Archive for Epic Games

Apple Wants A Flawless Victory In The Epic Games Fight

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 11, 2021 by itnerd

The title was a reference to the video game Mortal Kombat where if you beat an opponent without getting hit once, you earn a “flawless victory.” That’s now what Apple is looking for as it seems like it wasn’t enough that Apple largely won the lawsuit against Epic games. It wants a “flawless victory”:

On Friday night, Apple announced it would ask for a stay on a judge’s September order saying Apple would have to allow apps to direct customers to external websites. That ruling would let app businesses circumvent Apple’s requirement to facilitate payments only inside of apps, where Apple takes up to a 30% cut. Apple is also appealing the ruling. Because Epic Games is also appealing the nine counts it lost, it could take years before the case is resolved and Apple is forced to make any changes to iOS, the operating system for iPhones, as the two companies wrangle through the appeals process in court. The judge is expected to rule on Apple’s request for a stay next month.

Apple’s move is a surprising turnaround from its tone following the decision in September. While the company always left open the possibility of an appeal, it portrayed the judge’s ruling as a resounding legal win for its App Store business model, which has come under fire from technology rivals, international regulators and members of the U.S. Congress. “We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling and we consider this a huge win for Apple,” Kate Adams, Apple’s lawyer, said in September following the ruling. The Friday night announcement inspired a torrent of commentary from Apple critics. They pointed out the move would preserve Apple’s App Store profits by preventing apps from using alternative payment systems. One company announced last week that it was already working on a cheaper, web-based alternative to Apple’s app payments — a move made possible only by the ruling that Apple is now appealing.

Keep in mind that Apple lost one count in the Epic Games lawsuit and it was insanely trivial. Epic Games on the other hand got destroyed and it’s little wonder that they almost instantly appealed.

Having said that. though I am not a lawyer Apple raises some very interesting legal points. It seems to me a big part of the Apple argument is based on a legal principle that a court can only resolve an issue brought before it. In this case, the injured party which is Epic Games must show a harm to be remedied. Epic Games did not establish the harm that the judge’s ruling specifically addresses. So Apple is asking the trial judge to reconsider. But more importantly, I’d expect Apple to raise the same arguments much more strongly in the appeal that will ultimately be filed.

Microsoft Opens Its Windows Store Up To Third-party App Stores

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 28, 2021 by itnerd

This caught me off guard. Microsoft is opening up its own app store in Windows even further today, inviting third-party app stores to integrate into the Microsoft Store:

“Just like any other app, third-party storefront apps will have a product detail page — which can be found via search or by browsing — so that users can easily find and install it with the same confidence as any other app in the Microsoft Store on Windows,” explains Giorgio Sardo, general manager of the Microsoft Store. “Today, we are sharing that Amazon and Epic Games will bring their storefront apps to the Microsoft Store over the next few months, and we look forward to welcoming other stores as well in the future.” The news comes months after Microsoft announced some major changes to the Microsoft Store. Not only is the store being overhauled for Windows 11 and eventually Windows 10, but Microsoft will also let developers keep 100 percent of the revenue from apps if they use alternative payment platforms. The only exception is that this doesn’t apply to games.

This is a major change that will be a great talking point for Epic Games. One that is likely to put pressure on Apple to do the same. I am betting that there’s a lot of discussion at Apple Park over this move by Microsoft because it doesn’t cast Apple in the best light.

Epic Games Might Be Looking To Appeal App Store Ruling…. While Apple Declares Victory

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 10, 2021 by itnerd

Much as I assumed, Epic Games was not happy about today’s ruling in the App Store lawsuit. So much so that Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney Tweeted this:

That sounds like an appeal is on the way from Epic Games. What precisely it would be appealing and on what grounds isn’t clear to me. But much as I figured, this is going to continue. Also, Sweeney makes it sound like it’s up to him as to when his games return to the App Store. It isn’t up to him. It’s up to Apple. And I am going to go out on a limb and to say that his games are not going to be welcome back into the App Store anytime soon.

Meanwhile over at Apple, they had this to say:

And in a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple also called it “a huge win for Apple” and “a resounding victory”. I guess that’s some great spin. But as I type this, this is Apple’s stock value:

It’s a safe bet that the value of their stock dropped because Apple will have to open things up to accept alternate payment methods will deprive them of the up to 30% cut of revenue that they currently get. And that’s making investors somewhat nervous. This is why I expect them to appeal.

Round 2 anyone?

UPDATE: This article on The Verge confirms that Epic Games is appealing today’s ruling.

