Apple and Google are in the news, once again. This time, it’s for a controversial debate regarding its store policies. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Fortnite developer Epic Games, criticizes Apple and Google for having strict policies and guidelines on their respective app store. In an interview with CNBC, Sweeney’s criticism was about how Apple’s App Store is an “absolute monopoly” and Google’s control of Android “essentially stifles competing stores”. Tim Sweeney rebukes both for taking a 30 percent fee from in-app purchases.
Tim Sweeney’s talk with CNBC
Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Alley news program on Friday, 24th July. Squawk Alley is an American business news program aired on CNBC from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm Eastern Time. While he spoke about the marketing side of his games, Sweeney censured Apple for their 30% cut of in-app transactions, through their payment system.
“The first generation of hardware were all open platforms. Anybody could write code, you turned on the machine you had a programming language. Anybody could release software and users can install them from any source of choice. But now Apple has locked down and crippled the ecosystem by inventing an absolute monopoly on the distribution of software, as well as the monetization of software,” Sweeney mentions.
He later added, “They are preventing entire categories of businesses and applications from being developed in their ecosystem by virtue of excluding competitors. If every developer could accept their payments and avoid the 30% tax by Apple and Google, we could pass the savings along to all our consumers and players would get a better deal on items. You would have economic competition, lowering barrier to entry and payments.“
Epic Games launched the Epic Games Store in late 2018 for both Windows and Mac. They charge other publishers a 12 percent fee on in-app purchases, on comparison with Apple’s 30 percent. The Epic Games Store hasn’t made it to the App Store because of Apple’s strict guidelines against competing software stores.
Tim Sweeney also added on how Google is also obstructing with its store monopolies. Google requires developers to use Google Play billing as well, just like Apple. He said, “Google intentionally stifles competing stores by having user interface barriers. It also includes obstruction to installation, by stifling competition and payment. To finally have competition among stores, other stores need to be able to exist and thrive on these platforms.”
Other excerpts from Tim Sweeney’s interview
The Epic Games CEO also spoke on the user engagement and activity of players in the stay-at-home period. “Since people can’t get together in person, they are getting together online. We are seeing record levels of Fortnite engagement, especially social engagement. This period has been great in building the online community.”
While speaking about the public approach, like the Travis Scott concert and the expansion in activities, Tim Sweeney answers, “Concerts are just the very beginning. We have had movie crossovers, for example Star Wars charecters appearing in Fortnite, Marvel crossovers, so a vast number of them so far. This is just the very beginning of the effort. We want to make it possible for any developers to bring his own content into Fortnite in any brand to have their presence known. We like to have an on-going, self evolving echo system.“
Criticism of Apple
Tim Sweeney isn’t the first person to speak out against Apple and Google’s 30 percent fee. In July 2015, music-streaming service Spotify sent an email to its iOS subscribers. This was urging them to cancel their App Store subscriptions, wait for expiration, and then sign up for paid membership through Spotify’s website. It was to bypass the 30% App Store transaction fee and making the service more affordable. In March of last year, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, citing the fee as forcing them to artificially inflate the price of its Spotify Premium membership.
Apple has also been criticized for its methods of tightly controlling information regarding product launches. They are accused deliberately passing out misinformation in an effort to keep the media unsure of Apple Inc.’s current developments.
This is an interesting interview by Tim Sweeney. So, what is your opinion on Epic Games criticizes App Store Google Play? Let us know in the comment section below!