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Fortnite’s cash cow is Playstation, not iOS, court documents reveal (theverge.com)
204 points by danso 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 372 comments



Maybe Epic going up against the App Store is just warming up for going up against Sony's and Microsoft's stores, who ask for the same 30% cut like Apple does.

I doubt it. If you read the case they're making against Apple they actually do say why the iPhone and consoles are different. Their reasoning is that consoles are sold at a loss and the manufacturer needs to take those fees to support that sales model. If Epic tried to take on Microsoft or Sony, their own assertion in the Apple case would be used against them.

To me, this is a really weird argument. Why is Sony's business model Epic's problem? They're still taking a 30% cut. If Apple started selling phones at a loss would they now be in the clear in Epic's mind? Is there a minimum "loss" required? Like is losing $0.01 per iPhone enough to make taking a 30% ok?

Finally, what about Nintendo? They famously usually sell consoles at break-even or a small profit. Why isn't Epic suing them?


I think we just got the simple version and that in reality, there are hundreds of pages detailing as many points of contracts, agreements and precedents.

But generally, publishing to consoles is a more involved process for both parties, and game consoles are not expected to be open platforms. So I guess the business model of console manufacturers is more tightly tied to publishing contracts.


I think GP's point is, why are game consoles not expected to be open platforms, but the iPhone is? And who isn't to say Apple's business model isn't greatly tied to their closed platform?

At least as far as public sentiment goes, the only difference seems to just be precedent. Game consoles have always been locked down, strongly DRM controlled machines, while PDAs/smartphones have ... existed in a strange grey area. For whatever reason, people think they should have rights to their phone, but not as much for the game console.

Guessing it's because you can "just buy a PC" with greater performance and flexibility in essentially the same use domain as a console, but doesn't that apply to iPhones as well? "Just buy an android"?


>why are game consoles not expected to be open platforms, but the iPhone is?

Modern Society does not require a console to function. Most would agree our Smartphone has become the central to many things in our modern society including but not limited to business from all industries.

>"Just buy an android"?

Today, the iPhone has 66% market share in the United States, 75% of U.S. App Store revenues, and over 80% of time spent on the mobile internet. It has a substantial market that puts their Anti- Competitiveness in question.


I think that as game consoles become more multi purpose devices (as Xbox has been championing for a while now) that they will end up in a similar position as the app store.

> But generally, publishing to consoles is a more involved process for both parties, and game consoles are not expected to be open platforms. So I guess the business model of console manufacturers is more tightly tied to publishing contracts.

Maybe they're just asking for iOS publishing to become more involved and complex, tied to contracts. I still don't see the difference between an iPhone and a Playstation. They both have CPUs and RAM, they both have a locked down operating system (neither are general purpose computers), they both run third party software vetted by the device manufacturer, they both charge a percentage fee to publish on that platform.


> neither are general purpose computers

Is that really true for the iPad though? I know they are weirdly trying to convince people it's not a computer using their ads, but everyone laugh at theses ads too because that's absurd. It's definitely general purpose.


It's not a general purpose computer purely because the company decides what purposes are allowed and what purposes aren't, via store policy. Just like Sony decides what purposes are allowed and not allowed for the Playstation. Both products are computers, but it's hard to argue that they are "general purpose" computers.

Contrast that with computers where there is no authority figure exercising editorial control. Those are, by definition, general purpose.


By selling consoles at a loss, more people can afford to buy them bringing in a larger audience. And even the people who could afford a more expensive console will simply have more money for games.

Audience capture is indeed the answer, and is probably why Epic doesn't mind.

But there are way more iPhones out there than consoles.

Because the legal system is not some mechanistic program that computes decisions over cases. The legal system is (for better or worse) based on human judges that look at the entire context and make judgments of what is reasonable or not. Given that this is an antitrust case, the business model is absolutely part of the context.

Selling something at below cost to gain market share is a classic anti-competitive tactic. This aspect of Sony's business model vs. Apple's seems like it would be very unflattering for Sony if they had more market share. It's lucky that Sony still has strong competition in the form of Microsoft and Nintendo[1].

My personal take is that by saying "Sony is different though" Epic is trying to provide a fig leaf for a platform owner that could cause them real financial harm if they got on their bad side.

Edit: [1] Isn't it interesting thought that the 3 console platforms don't compete on what percent cut they take from software published on their platforms. All 3 are 30%.


Because epic is lying their asses off, they want to extract more money from Apple but don’t want to antagonise Sony and MS.

I think as soon as you start looking at this as a spectrum question and not a binary question, this argument falls apart.

Lets say console charges 30% to increase profit from -a% to +b%

Lets say Apple charges 30% to increase profit from +x% to +y%

The argument boils down to "One should be allowed to charge if it makes something unprofitable profitable. Therefore consoles should be allowed to charge but Apple should not."

But wouldn't this argument imply it is also wrong for consoles to charge in excess of what makes their profit greater than 0%? Or is there some fixed small amount of profit for which this is ok, say 5%, and Apple's profit from phones alone already exceeds this small number?


Extreme sustained profit margins are usually a signal that something fishy is going on.

A lot of brands have extreme profit margins on what they sell, but this is not considered illegal. Hell, a lot of brands are just reselling the same cheap goods as everyone else and charging more simply for having their name on it, but this is considered a perfectly valid business model.

>reselling the same cheap goods as everyone else and charging more simply for having their name on it

I've always seen this as slightly shady even if it is considered a valid business model.

It's often unclear if consumers are fooled about the true quality of goods, whether they are Veblen goods.

If it's a Veblen good or if they genuinely do value the brand name alone then I guess it's fine but it's not too exactly ethical to fool consumers about the quality of your products or what the brand actually represents (which is what consumers always say they value about brands - not the name itself).

I'm likewise not very sympathetic to the idea that these brands deserve government protection from knock offs. If consumers genuinely aren't bothered about whether their Nike shirt is "real" why does the government need to be?


I think it is the Extreme "Net Profits Margin" that is fishy.

Extreme Gross profits margin is entirely what enables marketing and funding for luxury brands.


> … profit margins …

… are completely dependent on what expenses are attributed to the revenue by the cost accountant. Is producing WWDC an App Store cost?


It's certainly accounted as a cost by Apple when it calculates its 37.8% gross profit margin.

Since when are the Courts in the business of determining which business models are valid and how much profit is justifiable? How about whether it’s justifiable because one of the party’s is taking a loss somewhere? I would say those sound like political questions, but in this case, it’s not really the government’s business either.

Profit margin can be an indicator of monopolistic behavior, ie if you have a monopoly, you may be able to charge unusually high profit margins and maintain customers.

It's not absolute PROOF though, because maybe you can charge high profit margins because you make really good stuff and people and are willing to pay more.

But in general, in normal competitive markets, if you have a high markup people will tend to seek\buy cheaper alternatives.


That is not an answer to my questions within the context of the comment I was replying to.

> But in general, in normal competitive markets, if you have a high markup people will tend to seek\buy cheaper alternatives.

That is in fact what happens. Apple rarely dominates in market share, and they do not have dominant phone market share. I can’t recall a time where they ever did have dominant phone market share.


I disagree. I think they’d be overjoyed if they could have free distribution on all platforms and that this case would set a precedent in Epic’s favor to pursue a similar outcome with the other platforms.

One difference, if I am not mistaken, is that Sony and Microsoft loose money on each console sold, at least on the first years, so they make money by the % to developers.

Apple makes lots of money on each iPhone sold.


Sincere question because I can't connect the dots: How is that relevant? If Apple went to a razor/blades model, would everyone on HN be fine with that? Why?

Personally I'd be fine with apple taking any percentage they want if they just opened their phone up to competing app stores.

> How is that relevant?