BREAKING: Judge Rules ThatApple Is Not A Monopoly, But Must Allow Alternate Payment Methods For Apps… And That Epic Must Pay Up

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 10, 2021 by itnerd

We have a decision in the Apple vs Epic legal battle. Here’s the highlights:

  • Apple must allow developers to include alternate purchase links in apps on the App Store. Apple has 90 days to comply with this order. On this count, Epic won.
  • Epic needs to pay damages equal to “30% of the $12,167,719 in revenue Epic games collected” through Epic Direct Payment, plus any revenue collected through November 1 to date of judgement, plus interest. That’s because the judge ruled that Epic was in breach of Apple’s contract clauses. Thus Apple won on this count.
  • The judge was clear that Apple is not a monopoly. The judge said that “success is not illegal” and that Epic could not demonstrate that Apple was engaging in monopolistic behavior. On this count, Apple won.

Back to the first point that I made. Apple had already announced that it will allow what it calls “Reader” apps (Netflix for example) to have alternate methods of payments because the Japanese investigated Apple and Apple cut a deal to make that go away. But the way that this order is written, it means Apple must allow developers of all applications to link out to third-party payment solutions. Most notably, this includes the highly lucrative games category. That will affect Apple’s bottom line. Thus I would not be surprised if Apple appeals this.

From the Epic standpoint, they can’t be happy. They have to cut a rather big cheque. Plus they couldn’t prove that Apple was a monopoly. The only thing that could be considered a win is that they can steer users to their payment system. But I am not sure if that is enough for them. Also, Apple doesn’t have to let them back onto the App Store as they violated their contract with Apple. That for sure will not make them happy.

I would recommend staying tuned as I am sure that this is not over. But in the meantime, here’s the relevant legal documents for your review:

Remedy Entertainment & Epic Games Announce Alan Wake Remastered

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 7, 2021 by itnerd

Today, Remedy Entertainment announced Alan Wake Remastered, a fully remastered version of the 2010 classic. Published by Epic Games Publishing, Alan Wake Remastered will feature the complete Alan Wake experience – including the main game and two expansions, The Signal and The Writer – in all-new rendered 4K visuals, as well as new commentary from creative director Sam Lake.

Alan Wake Remastered will launch in fall 2021, and will be available on PC on the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4/Pro, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X. With the original game having launched on Xbox 360 and arriving on PC a few years later, this will be the first time ever that Alan Wake will be available to PlayStation users. For existing fans of the game, it’s an opportunity to experience the best version of Alan Wake yet.

Remedy also did something a bit unorthodox to reveal Alan Wake Remastered. This morning, Remedy’s Sam Lake announced the game with an open letter on The Sudden Stop, a fan-run community website that’s been covering Alan Wake and Remedy since 2012. Given the incredible support Remedy receives from their players (including nearly a decade of dedication from The Sudden Stop), the studio wanted to shine the “flashlight” on the fans and give this announcement to one of their most passionate communities.

Additional Information:

  • In this award-winning cinematic action-thriller, troubled author Alan Wake embarks on a desperate search for his missing wife, Alice. Following her mysterious disappearance from the Pacific Northwest town of Bright Falls, he begins to discover pages of a horror story he has supposedly written, but has no memory of. 
  • Wake is forced to question his sanity as, page by page, the horror story comes true before his eyes. A hostile supernatural presence is taking over everyone it finds, turning them against him.
  • He has no choice but to confront the forces of darkness with the beam of his flashlight, a handgun and what remains of his shredded mind. His nightmare journey to find answers will take him into the terrifying depths of night.
  • The tense, episodic story is packed with unexpected twists, heart-stopping cliff hangers, and intense bursts of combat where it takes more than bullets to banish the darkness. The game’s cutscenes, quirky cast of characters, and majestic Pacific Northwest vistas have been enhanced for a visual impact that matches its unnerving atmosphere. 

Alan Wake Remastered will launch this fall. Stay tuned for more information soon.

