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Apple boots Fortnite off the App Store


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14 minutes ago, Nate Dogg III said:

It's entirely possible for one multibillion dollar company to have better intentions than another even if profit is their ultimate goal. Pretending every company is the exact same tier of evil doesn't get us anywhere.

 

And sometimes they even swap places on this. We've seen EA, Microsoft, Activision, Sony and Nintendo in good phases and bad phases when it comes to giving the impression of treating people fairly, caring about their customers and producing great stuff (remember when EA were doing really well in the 360 era around 2008-2010? Microsoft have gone from Mattrick to Spencer. Sony had their PS3 mega-arrogance and turned it around with PS4, etc etc).

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So what exactly is the argument?

 

 

That Epic and Apple are feuding and what the wider results of either outcome might be for both developers and customers.


Why what did you think it was?

 

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And sometimes they even swap places on this. We've seen EA, Microsoft, Activision, Sony and Nintendo in good phases and bad phases when it comes to giving the impression of treating people fairly, caring about their customers and producing great stuff (remember when EA were doing really well in the 360 era around 2008-2010? It seems like a lifetime ago).


Bang on. Saying they’re all as bad as each other was a bit simplistic of me. I think corporate loyalty is dumb and you should only be as ‘loyal’ as buying their products if you think they’re good and worth the money they charge until such a time that you don’t (and also your own ethics of course in terms of the ones who do really heinous shit like Facebook).

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Just now, Harsin said:

That Epic and Apple are feuding and what the wider results either outcome might be for both developers and customers.

 

Why what did you think it was?

Well there are so many other points being made it’s hard to keep up sometimes, but does anyone really believe it will change anything?  To me it just looks like Epic trying to force Apple and whoever else into giving them what they want. 

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58 minutes ago, RubberJohnny said:

I think you'd really struggle to claim any hypocrisy there, the thing they want opened is the platform, not the storefront.

 

Epic wants to have a set of rules on their PC storefront? That's fine, PC is open, you can go elsewhere.

 

Apple want to have a set of rules on their mobile storefront? That's fine if you can go elsewhere, but if they're the only option, and their policies are inconsistently and capriciously applied, and can ruin your business, I think you're right to kick up a fuss.

 

I'm not looking to claim hypocrisy, just that there was certainly a lot of noise initially that the Epic store's intentions were great, but hampered by the fact that it was a very heavily curated marketplace. At the start it was filled with indie games that had already sold loads on other platforms and, as such, wasn't actually helping more devs make more games as touted as one of their key battle-cries against Steam.

 

There's still not a great deal of content on there, so the fact devs can go elsewhere is rather counter to the whole point of differentiation they got a lot of good press about. I actually think the 12% cut would be great to see elsewhere, but what incentive is there for anybody else to fall into line when only a handful of games on the Epic store actually benefit from it?

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Microsoft’s own antitrust woes certainly changed some practices.

 

Epic have actually had some joy previously in using the success of their game into changing platform owners stance on crossplay.

 

The antitrust actions in the US and EU are more likely to result in significant change, Epic taking this step right now seems designed to pile more public pressure on them while they’re already in the middle of battling governments.

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Yep. The question for me is whether I think Epic are doing it for the greater good, or whether they’d take advantage of their position to achieve that. Perhaps I don’t know enough about them to comment. All I could see happening here, at best, is that they get cut a better deal and fuck the rest, or it just gets thrown out completely. 

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2 hours ago, RubberJohnny said:

 

I've seen a fair few people pushing this "they're doing this to benefit their Chinese overlords and undermine US corporations" conspiracy (although they're usually not British people) and as well as being mad xenophobic, it's also not even true, most of Epic's shareholders are in the US.


Tencent do own about 40% of Epic though. No xenophobia on my part, I just see a large business that has cornered their home market wanting to make strides overseas and further their investment. Fortnite is a particularly large cudgel for them to wield against Apple and Google.

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And Tencent also own WeChat, at the centre of a Trump executive order banning interaction between WeChat and US companies. Apple's continued involvement and growth in China may rest on finding a way around the US orders. Wonder if Epic/Tencent will find a way to utilise that in one direction or other.

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4 hours ago, Harsin said:


They're a duopoly with Google.

Literally this. The Amazon App store is a joke, and a recent story suggested Google were asking Samsung to ditch their store. And of course, Android is worthless without Google Play Services (see Amazon). We lap this up though, because Apple and Google are cool and we hate Excel at work.

