and
b) People are mad at Apple and Google and Big Tech in general
Epic is also a Goliath but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/gr22hmn8lh
We’re talking about Apple’s Metal now.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
"That’s a graphics API. It contributed to Epic’s ability to effeiciently build a top-quality version of Fortnite for iOS?’
Sweeney says yes. Here, Apple is establishing Epic’s reliance on its tools, in theory justifying commission.
I am genuinely curious how much Sony’s relatinship with Epic can factor into the outcome of the trial, considering they’re now so financially intertwined. Sony isn’t on trial, and Epic will never sue them. But it does bolster Apple’s arguments.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
Pretty funny email exchange where Epic CTO Kim Libreri (aka the guy who helped invent bullet time) complains a PR quote about Metal is “a bit dry and not as hip as one would have expected from the coolest game developer on the planet.” pic.twitter.com/TW7Su114j5— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
Tim Sweeney does not have a PlayStation in his home. Devastating.— julia alexander (@loudmouthjulia) May 4, 2021
Apple’s line of argument here is essetntially that Epic is unfairly targeting Apple, when the console makers are the cause of more financial burden and logistical nightmares for its business. Sony in particular, which accounts for a majority of Fortnite players/revenue.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
This is interesting. Sweeney privately feared that when AR went mainstream it would cement 30% cut. “Time is now to solve this problem before AR takes off and that rate is set at 30%,” Sweeney quoted as saying.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
Probably bc Apple could point to iPhone hardware as justification.
Personal opinion: there's no real "David" to root for. Epic is going to position itself as a David ("We are all David when it comes to Apple") but it's just a slightly tinier Goliath taking on the Goliaths of all Goliaths.— julia alexander (@loudmouthjulia) May 4, 2021
"You'll enjoy the fireworks" is one heck of a line.
Apple cites email from Sweeney saying Fortnite players’ friendships were “being torn apart” by Sony’s restrictions on cross-platform play for Fortnite.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
Apple points out iOS supported cross-platform, and Sony later eventually invested in Epic and agreed to cross-platform.
Apple’s taking advantage of the fact that *of course* Tim Sweeney is going to profess to be excited about all the awesome options for Fortnite and developers in interviews, and that rhetoric conflicts with Epic alleging that Apple is causing it substantial harm.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
Sweeney confirms that there were “significant negotiations throughout 2018” between Epic and Sony over cross-play.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
Friedman conceded the App Store would be “pretty cheesy” if it were inundated with ads, “but at least it would be transparently cheesy.” In any case, he said the App Store’s role as an app discovery tool had become pretty meaningless for consumers. 3/5— Patrick McGee (@PatrickMcGee_) May 4, 2021
We’re getting pretty in the weeds here about how Epic negotiated cross-platform play between Xbox, PlayStation, and iOS.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
Apple’s lawyers saying Epic used Fortnite on iOS as a motivating factor to get Microsoft onboard.
Lawyer has moved on to asking Sweeney about the benefits Epic gets from being on iOS — specifically the Metal graphics API. Judge touched lightly on this point yesterday, pushing back on Epic’s portrayal of Apple as sort of a parasitic middleman.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
Sounds like Epic’s lawyer is trying to get out ahead of Sweeney’s attempts to negotiate a unique App Store deal, similar to ones Amazon has made with Apple.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
They’re doing so by arguing Appel was unwilling to negotiate, like a console maker would have been.
This is really key. Apple’s laywer here is trying to establish the Epic Game Store, with its 88-12 rev split, as a ploy to push the industry toward a model that would benefit Epic and its products.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
Back to Project Liberty, Epic’s master plan to launch antitrust suits against Apple/Google over Fortnite’s removal.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
Apple’s lawyer quoting Epic COO Daniel Vogel via email on Liberty as “way to get Apple and Google to reconsider without us looking like baddies.”
Just a sense that Sweeney wasn't prepared much or he didn't listen. Answer to— Ian Sherr (@iansherr) May 4, 2021
Epic lawyer: "If Apple had told you that it would offer you a deal and no other developers would you have accepted that deal?"
Hmmm. Epic’s lawyer asks Sweeney, “If Apple told you the deal would only be with you and no other developers,” referencing a carve-out for lower App Store commission, “would you have accepted that deal?”— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
"Yes I would have,” Sweeney says.
Judge asks why Epic didn’t let people buy V-Bucks on its website via iOS before Project Liberty. “It wasn’t a very attractive option for our customers,” Sweeney says. Had they even started working on it an option? “We hadn’t programmed it.”— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
Apple is asking about Epic’s recent decision to host https://t.co/s0LvDeRH8X as a store-within-a-store. Asks if Sweeney has reviewed all the games on Itch. (No.) Sweeney cites Itch’s library as “at least hundreds” of games, which is a hell of a lowball. https://t.co/dogTAE8K57.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
Apple’s lawyer asking again about Epic Game Store profitability in 3-4 yrs.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
“You expect to lose hundreds of milions of dollars relative to the amount of minimum guarentees.”
