A major games developer has taken Apple to court in a legal dispute that could “disrupt” the online gaming marketplace for years to come.
Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, has accused Apple of using anti-competitive policies after kicking its flagship video game off the App Store in August last year.
It comes after Fortnite implemented its own in-app payment system, bypassing Apple’s 30 per cent App Store charges.
In a 65-page lawsuit, the developer argues that Apple has transformed its lucrative App Store into an illegal monopoly.
The North Carolina-based publisher has also created a spoof of Apple’s Orwellian 1984 advert for the Apple Mac, accusing the tech giant of “blocking Fortnite from a billion devices”.
The App Store – which is automatically installed on Apple smartphones, laptops and tablets – charges developers between 15 and 30 per cent for every in-app purchase, from digital items and subscriptions to games and movies.
Epic Games says it wants to offer an alternative app store, allowing developers to choose where they sell their products, and more importantly, how much commission they are willing to hand over.
If successful, the case could change the online gaming and entertainment marketplace for good, resulting in more power, and cash, for software developers.
However, a win for Apple could see the California-based firm cement control over the $72.3 billion (approximately £51.4 billion) marketplace.
Commenting on the ongoing case, tech expert and blogger John Gruber said Apple maintains the upper hand, despite the attack on its reputation.
“In terms of the actual split, 70/30 is pretty standard across the board. One of the things that really stands out about Epic Games’ argument is that they have no complaint whatsoever. It’s all very hand wavy, and very much a PR argument, not a legal one.
“I do think that on legal grounds, Apple is in a very good position. But the risk is very high because [if they lost] it would disrupt the whole business model of the app store.”