Tim Sweeney says Apple has “gone crazy” with revenue share approach

Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, has taken to Twitter to criticise Apple’s revenue share model (thanks, GI.biz).


Sweeney was responding to the news that Apple has started requesting a 30 per cent commission on all payments made through ClassPass – an app that allowed users to book classes at their local gym, and had also started offering paid digital classes due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The app proved successful, and with gyms currently closed during the pandemic, ClassPass opted to forgo its own commission in order to support struggling gyms. Apple meanwhile requested their standard 30 per cent cut.

“If Apple had the [sic] way, they’d block the web and make arbitrary decisions about what pages you’re allowed to visit,” said Sweeney on Twitter, “and then demand 30% of the revenue from every company that does business on the web.

“The tying of the operating system to a monopoly software distribution channel and monopoly payment processor and monopoly tax doesn’t need “policy tweaks”, it needs to stop. All of these components must be unbundled to support fair competition among stores, apps and suppliers.

“It pains me to complain about Apple in this way. Apple is one of the greatest companies that has ever existed, perhaps the greatest. But they’re fundamentally wrong in blocking competition and choice on devices they make, and that holds up entire fields of technological progress.”

End Game co-founder Yang Liu responded with a Twitter thread of his own, revealing that in 2018, his company paid more money to Apple through the revenue share model than it had earned in the prior four years combined.

“It took us 6 years to reach where we are now, and 5 years to be truly self-sufficient,” said Liu. “The kicker is – we paid Apple more money in 2018 than we MADE last 4 years combined. With that money, we could have fueled 10x more hires, expanded faster and created more products.

“To put it simply, see if you want to play a video game where you’re building and 30% of every gain you make is taken away from you, but you’re expected to pay for everything else at the same price — that’s not a game you’d play is it?”

Sweeney has been critical of Apple in the past. In June, Sweeney welcomed the new EU probe into Apple’s possible antitrust behaviour. “Here Apple speaks of a level playing field. To me, this means: All iOS developers are free to process payments directly, all users are free to install software from any source. In this endeavor, Epic won’t seek nor accept a special deal just for ourselves,” said the Epic CEO at the time.


About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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