Sweeney says yes. Apple is targeting Epic’s spend on PC relative to what it says it's losing on mobile
Important though is Sweeney saying Epic "never negotiated a different commission structure with the console makers,” which implies the 70-30% split is in fact a universal standard that is then negotiated on top of.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
“Lawyer: If Apple had told you that it would offer you a deal and no other developers, would you have accepted that?— Bunn (@fcbunn) May 4, 2021
Sweeney: Yes, I would have.”
Oh, wait! So he was NOT fighting for developers and freedom? He just wanted special deals?
Who would have thought??!! 🤡 https://t.co/rObKPhCqug
"Sony finally agreed to cross-platform play, but it has never agreed to cross-wallet transactions, is that correct?”— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 4, 2021
Yes, Sweeney says, and Apple’s lawyer points out that this is true even today following Sony’s massive investment in Epic. Your v-bucks are stuck on PSN.
Apple’s Phil Schiller floated reducing App Store cut in 2011 when the store reached $1b in annual profit. Apple didn’t reduce commissions until end of 2020 for those generating below $1 million (aside from reduction to 15% in Year 2 of subscriptions). https://t.co/jE22Ok8Pp2 pic.twitter.com/Dj4gXZIrgs— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) May 3, 2021
Apple lawyers pushing Sweeney on the fact that Epic signed contracts with Apple to use its IP/developer tools. "At the time you signed the contract, you didn't voice, any complaint or have any dispute with Apple directly"— Ian Sherr (@iansherr) May 3, 2021
Sweeney: "We did not attempt to renegotiate the contract"
Epic tried to push Microsoft to open up Xbox Live to free multiplayer gaming just weeks before the big battle with Apple over Fortnite. Internal emails between Xbox chief Phil Spencer and Tim Sweeney reveal the details. Story here: https://t.co/uQdAvpzame pic.twitter.com/oQPNLwpqmf— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) May 4, 2021
Yep. I’ve long believed iMessage’s de-registration process was always under-baked explicitly to punish people who moved away from iMessage. Apple verifies in a second if a phone number is an iMessage device but doesn’t verify in group messages if a number is no longer. https://t.co/JslrPKwZEl— Quinn Nelson (@SnazzyQ) May 3, 2021
Mostly I just hope after this trial that Epic and Apple can get back to making sure stuff like Unreal works well on the Mac and iOS. It’s been real unsettling how Unreal has not been part of the Apple Silicon campaign, given their market dominance.— Colin Cornaby (@colincornaby) May 3, 2021
Apple’s counsel laying out the scope of Fortnite’s business on console: $6 billion on PlayStation through the end of 2020, and $3.5 billion on Xbox.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 3, 2021
And Apple hammering Sweeney about lack of concern over giving 30% to MSFT and Sony.
If these are wrong, then I'd love Apple to disclose what the margins are. More importantly, I'd like to know the *investment* Apple makes into the App Store to operate, improve and secure it. Huge diff between "squatter" and "innovator". Similar to "patent troll" vs "inventor". https://t.co/riz2f00kfb— Patrick Moorhead #MSBizAppsSummit (@PatrickMoorhead) May 3, 2021
An interesting history lesson about the Apple/Facebook spat revealed today in court docs. (1/5)— kif (@kifleswing) May 3, 2021
A comparison to gauge the size of the games industry right now. Fortnite has made more money than all of the Harry Potter films put together— Matt Smith (@InnovationMatt) May 4, 2021
If charities can work with developers to convert < 1% of game revenue into donations/CSR, we’re talking £10 millions in new income 🤓🎮 https://t.co/xFJrchNyWa
Annnd we have finally confirmed the percentage that Tencent owns in Fortnite - 37% which is not a lot of dilution given Epic's big $$ fundraising since that round in 2012. Tencent also has 2 board seats.— erin griffith (@eringriffith) May 3, 2021
Why did Epic spend so much time on "Project Liberty"? Sweeney: "We’re challenging the two most powerful companies in the world and it would have been foolish to do anything else."— erin griffith (@eringriffith) May 3, 2021
According to this, Epic paid ~$12M to give out ~104M download and in return got ~5m people to sign up for EGS. Or about $2.37 per new user acquired (UA). Which... dang, feels like a good deal for Epic even if not everyone spends actual $$ later on https://t.co/xcSOY17Hu6— Ross Miller (@ohnorosco) May 3, 2021
…so you’re saying there’s no competition? Almost like Apple’s practices maneuvered it into a position where it was impossible to compete?— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) May 3, 2021
Now to the heart of this case: The 30% fee. Epic says the 30% Apple charges for in-app fees was not based on costs required to maintain the app store or make it secure. "There's a name for businesses that set prices without regard to costs: Monopolists."— erin griffith (@eringriffith) May 3, 2021
Apple attny getting Epic CEO to agree he sells Fortnite via non-Apple platforms - Nintendo, Xbox, Sony, etc# - under same terms as Apple: 30% cut, no side loading. This is not news, at all, but seems like a pretty compelling argument to this non-lawyer.https://t.co/qEM8O3a0BH pic.twitter.com/tvTW4vFC4F— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) May 3, 2021
After the hot fix, didn’t Epic continue to pay a 30% “tax” to Nintendo, Xbox?— Patrick McGee (@PatrickMcGee_) May 3, 2021
Apple lawyer saying there were two reasons for the V-Bucks discount last year: PR for Project Liberty, but also “you were concerned that interest in the game was flagging.” Sweeney says the latter part’s not right.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 3, 2021
Sweeney just spent hours presenting a sweeping unified Epic strategy. Apple’s lawyer now trying to separate the pieces out — saying Unreal Engine still isn’t banned from iOS, for instance.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 3, 2021
This is Apple getting Sweeney to admit to an already very public narrative: Epic has been okay with paying game stores and publishers for decades, and it was cool with Apple for a decade, but then it changed its mind and hatched a plan that would probably get it kicked off iOS.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 3, 2021
"Someday we will see enough challenge..." Is this not proof that app store fees are driven by competitive forces? Apple isn't being monopolistic, they simply aren't being challenged. The real culprit? Google/Android.— Jeff Kingyens (@jkingyens) May 3, 2021
Here's a different perspective, I computed the price per unit claimed.— Thomas Altenburger 🍕🍍 (@mrhelmut) May 3, 2021
For your interest, platforms usually don't communicate on expected units (I don't know about this case, just adding the perspective).
