Epic Games Inc. vs. Apple Inc. - The Battle for In-App Purchases, And How it Relates to Infinite Flight

Background
On August 17, 2020, video game company and software creator Epic Games filed a lawsuit against tech company Apple. Epic claims that Apple removed their popular video game Fortnite from their App Store, following Epic’s attempt to take payments for in-app purchases directly, rather than through Apple’s App Store. The suit claimed that Apple has a monopoly on app stores and in-app purchases.

Following an initial suit, filed days prior, Apple retaliated by denying Epic’s access to development tools needed to create software for the Apple platform. This would not only effect Epic’s Fortnite, but also Epic’s Unreal Engine, the world’s popular graphics engine, licensed for use by other software developers. Thus, this second lawsuit was filed.

Find the full motion linked below:

But a lot of you are wondering, ”What does this have to do with Infinite Flight?”
Well. In case you haven’t noticed, Apple users pay for Infinite Flight subscriptions through an in-app purchase. There is no other way to pay for this subscription. According to the suit, Apple takes 30% of all in-app purchase transactions. That would mean that, of a $80 one year IF subscription, $24 of that transaction goes to Apple. Now, that would be one thing if there were other options for this transaction, however, the App Store is the only way to process an in-app purchase. Epic tried to take payments directly (as shown below), and Apple shut them down, demonstrating their monopoly over in-app purchases.


As shown above, Epic tried to bypass the App Store, and pass those savings on to the consumer. But, Apple shut it down.

But what happens if Epic wins the suit?
This could help out the Infinite Flight Community in a huge way. If the suit is won, and developers are allowed to take payments directly, then Infinite Flight could significantly reduce it’s subscription cost, allowing Infinite Flight to be played by more, for less. If the devs choose to pass along the savings, the consumer is able to save 30%. However let’s say that the devs choose not to pass any or all of the savings on to us, the consumer. Let’s say we get 15% savings. The remaining 15% goes back into the game! We’d be able to advance the simulator at faster rates, and make the sim we know and love even better.

Don’t think that this is just for Infinite Flight! The benefits of winning this suit, could also help out our third party developers! Creators of apps such as IF Operations, would be better rewarded for their hard work, and would be more motivated to create even more, better third party applications.


Of course, this is all hypothetical. Even if the suit is won by Epic, there is no telling how it will effect Apple’s policies on in-app purchases.


Did you know about this lawsuit, that could change the App Store and mobile gaming forever? Do you have any info to add? Let me know below!

Motion Authors

Paul J. Riehle
Christine A. Varney
Katherine B. Forrest
Gary A. Bornstein
Yonatan Even
M. Brent Byars

https://cdn2.unrealengine.com/epic-v-apple-8-17-20-768927327.pdf

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I don’t know what infinite fights plans are, but if epic wins this I wouldn’t hold your breath for all your iTunes and Google Play purchases to get cheaper.

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I don’t completely disagree. Like I said, it’s all hypothetical. However laws of basic economics suggest that the cheaper a product is, the more consumers will want to (or be able to) pay for the product. Being that this change wouldn’t effect Infinite Flight’s profit margins at all, I think it is possible that they could pass these savings on to us. But also, there’s no telling how the suit will resolve.

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It’s true, but clearly these companies are pulling in enough customers for 70% of there price to work out, in all likelihood they won’t lose more customers than normal if they keep there price and then the math works even better with 100% of that price. If they lower the price they have to get a proportional number of customers which will be a calculation for each company to decide.

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You see now you make a good point. It kinda makes me wonder why Epic would try to take payments directly. Clearly there must’ve been some benefit, or else they wouldn’t have bothered in the first place. Although that benefit might not be visible to us as the consumer, there must be a reason behind their decision to cut out Apple.

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I was genuinely surprised Apple went after Epic in retaliation. I’d imagine that with pressure from EU looking into Apple for antitrust, Apple would cave in to what Epic is saying and adjust their policies to avoid massive fines from Europe. From what I could tell, Epic did this because they wanted to fuel the fire regarding EU’s looking in to Apple for antitrust. That said, I did not expect Apple to go after Epic, in all honesty, especially given Epic’s position with their graphics engine and other things. But, then again, companies have been making do with the current policies for ages now, so things are definitely working out for them.

Should things be ruled against Apple, I can see potential benefits for customers and companies. However, how each company will choose to handle it is still up for debate due to each company being in different positions. Personally, I see IF probably sticking with their current pricing as they continue to evolve their app, which will undoubtedly come with it increasing costs. Just my two cents.

This is very interesting.

But I would like to hear something from a developer’s perspective before I comment/speculate!

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You make some great points, and yes, you are absolutely right. Each situation is different for each developer. All in all though, I think that a ruling in favor of Epic would benefit either the developer, or the consumer, and in some cases, both. Thanks for your two cents! 😁

I think that even for devs, it’s hard to make a call on what to do at this point. No one will know how the result of things will be. We’ll have to wait and see how the suit turns out. Should things be ruled against Apple’s favor and force them to make changes, we’ll also have to see what those changes are.

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We’ll just have to wait and see what the verdict turns out to be. Would be nice if it goes though but don’t get your hopes up just yet. This could take some time. 🙂

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