By any other name: Epic is not the hero Apptown needs

The Macalope knows things are tough out there for average developers, but he hopes they’re not putting too much stock in the chances of Epic being their white knight. Because as his mother always used to say sadly as the horny one ran around the house like a lunatic, his Classic Mac head at kitchen counter level, “These games end in tears.”

The Financial Times’ Patrick McGee live tweeted Monday’s court hearing in the case between Apple and Epic, which featured the two sides complaining how unfair the other has been to them and, mommm, make him staaaaahp, urrg.

For her part, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers wasn’t having it. While both sides got their moment to burn under her blistering sun, Epic seemed most likely to need an aloe bath after the hearing. From McGee’s Twitter thread:

Oof, Epic doing poorly on Apple’s 30% fee being excessive.

“There doesn’t seem to be evidence to support what you’re saying,” Judge YGR says.

For games, there isn’t a lot of support. Maybe that’s not how the world should be, but it’s mostly that way.

This isn’t to say the Macalope isn’t sympathetic to some of Epic’s argument.

Epic’s Bornstein: “Our concern is there is no competitive market right now, and there is no constraint on what they can charge.”

And Rogers did grill Apple on this point, before she got back to the business at hand which appeared to be delivering relentless body blows to Epic. In particular, Judge Rogers seems to not be much of a fan of Epic’s stunt of issuing a hot fix to install its own store in Fortnite.

Harsh words from YGR, re Epic’s “hot fix” in-app purchase circumvention:

“You were not forthright. You weren’t. You were told, you couldn’t do it. And you did. You know, there’s an old saying, a rose by any other name is still a rose. I mean, you can try all you want…”

It doesn’t seem that she thinks Epic’s actions smell too sweet there. Not so rose-like. Maybe Epic should make her another one of its hi-lar-ious 1984 parody ads, which are not at all ironic coming from a company that regularly locks up the distribution of certain games for months at a time.

Rogers added:

“There are plenty of people in the public who consider you guys heroes for what you did—but it’s still not honest.”

And that’s the nut of the Macalope’s problem with Epic. It’s nice that someone is standing up to Apple and challenging the company’s App Store practices. It is not great that it’s Epic, though. Epic’s whole goal here is not to create a level playing field where all developers can reap the rewards of their efforts and get 100 percent of the profits off their apps which do not have to be reviewed by Apple’s jack-booted thugs, and for it to rain Swedish fish and kittens who land gently on all fours. It’s to set up its own app store on iOS where it gets to make the rules and take a slice off the top.

Apptown definitely needs a hero. But Epic isn’t it.

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