Sometimes I think about my life and wonder where I went wrong, so I sit on a wooden bench in front of a federal court watching a google search candy Crush Saga on the screen. This is a big, big-stakes study for tech companies. It’s a crashing hole too.
On the booth is Lorin Hitt, professor of operations, information, and decision-making at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton, looking uncomfortable behind his face shield. During his direct examination on the fly Epic v. Apple Hitt testified that he didn’t think about accessing an app like this one Candy Crush via a browser instead of the app, which was rated as “friction” for the user – and that this was certainly less friction than “real” alternatives such as leaving a convenience store and crossing the street to go to another convenience store to get.
The point of Hitt’s earlier testimony was that game developers are bringing multi-home games to PC and cell phones. He’s Apple’s appraisal, and he’s here to convince the judge that being banned from the App Store isn’t a huge obstacle for developers. Epic – whose game Fourteen days is in fact locked out of the store – has brought Apple to court to show something else. And the picture Hitt painted during his direct investigation largely dismissed Epic’s concerns.
Epic attorney Yonatan Even, also in a face shield, is now doing his best to blow a hole in Hitt’s testimony. I do my bIt’s best to follow a confusing chart that includes games that Hitt promised that are available on both PCs and cell phones. First of all, it should be noted that some of these games are actually not available for the PC. A game, Words story, is listed in the document as available on PC, but is not listed on the developer’s website. In the Microsoft Store, a “Words story“The same art exists, but it’s not the same developer. “Sir, this isn’t the same developer and it’s not the same game, is it?” Even says. “It’s what is called a ‘wrong game’.”
We go through this tedious process for multiple games: Helix game, Crowd City, BitLife, Happy glass, Paper.io 2, and Mr. Bullet. I’ve never heard of any of these little potato games, which makes them an odd point of comparison for the world’s most popular game. The app developer sites point out that despite the contrary Hitt document, they are not available on the PC. Things get controversial and Hitt starts having a hang dog. “Rick Moranis in Honey, I’ve shrunk the kids“Mood. Has Hitt double-checked the data to make sure it’s the same developer in all branches? Can he tell the court under oath that a particular app is from the same developer?
“Can you give the court an affidavit that you saw with your own eyes that this game is also available on PC?” Even ask.
It turns out that Hitt cannot guarantee that all the games listed in the incomprehensible table come from the same developer on all platforms. He says his research team did the analysis and he trusts his team.
Hitt previously said that he identified eight games that people could use to buy things on the iOS web browser and then use them in iOS apps. These are given in the table. Epic has complained that this process is not good enough – and certainly not ubiquitous. Now Even raises the “smooth” process that Hitt had cheerfully witnessed earlier in the day. candy Crush Saga is the example that chooses Even. We go to the website and click “Install”, where we are immediately sent to the App Store. We return to the website. The only way to play on the web is on the desktop. The Facebook option for Candy Crushis also desktop.
“Is that part of the smooth process you envisioned?” Even asks a little sarcastically.
We try another game Clash Royaledeveloped by Supercell. We go to the FAQ from Supercell, where it turns out that payment transactions are only made through Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Supercell itself does not store any payment information. “Yet you still believe your team managed to go to a website and buy legitimately Clash Royale Money and back to the app? Is this your testimony? “Even ask.
Then he turns the knife: the typical user of Clash Royale has no research team, even observed.
I’m scared we’ll go through all eight apps, but luckily Even saves us the exhaustion. According to Even, there are three apps that help you buy something on the web and then use it in an app: PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds, Roblox and… Fourteen days. ((Fourteen dayshowever is now banned by iOS.) Does Hitt have any basis for denying this?
Hitt says he trusts his team. I feel very bad for the team that mostly threw Hitt under the bus here.
While forwarding, Apple’s Cynthia Richman tries to stop the bleeding. Sometimes developers license games to other developers – which may explain some cases where the developers mismatch. Hitt also tells us that Even’s fairly brutal examples are not typical. Hitt has personally bought V-Dollars in a mobile browser, he proudly tells us.
“It looked pretty difficult given the examples you gave,” says Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. What is the explanation for why we couldn’t do these things during cross-examination? Well, says Hitt, there were other links in the table.
That may very well be true. But Even’s point is clear: most of us don’t have research teams. I wish I had – I could send them to the trial for me and blame them if the work was below par. Instead, I personally sit through excruciating expert statements. Why am I focusing on this specifically? It’s the most interesting thing that happened all day.