Epic v. Apple trial testimony turns to 'cross-wallet' gaming

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 4
So-called "cross-wallet" gaming featured large in the second day of the Epic Games v. Apple trial, with Epic and other developers arguing the payment method is not a viable alternative to in-app purchases.

Epic Payment


Available as a continuity feature for users, and an option for developers averse to in-app payments (and Apple's cut of those payments), the "cross-wallet" alternative allows for the use of in-game currency purchased from another device or platform. For example, "Fortnite" players can buy V-Bucks on a PC or through Epic's website and use those V-Bucks to buy in-game items on iOS -- or at least they might have when the game was still on the App Store.

As noted by The Verge, Apple allowed Epic to implement cross-wallet play in "Fortnite" until the game was stricken from the App Store for violating Apple's rules against direct payments. The fact, noted by Apple's lawyers, undermines a central argument that claims developers have little choice but to give Apple 30% of all in-app purchase proceeds.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers asked Epic CEO Tim Sweeney why the option was not added to "Fortnite." The executive admitted his company could have instituted the feature, but said "it wasn't a very attractive option for our customers."

"To set Fortnite aside and pull out some device, browse to a website, log in, make a transaction there, it's extremely inconvenient," Sweeney said. "There's a huge amount of payment processing and customer friction associated with selling a user of an app an item outside of that app."

Rogers suggested such friction might not be a bad thing considering "Fortnite's" target audience.

"Why is it so inconvenient that someone can't make what I would call, as a parent, an impulse purchase?" Rogers asked. "Isn't that a responsible way to deal with a young client base?"

Benjamin Simon, CEO of the company that develops yoga app Down Dog, took the stand to testify that, while it does offer out-of-network payments to its clients, Apple's rules hinder discovery of the in-app payment alternative. Specifically, Apple rejected multiple versions of Down Dog for telling users that they could score a discount on their subscription by signing up through the web. Such advertisements are in violation of App Store guidelines.

Simon added that Down Dog is unable to readily communicate the discount to its customers through in-app mechanisms and must instead reach out via email or some other form of communication.

"We're restricted in our ability to communicate with our customers from within our product," he said.

These limitations on open communication between a developer and its customers are part of Epic's argument.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    Trey_LanceTrey_Lance Posts: 80member
    The judge is wasting everybody’s time. China agent Tim Weenie was a complete joke in his testimony . If Epic wins , people would be able to go into Costco and sell stuff regardless of Costco rules or Walmart.


    bshankqwerty52Beatspujones1watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 39
    I’m curious to know how users of Down Dog first discovered that app. It was either through the App Store or via the website for Down Dog. To be clear, I realize people could have learned about it through word of mouth or seen an article that mentioned or something else of that nature, but any of those would either push someone to the App Store or a web search.

    If they discovered through the App Store then shouldn’t Down Dog count that as a user gained via the App Store and the benefits it provides and be happy to pay 30% as a commission or finder’s fee or what have you? If the app was discovered via their website why does the CEO think it’s such a burden for customers to go back to their website?  

    Not to mention, I get emails with discount codes from businesses ALL THE TIME!  Guess what. Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Just since Sunday I’ve gotten emails from at least 3 businesses touting products with a discount code for Mother’s Day gifts. That’s just this week. One of them is from a photographer we use for family photos a few times a year. The discount works for photo products they offer through a third-party that, wait for it, gets a cut of the sale! 

    None of what Sweeney, et al, are complaining about is unique to the particular situation they are complaining about.
    bshankuraharaj2fusionBeatspujones1aderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 39
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,131member
    I’m curious to know how users of Down Dog first discovered that app. It was either through the App Store or via the website for Down Dog. To be clear, I realize people could have learned about it through word of mouth or seen an article that mentioned or something else of that nature, but any of those would either push someone to the App Store or a web search.

    If they discovered through the App Store then shouldn’t Down Dog count that as a user gained via the App Store and the benefits it provides and be happy to pay 30% as a commission or finder’s fee or what have you? If the app was discovered via their website why does the CEO think it’s such a burden for customers to go back to their website?  

