- An Apple subscriber has filed a lawsuit against the tech giant that accuses the company of shutting out mobile gaming competitors from the likes of Microsoft and Google.
- Apple said in August that it doesn't allow competing apps with vast libraries in its App Store because it would need to approve each and every game therein.
- But Apple's own Arcade service works in a similar way and is available for people to download on the App Store.
- Former Apple App Store director Phil Shoemaker told the House antitrust subcommittee that Apple favors its own apps over those of developers.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Apple has been hit with a lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of monopolizing the mobile game market, as Bloomberg first reported.
The complaint, filed Thursday in federal court by an Apple Arcade subscriber, alleges that Apple has been keeping direct competing subscription gaming services from the likes of Microsoft, Google, and Facebook off of iOS.
Apple said in August that it doesn't allow competitors like Microsoft's Netflix-style Xbox Game Pass and Google's Stadia on its App Store because the company can't review every game in their libraries. For example, Microsoft's subscription service comes with a built-in library of games, and reviewing each one would be a time-consuming, tedious process. It would be like Netflix needing Apple to sign off on every movie listed on its platform, as Business Insider's Ben Gilbert reported.
Apple's Arcade service, however, is the company's subscription gaming service that is built similarly, with a library of games that people can download from the App Store and play across their devices.
The subscriber who filed the complaint said that by preventing other game stores off of Apple devices, players are forced to pay higher prices and get a less robust game selection. Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
House lawmakers released a report this week of its finding from a yearslong antitrust investigation into Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. As part of the report, former Apple App Store director Phil Shoemaker commented on the company's handling of the gaming services, noting that Apple favors its own apps over other developers'.
"Apple's gaming service, Apple Arcade, is a type of app that was 'consistently disallowed from the store,' when offered by third-party developers," the report said, "but Apple allowed its own app in the store 'even though it violates existing [App Store] guidelines.'"
Apple has a long-fraught relationship with third-party developers who have taken issue with Apple's App Store practices. Many have directly highlighted that the company's 30% commission is unfair.
The issue gained more attention in August with the high-profile debacle between the company and "Fortnite" creator Epic Games. The company updated its "Fortnite" game so that users can make in-app purchases through its own payment system instead of Apple's in an effort to skirt the 30% commission policy. As a result, Apple kicked "Fortnite" off its store, and Epic Games continues to fight to get the game reinstated.
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