It really isn't. Apple could charge as much as they want as long as there are competition. Without it ( As in current App Store ) then the practice of 30% will be in question.

The problem then becomes if App Store is part of the total iPhone package, as lot of people and Apple are arguing that to be the case. Today, the iPhone has 66% market share in the United States, 75% of U.S. App Store revenues, and over 80% of time spent on the mobile internet If App Store is inseparable to iPhone, as per Apple's view, with today's Apple market share, will App Store; being part of iPhone cause Anti-Competitive practices to all business that requires for digital access? Since the Apps are solely approved at Apple's discretion. And there are written evidence that Apple could hold or reject Apps that are in direct competition with them.

Basically the current model is not sustainable. ( Benedict Evans has written about this since 2016 ) Judging form the new Apple Quarterly Report I would not be surprised if Apple reach 70%+ of US Smartphone Market shares by 2022. At that point whether the App Store has a monopoly on Apps ( so to speak as people often like to say this ) may no long be important. Because Apple will have close to a monopoly on Smartphone in US.


Would you be okay with Apple taking a 30% cut if they sold iOS devices at a loss? This seems like a really odd argument since it means that you think some fixed per-unit loss is enough to justify taking 30% of all 3rd-party sales in perpetuity.

Big caveat: in 10 years, the PS5 store and the XSX store will likely start to be superceeded by the gen 10 consoles. Epic would need to port their stores each generation, as well as ensure every game they host works (IF they are allowed to work). Making a storefront takes a considerable time and they'd need to make huge jumps every generation to port that work.

an IOS or android Epic Games Store will likely exist in a decade (of if not, it won't be because Apple/Google go bankrupt so much as Epic themself pulls out). it's a much more worthwhile endeavor, because they aren't tied to a single piece of hardware. Paying 30% for the console makers to handle their generational leap for them is likely worth it, so I doubt Epic will see much follow up here.

Now for other companies, who knows? As we see with Android, just because other store exist doesn't mean the native store doesn't have a massive advantadge. So it may not be worth the work even if competitors were allowed.


Other platforms have multiple stores (or physical disks). Apple does not. That's the fundamental problem.

Microsoft doesn’t, Sony doesn’t, and IIRC Nintendo doesn’t, either. Epic might have chosen the App Store and Google Play as low-risk targets to gauge their chances going up against other stores, where a lot more money is to be earned.

Game consoles have physical disks like I said. You can buy those anywhere, and even resell them.

Didn’t catch that part with the disks. But AFAIK even physical disks incur a royalty fee payable to the console maker. Not sure how much that is though.

That being said, only the top notch console models come with disk slots these days. Entry models don’t.

Does the Switch have disks or cartridges, actually?


The Switch has cartridges, a SD Card slot, and internal (unupgradable ~32GB) storage.

Afaik, not every game is sold on a cartridge but I think every single Nintendo produced game is and anything you get from like Target is.

I personally install games to an SD Card but other family members are very big on cartridges since they're not effectively locked to a specific Switch.


I might be the only person who doesn’t want epic to win.

You are not. If Epic wins kiss free App Store apps goodbye as Apple will surely charge everyone to put things in their store. After all neither Walmart nor Amazon allows you to sell your products there and give them 0%. I see no economic difference, a store is a store; storekeepers are allowed to make money with your products. Just because it's a pile of bits makes no difference.

If I want to sell art in a gallery, the gallery probably takes 50%; sure I could sell it online, but no one will see it, whereas the gallery brings customers to the art.

Epic wants profit without cost at Apple's expense, and if Apple if forced to accept this, then everyone else will suffer, except Epic.

You could make an argument that 30% is too high, but it's not a binary choice, 30% vs 0%. Epic thinks that it is.


I think you're sort of wrong here. Epic would likely be just fine with sideloading Fortnite and handling the distribution themselves (like they did with Android). What they're contesting is that only Apple is allowed to sell software on the phone, and in doing so also collects 30% of the cost. Apple could just get out of the way but chooses not to.

Okay but here's the thing. Such a change is good for the app publisher at the expense of the customer except in some vague second order effect about improbable price improvement.

Right now you have no choice but to buy Fortnite on the App Store. In the future you will have no choice but to buy Fortnite on the Epic Games Store. Customers don't really gain anything here.

I'm sympathetic to the whole software freedom angle and that end-users should be able to run whatever they want on their devices unrestricted but I could care less about publishers wanting to get around Apple's platform fees and store rules which for all their flaws genuinely benefit me as a user.

Like it sucks that it took total control, thousands of human reviewers and an iron fist to keep companies from getting away from bright line screwing over their customers but here we are.


You are ignoring the world of products that Apple prevents using their control over the App Store, which they absolutely do use to exclude or hobble competitors and stifle controversy (such as how they have pulled multiple apps that were commentary about smartphones being made in sweatshops). Apple is already past the "live long enough to become the villain" half of "you either die a hero or". The anticompetitive effects of having a duopoly--both of whom being interested in complete vertical integration--in control over all software distribution is devastating, and it isn't just some improbable/vague second order effect (which is also a ridiculous assertion even for price improvements: there are tons of products that are having to charge more only because of Apple... mine is one of them! it really depends on the app's sales mechanism whether 30% is fair or not, and this is coming from someone who has run a successful competitor to Apple on their own platform, despite the users having to be rabid for it due to how many hurdles they had to jump... before Apple finally "won" :/).

are you the ```saurik``` of Cydia?

If so, many thanks to you for your labor of love. I have been jailbreaking iPhones since 2012 with your help. I'm sorry that the corporate structure railroaded you.


Epic can just offer their app in both Apple's store and its own store. It's just that Apple store prices will be higher according to Apple's commissions. If you like convenience of only using Apple's payment services, who's stopping you from buying it in App Store with higher prices?

If Apple rejects the app from being available in its store, then again that doesn't affect you because you want to use only Apple approved apps anyway.


> Apple will surely charge everyone to put things in their store

Apple already charges everyone to put things in their store. $100 per year.


And it will be 300$ if you are a company. If you don't have a company account, you can't really work in team because of how signing apps work.

That’s for an enterprise account, used for internal release apps (not test!). Enterprise accounts are often misused by companies that just want to abuse the device provision list, it’s not required.

I’ve built widely downloaded apps for companies, featured in the App Store, with a small team of devs sharing one standard $100 account.


Neither app store is free to publish

>If Epic wins kiss free App Store apps goodbye as Apple will surely charge everyone to put things in their store

The goal here isn't to remove the 30%, it's to give the option for someone to develop an alternative way to host their apps, typically by use of their own store.

As we see on Android and even PC: many, many, many developers are fine paying 30% for that visibility, even if FreeDroid or Itch.io will let them keep 100% of their profits. This won't change much except for the billionaire companies who have the capacity to advertise themselves and deem 30% too much.


If Epic wins I would gladly pay Apple for access to the app store. Apple’s review process and the standards they implement provide a lot of value to me. My fear if Epic wins is the iPhone app store becoming like the Mac app store: mostly empty. Because if there’s a way to escape compliance with Apple’s standards and still distribute your app then many developers will take the easy road.

You reply hints at these <issues> when you allow developers to distribute their software but doesn't give any specifics. What is your specific issue with how app distribution works on macOS? Are you running into low quality software that you purchased that's full of malware?

I enjoy the freedom of going to a repository and building or download a binary without having to use Apple's centralized system. I like paying the developer directly if you want. I've done it with 1Password and other applications. They're high quality software.


So you are saying that App store provides so little value to developers that nobody will want to use it unless they are forced to do so? Maybe once Apple faces competition, they will have to improve their store and attract developers by offering a better experience?

Why not give consumers the choice to shop at whatever store they want?

I don’t think anyone who uses an iOS device wants epic to win. Most of us are specifically in the walled garden because we just want our tech to work.