    Not to mention, I get emails with discount codes from businesses ALL THE TIME!  Guess what. Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Just since Sunday I’ve gotten emails from at least 3 businesses touting products with a discount code for Mother’s Day gifts. That’s just this week. One of them is from a photographer we use for family photos a few times a year. The discount works for photo products they offer through a third-party that, wait for it, gets a cut of the sale! 

    None of what Sweeney, et al, are complaining about is unique to the particular situation they are complaining about.
    Right! They are just being greedy. They think Apple has 2 Trillion Dollars in the bank and the can’t stand it. 
    bshankTrey_Lancewilliamlondonj2fusionpujones1watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 39
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,106member
    So-called "cross-wallet" gaming featured large in the second day of the Epic Games v. Apple trial, with Epic and other developers arguing the payment method is not a viable alternative to in-app purchases.

    Available as a continuity feature for users, and an option for developers averse to in-app payments (and Apple's cut of those payments), the "cross-wallet" alternative allows for the use of in-game currency purchased from another device or platform. For example, "Fortnite" players can buy V-Bucks on a PC or through Epic's website and use those V-Bucks to buy in-game items on iOS -- or at least they might have when the game was still on the App Store.

    As noted by The Verge, Apple allowed Epic to implement cross-wallet play in "Fortnite" until the game was stricken from the App Store for violating Apple's rules against direct payments. The fact, noted by Apple's lawyers, undermines a central argument that claims developers have little choice but to give Apple 30% of all in-app purchase proceeds.
    Wow, I did not know that. Good thing Apple has real lawyers, and didn't hire me. This is a fascinating point. Apple never blocked Epic from getting 100% of their players' money from another platform and spending that money inside iOS, without paying Apple that 30%. So Epic has the functionality it needs, it just doesn't want users to suffer any "inconvenience", even though 90% of Fortnite players play on more than one platform, so it wouldn't be inconvenient to them. This whole case is about a minor inconvenience to Epic's users, not anything actually functional.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 39
    InspiredCodeInspiredCode Posts: 202member
    So-called "cross-wallet" gaming featured large in the second day of the Epic Games v. Apple trial, with Epic and other developers arguing the payment method is not a viable alternative to in-app purchases.

    Available as a continuity feature for users, and an option for developers averse to in-app payments (and Apple's cut of those payments), the "cross-wallet" alternative allows for the use of in-game currency purchased from another device or platform. For example, "Fortnite" players can buy V-Bucks on a PC or through Epic's website and use those V-Bucks to buy in-game items on iOS -- or at least they might have when the game was still on the App Store.

    As noted by The Verge, Apple allowed Epic to implement cross-wallet play in "Fortnite" until the game was stricken from the App Store for violating Apple's rules against direct payments. The fact, noted by Apple's lawyers, undermines a central argument that claims developers have little choice but to give Apple 30% of all in-app purchase proceeds.
    Wow, I did not know that. Good thing Apple has real lawyers, and didn't hire me. This is a fascinating point. Apple never blocked Epic from getting 100% of their players' money from another platform and spending that money inside iOS, without paying Apple that 30%. So Epic has the functionality it needs, it just doesn't want users to suffer any "inconvenience", even though 90% of Fortnite players play on more than one platform, so it wouldn't be inconvenient to them. This whole case is about a minor inconvenience to Epic's users, not anything actually functional.
    At one time the cross-wallet rules were different. It was written in the App Store rules that more of the purchases must come from App Store IAP then cross-wallet. This would have obviously caused problems for Epic where most players started on another platform. I'm curious when this changed if anyone has old copies of the rules. I think this was brought up last year with the HEY email app when subscribing on a web page.
    edited May 5 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 39
    NaiyasNaiyas Posts: 59member
    So-called "cross-wallet" gaming featured large in the second day of the Epic Games v. Apple trial, with Epic and other developers arguing the payment method is not a viable alternative to in-app purchases.

    Available as a continuity feature for users, and an option for developers averse to in-app payments (and Apple's cut of those payments), the "cross-wallet" alternative allows for the use of in-game currency purchased from another device or platform. For example, "Fortnite" players can buy V-Bucks on a PC or through Epic's website and use those V-Bucks to buy in-game items on iOS -- or at least they might have when the game was still on the App Store.

