Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Everything About This Sucks

Illustration for article titled Everything About This Sucks
Screenshot: Epic Games

I woke up this morning to the news that Epic Games, a plucky corporate underdog worth $17 billion, was trying to enlist the world’s help in taking on Apple’s “anti-competitive” practices. And my skin wanted to crawl right off my body.

Advertisement

In case you’re just joining us, earlier today Apple booted Fortnite from the App Store for violating its payment policy. Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, responded quickly by filing a complaint of legal injunction against Apple.

Advertisement

In addition to the legal struggles between the two companies, which are essentially built around a disagreement over the fact Apple takes 30% of App Store money, and Epic doesn’t want to pay that, Epic Games also launched a concerted public relations campaign built around a parody of a TV ad made (by Apple!) at least 15-30 years before most Fortnite players were even born.

I don’t have the time or emotional bandwidth to delve into just how fucking stupid this video is, enlisting the spirit of resistance to totalitarian government (already diluted by appearing in an advertisement) to...get people onside in their quest for some more money.

I would, however, like to give a shout out to the people responsible for looking back at the last ten years of video game community relations and deciding that “weaponising a fanbase of angry gamers” was a really healthy and fun thing to do here.

So let’s instead move right onto the legal battle itself, which has already seen plenty of people taking sides. That’s an easy, and very human thing to do! Fortnite players on iOS (and now Android as well) will want their game back. Other companies equally frustrated with Apple’s sizable cut of their profits have someone to cheer on from the sidelines.

Advertisement

People who don’t like Epic, meanwhile—and there’s no shortage of them in the video game space—can root for Apple, and people who like Apple have someone to defend their favourite home and mobile computing company against.

Advertisement

Before you go deciding to take a side in this, though, keep in mind shit like this:

Advertisement

Ah yes, Spotify, fellow champions of the people, who pay the artists at the heart of their service an average of $0.00318 per stream, and whose CEO complained earlier this year that albums aren’t being released fast enough. Real feel-good stuff.

So perhaps the safer thing to do is not take a side at all, right? Maybe, but that’s also complicated! Despite claiming to do this for the benefit of everyone, Epic is obviously doing this for Epic, but Apple’s store policies are terrible, and any kind of progress made in this space would greatly benefit a lot of folks, especially smaller studios and indies.

Advertisement

If that sounds like a similar dilemma to the one at the heart of the Epic Games Store v Steam debate, that’s because...it’s almost exactly the same situation.

In the end, then, there is no right or wrong here, no champion or underdog. It’s just 2020's latest example of everything sucking all at once, and all we can do is sit by and watch helplessly as it continues to suck even more.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

The whole 1984 angle and having all of this response prepared in advance really put a sour taste in my mouth. Trying to create this weird public discourse and use your arguably easily-influenced fan base to try and get what you want is...I mean, it’s on brand but it’s really gross. The extremely public and coordinated way they’re doing it is gross to me. Why are people suddenly acting like taking a cut is a new practice designed to hurt developers? Publishers are the only ones who benefit, and this isn’t new! It’s more or less industry standard. Physical distribution has these cuts as well!

I digress though...In the end, Epic though is very obviously in the wrong here. They’re picking fights to bully everyone else into submission to help their bottom line. Epic can sue and mold PR into what they think is right (seriously, using 1984 to parody your company while asking people to gather in your game to watch glorified propoganda is ironically tone-deaf), but it was Epic who broke contract here by attempting to undercut them on their own platform. It’s a lawsuit they will never win and the moral high ground will collapse when they come crawling back. Now that Google has followed suit, I’m more preoccupied with when they’ll backtrack.