Would I rather have an open source system, including for my phone, that works as well as Apple things? Sure, but there is no such thing.


I have been an iOS developer for more than a decade and I will never buy another brand of phone unless Apple manages to ruin the ecosystem.

I want Epic to win. Devs should be able to distribute their apps to consumers without Apple dictating style guidelines or which features are/aren't allowed on a general purpose computer. The iPhone and iPad are general purpose computers and Apple wants to pretend they are not.

I've shipped a ton of (legit, non-spam, useful, popular) apps over the years, but there are 2 I was never allowed to ship simply because they didn't fit in to Apple's rules... which were not even explicit, it tooks several rounds of review feedback to land at the final rejection.

Once that happened it made me wonder just how many products out there simply aren't allowed to exist or are intentionally handicapped because Apple said so. We should work to end it.


As someone who has jailbroken almost every iPhone I've owned I am very familiar with whole categories of apps that can't be distributed through the App Store. That said, how do you handle the FB's of the world or other bad actors who will (ab)use private API's if they no longer have to follow Apple's rules?

I could see Apple offering a new entitlement for payment processing, maybe with defined endpoints for canceling/managing subscriptions but 3rd party app stores open a whole can of worms. Can Apple lock down their private API's? Maybe, but I feel that will lead to a cat and mouse game where apps have lots of code testing to see what they can reach out and access on the OS version they are installed on. Sure, the FB through the official App Store won't be doing that but the FB distributed through Facebook's own App Store will. We've already seen what FB will do when given unchecked ability to distribute apps (see Onavo, FB's VPN to spy on users). Do you really think that end users will care that they installed an app through a seedy 3rd party app store? No, they will blame Apple if their data is stolen/privacy invaded.

I can already see the "promos" apps like FB or scummy games will run to get you to install them via some app store which isn't vetting the apps. "300 free coins if you install via AppStorez".


> they will blame Apple if their data is stolen/privacy invaded

This is something that happens currently because Apple has decided they are the sole distributor of apps, with their explicit approval implying that the app is good and wholesome.

I think you only need to look to Windows and macOS users to understand that people don't hold the platform fully responsible, and rightfully so.

> Do you really think that end users will care that they installed an app through a seedy 3rd party app store?

Apple certainly will care, and they can and have rejected signing certs on Mac. For better or worse (Apple still having final say on what constitutes malware), I think this is fine (for now).

> Can Apple lock down their private API's? Maybe, but I feel that will lead to a cat and mouse game where apps have lots of code testing to see what they can reach out and access on the OS version they are installed on.

Yeah, sounds great. Look at where Windows security is compared to 10 years ago. Things get better over time and that only comes through testing the limits.

Apple has a lot of money and they can certainly hire the experts to work on these hard problems.


>That said, how do you handle the FB's of the world or other bad actors who will (ab)use private API's if they no longer have to follow Apple's rules?

how does Google or Windows handle it? This idea isn't novel, and there are billions already spent on antivirus initiatives, regardless of how open or closed the platform is.

I wouldn't be surprised if people blamed Google for a variety of things they downloaded on Chrome or an android device, but I haven't heard much traction being gained on how responsible google is for what users download from the internet.


I want Epic to win. It's fine if you want to have Apple as an option. It's not fine to have Apple as the only option. Apple should either allow 3rd party IAPs or 3rd party app stores. Having neither is Apple abusing it's power and forcing it on consumers.

You've made some statements there but provided no context. Why is it a bad thing? I've been on the platform since 2007 - the App Store has been around since 2008. To date, I have had exactly 0 issues. Annecdata for sure, but I'm clearly not the only one to have this experience.

I feel I could flip the question around, why is it a bad thing that users can use other sources to retrieve and download apps? This is already the default line of thinking with a PC.

Most people will not be taking advantage of this option; many won't download outside the IOS store, and many companies won't make a new storefront to get around 30%. because hosting a storefront is expensive. Fortnite took themselves off Google play and they likely lost a lot of sales. But that's on them to decide.

Why is it a bad thing to give a dev a choice of hosting powers? If you don't, they find loopholes that inconvenience the user regardless. e.g. you cannot sign up for Spotify or Netflix through your IOS device.


But you can just buy an android. What you can’t do, is break Apple and then still have an Apple option for those of us who really don’t want an android phone.

This is a false dichotomy - you don't have to choose between a locked-down walled garden and a chaotic free-for-all. There is a lot of space in-between.

The whole point of more choice is that you can choose. Why would this affect you?

Imagine what Facebook's app would do if they didn't have to play within App Store rules.

You can choose not to install their app unless it’s provided through the App Store.

It would be a significant barrier to entry for them to completely remove it, and I imagine they would lose many users if they did so.


Who is responsible for issues caused by Epic's store? What are the ramifications from an API point of view? Will having another store change the limitiations imposed on what can or can't be done? If so, people already have a choice - Android.

The OS limitations are separate from the storefront.

The Epic launcher on Windows can’t provide more underlying functionality than Steam, but it can compete on pricing and features.


So what value does an alternative store provide? (No snark intended, genuine question)

Another reply said "censor" which implies speech, but Apple's rejections can be more fundamental.

Have an app you want to ship? Apple gets to decide whether you meet "minimum functionality requirements". You cannot distribute your app to paying consumers without their approval.

Doing something truly unique, perhaps with some hardware in the phone? Apple may decide they simply do not want this feature in an app on the App Store. Which means you cannot distribute your app to consumers.

I'm less concerned about having other "stores," I just want a way to buy apps from legit developers that don't involve Apple dictating look and feel and entire feature sets.

You know, the same way I can purchase and run software on a Mac without Apple being involved in the transaction.


Apple's rules are completely arbituary, so many apps simply don't exist due to vague guidelines. There are zero 4chan apps on the app store, but a dozen reddit apps (which is ironic given recent news over there). There are dozens of these odd edge cases based on Apple's whimsy that just means there are zero IOS options for what Android has dozens of, even before getting into "obviously" banned content like adult apps and piracy.

So while a few (like, literally 5-10) blockbuster game companies may take the PC launcher route if this wins, there are several smaller time apps that can benefit form this if the app store wasn't the only source of downloading here.


The option to install applications that are censored by the the Default App Store for whatever reason.

Plus, this case probably has pretty far reaching implications on the future of computing. If Apple is allowed to lock down their phones & tables, can they do so with Mac OSX? If Apple can do so with OSX, can Microsoft do the same and lock down Windows to prevent apps from being installed outside of their App Store?

If Microsoft can lock down Windows like iOS/OSX, can Dell lock down their servers to prevent other operating systems from being installed?


Being able to have Microsoft XCloud (and other cloud gaming) as a native app instead of forced to only have the Apple games/arcade.

This is one example of a completely legitimate scenario in a very popular entertainment category and yet it's blocked because of Apple's arbitrary rules of what you can do on your own device.


Apps and in-game purchases could be cheaper. In theory, Epic could pass all that 30% apple cut in savings you.

It still has to run on the IPhone and ask for location, ad ID, etc. from iOS. Where the app comes from doesn't change that it must make the same system calls as everything else.

Except if they weren't subject to App Store rules they would likely bypass the advertising ID and do their own fingerprinting instead.

You're logged into the app. They don't need to fingerprint anything.

Maybe in the Facebook app, but not necessarily in the Facebook SDK which is integrated by other apps for ads/auth/analytics.

SDK abilities don’t depend on the storefront, that’s up to the OS. Apple store is just informational.

Either way users should be able to choose what they install and from where.


All apps on iOS need to pass App Store review, which means all apps that integrate third-party SDKs need to ensure those SDKs don't violate App Store policies, including policies on fingerprinting. Apple has already started to deny approval of apps using third-party SDKs that violate user tracking policies on iOS 14.

You can do your own without dealing with SDKs.