    As noted by The Verge, Apple allowed Epic to implement cross-wallet play in "Fortnite" until the game was stricken from the App Store for violating Apple's rules against direct payments. The fact, noted by Apple's lawyers, undermines a central argument that claims developers have little choice but to give Apple 30% of all in-app purchase proceeds.
    Wow, I did not know that. Good thing Apple has real lawyers, and didn't hire me. This is a fascinating point. Apple never blocked Epic from getting 100% of their players' money from another platform and spending that money inside iOS, without paying Apple that 30%. So Epic has the functionality it needs, it just doesn't want users to suffer any "inconvenience", even though 90% of Fortnite players play on more than one platform, so it wouldn't be inconvenient to them. This whole case is about a minor inconvenience to Epic's users, not anything actually functional.
    At one time the cross-wallet rules were different. It was written in the App Store rules that more of the purchases must come from App Store IAP then cross-wallet. This would have obviously caused problems for Epic where most players started on another platform. I'm curious when this changed if anyone has old copies of the rules. I think this was brought up last year with the HEY email app when subscribing on a web page.
    If I recall from the HEY fiasco (and the AI Podcast interview recently) the issue was not about the subscription for HEY but rather that there was no IAP originally available at all for the app. The interview is really interesting and sheds some light on some of the issues us developers have to contend with - though I personally have never had any issue probably because I don’t have the inclination, as a solo shop, to build my own payments capability.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 39
    uraharaurahara Posts: 525member
    "To set Fortnite aside and pull out some device..."
    Wait! What other device? I usually can open Safari by swiping up and taping Safari icon one time. 

    I guess 
    Sweeney is using his device the wrong way. LOL
    qwerty52Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 39
    uraharaurahara Posts: 525member

    I’m curious to know how users of Down Dog first discovered that app. It was either through the App Store or via the website for Down Dog. To be clear, I realize people could have learned about it through word of mouth or seen an article that mentioned or something else of that nature, but any of those would either push someone to the App Store or a web search.

    If they discovered through the App Store then shouldn’t Down Dog count that as a user gained via the App Store and the benefits it provides and be happy to pay 30% as a commission or finder’s fee or what have you? If the app was discovered via their website why does the CEO think it’s such a burden for customers to go back to their website?  

    Not to mention, I get emails with discount codes from businesses ALL THE TIME!  Guess what. Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Just since Sunday I’ve gotten emails from at least 3 businesses touting products with a discount code for Mother’s Day gifts. That’s just this week. One of them is from a photographer we use for family photos a few times a year. The discount works for photo products they offer through a third-party that, wait for it, gets a cut of the sale! 

    None of what Sweeney, et al, are complaining about is unique to the particular situation they are complaining about.
    I am actually subscribed to Down Dog with the 1-year subscription. 
    Guess what I did when I wanted to make a 1-year commitment with my money?
    Oh, was it so easy to guess? That I went to their web-site to check if they have the option to subscribe. 

    Could I have paid through the app? Sure. But there are so many apps with the subscription which offer the option on their web-site. So it is just obvious to check them for larger purchases than 0,99$.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 39
    uraharaurahara Posts: 525member
    I love Down Dog. But now knowing that they want to get the customer through Apple Store and then easily avoid paying for that service of discovery (and other things offered), makes me uncomfortable. It is like stealing. The developers who want to get Apple Store services for free, while earning money are just dishonest people. I wouldn't want to do business with such people.
    edited May 5 Trey_LanceBeatskurai_kageaderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 39
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,183member
    So-called "cross-wallet" gaming featured large in the second day of the Epic Games v. Apple trial, with Epic and other developers arguing the payment method is not a viable alternative to in-app purchases.

    Available as a continuity feature for users, and an option for developers averse to in-app payments (and Apple's cut of those payments), the "cross-wallet" alternative allows for the use of in-game currency purchased from another device or platform. For example, "Fortnite" players can buy V-Bucks on a PC or through Epic's website and use those V-Bucks to buy in-game items on iOS -- or at least they might have when the game was still on the App Store.

