Last week, Epic Games, the maker of the free-to-play online gaming phenomenon, Fortnite, launched a sophisticated, pre-planned legal attack on both Apple and Google which, between them, control around 95% of the US mobile app download market.
Epic fired the opening salvo by unveiling a new game feature enabling players to circumvent the 30% charge taken by Apple (and Google) on all in-game payments. Apple then banned the app from its App Store, for violating its policies, only to be met by an awaiting lawsuit and an online marketing campaign depicting Apple as a rapacious monopoly.
Shortly after, Google banned Fortnite, which boasts 350m users worldwide, from its Play Store triggering a similar lawsuit against Google’s parent company, Alphabet, at the same time as US investigators are mounting an antitrust case against Google’s Android operating system (OS).
Last year, global revenues from digital games passed $109bn with $87bn of this derived from gamers paying for additional features and virtual goods for their favourite games.