This isn't a problem if Apple ups their game and actually competes to keep people on the App store despite having real choice.


Of course you can. You're entirely missing the point, which is that without a review process that sets explicit limits for how data can be used, developers will abuse system APIs to violate user privacy.

So be more strict with system APIs?

We can go back and forth forever with what-ifs. It's nothing we cant overcome in the future.


Restricting APIs doesn't solve the problem because there are plenty of APIs that apps need for legitimate purposes but can be abused by bad actors. Many of the APIs used for device fingerprinting would fall under this category.

Apps on the app store already do this.

There's a difference between sneaking through App Store review and not enforcing anything at all. People still shoplift even though theft is a crime, that's not an argument against having laws.

No. Apple provides a door (advertising ID) but there's also a window (fingerprinting). Right now both things exist. Apps already have the ability to fingerprint users with data they collect and that's not sneaky.

That's a strange argument though. Apple forks over an advertising ID so that any app can fingerprint you with a single system call yet you complain that more apps might in the future fingerprint you themselves.


The difference is the advertising ID can be disabled or reset by the user, and Apple has started blocking apps that use fingerprinting SDKs during app review. (https://9to5mac.com/2021/04/01/app-store-now-rejecting-apps-...)

Without app review there would be no practical way for end users to avoid fingerprinting.

> That's a strange argument though.

Only if you don't consider consent. A user opting-in and enabling the advertising ID is very different from a bunch of apps using third-party SDKs to fingerprint their device without asking.


What does it do on Google's app store? If they are still playing by google's rules, why would they take themselves off Apple's store? is Apple's data more valuable than Google's?

These kinds of theoreticals have likely already been addressed with Apple's biggest competitor. Androids aren't known to be virus ridden privacy compromising devices. At least, no more than any device with communication antennas installed.


> Androids aren't known to be virus ridden privacy compromising devices.

I mean, statistically, they kind of are. From Nokia's Threat Intelligence Report for 2020 (https://www.nokia.com/networks/portfolio/cyber-security/thre...):

Figure 3 provides a breakdown of infections by device type in 2020. Among smartphones, Android devices are the most commonly targeted by malware. Android devices were responsible for 26.64% of all infections, Windows/PCs for 38.92%, IoT devices for 32.72% and only 1.72% for iPhones.


statistically, maybe. But it's more about mindshare in cases like these. IoT devices based on your report is even more prone to compromises, but there's not much fear for a person's fridge being compromised.

And as always, these cases come down to how many people really concern themselves with that risk. Windows has had that reputation, but it hasn't helped Apple that much in terms of Mac adoption, let alone Linux.


I'm not sure why mindshare is relevant? You might not worry much about your fridge being compromised, but these days smartphones contain a lot of personal data which could be very problematic if compromised. There is even Android malware out there that steals 2FA codes.

>I'm not sure why mindshare is relevant?

because many people commenting on security and privacy aren't necessarily experts on such topics. Their interpretations of what is secure or not comes from marketing and word of mouth.

If you look at the stats in an extremely stark interpretation; no device is perfectly secure (0%), but no device is so malware ridden that you are more likely than not to be compromised (50%). most users will be safe as long as they don't go out of their way to disable default security settings, and few need to. In that way, privacy won't be the main factor determining why a user purchases a device or chooses an OS.

In that respect, What a user feels (or what their immediate bubble feels) has more weight than any statistical reality. Or in other words, "mindshare".


It would be WeChat, which is an entire ecosystem and OS within itself. Apple seems to regret letting that one through and is determined to not let it happen again.

Not at all. There isn’t much second or even third order thinking around these issues and the precedents set to retail as a whole. It's clear to anyone that looks at this on merit as to what Epic are trying to do and, much like Facebook, they just don’t care about the consumer or the little man, despite what they say. Quite the contrary, it’s all about the bottom line.

A lot of discussion has gone into what the 30% covers - it is arguably too high. At the same time, it would be interesting to see what Epic sees as the cost impact of hosting and distribution along with the cost of data security and what protection for their customers privacy they will put in place, were they permitted to have their own store.


I’m impartial to the 30%, but I don’t want Apple to allow payments to be done via other vendors other than Apple. I trust Apple with my credit card, but I don’t trust epic.

My biggest fear, although I don’t think it will ever happen, is apple being forced to support other stores on iPhone, and someone like Facebook moves their app over due to it allowing them to farm data, or games moving over using their own credit card provider and not knowing where my details are going.


You've been suckered into the fear mongering, unfortunately.

You already don't have any freaking clue where your credit information is being sold - I promise you it's being sold by your bank (Various "affiliated" 3rd parties pay the bank money for it). It's also being sold by most point of sale companies.

Apple is also using that data for its own ad sales.

Apple is also using your purchasing data to put small dev shops out of business - They intentionally target apps that they see making money through their payment systems, copy them, and then place their own software at the top of the store results. Very convenient for them.

Apple is also tracking when and where you use your apps (don't worry - All in the name of security [fucking /s]).

Your biggest fear shouldn't be having to think for a second before handing over your credit card. Your biggest fear should be that you've literally given the richest company in the world full control of your decision making processes, because they happen to be excellent at marketing themselves.

Google was that company 15-20 years ago, and look at how well that's working out for all the folks who are slowly trying to move away from that ecosystem now that it's become apparent that no benevolent dictatorship ever lasts - regardless of how great it is at the moment.


I’m less worried about my credit card purchasing history being sold and more worried about the cc info being intercepted and stolen.

But if I’m going to share my info with someone, I would rather it be Apple than the likes of Google, epic, or some random app that’s allowed to take payments using whatever they want.


How often does this happen? Is this a USA-only problem? Credit card details stolen to commit fraud can easily be solved by calling your bank.

Statistically speaking, that's a low percentage of card theft.

You're much more likely to have your card information stolen at a physical, point of sale location - Restaurant, gas station, clothing store, etc.

If this is really a concern you have, a disposable credit card is a much more reliable way to prevent unauthorized charges.

> But if I’m going to share my info with someone, I would rather it be Apple than the likes of Google, epic, or some random app that’s allowed to take payments using whatever they want.

You're already sharing this info with all of these folks, plus many, many, many more. This is what I mean when I say your bank is selling that data to affiliated parties.

Basically - what makes you think this information is private? Apple has it and uses it to make money. Your bank has it and uses it to make money. Apple happens to be large enough and enough of a monopoly that they can generate money from that information without directly selling it (at the moment, in some places). But they're doing the same thing - Profiling you to make money.

The second Apple thinks it will make more money by selling that information, they will. Not to mention it's a tad on the late side, since your bank is already sharing it everywhere.


Never seen disposable cards in Asia / Pacific.

My biggest fear if Apple wins, which I do think will happen, is that general purpose computing will be eliminated. Apple will use their victory to lock down OSX in the same way that IOS has been. So no applications can be installed in OSX without going through the App Store. Then Microsoft will follow suit; future versions of Windows will be MS Store Only unless you pay for an Enterprise license.

This could potentially extend to the web as well. Apple already forces any web browser on IOS to use Safari underneath. So there's the potential that Apple could eliminate features from websites, such as the ability to play video, unless those sites pass the strict criteria enforced on native apps from the App Store.


The M1 should be a very strong signal Apple has no intention of taking away general purpose execution. M1 Macs could have easily been as locked as iOS devices, but Apple specifically went out of their way to let device owners load unsigned operating systems if that was something they want to opt in to.

I don't think anybody would have a problem with forcing vendors to allow the use of Apple Store payment as an option.

I'm impartial to having a variety of payment options, some more expensive and theoretically trusted than others.