    As noted by The Verge, Apple allowed Epic to implement cross-wallet play in "Fortnite" until the game was stricken from the App Store for violating Apple's rules against direct payments. The fact, noted by Apple's lawyers, undermines a central argument that claims developers have little choice but to give Apple 30% of all in-app purchase proceeds.
    Wow, I did not know that. Good thing Apple has real lawyers, and didn't hire me. This is a fascinating point. Apple never blocked Epic from getting 100% of their players' money from another platform and spending that money inside iOS, without paying Apple that 30%. So Epic has the functionality it needs, it just doesn't want users to suffer any "inconvenience", even though 90% of Fortnite players play on more than one platform, so it wouldn't be inconvenient to them. This whole case is about a minor inconvenience to Epic's users, not anything actually functional.
    Evidently, Epic considers PC and mobile devices the same. This is not the case with game consoles. One can not buy V-Bucks on a PC and use them on a game console. Plus there is no discount. V-Bucks must cost the same, no matter where you buy them. This to prevent players from buying their virtual goods using the platform with the best price on V-bucks. The virtual goods a player buys are available on all the platform they play on. So there's no real incentive to buy directly from Epic, when it cost the same to buy from the app. 

    This is no different than Netflix. I pay for my Netflix subscription with auto charge on my CC.  I get no discount for doing this, even though Netflix do not have to pay any app stores a commission. But if I did not have this option, I would probably pay monthly using the Netflix app on my iPad or Apple TV mainly because of iTunes. Much more convenient than having to log on to Netflix on my Mac. 

    I don't remember, but I'm pretty sure I've been paying this way all the way back when Netflix was just renting DVD movies by mail. Before they became a movie streaming subscription service.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 39
    zklauszzklausz Posts: 21member
    Epic could start a brick and motor and the. Sell physical v-bucks cards through an app for a physical store.  Best Buy does it. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 39
    AppleInsider said: Benjamin Simon, CEO of the company that develops yoga app Down Dog, took the stand to testify that, while it does offer out-of-network payments to its clients, Apple's rules hinder discovery of the in-app payment alternative. Specifically, Apple rejected multiple versions of Down Dog for telling users that they could score a discount on their subscription by signing up through the web. Such advertisements are in violation of App Store guidelines. 
    That type of communication isn't allowed on any e-commerce platform. Apple is following an industry-wide standard there. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 39
    In reference to my other comment, the limitation that cross-wallet content has to be lower then IAP content I think was actually in attachment 2 of the developer agreement. This agreement contains additional rules above the App Store review guidelines. I couldn’t find it, so I think Apple may have removed it in the last year. I know this was present previously. 

    Apple has both the developer agreement and the store review guidelines that both apply. They conflict all over the place and there is no language as far as I’m aware to say one supersedes the other.

    Additionally, Vbucks might not be allowed by a number of rules that forbid in-app currency. For example, this one from the developer agreement:

     2.1 You may not use the In-App Purchase API to enable an end-user to set up a pre-paid account to be used for subsequent purchases of content, functionality, or services, or otherwise create balances or credits that end-users can redeem or use to make purchases at a later time.

    The review guidelines say this which contradicts:

    • Any credits or in-game currencies purchased via in-app purchase may not expire, and you should make sure you have a restore mechanism for any restorable in-app purchases.

    This is just one example. The Apple terms are full of contradictions which is something developers complain about since nobody knows what is and isn’t allowed or might be allowed one day but not the next.
    edited May 5
  • Reply 14 of 39
    mr lizardmr lizard Posts: 239member
    Just let developers link out to their own website from the app for payments already. If Apple’s confident in their IAP platform, then they won’t be concerned that customers won’t use it over the developers own system. 

    Not being able to link out, and not even being able to tell the customer where to go to make payments outside of the app, is just childish and petty.  
  • Reply 15 of 39
    mr lizard said:
    Just let developers link out to their own website from the app for payments already. If Apple’s confident in their IAP platform, then they won’t be concerned that customers won’t use it over the developers own system. 

