Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, says the world needs a unified game store and that Epic is working with developers and service providers to make this happen.
“What the world really needs now is a single store that works with all platforms,” Sweeney said in an interview with Bloomberg. “Currently, software ownership is split between the iOS App Store, the Android Google Play Marketplace, various stores on Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, and then the Microsoft Store and the Mac App Store.”
Epic’s plan to remove this confusion is to develop a system that will allow users “to buy software in one place, knowing that they have it on all devices and all platforms”. How this disparate collection of technologies and competing platforms will succeed is an unanswered question, but it is reasonable to assume that it has something to do with the metaverse, the ill-defined concept Online worlds we’re pretty sure we’re a bad idea, despite Sweeney being a dedicated (and legally recognized) be liable.
Sweeney has been publicly advocating more open online shops since mid-2020 Epic Sues Apple for “Monopoly Practices” in the app store. When speaking at the Global Conference for Mobile Application Ecosystem Fairness in South Korea, however, he insisted that there are more important reasons to force online stores to be open than just money.
“Apple ties a billion users to one store and payment processor,” said Sweeney. “Now Apple is abiding by repressive foreign laws that monitor users and deprive them of political rights. But Apple is ignoring laws passed by Korean democracy. Apple must be stopped.”
South Korea recently passed a law prescribing alternative payment options on major digital platforms, including the App Store, and prevents platform owners from forcing developers to use their integrated payment systems. According to Korea Herald, Google has complied with the new law, but Apple has not yet indicated whether or how it is intended to do so.
“I am very proud to stand against these monopolies with you,” said Sweeney. “I am proud to stand by you and say that I am Korean.”
This is not the first time Sweeney has declared his affinity for Korea: he made a similar statement in August, shortly after the Korean court ruling on digital shop windows.
As President Kennedy said on the Berlin Wall in 1963, today all developers around the world can proudly say: I am Korean! pic.twitter.com/XeVdB1W1WlAugust 31, 2021
Nor is it his first sweeping statement on the cultural and moral significance of Epic’s dispute with Apple and Google. In November 2020, he was criticized for comparing Epic’s rejection of the Terms of Service with historical struggles for civil rights. “There were actual laws in the books and the laws were wrong,” he said. “And people disobeyed them, and there was nothing wrong with disobeying them, because to go with them would be an arrangement to make them the status quo.”
A US court also ruled in September that an Apple policy preventing apps from promoting their own payment systems is anti-competitive and should be changed. Apple appealed against this judgment but no suspension was granted, meaning the court-ordered policy change must come into force in December.