FTC commissioners call Apple, Google 'gatekeepers' of mobile gaming industry

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 7
In a settlement between mobile advertising firm Tapjoy and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, two commissioners lambasted Apple and Google for creating a hostile environment for gaming industry players.

App Store


Democratic Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter in a statement said Tapjoy is "a minnow next to the gatekeeping giants of the mobile gaming industry, Apple and Google." The FTC's three Republican commissioners did not attach their names to the critical letter, reports CNBC.

"By offering a platform connecting advertisers, gamers, and game developers, Tapjoy allows these developers to generate advertising revenue that Apple and Google do not tax," the commissioners said. "But this monetization model also creates opportunities for fraud"

Chopra and Slaughter surmise that "heavy taxation" under app store models run by Apple and Google has pushed developers to "alternative monetization models that rely on surveillance, manipulation, and other harmful practices." Tapjoy, which was accused of false advertising related to unfulfilled in-game offers, was one of those avenues.

When reached for comment, Apple directed CNBC to CEO Tim Cook's congressional testimony last year.

"For the vast majority of apps on the App Store, developers keep 100% of the money they make. The only apps that are subject to a commission are those where the developer acquires a customer on an Apple device and where the features or services would be experienced and consumed on an Apple device," Cook said in a prepared statement designed to address scrutiny of App Store monetary policy.

Both Apple and Google have come under fire for taking a healthy portion of digital app store fees. The most public challenge comes from Epic Games, which last year leveled legal claims against Apple over the tech giant's cut of in-game purchases, as well as regulations that restrict third-party app stores on iOS.

Seemingly in response to heightened criticism of its App Store practices, Apple in November announced a Small Business Program that reduces the App Store commission rate to 15% per year for developers making under $1 million a year.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    I think we've seen with the likes of Facebook and similar that app developers will utilise invasive and questionable revenue generation business models regardless of the app stores and they will follow these practices through to their websites.

    Also where do companies like Nintendo sit in all of this? The Nintendo Switch is frequently the highest selling console, it is the premier Mobile Gaming device - yet for every game that exists on Nintendo's eStore and Apple's Appstore: the Appstore version is significantly cheaper. (Side note: This also applies to the Steam store.) Using the USA's "cheaper is always better" rule for competition, it stands to reason that Apple is providing a competitive service.
    watto_cobraDetnatorjony0
  • Reply 2 of 13
    I think Nintendo would like a word. 

    The Switch is ridiculously successful. 

    The profit margin for switch games is huge. 

    And the various GameBoys, DS, 3DS, 2DS, etc. we’re all the top of their categories. Heck, Nintendo invented mobile gaming. 

    And they’ve perfected it. 

    I think the FTC homie is looking at overall company size, not actual mobile gaming. 


    edited January 8 watto_cobraelijahg
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Good. Kick xbox & playstation the fuck off & outta here. Lol
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,339member
    I don't ever remember anyone stating that Microsoft and Sony are the "gatekeepers" to the console gaming market. Microsoft and Sony owns about the same marketshare of  the "console gaming market"  as Apple and Google does of the "mobile gaming market". And guess what, they charge the same 30% "tax" for game developers to be on their X-Box and PlayStation platforms.

    PLUS,  console games can cost up to $60 AND it cost a minimum of $60 a year for a subscription for an online account, to play online games with a game console. And one would still need to pay for some of the more popular online games. From which the owner of the platform will "tax" the game developer 30%. 

    AND, over 70% of the gamers are playing on a game console. Even though it's the most expensive way to play games. While less than 30% of the gamers are playing on computers or mobile devices. 

    Then we have this, about the maker and seller of the X-Box itself, none the less. It actually sounds worse than what any free app on a mobile device does.  

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/2060363/what-data-does-microsofts-xbox-services-collect-we-break-it-down.html
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 13
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,564member
    Now that the Dems have full control of House, Senate and the Presidency, watch out Apple! Apple as a corporation and Apple's employees as individuals are strong supporters of the Democrat party and yet it's the Democrat party which consistently spars with Apple's business practices. 
    edited January 8 watto_cobraFidonet127
  • Reply 6 of 13
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,278member
    Now that the Dems have full control of House, Senate and the Presidency, watch out Apple! Apple as a corporation and Apple's employees as individuals are strong supporters of the Democrat party and yet it's the Democrat party which consistently spars with Apple's business practices. 
    You mean like telling them to get out of China, don’t hire talent from outside the US no matter what skills they have. Manufacture here or else. Those Democrats are pushing Apple around. Wait a minute...
    Rayz2016muthuk_vanalingamEsquireCatsDetnatorjony0
  • Reply 7 of 13
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 960member
    They are, respectively, gatekeepers of the use of their respective IP. And that's as it should be.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobraDetnatorjony0
  • Reply 8 of 13
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 960member
    Now that the Dems have full control of House, Senate and the Presidency, watch out Apple! Apple as a corporation and Apple's employees as individuals are strong supporters of the Democrat party and yet it's the Democrat party which consistently spars with Apple's business practices. 
    In what ways is Apple as a corporation a strong supporter of the Democrat party?

