Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney has been trying to frame his argument against Apple in regards to the 30% cut Apple receives for App sales and in-app purchases as some kind of fight for the little guy. Like he’s trying to effect positive change for small developers. When what’s really going on is he’s decided after making his fortune off Fortnight (a big chunk of off though iOS and Apple), that he should no longer have to play by the rules he agreed to when his company created the app. This is not the same thing as content purchased through iOS (or the Mac) from Amazon or other retailers out there. You buy an eBook, movie, music, (or hammer, XLR cable, or other physical item) and there’s not “typically” going to be brand new content added for an additional fee. You buy “Avenger’s Endgame” from say, Redbox, Iron Man isn’t going to stop in the middle of a battle and say, “Hey! If you’d like to see this battle from a different angle, or from another character’s viewpoint, click here! It’s ONLY $1.99!”. No, you buy (or rent) the movie, watch it, and that’s it. End of story for that content.
Fortnight on the other hand is an interactive environment where you build and destroy other players and their buildings, forts, whatever. You can purchase what Epic calls V-Bucks to enhance your character but from what I’ve read it doesn’t give you a better chance against other players, it’s mostly aesthetics. Different looks for your player to set them apart from other players, that kind of thing. In other words, nothing absolutely necessary to play the game. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t you buy V-Bucks OUTSIDE of ANY environment where the game is played and assign that to your character through your account? As it turns out, yes you can. Is it as easy as in-app purchases? Nope, but if want convenience, then pay Apple their cut.
Epic’s narrative might have held up a little better if they hadn’t asked for special privileges from Apple in emails to be to create their own app store within the game prior to all the hullabaloo. Based on what happened next, they probably realized they’d be turned down and started trying to rearrange their story to make themselves like a modern day Don Quixote tilting at windmills.
You likely aren’t going to win this one Tim Sweeney, so here’s a suggestion. Put your game back in the iOS App Store. Start working on a version that has no in-app purchases and declare to the world at large that V-Bucks can ONLY be purchased at your preferred retailers or online stores and must then be applied through Epic’s web portal in the user’s account.
As to the bigger issue of additional supported stores for iOS apps? No thanks, I think most people who have paid attention to digital stores have seen that there’s no real advantage other than market splintering and fake apps meant to take away from the original if you look at what’s happened in Android.
On a final note, Mr. Sweeney you probably should have tried this last year before Fortnight’s popularity was on the down side of the app bell curve, but good luck in your future ventures whatever those may be.