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I don't really get the beef with Fortnite and the money gouging, I'd say it was pretty generous with its IAPs, so far as you can buy a battle pass and earn enough from it to buy the next one. The tat is all optional. Yeah, it may be aimed at kids but plenty of companies make stuff for kids. 

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12 minutes ago, Mike1812 said:

I don't really get the beef with Fortnite and the money gouging, I'd say it was pretty generous with its IAPs, so far as you can buy a battle pass and earn enough from it to buy the next one. The tat is all optional. Yeah, it may be aimed at kids but plenty of companies make stuff for kids. 


It's pretty predatory in the way it's weaponised FOMO to get kids to nag parents to open their wallets. However, what people think of Fortnite doesn't really have any bearing on whether Apple's policies that apply to everyone on the App Store (unless you're Amazon at the moment) are overbearing and actually break business laws.

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4 hours ago, Stanley said:

Not allowing the likes of Xcloud, Stadia and PS Now is more difficult to defend - I suppose it’s a different argument though? 

 

I think the argument Apple are taking with game streaming is that this is a slippery slope to just generic app streaming which would totally backdoor their whole walled garden. Not only would it nobble the garden, it also threatens Apple's hardware upgrade cycle by making devices "dumb". So this is a big deal for Apple's overall iphone business model, I don't expect this to be resolved any time soon. I also expect this to spill over into MacOS as inevitably, we will start seeing streaming of the apps there that demand lots of local compute and storage (e.g. the Adobe design suite). Streaming basically does Apple over big time and they'll die in a ditch over it because the cloud providers are coming to eat their lunch.

 

Netflix and Spotify have been cited by a few here as comparable models but the nature of the media ultimately isn't interactive and doesn't threaten the garden. 

 

 

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Netflix literally includes interactive media though. There's Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Minecraft: Story Mode and probably others I don't know about.

 

They've also allowed streamed apps in the past. I definitely remember some streamed web browser from years ago, the pitch being that it was the only way to access Flash content on iOS.

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I think Hass is right though. Streaming gaming taking off big time is a bit of an existential threat to Apple in some ways. What's the point of getting up on stage and boasting that the iPhone 15 has a new CPU and GPU that give it a power level of over 9000 and then showing footage that everyone agrees 'Looks good for a phone', when you could be happily playing something with Last of Us 2 level graphics on a Kindle Fire or something that costs £100. Obviously gaming is only a very, very small part of why people buy iPhones, but it's still something I imagine they're concerned about.


I think a streaming version of Final Fantasy XIII came out in Japan on the App Store, but never made its way to these shores.

 

EDIT: Yes, they did.

 

https://www.pocketgamer.com/articles/064790/final-fantasy-xiii-is-available-right-now-on-iphone-ipad-and-android/

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2 hours ago, Stanley said:

Yep. The question for me is whether I think Epic are doing it for the greater good, or whether they’d take advantage of their position to achieve that. Perhaps I don’t know enough about them to comment. All I could see happening here, at best, is that they get cut a better deal and fuck the rest, or it just gets thrown out completely. 


The greater good? Because if things stay as they are it’s for the “greater good”? Nintendo back in the day they were abusing their power and the market they setup themselves. Would it be for the greater good to just leave them to their situation? 
 

The point should be: “does Apple practices really hurt game companies and developers, creatively or financially or not?” and what can we do about it? Maybe Epic piling the pressure is the right thing to do for games and developers.

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Honestly, we could do with more money in the hands of developers, not trillion dollar companies. That way, development of small projects become sustainable, and we don't need big data bullshit becoming the monetization de jour. I would have thought Apple would be all over that.

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2 hours ago, Mike1812 said:

I don't really get the beef with Fortnite and the money gouging, I'd say it was pretty generous with its IAPs, so far as you can buy a battle pass and earn enough from it to buy the next one. The tat is all optional. Yeah, it may be aimed at kids but plenty of companies make stuff for kids. 


The main issue is the disparity between paying players and those who don’t pay at all. People who haven’t paid are locked out of even basic control of their appearance by having a random default skin and can’t use emotes. Then Epic run events encouraging everyone to wear their favourite skin and use their favourite emotes. Kids without these things are getting bullied and being excluded from something social that is a big deal for kids at the moment. When I bought my kid v bucks he always spent some of them gifting things to his friends whose parents wouldn’t or couldn’t pay so they wouldn’t be stigmatised. There’s very few options for earning anything for free, and they generally require massive time investments when they do pop up, while Epic are tacitly encouraging seeing players who can’t participate with payed items as less. I’m not sure if it was designed to encourage these things but it absolutely is and they’re not doing anything to change that. 

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