Arizona Bill Could Flip Apple Lawsuit Upside Down
If you’ve been paying attention to news in the tech industry for the past few months, you’ll be well aware of the ongoing legal battle between popular game developer, Epic Games, who are responsible for one of the biggest games in the world in Fortnite, and with the tech giants of Apple and Google. The lawsuit focusses on how Epic made a change to their game on the mobile platform to allow for a direct method of payment for the in-game currency, forgoing the 30% commission charged for in-app purchases and breaking the terms of service for both Google and for Apple leading the game to be promptly removed from both app marketplaces.
The argument from Epic has been that the 30% commission led to an anti-competitive market for anyone else to compete or succeed and the crux of the legal battle was having this changed – whilst Apple did make a small change for smaller developers, it has seemingly done little to cause any big change. The argument from the other side is just how much benefit Epic have been able to find from being represented on the marketplaces with download and player numbers – even at one point leading to Fortnite being one of the most bet esports titles here and remained as one of the most downloaded apps on the platforms too.
The big change may come as Arizona is looking to potentially introduce a bill that could turn the whole legal battle on its head and may see others follow suit too – it proposes that businesses located in Arizona that are able to hold over one million downloads per year are able to choose how they’d like payment to be handled through apps, whether direct or not, undermining the terms of service and the 30% commission currently charged. It has been suggested the same law will also apply to players too, rather than just businesses, so as long as you’re a resident of Arizona you’ll be subject to the same freedoms of payment – whilst not passed into law just yet, it does show that there’s an opportunity certainly there for many other states or even countries to follow if they’d like to see big changes and overhauls to the existing app marketplaces.
The comings weeks will be telling where the bill ends up, and with both Apple and Google not yet commenting on the bill it could have big implications in the ongoing lawsuit and could render any argument made particularly for Arizona moot as any further change may not mean anything.