The recent judgment in the case between Epic Games and Apple provided an opportunity to learn more about how Apple’s app store works. And without surprises, mobile games have a predominant place.
Apple will no longer be able to impose its in-house payment system on the App Store. In a court decision rendered on September 10, 2021, a US court ruled and will force Apple to accept other payment platforms on its mobile system.
The mobile games market in the center of attention
This decision puts an end to months and months of legal action initiated by Epic Games (the studio behind the Fortnite game) against Apple. US magistrate Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers did not qualify Apple’s position as ” monopolistic As Epic Games hoped, but instead tried to refocus the debate by cutting the pear in half. ” The relevant market here is that of digital mobile game transactions., and not that of games in general nor that of Apple’s internal operating systems linked to the App Store »Detailed the judge.
It is by analyzing precisely this sector of mobile games that the court allowed itself to affirm that the model offered by Apple was ” anti-competitive “. The full transcript of the court decision also shows how mobile gaming is an important sector for Apple and why this court decision was expected.
98% of in-app purchases are from games
As it is noted in the second part of the judgment (page 122 to be exact), “ games make up a significant majority of App Store revenue “. The sentence almost sounds like an understatement since we learn a little further than ” in 2018 and 2019, over 98% of in-app purchase revenue came from mobile games. If we include all transactions made on the App Store (live and within the app), games still represent 68% of App Store revenues according to 2020 figures.
Compared to the vast majority of other apps that cost nothing, mobile games are therefore a real gold mine and it is not surprising that the Epic Games case has therefore been scrutinized so closely. It was the economic model of a full-fledged industry that was at stake here. ” According to most economic considerations, […] the App Store is above all a game store and, secondly, a store of “other” applications»Details the judgment.
The case will come as no surprise to those who have closely observed the mobile economy in recent years. In the United States, 9 of the 10 most popular paid iPhone apps are games according to AppAnnie. The judgment rendered on September 10 concerns all developers, but it is actually on the video game front that the change will be most visible.