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Fortnite is a massively popular video game developed and produced by Epic Games. Because of the popularity of Fortnite on video game consoles, Epic Games made the decision to publish the game on mobile devices. Both Android and Apple devices received the game on their respective versions of the built in app store. The game is free to download, but features an in-game shop where “skins” are purchased with currency only obtainable through real money purchase.

Money Moves

Being as the game is free to download and play, the cash shop mentioned above is the sole way Epic may generate income from the product. When playing on mobile, players enact the real money to digital currency transaction through the device’s app store. As such, the developers of those stores get a percentage of the money rather than Epic. Epic believes that this is a consumer antitrust issue and has filed several suits arguing such. First they went after Google and found success; now, however,  they have turned their attention to Apple.

Google’s Prior Failure

After just a few hours of deliberation, the jury unanimously answered yes to every question put before them. Determining Google has monopoly power in the Android app distribution markets and in-app billing services markets. Also, that Google did anticompetitive things in those markets, and that Epic was injured by that behavior. After this success, it is no surprise that Epic would try the same with Apple.

Apple’s Success

Epic filed an antitrust lawsuit in 2020 which accused Apple of acting as an illegal monopolist by requiring consumers to get apps through its App Store. Additionally, they require users to buy digital content inside an app using its own system. In 2021, a U.S. District Court  judge rejected Epic’s antitrust claims against Apple. However, the judge found that Apple violated California’s unfair competition law by barring developers from “steering” users to make digital purchases that bypass Apple’s in-app system. These systems are the ones which Epic contends could save them money with lower commissions.

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