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Can Epic Games change the marketplace?

19th August 2020 Print
Online payment

Epic Games is the developer behind one of the biggest games in the world right now - Fortnite - the game was able to surpass 100 million downloads within just two weeks on its initial launch on the Apple store initially and current figures suggest over 12.3 million concurrent players across all platforms in 2020. There’s of course the revenue to consider too as figures suggest the games mobile market has hit over $1 billion in just two years. 

The game has entered a little state of controversy recently however as it has now been removed from both Apples and Google's mobile marketplaces for breaking the terms of service - on August 13th the developers pushed an update which provided players with an option to purchase V-Bucks, the in game cosmetic currency, directly through the developers portal, avoiding the 30% cut that both marketplaces take. 

Since then things have moved very quickly - Epic have filed a lawsuit against both Apple and Google suggesting that the monopoly built for these transactions are an anti-competitive practice, Apple have also since suggested that Epic could lose their developer status on the marketplace and will no longer be able to develop apps for iPhone, something they had done prior to the release of Fortnite and the current escalation seems to be continuing as each company reacts to the previous forcing another change.

What is certainly a difficult time for Epic could be a blessing in disguise for other game operators however - if Epic are successful in their lawsuit it could force a change within the marketplaces to allow developers to add their own direct payment options leading those who weren’t in favour of the 30% cut much more open to consider using the platform - with increasing pressure already being placed on these larger companies too for other concerns they may be in a difficult spot to justify their stance outside of just the monetary value for doing so - of course failure here could also have the opposite effect potentially by causing some other developers to move off the platform if certain guidelines are strengthened a little following this situation.

One sector that does stand to benefit hugely here is the online gambling industry - it is quickly becoming one of the most popular genres in mobile gaming but many betting sites and online casinos are lacking from the marketplaces due to this big 30% increase in pricing. Particularly where bigger esports titles such as Fortnite are concerned and the surge in esports betting popularity through sites like William Hill and will be interesting to see if many do decide to find representation on these marketplaces if there is change. These sites offer endless bonuses and promotions for not only casino but also sports betting, poker and many other online games. These bonus codes will also soon be used by players for these popular esports markets.

There’s also no doubt however that this will be a longer process - fans hoping to see the game come back to the marketplaces for future updates may be disappointed to learn it could be some time before that’s a possibility, Apple have been known to be very steadfast with decisions made in this regard and as such it will be up to Epic to make the changes requested.

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