Apple fires back at Epic Games, claims CEO wanted Fortnite "special deal" - Dexerto

Apple fires back at Epic Games, claims CEO wanted Fortnite “special deal”

Published: 21/Aug/2020 22:54

by Theo Salaun


The legal saga between Epic Games and Apple is far from over, as the California-based company has fired back at Epic’s litigation and Fortnite PR campaign with claims that CEO Tim Sweeney wanted a “special deal” for his company specifically.  

On August 13, Epic Games offered a direct payment option in Fortnite on iOS, circumventing Apple’s payment commissions and subsequently leading to the game’s deletion from the App Store on the basis of a breached contract. Epic responded by launching a lawsuit and massive PR campaign against Apple, grounded in a “1984” parody suggesting monopolistic, repressive behavior on the tech giant’s behalf.


In response to critics who believed that Epic’s move was simply self-serving and a billionaire company’s effort to circumvent Apple’s commission rates, Sweeney released a series of Tweets in which he argued that this fight was taken up for altruistic means.

In one of his statements, he cemented that logic and confirmed the symbolism of Fortnite’s in-game Orwellian video by explaining that “the fight isn’t over Epic wanting a special deal, it’s about the basic freedoms of all consumers and developers.” 


But on August 21, Apple’s legal team has both taken aim at Epic Games’ lawsuit and, in doing so, revealed that correspondences suggest Sweeney sought a privileged arrangement for his company. 

In the document, the company’s attorneys reveal that “Epic also does not seek a return to the status quo. As its own correspondence with Apple makes clear, it seeks an exception to Apple’s policies.” This is then furthered by a dispensation from Apple executive, Phil Schiller, who recounts that Sweeney emails requested “a special deal for only Epic.”

According to Apple’s attorneys, this “special deal” referred to a separate “competing Epic Games Store app through the App Store” that would enable consumers to install and purchase apps from Epic instead of through Apple. 


In response to these accusations of desiring preferential treatment, Sweeney has released the full email’s transcript. In it, he expands that “we hope that Apple will also make these options equally available to all iOS developers.” This rebuttal is in direct contradiction of Apple’s allegations.

As the tech giant’s legal team explains in its document, “if Epic’s scheme succeeds, 1.7 million other developers will be eligible to make the same argument.”

It appears that was Sweeney and Epic’s intention, as transcripts indicate the desire to extend this treatment to other developers. Those intentions may not matter in court, but they will be relevant to public sentiment. The saga continues.


Twitch staff accused of tricking streamer into promoting brands

Published: 7/Oct/2020 21:28 Updated: 7/Oct/2020 21:34

by Alan Bernal


Twitch streamers are speaking out against the broadcasting platform for attempting to promote brands within individual chats. Content creators are slamming the practice, especially since they have no control of removing the adverts from their channel.

One longtime YouTuber and Twitch streamer who goes by ‘The Black Hokage’ noticed a staffer had dropped a message in his Chat. The purpose of the text, sent by ‘newcryka,’ was to have the streamer acknowledge the listed brand with 400 Bits attached to the post.


He immediately took issue with the move: “Yo, are you promoting something?… You got a Twitch staff symbol next to your name, are you promoting sh*t in my Chat?”

After posting the interaction on Twitter, more streamers slammed the apparent unsolicited advertisement from the streaming platform.


“Creators beware! Twitch staff is now going around donating spare change in an attempt to trick you into shouting out brands without proper compensation. Don’t fall for it,” The Black Hokage said.

Twitch partner and viral streamer ‘negaoryx’ responded: “Which is great, because we can’t moderate anything said by Twitch staff in chat, so we can’t even purge it… great…”

There is a function that lets people ‘/Clear’ their channels messaging log, which lets “broadcasters and chat moderators to completely wipe the previous chat history.” This feature doesn’t apply to messages from Twitch staff accounts.


However the means, content creators and the wider Twitch community got an indication that the streaming platform could experience more intrusive marketing campaigns.

Some believe that The Black Hokage’s clip could have been a Twitch advertisement staff member testing out a new form of social engagement tactics meant for branding – and the thought isn’t unfounded.

In early August, an outside company released how its latest marketing scheme made use of Twitch’s donation alerts to get a branded sound bite played on a streamer’s channel. Their video showed multiple instances of a Twitch account surprising streamers by donating $5 to get a brand’s name and current offerings played on their page.


The idea was immediately chastised for its way of engaging in promotion and sponsorship for a company without consulting or locking a paid deal with the individual streamer. However, despite inevitable backlash, advertisers are still trying out new methods of outreach.

The Amazon-owned streaming site has been incorporating more ways to engage audiences with branding promotions and advertisements.

Amazon solutions for ads have directly integrated Twitch channels and streamers in the past.

“Twitch video and display media, as well as new Twitch audiences, are now available for inclusion in Amazon Advertising campaigns, and Amazon audiences are available for inclusion in Twitch campaigns,” Amazon wrote. “We’re delighted to share that we are combining Twitch’s hard-to-reach and highly engaged audiences with Amazon Advertising’s integrated full-funnel advertising offering.

Days after Amazon announced it had added Twitch to its Amazon Advertising portfolio, the streaming site announced it was testing out mid-roll ads for channels. This too was vehemently criticized by everyone from Twitch streamers to viewers, and the idea was later abandoned.

Twitch has been experimenting with new ad campaigns that have drawn ire from viewers and streamers.

A feature that hasn’t gone back to the drawing board has been the picture-in-picture mode for ads that minimizes and mutes the main stream while playing a fullscreened promotion. This too was received with angst from viewers.

Twitch’s latest attempt at finding a more engaging way to introduce ads to its reported 17.5 million daily users has, again, created ire from its partnered content creators.

As Amazon and Twitch continue to create advertising solutions for its highly-valuable and impressionable audiences, the platform’s streamers will be on the lookout for more marketing tactics that look to benefit off of their communities.