As soon as Apple allows multiple app stores, it's going to be the same crappy situation as we have on PCs: Every goddamned software developer is going to insist on having its own app store. Want an Adobe product? You have to install Adobe's store. Want an Epic product? Epic's store. Want Minecraft? Microsoft store. You'll end up with all these crappy little stores all over your device. Then you'll have store exclusives, and you'll need to search through dozens of stores whenever you want to find something. Yuck!

I doubt that these companies will introduce that level of friction without good reason.

Assuming a competitive market the number of app stores and their markup should dwindle. It's not like we are overwhelmed with app stores on Android.


And this is what Apple already does, e.g. with federated identity - you must offer AppleID, you can offer others as well. A scheme like this enables iOS users without being anti competitive.

You could go as far and look at the costs to run their own store on Pc.

Unfortunately Epic's store on PC is being run at a loss in order to win market share and not expected to be profitable for another 2-5 years. So that wouldn't be a great comparison. The cut they take for their store is 12% but compared to other launchers on PC they provide appreciably worse features.

If Epic is indeed taking a loss at 12%, Apple’s 30% cut doesn’t seem all that unreasonable anymore.

Epic is taking a loss at 12% by spending a whole bunch on exclusivity agreements to try and get gamers into a store nobody wants.

It’s honestly a perfect example showing that Apple has little to fear - users have preferred marketplaces and are hesitant to shop outside them.


Agreed, if they can't even run their own store properly, will they spend the time and effort to police the apps to the same standards as Apple? Doesn't seem likely.

No, I don't either. Apple is not a monopoly, so as far as I am concerned they have a right to charge whatever they want in their AppStore and make it the exclusive way to get software on their product. If you don't like it, don't support it with your money. I honestly cannot make sense of the reasoning for any other conclusion.

Maybe the regulatory move here is to ensure on each iPhone box and prominently at each Apple Store there's clear warning to consumers that paying 1,500 USD for a phone also means you'll only be allowed to use apps available from the AppStore.

I don't know about that, as we don't require similar labels for game consoles and the like. I think it is pretty well established in the public consciousness that only the Apple AppStore can provide apps for Apple devices.

I would go so far as to say that the public consciousness probably thinks the same about the Google Play Store and Android devices despite it not actually being true in that case.


> I think it is pretty well established in the public consciousness that only the Apple AppStore can provide apps for Apple devices.

I disagree. I think the public knows software is locked to specific hardware (Windows vs. Mac, Android vs. iOS, PlayStation vs. XBox). I don't think they know that if a developer creates working software for their iPhone, the only way it can be distributed to them is through Apple's AppStore, which charges developers a 30% fee.

"The only way to get Cyberpunk 2077 is at the Microsoft Store. There's no other way to get the game"


Apple hasn’t exactly hidden the restricted nature of the App Store from customers. On the contrary, they’ve been quite boastful, and view it as a selling point. Apple would likely be thrilled if this was the extent of the regulatory action against them

You don't need to be a monopoly to violate antitrust laws, which is what Epic is actually claiming in the case.

Regardless, my opinion is not based on case law but rather my personal intuition of how such things should work. I make no claim otherwise.

I'm I correct in reading it as your opinion is not based on how things are, but how you feel they should be?

The original post talks about "want", which has nothing to do with intricacies of law, which I, and I assume most HN commenters, are not qualified to judge anyway.

I'm not sure you should disparage the particular knowledge HN posters might have. Also, the level at what this is discussed requires only rudimentary knowledge of antitrust laws, and the applications. So it's not like "qualified to judge" has a degree in law barrier.

> Apple is not a monopoly, so as far as I am concerned they have a right to charge whatever they want

The whole problem with antitrust cases however, is that they leverage their position and exclusiveness to do exactly that. So, your point that "it's not a monopoly because you can chose not to pay for it", is what people are pointing out might be missing the point.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/06/house-antitrust-subcommittee...


> I'm not sure you should disparage the particular knowledge HN posters might have.

I don't think it is unrealistic of me to assume that only a small portion of HN users have experience as legal professionals.

> Also, the level at what this is discussed requires only rudimentary knowledge of antitrust laws, and the applications. So it's not like "qualified to judge" has a degree in law barrier.

I think it kinda does. I am not an expert on the application of anti-trust law so if I told Epic that they are completely wrong they will rightfully tell me where to shove it because we have people who's entire career path is dealing with the intricacies of law. Some random HNer saying that they are qualified to judge this case strikes me as particularly arrogant.

> The whole problem with antitrust cases however, is that they leverage their position and exclusiveness to do exactly that. So, your point that "it's not a monopoly because you can chose not to pay for it", is what people are pointing out might be missing the point.

Apple doesn't have exclusivity of anything except on the product that they built and wholly own. Said product is not a monopoly either, since even in the market where it enjoys the largest share it is only about 50% [0]. In other words, I cannot fathom how anti-trust law applies since Apple doesn't have much leverage to abuse in the first place. Game consoles have a long history of exclusivity but no one seems to think that is a big deal. I have yet to hear a compelling argument why the iPhone is special.

[0] https://www.statista.com/statistics/266572/market-share-held...


Surely, it then makes sense to perhaps take into account what people are saying, no? The issue here is a very clear cut case of antitrust. You seem to opine facts and laws shouldn't matter in this discussion on the assumption that only legal professionals can know stuff that is relevant, and those are as you put it, by assumption, not present. Then, you are repeating the, to be frank, tiresome talking point that doubles as missing the point, whilst being a strawman: "it isn't a monopoly, because you can buy an android". So to reiterate, "monopoly" as total market share isn't the issue here. It doesn't need to be for there to be a case of antitrust. And, it clearly is such a case, no matter how much you attempt to change the discussion to "is/isn't a monopoly". They are orthogonal issues. You can have monopolies and duopolies without there being grounds for anti-trust.

Just to summarize, and also hit the nail on the head, and perhaps be less polite (not intentional, but sometimes it helps with clarity): "In other words, I cannot fathom how anti-trust law applies since Apple doesn't have much leverage to abuse in the first place", you are 100% mistaken on both accounts (though spot on, on the inability). The former misconception I've already explained, the latter is to be found in troves, the article I linked earlier has a good explanation on a lot of points, and unwillingness to educate yourself is also your own business. So, I'm chalking this up as a willful ignorance, which is fine. I'm not really interesting in arguing with you, or all that bothered with trying to convince you. So, I suppose we can leave it as is.


>If you don't like it, don't support it with your money. I honestly cannot make sense of the reasoning for any other conclusion.

Android has several different stores you can host on, and Epic is making their own store for Android. Google Play store still has far, far, far , far more marketshare than any other storefront. It's not even close. But I appreciate the OPTION for developers to forgoe that for whatever reason. Be it to support open source development (FDroid's MO), host content Google won't allow (adult apps tends to be the most common one, but I used some modded Youtube apps back in the day), etc. It's not an option 95% of people make, but contingency plans are always appreciated

using your logic, I don't understand why you would find the mere existence of these splinter stores offensive. don't support them with your money.


I don't have a problem with alternative app stores and generally favor openness in computing, however I see no reason that Apple should be restricted from running its platform how it wants to run it. Game consoles have had exclusivity pretty much since their inception and no one seems too bothered about it.

If Apple had a dominant market share to the point of being a defacto monopoly, then I might believe differently, but they don't.


>I don't have a problem with alternative app stores and generally favor openness in computing, however I see no reason that Apple should be restricted from running its platform how it wants to run it.

That's the crux of the entire case, Yes. Jury is literally out so I won't make any judgement on how right/wrong it is.

I'll just note that "monopoly" isn't a clear cut case here. IANAL, but I imagine it very much depends on "accessibility" as well as market share. e.g. it's easy to walk across the street from walmart and shop at Target if they one day change policy. If you don't like android's play store, you can use F-Droid, Amazon's app store, and a few others that aren't beholden to Google's rules.

