back to article Epic Games asks for Apple's help to put South Korea's alternative app payments law to work

Epic Games has decided to put South Korea's new law requiring Apple and Google to offer third-party payment options in their app stores to the test. The developer of hit game Fortnite last year picked a fight with Apple over the 30 per cent commission it charges on both apps and in-app purchases in the iOS App Store. Epic …

  1. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

    What about Google? Aren't Apple and Google still in lockstep on keeping Fortnite out until Fotrnite drops it's own paysite?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm pretty sure this is about publicity rather than any real business requirements.

      To be honest, if the outcome of all this is that Apple and Google change searching for free games on stores so it finds, you know, free games rather than "free with additional hidden purchases" it'll all be worthwhile.

      Maybe not having a slice of the pie will get an algorithm that recommends what I want, rather than what makes the platform most money :)

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      They will probably ask Google to add it too. This won't make them stop the legal battles by any means, but if they get Apple to do it, they win some money and if not, it becomes another legal argument (further abuse of monopoly power even when explicitly illegal), could hurt Apple, and more attention drawn to what they want.

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Apple was the easier target, since Google allowed sideloading that could get whatever Epic wanted installed. They've gone after Google too of course - they want to remove all rules so they don't have to convince Android users to sideload.

      They have even tried (though it was shot down in the decision today) to force Apple to let them install their own app store. So not only do they want to prevent Apple from collecting a penny from people playing Epic games, Epic wants to create its own app store - and would likely try to charge that same 30% they think Apple/Google shouldn't be permitted to as they would claim "our app store isn't a monopoly like theirs so we should be able to operate by whatever rules we want!"

  2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    This reminds me of something that I always used to find amusing - in the older South Korean dramas you can spot the bad guy because he's the one with the iPhone (presumably because all the other phones are product placement and the sponsor doesn't want the baddie having one of their phones). They actually stopped the practice because people complained that it was a spoiler. I guess you could say it gave away the "bad Apple"...

    I'll get me coat.

    1. Evil Scot

      The one with the iPhone in the pocket.

  3. heyrick Silver badge

    If Apple were to defy South Korea, it has less to lose than in some markets.

    Not necessarily - as acting like you're above the law is a bad sign to send out, especially now that more important markets are starting to look at how the whole app store thing works.

  4. John Robson Silver badge

    We allow alternative stores...

    That doesn't mean you have to give developer accounts to companies which have previously deliberately breached the rules they signed up to...

    1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

      Re: We allow alternative stores...

      It does if you don't want to run afoul of antitrust laws that have been enacted in the country you want to continue to do business in. Apple has 2 options in South Korea. 1) give epic their account or 2) Dont, Essentially telling the local government there that Apple decides who the alternative stores or payment providers will be. Something those governments will not like.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: We allow alternative stores...

        Apple aren't stopping any developer from publishing an app with an alternate store option.

        From the (virtually zero) information I have I don't necessarily see it as obvious that they have to give a developer who has been kicked from the platform for violating it's rules an account.

        1. Falmari Silver badge

          Re: We allow alternative stores...

          @John Robson "Apple aren't stopping any developer from publishing an app with an alternate store option."

          Yes they bloody are.

          The only way to install an app is through Apple's store. As Fortnite is banned from the store it cannot be installed. Therefore no alternative payments can be offered. Apple has two choices if they want to comply with S. Korea law.

          1) Allow an alternative method to install, side loading or allow alternative stores.

          2) Add Fortnite to their store.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: We allow alternative stores...

            I meant payment option, not store.

            They aren't being banned to stop them adding an alternate payment option - they are being banned for violating the contract they had.

            So option 3) is to not let people who deliberately violated their contract publish anything - you aren't discriminating on the basis of alternate payment methods.

            1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

              Re: We allow alternative stores...

              Epic were banned for offering alternative payment options in Fortnight. Now the law is forcing Apple to allow alternative payment options on it's platform, therefore Epic's ban has no justification in law. Law > Contracts (at least in most of the civilised world). Expect Epic to file for injunctive relief in South Korea next. Either that or Epic will contract out Fortnite to another company that does have an account, and will release it with alternative payments. Expect to see Fortnite back on the store soon.

              1. gnasher729 Silver badge

                Re: We allow alternative stores...

                Apple always allowed alternative payments. I worked for two companies that did exactly that very nicely. What apple doesn’t allow is using alternative payments _from within the app_. Just do it on your website. I have Netflix and prime video on my phone, no problem to pay for them.

                1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

                  Re: We allow alternative stores...

                  "What apple doesn’t allow is using alternative payments _from within the app_"

                  Er, except now they *have* to!

                  1. John Robson Silver badge

                    Re: We allow alternative stores...

                    Still no reason to overturn a ban on failing to adhere to the legal contract and T&Cs...

                    1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

                      Re: We allow alternative stores...

                      Except Apple have gone on the record to say "As we've said all along, we would welcome Epic's return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else". That looks like a verbal contract to me. Something Epic can point to in court. Law has changed the rules, and Epic seem more than happy to abide by them, as per the verbal contract offered by Apple. How does your Apple-hypocrisy-meter handle that one?

                      As I've already stated, governments less friendly to Apple will probably offer injunctive relief to Epic, because Epic have been barred due to circumstances now made illegal in that locality.

                      Would be funny if Fortnite ends up being downloadable world over, except in good old US of A.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What *epic* grovelling... :D

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