Valve have been ordered to surrender four years of sales data from over 400 games available on Steam, as part of the ongoing Epic Games Vs. Apple lawsuit.
Apple had previously asked Valve for six years of their sale’s data, any discounts, and when they became available on Steam. They claim this information “is crucial for calculating the total size of the market for Epic’s available digital distribution channels, which this Court already has found highly relevant to this case.”
Valve rejected this request, as they did not keep such records, 99% of the over 30,000 games on Steam from third parties (including confidential data), and would require extensive manhours to compile without compensation. Valve also stated they did not compete in the mobile gaming space, making comparisons to the Epic Games Store and App Store irrelevant to the case.
Apple reduced their request to 436 games that are available on both Steam and the Epic Games Store. This data would still have included (from 2015) all sales, price changes, gross revenues, and all revenue related to every version of those games and all digital content or items. Valve rejected this as well, stating Apple had failed to produce evidence they needed it for their case.
Now, Law360 reports (via GamesIndustry.biz) that California magistrate judge Thomas S. Hixson has ordered Valve to produce the documents; but reduced to the prior four years rather than six. He offered a small consolation to Valve with the comment “Apple has salted the earth with subpoenas, so don’t worry, it’s not just you.”
As we previously reported, Epic Games announced that the price of V-Bucks, Fornite‘s in-game currency that can be bought with real money, would permanently be 20% cheaper on all platforms. However, on Android and iOS, a new payment method was introduced.
Rather than buying the V-Bucks through Google Play and the App Store respectively, Epic Games launched the “Epic direct payment.” “When you choose to use Epic direct payments,” the announcement explains, “you save up to 20% as Epic passes along payment processing savings to you.”
This is due to Apple and Google collecting a 30% fee through all V-Bucks bought on their respective platforms. As such, the 20% drop has not been applied to purchases made through them. Epic Games state that “If Apple or Google lower their fees on payments in the future, Epic will pass along the savings to you.”
Shortly after this announcement, Apple and Google both removed Fortnite from the App Store and Google Play Stores respectively due to Epic Games violating their terms of service.
Epic Games issued legal action against both, citing that they had a monopoly over their stores on iOS and Android. Apple had allegedly threatened to terminate all of Epic Games’ App Store developer accounts and cut off tools for development on iOS and Mac.
Epic Games may have been expecting action from Apple however, having made a parody of Apple’s own 1984 commercial; appealing to their fans to support them. Further, the #FreeFortnite Cup was announced.
Apple later accused Sweeney of asking for exception from the App Store terms and conditions. Sweeney tweeted that Apple’s statement was misleading, and presented screenshots of the alleged emails. Microsoft also filed a statement of support, favoring Epic Games.
In late August, Apple terminated Epic Games’ App Store developer account. This means Epic Games will no longer be able to submit new apps, or updates to existing ones (such as the Infinity Blade games).
Epic would successfully win a restraining order that month, denying Apple removing Unreal Engine-based games from the App Store (thereby harming developers who used the engine for their games). Epic Games later filed an injunction asking that Apple be prohibited from “taking any adverse action against Epic.”
In early September of this year, Apple issued a counter-suit against Epic Games. Therein they asked for compensation and damages, claiming Epic Games’ actions were “little more than theft.” Both parties would later agree to a trial by judge, rather than a jury. That trial is set for May 3rd, 2021.
Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers gave a preliminary injunction in October. Apple did not have to reinstate Fortnite on the App store, but they had a restraining order preventing them from revoking developer tools from “Epic Affiliates;” such as those using the Unreal Engine for their game.
Judge Gonzales Rogers later dismissed two of Apple’s claims at a hearing on November 10th, including their claim of Epic Games committing theft. She told Apple lawyer Anna Casey “You can’t just say it’s independently wrongful. You actually have to have facts.”
Sweeney recently drew ire for comparing the Epic Games vs. Apple lawsuit to the civil rights movement. Epic Games also reportedly hired a lobbyist to propose a bill in North Dakota, that would allow alternate payment methods on the App Store and Google Play.