A recent Apple filing details the enormous behind-the-scenes support Apple has provided to Epic Games over the last two years. Apple has pointed out that if Epic didn’t respond to that request, it often threatened to remove all games from the App Store. Epic also threatened to release Fortnite updates on other platforms first if Apple did not comply. Apple recently said the Epic proceedings were just a tactic to “regain interest in Fortnite,” as revenues declined.
One of the more mysterious arguments in favor of Epic Games in the legal battle with Apple is to guarantee a 30% fee for microtransactions, except that Apple runs the distribution platform, which is the App Store. Is not so much. However, this distorted perspective tends to minimize the enormous amount of resources Apple has spent creating a vibrant app ecosystem. For example, in a recent court filing, Apple spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year hiring engineers to contribute to the App Store, and “billions of dollars a year” in data centers explicitly set up to promote the App Store. He said he was spending.
In addition, a court filed by Apple’s game developer manager Mark Grimm emphasizes how long Apple has bent backwards to accommodate recent Epic Games. It’s a bit of a surprise if you think Epic just released Fortnite on the App Store and Apple could see the resulting return of in-app purchase money.
As Grim details, for the past two years, Apple and Epic engineers have kept “almost constant contact” to ensure that Fortnite always runs optimally on a variety of devices. Grim says Apple has provided Epic with a significant amount of engineering support to “reduce Fortnite’s memory footprint” so that it can run on older iPhone models.
In addition, Apple has also provided Epic with hardware, including 16 Apple Silicon Developer Transitions Kits, across Epic’s engineering organization, and will be able to deliver Unreal Engine 4 and future Unreal Engine 5 highs on Macintosh computers with the new Apple Silicon Processor. Guarantee performance features. This represents as much support as Apple provides to most other developers. In addition, Apple will respond to repeated requests from Epic and distribute builds to approximately 950 iPads and 1150 iPhones for app development and testing purposes, similar to what Apple assigned to other developers. I allowed that. These allowances are valuable to Epic because they tweak the app before exposing it to users and expand the company’s ability to improve the product.
More than that, Grimm writes that Apple routinely tells Epic about unreleased iOS technology and even sends engineers to talk to Epic at its headquarters in North Carolina to help speed it up.
Grim also details how Apple helped Epic improve Unreal Engine.
For example, Apple has led Epic’s team to adopt new ARKit and virtual reality features in Unreal Engine, as well as similar support for developers who are using Unreal Engine and want to use ARKit features. Explained how to provide. Apple has also spent significant engineering resources improving the performance of Unreal Engine using Apple’s Metal graphics system on iOS and Mac hardware and software. Apple’s hardware architecture / professional workflow team has also helped optimize Unreal Engine on the Mac for creative workflows, virtual sets, and CI / build systems. Apple also helped Epic adopt the features Unreal Engine needed to include games in its new Apple Arcade service. All of this support for Unreal Engine is in addition to the myriad of day-to-day work done by Apple’s engineering team under the contract with Epic.
A separate document from Apple’s Head of Game Business Development, Mike Schmidt, further sheds some of Apple’s long-standing behind-the-scenes support for Epic Games.
A particularly interesting bite of Schmid is that if Apple doesn’t “respond to the request,” Epic routinely threatens to release Fortnite updates to competing platforms first. Schmidt also said Epic on several occasions threatening to “end his relationship with Apple and remove the game” from the App Store if Apple didn’t comply with the company’s request.
Schmidt added that Apple is keen to meet Epic’s demands and needs and has coordinated Epic’s team to provide 24-hour support to the company.
Apple’s support for Epic began in March 2018, before Fortnite was first released on iOS. This was done via an invitation-only user system for each region. Handling the logistics of such unique app releases required considerable effort by multiple members of both the App Store and the Developer Relations team. Since then, throughout the launch of several major updates and the holiday season, Apple’s App Store team has been rigorously addressing Epic’s non-stop questions, including frequent midnight phone calls and short-time texts. Provided a good response. -Apple’s consistent support request turnaround. Eventually, we invited a business development colleague from Australia to join the epic relationship team to respond to epics 24 hours a day.
Schmidt added that Apple has worked closely with Epic to allow in-game features (through the creation of new App Store guidelines) such as in-app gifts that were not previously allowed.
“This example,” writes Schmidt, “showing Apple’s attention to the developer community, including the needs of developers like Epic. In this example, Apple is equal to all developers, big and small. We have requested that Apple be compliant with the applicable conditions, while at the same time ensuring the safety and security of our users. “
Here are some additional tips from Schmidt:
Epic told Apple that revenue from iOS represents “the smallest part of the pie.” Specifically, Epic told Schmid that “Apple accounts for only 7% of Epic’s revenue.” Compared to iOS, Apple writes that Fortnite on Xbox and Playstation earns 70% and 40% more average daily revenue per active user, respectively. Fortnite has been downloaded to iOS devices about 130 million times worldwide. Epic has generated over $ 550 million in revenue on iOS alone. In 2019, Apple “had a quick review of the app in response to almost all of Epic’s 80+ rush requests.” In the 11 months before Fortnite was removed from the App Store, Apple spent “more than $ 1 million on paid media promotions for Fortnite.” Fortnite is the most prominent feature game in the history of the App Store.
Documents to be submitted can be seen below:
The Schmidt Declaration can be found here.
Lifelong Mac user and Apple enthusiast Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry in general for over six years. His writings have been published in edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and more recently TUAW. When not writing or analyzing the latest events at Apple, Yoni enjoys watching improvisational shows in Chicago, football, and fostering new television show addiction. The latest examples are The Walking Dead and Broad City.
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