There's some very serious undervaluation here.https://t.co/VZ8VLT6Jav pic.twitter.com/mq4MGwXtqf
Apple put up a chart to show that Sony, MSFT and Nintendo all take 30% commission, prohibit sideloading, and require developers to use in-house - all the things Epic is asking Apple to change - and is having Sweeney answer each box 1 by 1— erin griffith (@eringriffith) May 3, 2021
Day 2 of livetweeting the Apple/Epic trial starts in 15 minutes. Expecting more cross-examination of Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, plus witnesses from Nvidia and Xbox, and god willing better audio. Coverage of yesterday below: https://t.co/j3G9U1FJOj https://t.co/57rFWRifAx— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 4, 2021
The court is moving into a sealed session, which effectively wraps up Day 1 of the Apple/Epic trial. Tim Sweeney still has time on the schedule, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more about whether the iPhone is like a PS5.— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 3, 2021
Staggering how much more sucessful Fortnite is on PlayStation than Xbox. Explains Sony’s deep investment in Epic and its willingness to bend on things like cross-platform.— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 3, 2021
Fortnite has been a multi-billion dollar business for Sony just through its PS Store commission.
Am I the only one looking at this and feeling like the near 10 million users it had before getting pulled from the iOS store is not small at all? It was beating out the PC and going toe to toe with Switch, that sounds like a market they care about. https://t.co/TOnfjOl3fI— Rolling Soul Diver (@HBJohnXuandou) May 3, 2021
The cross examination is a rapid fire series of yes/no questions about app stores, fees, contracts etc. Making the overall point that Sweeney controls Epic, agreed to its initial iOS terms and contracts, and offers Fortnite on a number of app stores.— erin griffith (@eringriffith) May 3, 2021
If you squint at this, the games with the cheapest UA costs appear to be the non-genre indies. The odd ones out. It suggests they're a valuable property that, on average, isn't paid what they're worth.— Megan Fox (@glassbottommeg) May 3, 2021
Very much counter to typical narratives surrounding indies on new platforms. https://t.co/MvjalVPUdh
"What's the marginal cost to a v-buck?" Apple's lawyer asks.— Jason Aten (@JasonAten) May 3, 2021
"There's no cost to producing a v-buck."
Apple highlighting that Epic is fighting over the most lucrative legalized racket on earth--charging real money in exchange for fake money used to buy fake goods.
"Apple has started to tell the world… that it doesn’t know what the App Store’s rate of return is. The evidence will show this is not true. We have documents… that lay out the profitability of the App Store.”— Nick Statt (@nickstatt) May 3, 2021
Epic’s lawyer cites the recently revealed 78% profit margin figure.
One part of Epic v. Apple that's a bit concerning: both sides hired experts who support the Supreme Court's badly misguided approach to two-sided markets. Perhaps unsurprisingly, much of their writing on the topic was funded by credit-card companies, as noted below. pic.twitter.com/Mwu4hC5vkO— John Newman (@johnmarknewman) May 3, 2021
1/ Epic v Apple has given unprecedented insight into cross-platform gaming. More data than the platforms themselves have!— Matthew Ball (@ballmatthew) May 3, 2021
For example, Fortnite's MAUs by ecosystem. Note how new devices expanded total player counts and didn't cannibalize the platforms that already had Fortnite pic.twitter.com/v99FA3tyj4
1. Apple loses, must allow 3rd party iOS stores.— Chris Lacy (@chrismlacy) May 4, 2021
2. Google releases Play on iOS, moves all its iOS apps.
3. FB/Twtr/Snap make deal w. G. They get X% of lifetime $ from all apps installed via app install ads.
4. G Search prioritizes Play iOS results.
The App Store is neutered.
If these are accurate that actually seems like not an amazing deal for the devs.— David Szymanski (@DUSKdev) May 3, 2021
Fuck Apple's monopoly. I hope Epic Games wins— CoolStar (@CStar_OW) May 3, 2021
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