Apple Inc. faces another investigation from the Japanese antitrust regulator amid ongoing scrutiny from Fortnite’s developer, Epic Gaming, Inc. This is the new inquiry the organization faces since its investigation was opened by the European Union in June.
Japan’s antitrust regulator will look into Apple’s activities. Alliance with developers after the lawsuit brought by Epic Games against the iPhone maker’s App Store regulations sparked another surge of criticism from the region’s massive gaming industry.
“I want from the bottom of my heart Epic to win,” Tokyo-based mobile game developer Gumi Inc. founder and chairman Hironao Kunimitsu wrote on his Facebook page.
Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple for charging 30 percent of product income on App Store purchases to the company. However, the Japanese developer’s complaints are profoundly embedded in the incoherent execution of Apple’s guidelines for the App Store. They claimed the tech giant had inconsistent design decisions and contact discrepancies between developers.
“Apple’s app review is often ambiguous, subjective and irrational,” PrimeTheory Inc. founder Makoto Shoji said.
Google’s got better communication and consent. In comparison, the App Store introduced an iOS Refuse Rescue. The service is helping developers work through the certification process for Apple.
“Apple’s response to developers is often curt and boilerplate,” said Shoji. However, the developers are forced to be polite “like a servant asking the master what he wants next.”
Epic sued both Apple and Google for the unfair payments and their ability to directly market in-game goods to users. Its popular smartphone game Fortnite has created more than $1 billion annually from virtual accessories and add-ons bought in-game.
Apple remains Japan’s powerful revenue driver
Japan has about 702,000 registered developers. It appealed to the world’s most innovative software groups. In a recent Apple-commissioned report, Japan’s App Store ecosystem created revenues and billings of some $37 billion in 2019. This includes $24bn from traditional products and services, $11bn through digital services and goods, and $2bn through in-app advertising.
Also, iPhone brings huge revenue to Japanese game creators like the Square Enix, which accounted for 40 percent of its earnings from smartphone games. The Japanese games studios are aware of the 30 percent revenue from Nintendo in the 1980s with its consoles cartridges.
Although most developers don’t mind it, they explore Apple and other platforms for better support.
Shoji noted developers are suffering from the untimely update of Apple’s game, which often takes more than a month. “While Apple will never admit it, I think there are occasions when, in the review queue, they literally forget about an object,” he said. Shoji also added that a developer may have deliberately overlooked the company as a punishment for “giving them the wrong attitude.”
Apps that are pending approval often take weeks to get accepted. Meanwhile, a nearby game studio said it stopped organizing in-game seasonal activities because of Apple’s late response to their upgrade approval request.
In support, Apple has said it has two time zones for the respective analysis teams. It recruited people from Japanese-speaking nations to support developers over the phone during Japan’s business hours.