    Not being able to link out, and not even being able to tell the customer where to go to make payments outside of the app, is just childish and petty.  
    I would prefer something like that, but they know they will
    need to reduce the split to probably no higher than 15-20% in that case or nobody would use IAP. Apple also considers them their customers, so they would not want you processing transactions for their customers.

    Ideally my preference would be for Apple to let developers obtain their own customers from their website or another platform. If a developer obtains a customer away from the App Store with a user account created outside the app then it is the developers customer and they can use alternate payment methods for additional purchases directly in an app, if Apple obtains the customer by the user creating the account in app then it is Apple's customer and they need to use IAP since Apple would be responsible for those transactions. This makes much more sense to me than the weird rules that try to prevent bypassing Apple's IAP by making it a poor experience for end users.

    The other problem with the current system is that Apple essentially steals a developers customer obtained elsewhere if that customer wants to use an Apple device since Apple now owns the customer in respect to IAP.

    To take it a step further, I think it would be ideal if a developer could opt-out of listing with a hidden store page. If they do that then they could also opt out of Apple's IAP. Apple could even limit the size of these apps so that a developer would need to use their own CDN to obtain non-executable content for large apps. With hidden store pages, Apple could also be more selective with what they list on the store. That way they could get rid of junk apps more easily while still giving an alternative way for those apps to list. Getting rid of the junk apps would increase the listing value to developers that create great apps and make it less likely people will find apps that don't get the same level of scrutiny by reviewers.
    edited May 5
  • Reply 16 of 39
    mr lizard said: Not being able to link out, and not even being able to tell the customer where to go to make payments outside of the app, is just childish and petty.  
    No, it's the standard for the entire e-commerce industry. Internet based stores don't allow it and neither do app stores on specific devices. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 39
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 284member
    urahara said:
    "To set Fortnite aside and pull out some device..."
    Wait! What other device? I usually can open Safari by swiping up and taping Safari icon one time. 

    I guess Sweeney is using his device the wrong way. LOL

    Strange testimony from Sweeney……And this is the CEO of the company……….?
    Well for me is Sweeney either so much in love with himself, that he already lost the connection with the real world and doesn’t know anymore what he's doing, or well he's following the orders from somebody  else, who we don't know yet…….
    edited May 5 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 39
    InspiredCodeInspiredCode Posts: 202member
    qwerty52 said:
    urahara said:
    "To set Fortnite aside and pull out some device..."
    Wait! What other device? I usually can open Safari by swiping up and taping Safari icon one time. 

    I guess Sweeney is using his device the wrong way. LOL

    Strange testimony from Sweeney……And this is the CEO of the company……….?
    Well for me is Sweeney either so much in love with himself, that he already lost the connection with the real world and doesn’t know anymore what he's doing, or well he's following the orders from somebody  else, who we don't know yet…….
    Seriously stop the conspiracy theories.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    mr lizard said:
    Just let developers link out to their own website from the app for payments already. If Apple’s confident in their IAP platform, then they won’t be concerned that customers won’t use it over the developers own system. 

    Not being able to link out, and not even being able to tell the customer where to go to make payments outside of the app, is just childish and petty.  
    For the sake of the argument, let’s say you have a clothing store and one of your providers is a well known brand that does a lot of business.

    Yours is a boutique shop, with all the amenities for higher spending customers. For that, you must have higher margins to maintain profitability.

    Now imagine that big name provider is advertising in the very labels of their products that YOUR customers—they are in your store—could get a better deal (like 5 % off) on the store next doors! How would you react to that, as the competing store owner?

    By your argument, there should be no trouble at all. You should be happy to build and maintain a higher end store, while your providers use your product placement to point out that there are better deals just around the corner.

    Now answer me: what (if any) other company is expected to do business that way? This lawsuit, like so many others, is rooted in a very simple fact: Apple is worth trillions and have hundreds of billions sitting in the bank.
    j2fusionkurai_kagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 39
    Trey_LanceTrey_Lance Posts: 80member
    zklausz said:
    Epic could start a brick and motor and the. Sell physical v-bucks cards through an app for a physical store.  Best Buy does it. 
    That costs lots of money. Why do that when they can just try to sue Apple and use their Apple
    store for free?
    watto_cobra
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