The Legal Battle Epic vs. Apple continues to indirectly provide a wealth of information through the documents that are slowly being released to the public. A few days ago, the free legal research website Court Listener has updated the case with an abundance of downloadable documents, some of which reveal interesting information about Microsoft’s plans.
As you may recall, Microsoft publicly expressed support for Epic early on when Apple even attempted to block access for all Unreal Engine developers to the Apple SDK. Last week, Microsoft also announced the introduction of a better revenue share for game developers in the PC Microsoft Store: starting August 1, they will get 88% of the revenue from the sale of their PC games on the platform instead of 70%, which means matches Epic’s initiative.
However, this document originally written in January 2021, Microsoft is planning to do the same for the Microsoft Store on Xbox. The timeframe of the announcement is the same as that for the Microsoft Store on PC, which could indicate that the official news is arriving. Of course, plans may have changed slightly in recent months, postponing this part.
It would honestly be groundbreaking news in console games. Consoles have always been walled gardens where platform holders could dictate their fee, which is conventionally set at 30%. If Microsoft cuts its fee to just 12% on Xbox, it could set a precedent to entice developers to flock to the platform. It will also be interesting to see if and how competitors such as Sony and Nintendo will react to such a significant business model change.
In another internal Microsoft document called ‘Executive Portfolio Update’, we also learned the exclusivity details for some ID @ XBOX games. The most important is undoubtedly GSC Game World STALKER 2, which will be a console exclusive for three months. This suggests that the developers are free to release it on PlayStation 5 after the exclusivity deal is over.
There is also an estimated release date for the fourth quarter of 2021, although this document dates back to August 2020, and a delay is far from unlikely. Furthermore, the slide below mentions a six-month exclusivity on ‘connected updates’ for Tetris Effect: Connected and a perpetual exclusive for The Gunk, meaning this game will never be released on other consoles.
That’s all we’ve been able to find, but we’ll keep looking in case anything else worth reporting about Microsoft or another game company is discovered through Epic vs Apple court documents.
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