Is there porn on the Epic Games Store? Seems like a pretty easy “yes” or “no” question. Today, however, the ongoing, increasingly contentious Epic v. Apple court case showed us that actually it’s possible to have a nearly 10-minute argument about it.
It began as part of a series of inquiries in which Apple’s lawyer was attempting to establish Epic’s quality control process (or lack thereof). To give you an idea of what she was playing at, she’d just brought up a quote in which Epic CEO Tim Sweeney called some consumers “humorless trolls” and asked Epic Games Store VP Steve Allison if Sweeney was referring to Epic’s own customers. She then moved on to a line of questioning surrounding itch.io, the indie game store Epic recently added to its app lineup seemingly to take a shot at Apple.
“On the record, you’ve discussed that there are certain kinds of content that the Epic Games Store will not bring to the store,” Apple’s lawyer said. “You said that Epic Games will not be supportive of games that are offensive or sexualized.”
Allison initially objected, but then conceded that he had, in fact, said that in his own deposition.
“A little further down, you say no porn and no hate,” Apple’s lawyer continued. “Do you see that?”
She then brought up itch.io, noting that it “includes so-called ‘adult’ games,” pointing to a specific game whose title was inaudible in official court audio. Allison replied that he was not aware of adult games on itch.
“You may not be aware, then, that the description of that game includes a list of fetishes, which include many words that are not appropriate for us to speak in federal courts,” said the lawyer. “There are many games on itch.io. I won’t even read the names out loud, but they are both offensive and sexualized. You’re not aware of that?”
Allison replied by pointing out that itch.io is on Epic, but it is not, itself, the Epic Games Store. “Itch.io is an app store that is not the Epic Games Store. We are not included in itch’s distributing pitch,” Allison said. “Epic is only distributing the app store of itch.io.”
The lawyer then suggested that itch’s apps “have not gone through any review process whatsoever,” to which Allison replied that “they are subject to whatever process itch.io puts in front of their developers.”
The lawyer continued to press: “So Epic Games, your store, is on the hook for whatever process itch.io put in place to review these games that are so offensive we cannot speak about them here, correct?” she said.
“So can you or can you not access those apps through your app store?” asked the lawyer.
Allison once again argued that while there might be porn on itch.io, that’s not the same as it being on the Epic Games Store. “You cannot access those apps through the Epic Games Store,” he said. “You can access those apps through their application, which...we are downloading itch.io within an app store. You have to have your own account with them, and you use their store, and you’re subject to their agreements.”
The lawyer proceeded to ask if somebody could, for example, download the Epic Games Store on their phone and then download itch.io’s “offensive material” onto said phone from there. Allison replied that it’s not currently possible. For now, PC is the only option. The lawyer suggested that’s Epic’s ultimate goal, though—to get apps onto phones; otherwise, why go through this whole court case? Allison replied that in itch.io’s specific case, he doesn’t know if that’s what Epic wants to do.
They then more or less looped the same argument again: Apple’s lawyer asked if Allison was “aware” that you can “go to Epic Games Store, click itch.io, and download the offensive games,” to which Allison replied that opening itch.io will take users into itch’s separate application, at which point they are subject to itch’s end user license agreement and not Epic’s. The lawyer proceeded to ask Allison to confirm that Epic wouldn’t want to put itch.io on phones. Allison replied that he wasn’t even sure if itch.io has a mobile application.
“OK, but the reason you said that to the court is because you’re recognizing that this is offensive and sexualized conduct that can be accessed,” said Apple’s lawyer.
“I disagree with that statement,” replied Allison.
After that, Apple’s lawyer mercifully decided to move onto another topic, only to come back around to “sexual” content not longer after.
“I just want to know, sir, if you support offensive and sexual content,” she said.
“I don’t support sexualized content of any sort,” Allison replied.
So there we go: That’s all cleared up now! Apple’s advertiser-sanitized, sex work- and LGBTQ-unfriendly utopia is saved from scary indie games like “Horny Chronicles.” Thank goodness.