Epic vs Apple was always going to be the biggest story of the year, a legal case that could change the way that the biggest store in gaming ran things, and which might have implications (intended or not) for everyone else as well.
The main story has barely got going, but the documents filed with the court have already created a torrent of news stories – largely because the industry has become increasingly sensitive over the last decade; reticent in revealing anything lest it be seized upon by consumers as evidence of some wrongdoing.
There’s so much around, we thought we’d simply highlight a handful of the best stories from sites and Twitter.
The Verge reports on documents relating to Epic and Sony disagreement over crossplay support for Fortnite. The tone of the emails is quite something, with Sony having been harangued online already for this line.
“As you know, many companies are exploring this idea and not a single one can explain how cross-console play improves the PlayStation business,” from Sony’s senior director of developer relations at the time. Which doesn’t sit well with its ‘For the Players’ tagline.
The article also reveals the Cross-Platform Revenue Share system, by which Sony recoups costs from the developer if the title’s revenue and gameplay share are mismatched.
SIMON CARLESS: How much did those Epic Game Store freebies cost Epic?
A tweet from GameDiscoverCo’s Simon Carless shows the cost of the early free Epic Game Store games to Epic. Subnautica and Batman: Arkham Asylum stand out. With Subnautica costing $1.4m for 804,052 new accounts, a user acquisition cost of $1.74.
Want to know how much $ the devs of those 'free' Epic Games Store games got, & how many copies were grabbed? Here's the first 9 months to September 2019. 👀 pic.twitter.com/5hkLb1VEjj
— Simon Carless (@simoncarless) May 3, 2021
VGC dug through the court documents and came up with this doozy, an internal review document of its competitor’s The Last of Us Part II. While it’s well known that publishers commission internal reviews of their own titles, an evaluation of external titles are less common (after all there are loads of reviews out there to read), and just as rarely seen.
Microsoft clearly aspires to TLoU’s quality bar, though whether it will ever actually attempt such a linear, cinematic, narrative title of this budget is highly uncertain.
Finally, again from The Verge, comes news that Microsoft was thinking of reducing its Xbox store revenue cut to just 12 per cent. Which would have matched both Epic Games Store and the recent change to its own PC Games operation.
Cutting costs on a PC store, which is open competition with others, to 12 per cent is one thing. Doing it on a console store, where hardware must be developed, the platform marketed heavily, and hardware is often sold cheaply to bring consumers onboard, is another thing entirely, something that not even Tim Sweeney is pushing for.
That Microsoft considered it is quite eye opening, it would have been incredibly interesting to see how it would have affected the market, especially if developers chose to pass those savings onto consumers, effectively creating a cost imbalance between the key console stores.