Apple and Epic Trials Start on Fortnite “Metaverse” Tour

Oakland, CA — Cosmetics. A currency called Digital Dance V-Bucks called “Emot”. Virtual concert. Fortnite, a popular gaming platform, is more than just a game. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, the company that created Fortnite, says it’s a virtual life-filled “metaverse.”

And Apple, he claimed in federal court on Monday, Want an unfair cut Of the money you make with the Fortnite Metaverse.

Sweeney provided a detailed description of Fortnite on the first day of the three-week trial, which made Epic fight Apple over Apple’s App Store pricing and other rules. It has the potential to rebuild the $ 100 billion app economy.

Masterpiece Sued Apple in AugustApple claims that it is unfairly committed to managing the App Store and that Epic is deriving an unfair reduction in the money it earns from selling digital products within Fortnite.

$ 29 billion worth of Epic, based in Cary, NC, isn’t seeking monetary damages. The company wants Apple to allow apps like Fortnite to bypass Apple’s payment system and provide its own app store within Apple.

The outcome of the trial will have widespread implications for the widespread promotion of antitrust laws against large tech companies.Alphabet, which owns Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google, has different faces State and federal antitrust claims In America and Europe.Apple too Fighting two potential class actions From consumers and developers over App Store pricing.

Fortnite is “a phenomenon that transcends games,” Sweeney said. “Our purpose at Fortnite is to build something like a metaverse from science fiction.”

Metaverse? A court reporter needed an explanation. According to Sweeney, it’s a virtual world for socializing and entertainment.

The legal proceedings are concentrated on the boundaries of the markets in which the two companies are competing. Apple lawyers focused their opening statements on games, claiming that people could access Fortnite in many places other than the App Store, such as game consoles.

Epic claims that the case is about the broader app economy, with Apple monopolizing the App Store for iPhone users. In particular, Epic is fighting a 30% commission that Apple makes for purchases made within iPhone apps such as Fortnite.

In an almost empty court in Auckland, law firm Catherine Forest, Swain & Moore of Clavas launched an Epic proceeding by previewing a series of emails between top Apple executives. Forrest argued that the email was evidence that the tech giant had deliberately created a “walled garden” that kept consumers and developers inside. It forced them to use Apple’s payment system, she said.

“The garden gates closed and the keys turned,” Forrest said when Apple invited users and developers into a walled garden. She compared Apple’s fees for in-app purchases of subscription services to car dealers who pay commissions for selling gas.

In his opening statement, Apple’s lawyer described the thriving market for app distribution, including game consoles, desktop computer games, and the mobile web. Paul Weiss’s Karen Dunn said that the 30% fee is in line with industry standards, and if Epic’s request is granted, the iPhone will be less secure, while Apple will illegally trade with competitors. Insisted that he would be forced to.

Dunn added that the Epic proceedings are a self-serving way to avoid paying Apple fees, and the legal basis is unstable. “In order to win this proceeding, Epic needs to convince the court a lot of things that don’t make sense,” she concludes.

The first day of the court battle over high-tech competition included weed terms such as hotfixes, sideloading, and multi-platform middleware services. But the day began with a pandemic and familiar experience: the difficulty of zooming. The start of the trial was delayed by about 40 minutes due to a technical issue with the hotline configured for remote listening.

Another sign that the pandemic had turned into a trial was that everyone allowed to enter an almost empty room wore a mask or face shield. The judge’s bench was surrounded by a plexiglass partition.

“It was an adventure-not a year, but this one,” said Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who decides the case. She also provides a decision on Epic’s proceedings against Google regarding charges charged on the Google Play Store. This will be brought to trial later this year.

App developers have personally complained over the years about Apple’s solid understanding of the App Store and the secret ways Apple enforces the rules. But few have dared to talk about it publicly. In parallel with the proceedings, Epic set up a non-profit organization to claim “fairness” from app platforms such as Apple and Google. Dozens of small companies participated.

Sweeney has spoken out about the aversion to app stores controlling access to apps and their impact on his Metaverse vision.Apple’s level of control, he said Last year’s interview, “Completely unprecedented in human history.”

However, Mr. Sweeney spoke so gently in his testimony on Monday that court reporters had to repeatedly seek explanations of game and tech terminology. He put on his suit and threw away his usual T-shirt and cargo shorts. He also wore a transparent face shield.

In his testimony, Sweeney explained Epic’s decision to pursue the proceedings. “I wanted to show the world exactly what the impact of Apple’s policy was through action,” he said.

In the cross-examination, Gibson, Dunn & Clutcher Richard Doren asked Sweeney a series of “yes” or “no” questions, noting that Epic is also publishing Fortnite on other platforms such as game consoles. Did. I’m not complaining about them.

However, Sweeney argues that game consoles, which usually lose money on the hardware they sell and make up for it with a fee, have a different business model than Apple’s and Google’s app stores and are very profitable. did.

Doren asked Sweeney if he knew that Epic’s actions last summer would drive Apple out of the App Store. He suggested that Sweeney wanted Apple to succumb to pressure because of Fortnite’s popularity.

“I wanted Apple to seriously rethink that policy here and there,” Sweeney said. Apple didn’t, and Epic sued.

In the coming weeks, Apple’s top executives, including CEO Tim Cook, and Microsoft and Match Group executives are expected to testify.

Apple and Epic Trials Start on Fortnite “Metaverse” Tour

Source link Apple and Epic Trials Start on Fortnite “Metaverse” Tour

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