Apple and Epic Games went to court this year over a spat because of the phone manufacturer’s 30 percent platform fees that Epic argues is “extortionate.” In October, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers of the District Court for the Northern District of California warned that the outcome of the lawsuit will also have consequences for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo because all three companies charge developers fees based on a similar model for selling their games through their respective online stores. However, Xbox boss Phil Spencer thinks the two cases aren’t comparable.
In an interview with The Verge, Spencer said that the comparison isn’t fair because Apple’s products are “general compute platforms” whereas the amount of consoles sold in an entire generation is less than the amount of phones sold in a single year.
If you just look at the scale, there are a billion mobile phones on the planet. Those are general compute platforms. A game console does one thing really; it plays video games. It’s sold, for us, at a loss. Then you make money back by selling content and services on top. The model is just very, very different from something the scale of Windows, or iOS, or Android.
I think there are 200 million game consoles that are sold in a generation across all of our platforms. That’s less than a year of phone sales. It’s just not even close. People say, well, the scale shouldn’t matter. It actually does. When you start looking at how we look at open platforms and access, those things do matter. From a legal perspective, they matter.
Epic’s lawsuit against Apple is pending resolution.