The Epic v. Apple trial commenced on Monday and it looks like things are already heating up between the industry giants as they go head to head in a legal battle over Apples “oppressive” app store policies. We’re not going to cover the trial in its entirety but we do think it’s worth discussing some of the surprising revelations to have come out of the trial so far.
The following are based on testimony and documents that have been submitted to evidence and provide some interesting insight into not only the inner workings of Epic and Apple but some other relevant companies as well.
Sony Really Didn’t Like Crossplay
According to documents submitted as exhibits in the trial, Epic Games had pleaded with Sony for months before they made the final decision to block cross-platform play in Fortnite on PlayStation consoles. The exhibits reveal that Epic went out of its way to accommodate Sony, offering exclusive branding collaborations, PS+ bonuses and even an extension on Sony’s Unreal Engine 4 license company-wide. Despite Epic’s efforts, however, Sony remained unwilling to play ball with the developer/publisher in order to offset a potential loss in revenue.
Tim Sweeney's email to Sony's Phil Rosenberg about Fortnite crossplay for PS4 is worth a read. "Friends are being torn apart by Sony's segregation of players on competing platforms," says Sweeney. pic.twitter.com/it9yMNssTd
An email correspondence reveals that Sony came up with a clever, albeit unorthodox way to enable cross-platform play without sacrificing their profits. Simply put, Sony suggested a cross-platform revenue share, meaning that publishers are required to pay Sony a royalty whenever PlayStation players contribute more than a certain percentage to the bottom line of a cross-platform game. As well as this, Sony requires that publishers disallow players from transferring their virtual currency to or from a PlayStation account and that there must be a setting available to disable all cross-platform interactions. The CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney testified that Sony is the only platform that requires compensation for enabling cross-play on multiplayer titles.
Microsoft applauded The Last Of Us Part II
Revealed in an internal document, Xbox said that “The Last of Us Part 2 is the exceedingly rare video game where what it accomplishes in moving forward the art of narrative storytelling in video games as a medium ultimately outweighs whether or not everyone ‘likes’ it or even if everyone has ‘fun’ playing it”.
They also went on to say that the gameplay is a notable improvement on the first game, but that Naughty Dog still can’t seem to make decent gun combat in games.
Microsoft has never earned a profit on the sale of an Xbox console
“Has Microsoft ever earned a profit on the sale of an Xbox console?” lawyer asks.
The entitlements column refers to how many individuals actually added these titles to their account during the free-to-play period. I think it would be interesting to see the percentage of players that actually played these games as well, as I’m sure we’re all guilty of hoarding free or cheap titles without ever actually touching them.
Naruto, Metroid and The Hunger Games Are Just Some Of Epic’s Scrapped Fornite Collaboration Ideas
An in-house presentation leaked as part of the court proceedings revealed a whole bunch of previously unannounced, delayed and scrapped plans for Fortnite collaborations. LeBron James, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson are among the sports stars mentioned in the presentation while other upcoming skins include Naruto Uzumaki, Katniss Everdeen, Kill Bill’s The Bride and Die Hard’s John McClane. At this stage, it’s difficult to tell which of these concepts have since been scrapped and which are still in the works but it’s still interesting to see the marked range of I.P.s included by Epic, making it obvious that they’re not interested in bottlenecking their player base.
Supposedly There Was Going To Be Another Collab Within Fortnite Samus Aran X Fortnite, It Will Either Release Or Not. pic.twitter.com/BADhEIurrb
According to a document, it looks as though Rocket League is set to come to next-gen and it looks like in addition to Rocket League Sideswipe, a proper version of Rocket League is coming to mobile later this year.
another Epic Games document reveals it could be planning some big Rocket League updates:
• next-gen client across all platforms, including mobile • full cross-progression between mobile, PC, and console • crossplay between mobile, PC, and console pic.twitter.com/8BHyK5qSQg
Walmart Has Been Working On A Top-Secret Streaming Service
An unintentionally leaked marketing deck directly from Walmart has revealed their plans for the launch of an all-new cloud streaming service known as Project Storm. The service will apparently run on Windows and has plans to support both Fortnite and the Epic Games storefront. VP of Epic, Mark Rein, detailed his experience with a Project Storm demo in an email to one of his colleagues and described playing on an Android phone with an Xbox controller as “like playing on a PS4 and superior to playing on Android or iOS”. Further, he explained that during the demo he was able to seamlessly transfer gameplay from the mobile device to a laptop device instantly in real-time and said it was better than playing on the most expensive Microsoft Surface Pro laptop.
Rein concluded his unofficial demo review by explaining that Walmart will also be selling a super cheap clip for you to attach your mobile device to your controller of voice and with the inclusion of a little kick-stand, he said it was “more comfortable than playing on a Nintendo Switch”.
The document then transitioned into Walmart’s confidential pitch which includes a particularly interesting section about consumer awareness and acquisition.
It’s hard to tell from the deck alone (which was pitched in early 2019) whether or not FaZe, Ninja and E3 were actually in talks to endorse Project Storm or whether it was merely aspirational. Regardless, it’s an interesting pitch and there’s no denying that a heavy-hitting lineup like this would definitely help launch the new service.
More is set to come out of the coming days, so we’ll keep you posted.