The whole Epic vs. Apple court case, which got started earlier this week, is proving to be a bonanza of information. We're finding out stuff about Epic's business model that we never would have had access to otherwise, and we're finding out that the heads of these huge companies often chat with each other.
For example, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney had an email conversation with Xbox chief Phil Spencer last summer about the upcoming lawsuit. The Verge obtained court docs that show Sweeney sent Spencer a message regarding free-to-play games on Microsoft's subscription multiplayer service, which would eventually lead to Xbox dropping the pay requirements to play F2P games on Xbox.
Spencer's reply message touched on just how busy Microsoft was in the summer of 2020 (and judging by recent headlines, that hasn't changed at all), but it also reaffirmed Spencer's commitment to getting xCloud on as many platforms as possible.
"At the highest levels of MS we are committed to pushing on these policies and continuing to expand our console platforms capabilities," Spencer wrote. "But I did just want to let you know that I have your point on xCloud on other consoles (haven't given up), F2P outside of Gold (we will get there and I want to partner with you), and our Store entitlement ideas as items I'm going to review with you to make progress. I'm committed to that, just behind."
Project xCloud, as Microsoft calls its cloud streaming service, did eventually find its way to PC and iOS, and Xbox Live Gold did drop its subscription requirements for free-to-play games. It’s interesting to see how quickly these companies can act once their leaders set their minds on a course of action.
Sweeney’s reply is also interesting, as he seems to have given Spencer the heads up on Epic’s plans with Fortnite. "Totally understood,” Sweeney responded. “I gather there's a lot going on at Microsoft nowadays. Anyway, you'll enjoy the upcoming fireworks show."
Less than a week later, Epic would update Fortnite to bypass the Apple store, resulting in this whole lawsuit. We expect more bombshells as people pour through the thousands of court documents that are now publicly accessible.
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