There's zero other stores to try without voiding warranty on IOS if Apple one day decides to ban a certain kind of app; for all intents and purposes, that form of app is banned from IOS if it's banned from the App Store. And buying an android is more expensive than walking across the street.

>Game consoles have had exclusivity pretty much since their inception and no one seems too bothered about it.

I don't mind the consoles opening up stores either. However, consoles are much more ephemeral than a PC/mobile OS, so the incentive for 3rd parties to make a store every 5-7 years may make the openness moot. So I see very little changing even if they get caught up.

Sony did lose a lawsuit over removing the very niche option for a PS3 to install another OS, so it's not like there is zero precedence there.


Nobody _wants_ to play games on mobile devices, not even kids

It wouldn’t be HN without a hilariously out of touch yet confident statement.

I know this won’t be a popular comment but I used to come here because it was open to new ideas. Increasingly, popular comments here are reaffirmations of the community’s biases.

I would really hate if HN turned into yet another Reddit-like echochamber


Saying that you have an unpopular opinion for something that is almost certainly a popular one is exactly the kind of comment you'd find on Reddit.

I do agree though that people should be careful about creating echo chambers. Not every opinion needs to be weighted the same, but it's important to be open to differences between people.


It’s not just unpopular, it’s clearly false. The mobile gaming industry is the fastest growing segment and represents $77.2B in revenue.

https://www.reuters.com/article/esports-business-gaming-reve...


We do need to differentiate between the types of games though. Games like Candy Crush and Fortnite are very different. Candy Crush is a game that lends itself well to playing on a phone while Fortnite plays better with a larger screen and physical controls.

Do you really need to differentiate? The original comment surely didn't feel the need to.

Because if you want someone who's taken an emotionally charged position to look at objective fact, you need to present the data in ways that minimize the bias they might perceive.

I don't think that is a fair stance on the response to the original argument that was presented. If someone comes with a too general, and too hyperbolic statement, I don't think it is necessary to "present the data in ways that minimize the bias they might perceive". It can, for sure, be worth while to do so, if your goal is to educate. Or, it can just confuse everyone, because, maybe they did mean it exactly as it was stated, and the person who is wrong isn't who you think it is. In my personal opinion, just be fair, try to stick to facts, and have earnest discussions. If they didn't mean the hyperbolic statement, the onus is on them to clarify, not for anyone else to tip toe possible interpretations.

To summarize:

> Nobody _wants_ to play games on mobile devices, not even kids

Was responded to with a factual statement on the size of that business that "no one wants to take part of", suggesting that perhaps there might be some correlation between a 77B revenue market, and some desire for it to exist by the consumers.

To which you argued that one should make a distinction on the type of games. Which brings us full circle to my point, that, no. The original did not make such a distinction, so neither should the refutation of it require such considerations. Whether or not that is the best approach for the sake of convincing anyone is a separate matter.


Mostly from old women playing candy crush and casino games.

Please check out the HN guidelines. They discourage posting comments saying that HN is turning into Reddit.

I'm pretty sure you're being sarcastic, but if not, this is wrong. If you were swayed by the article's point that Fortnite made "only" $700M on iOS, consider that revenue from mobile gaming accounts for half of the revenue for the entire video game industry, across all platforms — console and PC combined.

Source: https://www.statista.com/topics/1906/mobile-gaming/

edit: fixed source


“Game” is an overloaded term that encompasses too many types of experiences.

Relatively few people want to play games like Fortnite on their phones. A great many people want to play crossword puzzles.


Stardew Valley is also a fantastic experience on mobile. Other than missing co-op, it's exactly the same game as on PC. It's been a great distraction on long plane trips.

Just want to point out although I was once dismissive of mobile gaming, there is a whole mostly-untapped market for genuinely great video games on mobile despite the current market being flooded with low-effort/exploitative options.


It isn't the same game as on PC as it does not force you to complete a day to save.

At first it was, but this didnt work well on mobile because the players themselves were mobile and did not have dedicated time to deal with this game mechanic. But by fixing it for mobile with backgrounding and automatic state saving, it breaks the core incentive of the game.

Just my two cents.


Core incentive to play a game should always be to have fun while doing so.

In my opinion, not being forced to complete an in-game day in one sitting, but rather at your own leisure, matches perfectly the chill and leisurely gameplay of Stardew Valley.


But is that actually an issue if the people playing it are having a good time and like the game that way?

I never opined on whether it’s an issue.

“Is game same in a fundamentally way, yes/no.” No more, no less.


I forgot about that, but I actually prefer it. But I'm also curious what the core incentive is that you feel this change breaks.

Urgency, planning, consequences

Do you go crystal farm, or do you go into town and form a relationship, or routine watering of your farm, or …


You are still required to sleep regularly to get energy back.

I think people are conditioned to expect games with an "exploitative" ad-based or in-app purchase model. The conditioning to not expect an upfront cost to purchase is reinforced by the huge number of low/no effort apps resulting from the low barrier to entry. People don't want to pay for apps with little or no utility, lots of bugs, etc., and that's the vast majority of apps.

It's going to take a big player having the fortitude sustain the marketing (and potential losses) to sell an app that doesn't fit in this paradigm.


Most people don't see them as exploitative to begin with. No more so than they think about how much exploitative work was done to make a movie behind the scenes.

For a good 80+%, it's a simple time waster to play for an hour between the day. Not a gambling simulator, not a hardcore grinding MMO-lite. And if they think something is a ripoff, they have literal thousands of other games they can try in minutes.


I agree with the point about game being overloaded, but the statement that relatively few people want to play games like fortnite on their phones is clearly false. PubG alone has tens of millions of people who play it exclusively on mobile, and it is very much a game like fortnite.

In developing world, mobile gaming is bigger than console and PC due the price difference in PC/Console and mobiles. I think this trend will continue. It is a whole different world out there.

Consoles are cheaper than mobiles.

The average price of mobiles is $317 currently, which means the median price is quite a bit lower. https://www.statista.com/statistics/788557/global-average-se...

More importantly, though, the average console game is 50 bucks, while the average mobile game is free.


You wouldn't be getting a top-end mobile phone though, right?

You can get a PS3 for next to nothing, and games also cost hardly anything. No online subscription required either.

Go down to PS2 and PS1, and you can get all of it essentially for free.


That's the case in the US, because lots of people bought them, so they're available second-hand.

for 317 you can build relatively decent PC without GPU, so add something like 200$ and you can have decent setup for maybnewest games like Cyberpunk on mid settings

I bought GTX 970 and Ryzen 7 1700 for 240$, but it was 2 years ago


> for 317 you can build

Or you can just walk into a shop and leave with a new phone.


Three-digit dollar amounts and the developing world often don't go well together. A phone can be had for comparatively cheaply, in comparison.

Well, people from poor countries probably don't need to play newest AAA games.

>A phone can be had for comparatively cheaply, in comparison.

Some phones definitely can, same with some computers, the thing is whether you're comfortable with trade-offs.

Computer unlike smartphone can be relatively easily built with used parts.


In the early 2000s you could reasonably expect people to have access to a desktop computer of some description and this advice would've been somewhat valid. In 2021, nobody really assumes you have access to a desktop computer anymore, but we do assume people have access to a mobile device of some description. In that world, a $300 mobile is a much saner investment than a $300 PC for most people.

You need a smartphone anyway. Console is the third computing device you'll buy (if at all).

If you count only flagship mobiles, sure. Many outside the US and on low incomes don't buy those, because you can get something very decent for less than $200 (which is way less than a console) and it will still handle games.

Switch is okay, but if you go for PS5 or XBOX, you will need a TV, also some space to store and use it, and dedicated time for playing. We haven't talked about the cost of games yet. Overall, consoles will be too expensive for developing world, mobiles is something you already have, and games are mostly free.