Fortnite To Return To iPhones via Nvidia Cloud Gaming Service

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 5, 2020 by itnerd

Here’s a plot twist in the Fortnite vs Apple fight. Owners of iPhones and iPads will soon be able to play Fortnite again, via a cloud service, the BBC has discovered

Nvidia has developed a version of its GeForce cloud gaming service that runs in the mobile web browser Safari. Apple will not get a cut of virtual items sold within the battle royale fighting title when played this way. Apple is embroiled in a legal fight with Fortnite’s developer Epic, which led the iPhone-maker to remove the game from its iOS App Store. Epic has claimed that the 30% commission Apple charges on in-app gaming purchases is anti-competitive. But Apple has accused Epic of wanting a “free ride”. The case is due to go to trial in May and could take years to be resolved. Papers filed in the case indicate that Fortnite had 116 million users on iOS, 73 million of whom only played it via Apple’s operating system. Unlike Android, Apple does not allow games or other apps to be loaded on to its phones or tablets via app stores other than its own. But it does not restrict which third-party services can run within Safari or other web browsers available via its store.

Well this is interesting. I wonder if Apple will try to stop this in some way seeing as Apple doesn’t like game streaming services. And as a bonus, they aren’t fans of Nvidia either. This will be interesting to watch as I don’t expect Apple to stand idly by.

Bad News For Epic Games: They Were Denied A Preliminary Injunction for Fortnite… Good News For Epic: Apple Can’t Block The Unreal Engine

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 10, 2020 by itnerd

Epic Games had a mixed day. On the good news side of the fence, a judge ruled that Apple can’t block the Unreal engine as the judge believes the decision will keep things fair between the two companies until a final decision. On the bad news side of the fence, Apple can keep Fortnite off the App Store as the judge believes that Epic knew exactly what they were doing when the company decided to break the App Store rules.

For those who want to see the details, here’s a link to the ruling.

This seems to be consistent with previous rulings, and if I were Epic Games, I’d be reconsidering my stance. The reason being that Epic Games really losing this fight. And they may end up with nothing if they don’t find some way to resolve this fight.

Apple And Epic Don’t Want A Jury Trial

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 29, 2020 by itnerd

It is incredible. Apple and Epic agree on something. They both do not want to have a jury trial in their ongoing legal dispute over Fortnite and Apple’s App Store policies, according to a court filing submitted to the Northern California court handling the case today. This is despite the fact the judge thinks a jury trial is important.

I still think Epic is still in a place where they are on the losing end of this. The judge who presided over this has shown that Epic’s arguments are bogus. All this move to a non-jury trial does is stall the inevitable.

Epic Games Has Bigger Problems Than It’s Fight With Apple

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

Fun fact. Epic Games has a Chinese company that owns 40% of the company. That Chinese company is Tencent who owns portions of many American businesses including Epic. And they’re now under investigation by US authorities on orders of President Trump:

The Trump administration has asked gaming companies to provide information about their data-security protocols involving Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., people familiar with the matter said.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which is chaired by the Treasury Department, has sent letters to companies, including Epic Games Inc., Riot Games and others, to inquire about their security protocols in handling Americans’ personal data, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company, owns Los Angeles-based Riot and has a 40% stake in Epic, which is the maker of the popular video game Fortnite. Representatives for the companies declined to comment or didn’t immediately respond. The Treasury Department declined to comment.

Well, Epic’s fight with Apple over Fortnite now seems to be the least of their problems. If I were Epic, I’d focus on what is important as I would assume that being associated with a Chinese company in the current company is not going to be too good for Epic in long term. And if Epic would have to divest the Tencent investment, that would really hurt.

Epic Game To macOS Users…. Fortnite Is Kind Of Done On The Mac

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

Epic Games has announced that “Fortnite: Save the World” will no longer be playable on macOS. This is due to the fact that Apple has terminated their developer account:

Apple is preventing Epic from signing games and patches for distribution on Mac, which ends our ability to develop and offer Fortnite: Save the World for the platform. Specifically, our upcoming v14.20 release will cause bugs for players on v13.40, resulting in a very poor experience. Since we are no longer able to sign updates and release fixes for these issues, beginning September 23, 2020, Fortnite: Save the World will no longer be playable on macOS.

We are issuing a refund for all players who purchased any Save the World Founder’s or Starter Packs (including Upgrades) and played Save the World on macOS between September 17, 2019 and September 17, 2020. Additionally, any purchased V-Bucks spent on Llamas on macOS in this period will also be refunded. As of today, September 17, 2020, Save the World Starter Packs will no longer be available for purchase on macOS.

Please note: It may take up until October 2, 2020 to receive the refund in your bank account. 

But there’s also this:

Fortnite: Battle Royale remains playable for Mac users at this time on the v13.40 build, but is no longer receiving version updates due to Apple’s actions.

To the shock of nobody, Epic is still implying that this is Apple’s fault despite the fact that Epic created this situation. That’s pretty sad. Maybe Epic should take a look in a mirror and rethink their actions.