Epic Games is again going after Apple, and this time, the two companies will be duking it out in Europe. The company behind the Fortnite juggernaut has today announced that it has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in its bid to ensure equitable digital platform rules for developers as well as consumers.
In its complaint filed before the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition, the developer alleges that Apple has imposed a number of anti-competitive restrictions with its tight grip over the iOS ecosystem that has ended all competition when it comes to app distribution and how payments are processed.
Epic Games is accusing Apple of abusing its dominant market position for its own benefit while choking rivals, something that is said to violate EU’s antitrust regulations.
Epic Games cites the whole Fortnite fiasco from last year as an example of how Apple’s policies have hurt the developer. The company also argues that Apple has launched its own game subscription service called Apple Arcade, but has kept competitors from doing the same on its platform.
To recall, cloud-based game streaming services that rely on a similar subscription model such as NVIDIA’s GeForce Now, Google’s Stadia – and soon Microsoft’s xCloud too – are only accessible on iPhones and iPads via the web, and not as a standalone app distributed via the App Store. Here’s what Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney had to say regarding the company’s latest legal attack on Apple:
|“We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field. It’s bad for consumers, who are paying inflated prices due to the complete lack of competition among stores and in-app payment processing. And it’s bad for developers, whose very livelihoods often hinge on Apple’s complete discretion as to who to allow on the iOS platform, and on which terms.”|
In its complaint, Epic has asked the European Commission to put in place some remedial controls to counter Apple’s anti-competitive conduct. The company further adds that it is not seeking any damages from Apple, but wants a level playing field for itself and other developers, a move that is said to effectively pass the benefits to consumers as well.
|“This is much bigger than Epic versus Apple – it goes to the heart of whether consumers and developers can do business together directly on mobile platforms or are forced to use monopoly channels against their wishes and interests.”|
At the height of Epic and Apple’s tussle last year, CEO Tim Sweeney took a veiled shot at Apple, calling it a middleman that uses its power to separate gamers from game creators. He added that Epic’s beef with Apple was about ensuring basic freedom for all consumers and developers.