Also, a lot of what passes for games on mobile phones are little more than addictions that strip you off your money.

The consoles would never allow them and even if they did, people don’t mindlessly get addicted to crap when playing on a console like they do on their phones.


> The consoles would never allow them

They allow Fortnite[1], don't they? Or more recently Genshin Impact, which is a pure "gatcha" game - as "mobile" as it gets - and is probably doing very well[2] on PS4/5.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPHPNgIihR0

[2] https://comicbook.com/gaming/news/genshin-impact-mobile-reve...

Edit: Oh, I totally forgot about the original console "strip you of your money" game: Fifa[3].

[3] https://screenrant.com/fifa-ultimate-team-ea-total-revenue-6...


Lots of mobile "games" are basically a casino, but the currency is time and you don't ever win anything. This is to the point that when I open older (pre-microtransaction) games on my PC, I'm momentarily disoriented because those mechanics are missing and I've gotten so used to them because they are so ubiquitous.

I am with you except they are absolutely allowed on consoles. Just look at the modern FIFA and NBA2K games. They are some of the worst free to play (that you pay $60 for!) experiences ever created. Consoles also had the EA Star Wars battlefront games that were fairly exploitative.

RTS are quite good to play on phones and tablets, as another example.

> RTS are quite good to play on phones

Probably one of the most ridiculous things I read ever. For starter there aren’t even any game worth called a RTS on mobile. Screen size and lack of keyboard means that any real RTS experience is impossible. How playable Wargames: Red Dragon or Age of Empire II would be on mobile? They won’t be at all, and that one of the reasons they aren’t available on smartphones.


Enjoy your ridiculous reading, while I have fun playing my set of RTS games.

https://www.phonearena.com/news/10-best-real-time-strategy-r...

Don't like them? I don't care.


Thanks for sharing. I had no idea stuff like C&C, Total War and CoH are on mobile now. That's insane.

Don't be fooled by C&C Rivals. It's closer to something like Clash Royale than PC C&C. Loot boxes and micro transactions galore with shallow, bite-sized, gameplay.

Bad North is a great game.

Wow that sure is a blatant ripoff of Dune 2000.

Just to clarify, are you saying Fortnite made as much as half the total of the e tire gaming industry on iOS?

No. This is what I'm pointing out: the entire video game industry generated about $175 billion in revenue last year. Of that, about half (43%) came from mobile gaming.

Here is a more direct quote from statistia:

" In 2020, smartphone games generated approximately 74.9 billion U.S. dollars in annual revenue, accounting for 43 percent of the global gaming market during the measured period. Console games were ranked second with 51.2 billion U.S. dollars in global revenue."


I get the impression that money spent on mobile games is from scamming parents in children's games with dark patterns that lead young children to making in app purchases.

I think looking at the number of folks playing Fortnite on each platform and comparing that gives a better idea of where gamers prefer to play games.


My understanding is that whales are generally adults that have been taken in by the extremely addictive mechanics of the games. Like an old lady that dumps her pension into penny slots every day.

Consider: visual novels, even when entirely linear, probably count as “games” for mobile sales. They’re damn popular, are often episodic or series or have DLC to drive more sales, et c. And that’s just one kind of non-“gamer” game that’s huge on mobile.

Visual novels are classified as a game on every store I've seen, be it mobile, pc or console.

If you have a source for that impression, I'd be very interested to see it.

> gamers prefer to play games

most of the money being made in mobile gaming is coming from people who would not self-identify as "gamers". If you're just considered about where "gamers" want to game, then sure. But that's excluding a massive (and the fastest-growing) segment of the video games industry.


Gamers is a bit silly loaded term these days. Who do you exclude as not-gamers from the group that likes to play games?

That's a really good point and question.

Anyone who plays a game is a gamer, that's fair - so let me clarify my assumptions:

- I think more folks play games for longer on consoles/PCs compared to mobile devices

- I think mobile games punch above their weight in sales due to dark patterns and scammy business practices

I could be wrong


Most of the donateshitgames are targeted for adults with money actually. There is built-in socialized competition on donates. In every guild/group/party without donating You will be outsider and a person that pull whole team down.

Good god is that depressing.

The fact that the cheap, shallow, and manipulative tripe that fills the App Store & Play Store to the brim are pulling so many players and so many dollars is genuinely depressing.


The top games (Among Us, Roblox) aren't AAA but they aren't that. The most popular gacha games I know of (Granblue, FGO) are actually extremely over-detailed if anything.

OP is implying that people are playing on phones because they have them, not because it’s a good experience.

This could be especially true of a core (not casual) game like a shooter.


Maybe kids are doing purchases on the phone but playing on a computer, inflating the phone "market share"?

Are you sure those revenues are coming from competitive games like Fortnite and not from playing cards worth of App Store gift cards that gacha addicts are stacking up

I mean, I'd love this to be true, but the mobile market is currently larger than the entire consoles +PC market combined together. Clearly there must be people out there who really enjoy playing games on their phones.

It's about availability as well; a lot of people don't have a console or a TV for said console, or the space for those. Another lot of people share it within a family.

Yeah I'm thinking about it now and there's probably a lot of kids out there who only have a phone, so being able to play fortnite with their friends on it is great. When I was a kid we didn't have any games consoles, but I had a PSP - I remember the ability to play games like Battlefront 2 or GTA was absolutely mindblowing, yeah in hindsight the PSP was not the best platform to play either of those games, but to a 14 year old me that was the craziest stuff ever.

Yup. ESPECIALLY once you start considering the 3rd world. That's the entire reason Andorid started to surpass IOS in marketshare years back; because android had very low cost of entry devices into its ecosystem. For that kind of environment, they may treat their 4" phone the same way my family treated the AOL-age family computer (including arguments over visiting a website vs. needing to make a call. good times).

I loved Tomb Raider Go on Android, superbrother sword and sorcery, that Reigns game and a normal lost phone. And Father and son https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=it.tuomuseo.fa...

I am not claiming it's the best format for these games but playing it on my phone was easy and great.

There's also a solo card game, the name escapes me, I spent hours on it (edit: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tinytoucht...).

My phone is the most available device and games are cheaper than Switch games if easy-to-pick-up is a criteria.

Anyway, it depends on what you like :).

(I didn't like an old man's tale at all, I thought it was ripoff).

edit: if some people on HN get my preferences from this post I am all ears for mobile game suggestions :).


> There's also a solo card game, the name escapes me, I spent hours on it.

Solitaire maybe? The classic Solitaire (Klondike Solitaire) is quite playable on phones, even in portrait mode. Self-plug: you can enjoy it in this mobile-first PWA (progressive web app) of mine: https://FreeSolitaire.win/


Found it https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tinytoucht...

Card game wasn't a good choice of words.


Thanks for the reference! That looks like a great game indeed.

> Card game wasn't a good choice of words.

Well yes, it was: “Card Crawl is a solitaire-style dungeon crawler game played with a modified deck of standard cards.”

Funnily, it’s even advertised as a solitaire game ^^


Sorry, I missed you self plug :D, I read without enough attention. I'll git it a try.

Tomb Raider Go is great! One of the few games on mobile that were worth paying money for. Can you recommend any others like it?

As far as the game mechanics are concerned: the Go serie ? Also maybe https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Arte.vanda... Vandals which comes close.

And Monument Valley which has similar game mechanics (you twist the environment around rather than make your way through it).

Regarding the ambiance: no idea :/.

But in the same vein, not on Android there is : Invisible Inc. https://store.steampowered.com/app/243970/Invisible_Inc/ and another game with a little girl and her invisible friend or something and it's turn based and tiled based and there's a back-in-time mechanic. Eh. I am useless.

Edit: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1433530/Bilal_Go/ Found out about that one. It even has Tomb Raider Go's tiles :).


