Anyone who has played Fortnite for the last few seasons has likely been aware of the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games.
Fortnite Season 3 was the last season that players could play on iOS devices, and since Apple began blocking Fortnite, Epic has released multiple attack ads critiquing Apple’s business practices. Now, Apple has called for backup, only to get turned down by Valve.
Valve, Epic, Apple, and Fortnite
A discerning reader might ask themselves “what does Valve have to do with Fortnite?” That’s a good question, and the answer is that they have nothing to do with Fortnite. Despite Valve managing the PC client and marketplace Steam, they have never once hosted the popular battle royale game on their service.
Fortnite is actually one of the ways Epic has been able to set themselves up as a rival and competitor to Valve, as the only place to download Fortnite for PC is through the Epic Games Store.
Outside the PC market, however, Fortnite is available through the Xbox Live marketplace, the Playstation store, the Nintendo Eshop, and through Epic’s own service for Android devices. Previously, it had been available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, but it was removed as part of the ongoing legal battle.
What Apple wants from Valve
The accusations against Apple are that it runs a non-competitive monopoly that stifles innovation and competition. Apple’s current defense is that their business practices are in line with the market standards. To back this claim up, Apple requested from Valve it’s internal data regarding sales on Steam and what portion of the revenue Valve takes from companies that sell on Steam.
Overall, Apple requested information for over 32,000 games over a six-year period - something which Valve refused to provide. Valve went on to say that they had already provided adequate information to the case, and that Apple’s request was too large to be reasonable.
Furthermore, Apple’s request seems to be missing the point regarding Epic’s stance in the Fortnite lawsuit. Epic isn’t claiming that Apple demands significantly more than the market standard; Epic’s claim is that Apple operates a non-competitive monopoly.
At the moment, that claim is up to legal interpretation. On the one hand, app developers who make anything for iOS devices must use the Apple App store to sell their apps. Android, by comparison, allows users to install apps from third party marketplaces or independently.
On the other hand, technically, the presence of Android devices means that there is competition. Apple may be a monopoly with regards to their own devices, but they are not the only smartphone OS on the market as a whole.
It might be a while before this Fortnite fight gets resolved, so for now, fans will just have to wait.