    Many employees? Sure. But the company itself?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Now that the Dems have full control of House, Senate and the Presidency, watch out Apple! Apple as a corporation and Apple's employees as individuals are strong supporters of the Democrat party and yet it's the Democrat party which consistently spars with Apple's business practices. 
    Since the Republicans have only won the popular vote once out of the last nine elections, then I’d say most Americans are democrats, whether they work for Apple or not.  
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobraforegoneconclusionjony0
  • Reply 10 of 13
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,339member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Now that the Dems have full control of House, Senate and the Presidency, watch out Apple! Apple as a corporation and Apple's employees as individuals are strong supporters of the Democrat party and yet it's the Democrat party which consistently spars with Apple's business practices. 
    Since the Republicans have only won the popular vote once out of the last nine elections, then I’d say most Americans are democrats, whether they work for Apple or not.  
    You are way off. Only about 33% of the registered voters are Democrats. 29% are registered Republicans and 34% are independent.  Most Americans are Independent or Third Party. If the US President was elected by a popular vote, neither a Democrat or Republican candidate can get elected with a majority, just by counting on their own party votes.

    What is accurate to say is that most Independents vote Democrat. Now of days, it's the Independent voters that determines the outcome of a US Presidential election. Local elections are a different matter.  

    There are only a handful of Staes that have more than 50% of their registered voters, either Democrat or Republican. 
    edited January 8
  • Reply 11 of 13
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,399member
    Now that the Dems have full control of House, Senate and the Presidency, watch out Apple! Apple as a corporation and Apple's employees as individuals are strong supporters of the Democrat party and yet it's the Democrat party which consistently spars with Apple's business practices. 
    You might be interested to learn that the "Democrat party" doesn't exist.

    Don't take my word for it; go to their website. Read the top of the page, where their name is.

    As for the issue at hand: Apple is a corporation, and legally bound to do everything legally allowed to maximize profits for its shareholders. This is not an excuse; it is an explanation. Just because Apple supports such "radical" concepts and equality and human rights doesn't mean they are immune from wrongdoing; neither does the fact that the Democratic Party has control of all three branches of government now mean that any wrongdoing by Apple (or Google, or MS) will go ignored.

    In point of fact, the party that currently (still) holds the reins of the US government tended to do little or nothing about companies like Facebook (Apple, Twitter, Google, et al) that pushed the limits of the law. Tiny fines that had no effect on companies caught in illegal or unethical acts, hearings that resulted in nothing whatsoever, and numerous false charges mixed in with some that had at least some basis in reality, mostly. If you want to see government tolerating and even encouraging corruption, you should probably have a good look at the outgoing FCC chair and the outgoing heads of the various Congressional committees charged with investigating charges of wrongdoing. As far as I can tell, all they did was waste everyone's time and plenty of taxpayer dollars.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 13
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,650member
    Historically Gated towns were popular to the point they become gated cities then some of the largest well-known cities in the world. Even after the walls and the gates stopped being needed the popular modern cites have a degree of natural features to keep them contained to allow the more successful to push out the tired. They had room for newcomers toomake a mark.

    So in a way all these platforms are like that and that to me isn't really notable. Free markets often make gatekeepers.

    If the Free market (ie Customers) lets Apple, Google, Mircosoft, Sony, Steam and Nintendo all be Gatekeeper I'm struggling to see how there is an issue.
    Detnator
  • Reply 13 of 13
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,926member
    mattinoz said:
    Historically Gated towns were popular to the point they become gated cities then some of the largest well-known cities in the world. Even after the walls and the gates stopped being needed the popular modern cites have a degree of natural features to keep them contained to allow the more successful to push out the tired. They had room for newcomers toomake a mark.

    So in a way all these platforms are like that and that to me isn't really notable. Free markets often make gatekeepers.

    If the Free market (ie Customers) lets Apple, Google, Mircosoft, Sony, Steam and Nintendo all be Gatekeeper I'm struggling to see how there is an issue.
    There are problems with the analogy. 

    Gated towns and cities basically died out and have been replaced by gated residential areas where only the privileged few can exist. 

    Those gated cities could only have influence within their walls. Other cities, gated or otherwise, could exist, prosper (or not) and compete.

    The free market has choice, but in practical terms, the lack of true competition has led to restricted options and the corporations behind the different platforms manoeuvring to limit competition and therefore choice. 
    edited January 9
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