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The feud between Epic Games, a game development company, and Apple has entered a new stage.  Apple has terminated Epic Games iOS development account for Sweden as a new and unprecedented move against a company using their services.

This comes as no surprise to those following the conflict between the two companies as it comes as a response to Epic Games’ success with their court battles against Apple.  It’s an important matter beyond just the relationship between these two companies.

Since Apple and Google are hosting the developer accounts and stores used by independent companies and creators, they can control who gets to find an audience on their platforms.  That’s why so many players using crypto are choosing independent and blockchain-based games.  No intermediary is needed to play roulette with BTC online so that no one can shut it down unilaterally.

What has happened?

Apple has terminated a new developer account that Epic Games has set up for their Swedish market.  The account is made so that Epic Games can put Fornite and the other games they are known for on the market for their European players.

Their online store can also be used to make in-game purchases, which is the biggest and most lucrative part of Epic Games’ business.  Without access to the Apple store, it can’t sell its games or in-game items, as there’s no other platform for iOS users to do so.

Apple’s Statement

Apple has issued a statement on the matter, and they’ve said that terminating the account was within their rights and in accordance with the court decision that the US court has issued based on the lawsuit Epic Games has pursued against Apple and Google.

“Epic’s egregious breach of its contractual obligations to Apple led courts to determine that Apple has the right to terminate ‘any or all of Epic Games’ wholly owned subsidiaries, affiliates, and/or other entities under Epic Games’ control at any time and at Apple’s sole discretion,‘” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.  “In light of Epic’s past and ongoing behavior, Apple chose to exercise that right.”

Epic Games Statement

Epic Games has issued a blog post detailing the issue and placing the blame on Apple alone.  The post refers to the broader issue of the Digital Markets Act.  At the same time, Apple has based its decision on the rulings of the US court rather than on this piece of legislation that governs the EU markets.

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To our surprise, Apple has terminated that account, and we cannot develop the Epic Games Store for iOS.  This is a serious violation of the DMA and shows Apple has no intention of allowing actual competition on iOS devices.

In terminating Epic’s developer account, Apple is taking out one of the largest potential competitors to the Apple App Store.  They are undermining our ability to be a viable competitor, and they are showing other developers what happens when you try to compete with Apple or are critical of their unfair practices.

What’s DMA?

DMA stands for Digital Markets Act.  It’s a law issued by the EU that regulates the issue between Epic Games and Apple.  The law requires Apple and Google to allow third-party apps in their stores.

Even though the law is written in technical and complex language – the basic issue it covers is breaking the monopoly the two giant corporations have on app market platforms.  By controlling the platforms from which the users download their apps, the two companies can block small and third-party providers from getting to their users in the first place.

Opponents of the regulation claim that European laws are too strict and essentially anti-business.  However, since the EU is a huge market for large tech companies, they need to comply with the regulations, even though they differ from those in the US.  Smaller companies, by which we mean anyone who isn’t Google or Apple, use EU regulations to be treated better.

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The Lawsuit

Apple’s decision came after Epic Games filed a lawsuit against it.  In it, the Fortnite creators argued that Apple has a monopoly in the market and that they are charging a huge markup for using the Apple Store.

At the time, Apple was taking 30 percent out of every purchase made via their store.  The court decided against Epic Games, allowing Apple to charge as much as they wanted as a fee for their services.  Apple was also preventing the apps that use their platform from advertising other platforms that the users could move to instead.  The court decided that this practice was illegal and stopped Apple from doing so.

The European Case

Apple also came under fire for the same issues when it comes to European regulations.  These are more comprehensive and stricter when it comes to monopolies.  That’s why Apple was charged a fine of $1.95 billion for “abusing its dominant position on the market for the distribution of music streaming apps” to iPhone and iPad users.”

This case started with a complaint from Spotify that stated Apple prevented their users from getting information about Spotify’s music streaming service, which was less expensive than the one offered by Spotify.  They won, and the decision will have huge ramifications for third-party apps using Apple and Google platforms.

Epic Games

Epic Games is one of the biggest companies in the industry when it comes to casual online multiplayer games.  It’s the powerhouse behind the biggest game, Fortnite, and it’s generated billions of dollars.  Furthermore, the news came just a few days after Disney and Epic Games announced that Disney had invested $1.5 billion into the company.

The news of this deal excited the fans since they’ll be able to play Fortnite and other Epic Games titles with their favorite Disney characters.  The two are now sharing IPs, and we’re eagerly awaiting the cooperation that will come out of it.  Apple’s actions are even stranger now when Disney is behind Epic Games, as it seems like an extreme and vindictive move.

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Criticizing Apple Publicly

Epic Games has claimed that the ban and the escalation are caused by their public criticism of Apple and its business practices.  Apple has come out with a public plan to comply with DMA, and Epic Games is publicly critical of it.

Apple is retaliating against Epic for speaking out against Apple’s unfair and illegal practices, just as they’ve done to other developers time and time again.  If Apple maintains its power to kick a third-party marketplace off iOS at its sole discretion, no reasonable developer would be willing to utilize a third-party app store because they could be permanently separated from their audience at any time.”

This approach to the subject matter is likely to garner support for Epic Games, not only due to the quality of their game but also because it can affect other third-party apps dependent on Apple.

Conclusion

Apple has banned Epic Games, including Fortnite, and in-game purchases for it in its store.  This is a reaction to the lawsuit Epic Games has pursued against Apple.  The matter has implications for gamers everywhere since Apple and Google control which apps you can download from their stores and can ban third-party apps as they see fit.

Author Bio

Awais Dar, founder of the Finnish news outlet SuomiTimes.com

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