While investors of Epic include Tencent, which has a 39% stake, and Sony, which purchased a 1.4% stake in 2020 for $250 million, Sweeney remains the CEO and controlling shareholder.Competitor Roblox has announced its plans for a direct listingand Unity — a rival to Unreal — went public in 2020. But Epic Games has little interest in an IPO.”We’re still a highly independent company who’s not beholden to public markets in which we have to show ever-increasing profits,” said Sweeney. “And anything like a fight like this [with Apple and Google], which loses us money for a year or more,
would never be tolerated. So we have the financial independence to do that.”Epic’s business model gives it a flexibility that other tech companies don’t necessarily have.”Unlike Facebook, iOS doesn’t drive the majority of Epic’s revenues. Unlike Spotify or Netflix, Epic is highly profitable,” said Matthew Ball, a former Amazon Studios executive and strategist who has penned over 20,000 words on Fortnite and Epic. “And unlike almost all other large companies,
Epic is private and majority controlled by one person.”Ball added that the fight with Apple and Google didn’t come without sacrifices for Epic, which might see avid iPhone users find other games to replace Fortnite as the app spends months if not years in legal purgatory. “But Epic is uniquely able to push back,” he said.
What’s at stake
Sweeney declined to say how much the company is spending on legal fees, but he said that the fight to take on Apple and Google is costing “lots and lots” of Fortnite v bucks generator senior leadership time.And the ban on Fortnite in app stores is costing the company plenty in lost revenue. Fortnite users have spent about $1.2 billion globally on the game on iOS since its launch, according to mobile app tracker Sensor Tower.The Epic Games Inc. Fortnite: Battle Royale video game is displayed for a photograph on an Apple Inc. iPhone in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 10, 2018. Fortnite, the hit game that’s denting the stock prices of video-game makers after signing up 45 million players, didn’t really take off until it became free and a free-for-all.
Epic’s case against Apple is expected to go to trial in May. Google is seeking to have Epic’s suit dismissed in a hearing scheduled on February 18.Such a public fray has unnerved some developers, who fear that Apple might go a step further and remove apps from its store simply for being built using the Unreal Engine, which it briefly threatened to do last August.”We were legitimately planning to switch to Unreal for our next VR project but after Tim decided to poke the bear we decided it wasn’t [worth] the risk,” game developer Ryan Engle tweeted in December. “I love Epic and Unreal, but business is business and the real-world consequences of Apple banning Epic is too much risk for us.”Sweeney responded saying that Engle’s “fear of retaliation by Apple” was shared by many developers, but Epic would “fight on just the same!”Epic is also risking Fortnite’s market share on iOS and Android platforms, as fans may turn to other games during the legal battle. On Android devices, Fortnite v bucks generator can be downloaded from Epic’s website and app stores other than Google’s Play Store, so while access is hindered, it’s not eliminated. However on Apple devices, the game can no longer be downloaded at all.Sweeney also faced backlash in November for controversially comparingFortnite’s legal battle to the civil rights movement.”The point is if you really want to make a difference, you have to buck the system,” Sweeney said in response to the criticism. “I think there’s a lot we can learn from any of the past struggles in humanity and I think it’s perfectly healthy to apply struggles from vital causes in the history of the world to struggles over smaller issues like software platforms.”