Apple intends to argue that it has plenty of competition when it comes to video game transactions, pushing back against Epic Games' assertions that it maintains an "unfair and anti-competitive" monopoly.
Both companies are heading to trial on May 3, 2021, to settle a legal dispute that sparked into life when Fortnite was pulled from the App Store by the iPhone maker.
The popular battle royale shooter was removed from Apple platforms after Epic used an unauthorised third-party payment method to circumvent store fees, thereby breaching App Store guidelines.
In retaliation, Epic suggested that Apple had only removed Fortnite because it had defied the "App Store Monopoly," and accused the company of eradicating competition and holding developers to ransom with (recently revised) 30 percent platform fees.
In a legal filing seen by Reuters, Apple has dismissed that notion and said it has plenty of competition where game transitions are concerned, pointing to companies like Nintendo and Microsoft as other platform holders that operate in a similar fashion by choosing what software to support and charging platform fees.
Apple will apparently also highlight that consumers can spend virtual tokens purchased elsewhere on the App Store, letting them decide how their cash makes its way to developers.
The news that Apple might look to compare itself to other platforms as a form of defence comes after the U.S. District Judge overseeing the case warned the outcome could have "serious ramifications" for other companies, including the big console makers.
"Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all operate similar walled gardens or closed platform models as Apple, whereby the hardware, operating system, digital marketplace, and IAPs are all exclusive to the platform owner," said Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers back in October 2020.
"As such, a final decision should be better informed regarding the impact of the walled garden model given the potential for significant and serious ramifications for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft and their video game platforms."