For those not in the loop, the Epic v Apple trial has been going on for some time now and revealing a lot of interesting information. In 2020, Epic broke Apple's rules on purpose by adding its own payment processing system to Fortnite on iOS devices. This means that Epic decided to ignore Apple's 30% fee, so Apple, of course, removed Fortnite from the iOS store. In response to this, Epic launched a lawsuit claiming that Apple was being anti-competitive. The trial itself started on May 3rd 2020 and it's pulling up some interesting information.
Epic offered Sony $200M for first-party exclusives
One of the new revelations is that Epic made an offer to Sony for first-party PlayStation games to be exclusively released for PC via the Epic Games Store. The document was created before any official agreement was made and only a small part of it has been posted online. It's still unknown what was agreed by Sony and Epic though this attempted exclusivity deal may not help Epic in their case against Apple.
So far, Sony has released first-party console exclusives to Steam and Epic. According to the small portion of the document that has been posted online, Sony seems receptive to a PC exclusivity deal with Epic. This isn't too surprising though. Sony did invest $200 million into Epic earlier this year and they've invested into Epic previously too.
What about Microsoft and Nintendo?
The snippet of the document reveals that Epic has started talks with Microsoft but it's not going too well for Epic. The PC Game Pass leader at Microsoft is against what Epic is doing and the company is supposedly “effectively bidding against us for content”. Xbox boss Phil Spencer is also already in talks with Gabe Newell about Steam releases. This isn't too surprising as Xbox has been working with Steam for some time now to bring their console exclusives to the Steam platform in addition to their own Microsoft PC Store.
Written on the document as a “moonshot”, Epic apparently has plans to approach Nintendo to be the exclusive distributor for their first-party games. The discussions have not started yet but considering the lack of previous interest in PC releases for their games, it seems unlikely that Nintendo will accept any deals.
Where does the information come from?
The small piece of the document was taken from the Box folder where the Apple and Epic legal teams have been uploading exhibits for the trial. The full document was deleted shortly after being uploaded but Resetera poster Raigor grabbed it and there's also a thread full of documents from the trial.
What does this actually mean?
The document only tells us that Epic made an offer; it doesn't mean that Sony accepted it. It also doesn't mention what games this would have been for. We can probably assume that Epic was looking for exclusivity with some of the bigger first-party games such as Bloodborne or the God of War series. Without Sony or Epic openly confirming anything, there's no way to know for sure. We also don't know if this would be a timed exclusivity deal for any first-party games or a permanent deal to prevent Steam (or other platforms) from getting them. Though it is safe to assume Nintendo would refuse any proposal put in front of them.
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