In a similar vein there is also Hitman Go and Deus Ex Go.

I'm also a fan of Slay the Spire, mostly playing it on PC and Switch. But I triple dipped for the Android version, which has a little bit of clunkiness with the UI but the underlying game is there.

Great games, all of them.


Yeah, games designed for mobile devices work great on mobile devices. But Fortnite (at least the "battle royale" version) is a multiplayer shooter game, where you're much better off playing with a controller or with keyboard/mouse...

PUBG Mobile is another multiplayer shooter game and currently the most popular mobile game in the world:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most-played_mobile_gam...


Fork knife doesn't appear on that list - I suspect it has many more downloads than pubg mobile. Having said that, I'm still really surprised how popular pubg mobile appears to be. I used to play the desktop version semi regularly and it was nowhere near that popular.

Speaking from experience: absolutely not true.

Many kids (like my own) prefer the mobile form factor and mobile controls.

That said, they're not playing Fortnite and likely don't even know what Fortnite is.


Kids have much smaller fingers, and so can use the touchscreen as a higher-precision input method than touchscreen. For those with adult-sized fingers, the precision sucks.

There's still the feedback issue though. How can anyone tolerate the poor control feedback of a touchscreen pretending to be a real controller?

The lack of buttons for additional fingers also seems like an issue. Unless you use the awkward claw grip that I know some people did for certain PSP games, you're limited to just your thumbs for input.

There's actually more controllers now than ever before that have even more buttons accessible to non-thumb fingers. A phone just seems like a poor choice for a game like Fortnite.


My kid doesn't mind, he says he doesn't need feedback.

On the other hand, mobile screens have multitouch and drag/swipe actions, and that's a real complaint when he's using a controller with physical buttons.


Eh. Kids have dexterity issues, depending on where we define the kid age range.

I'd argue that mobile-first games can work well.

That said, I've yet to truly enjoy playing a port of a console or PC game on mobile. The control compromises, if nothing else, are just too large.


It's fine if they include controller support, then it's just an alternative screen for playing a game.

But very few did, until very recently (in the grand sceheme of things. It didn't help that native controller support for Android took until a few years back).


40 years old kid here. iPad Pro is a perfect machine to run a casual shooter like Fortnite, I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing it this way.

My mental image of playing a (3rd? 1st?) person shooter on a table is like, is horrible. How do the controls work? Do you just pair some controller and prop up your iPad on a surface in front of you? Or is the controller attachable like a Switch?

Why the table? Just place the tablet on your laps and use both hands (vigoriously ;). There are many techniques - the advanced players use most of their fingers constantly. Touch controls could be very elaborate and precise.

> Why the table? Just place the tablet on your laps and use both hands

Because that seems incredibly awkward and uncomfortable?


It's not. I ended up putting thousands of hours into Fortnite on iOS too (so glad it got pulled - that stopped me playing!)

Playing on the table is one way - but it hurt my neck too much. I preferred the "claw grip" on my phone while laying on the couch - though I could only comfortably do 3 fingers. Some of the best mobile players do 6!


Look at this 6-finger claw technique: https://youtu.be/0SUCmew8BQE

I find it funny how, 10 years later, there are still games that require claw technique https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnW-ganA2cM

Showing that people do it doesn't make it good...

I guess I'm the rounding error here then: I like games which I can dip into for twenty minutes and that live in my pocket.

I want to play mobile games on mobile. Frenzic is a gold star example of a game that plays best on a handheld touchscreen. (It's also been out of print for years, sadly.)


My 11 year old wants to play Roblox on my phone - but only when we're out and she doesn't have the computer available.

I really do _want_ to play Vainglory on my mobile devices, but unfortunately SEMC decided to spend all their money creating an esports scene for the game out of thin air and nearly went bankrupt in the process, which in turn led them to sort of abandon the game in a half-broken state and go for the Hail Mary play with Catalyst Black

</rant>


To date MOBA has never recovered from this dumpster fire. All the alternatives that have since cropped up feel inferior to what SEMC had accomplished with Vainglory.

LoL: Wild Rift is surprisingly competent, and matches last around 15 minutes, speaking as a (former) dota player who hasn't played the regular LoL.

Sadly, the absence of tap controls makes it a non-starter on mobile... Virtual joysticks lack the fine controls that allow for higher (skill) levels of playing

I don't disagree, but it's a separate game with equal footing for everyone, and better than I expected it could be. It would of course never work cross-platform.

I do most of my gaming on... my watch.

Yes, my watch. I have 2048, an Arkanoid clone, Pong, and a fun little strategy game called Tiny Armies.

Now, to be clear, I do very little gaming. Don't own a desktop or console, the only games I play on my laptop are occasional web-based games (usually when something shows up on HN and I'm bored). I had a phase of playing games on my tablet but I just kinda fell out of the habit, and for whatever reason, the only phone game I've played in the last five years is Monument Valley.

I did game on my phone more often in the early Teens: Doodle Jump, something called Bit Trip Beat, Osmos, and yes, Flappy Bird. Just kinda stopped doing it.

So when I'm standing in line, or watching video and kind of bored with it but not so bored I'll stop watching, I do some casual gaming on my watch.


That’s the answer. You play casual games. OP should have written that nobody wants to play core games on a phone.

Which is also wrong. All games, including the ones that boomers like us think are completely unsuitable for touch devices, are immensely popular on phones.

Yeah, but if the kids’ parents don’t let them buy a Playstation, then they have to make do with what they have. Gaming on a clunky mobile device is still better then no gaming at all.

Kids play games on the platforms that are available to them. I used to play playstation on a tiny screen that mounted onto the back of a playstation because it was the only option to play in the car and when my parents dragged me along to boring events.

I didnt love the tiny screen but given the option between no playstation and playstation I was going to play on the tiny screen.


People would if they had physical buttons The Gameboy and switch show that mobile gaming could be popular.

Mobile phones are the most affordable console on earth. It's like game and watch of the 80s

Lol no.

Exception: Lichess

I see kids constantly playing games on their phones or tablets. Minecraft is/was huge on mobile.

Good point - I've seen that too, but most of those kids moved on to playing Minecraft on Xbox and only use mobile devices if they have to (ie, aren't home)

iOS was 7% of their revenue at $700 million in 2 years.

Had no idea Fortnite was a $5B/year game. That's ludicrous.


It's huge but having worked in the industry, I'm not surprised :-)

The landscape of video games in the past (+/-) 10 years changed quite a bit. Nowadays, it's the biggest type of money making entertainment product (by a magnitude more than movie) and the acquisitions of studios start a multi million figures, up to billions. Seeing suits in gamedev studios now became a common occurrence.


I wonder how much money GTA 6 would make. Isn’t GTA 5 already the most profitable single IP in history?

Fortnite is the biggest game in the history

I did the math and came up with that figure and it was so ridiculous that I spent a hot minute trying to figure out how I did the math wrong.

Video games are the #1 entertainment choice for young people (born 1997-2007). TV and Movies are #5 on their list.[1] Avengers Infinity War is the most profitable movie and opened with a box office of $2B. So, $5B/yr for Fortnite doesn't seem wildly out of range to me for an ongoing entertainment property.

[1] https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/20...


What's even more fun is remembering this is a "Free" game

I am suing Epic because I am unable to sell cosmetic items in the Fortnite store. Epic has a monopoly on it, and doesn’t allow third parties to sell within their store. This needs to change.

This comment is important and timely, as Australia and other countries start to crack down on "app stores" like google's and apple's. I smell gov intervention:

https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/dominance-of-apple-and...


You joke but I 100% expect Epic to start allowing this sort of thing particularly with all the Creative stuff being jammed into Fortnite. In the same manner that they have Itch.io on the Epic Store.

They need to allow me to operate my own store, or I’m suing.

You need to tell them that...

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