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Epic vs Apple trial will only affect 17% of iOS games

Apple Fellow reveals that three quarters of all games on the App Store are completely free with no in-app purchases

The ruling from the ongoing antitrust trial between Epic Games and Apple could only impact less than a fifth of all games on the App Store.

During his testimony yesterday, Apple Fellow and former senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller offered a breakdown of the business models used by the hundreds of thousands of games available on the iOS marketplace.

According to Bloomberg, Schiller said that just 17% of these apps come under the same freemium model that Fortnite uses -- i.e. a free download with the option to make in-game purchases.

Only 6% are premium titles, requiring an upfront payment, while 75% of all games are completely free.

One of the arguments at the centre of the dispute between Epic and Apple is whether the latter is justified in taking 30% on all transactions -- something Epic attempted to avoid with a hotfix to Fortnite on iOS that enabled players to make payments directly to the developer.

The trial could potentially see new rulings made as to how much Apple is allowed to charge game creators for handling payment processing for freemium games and premium ones, both in terms of the initial sale and the microtransactions.

It's worth noting that while the 17% represents less than one fifth of the App Store's games -- and even if you factor in the premium titles (6%), it amounts to less than a quarter -- this is by far the most lucrative segment of the games market on iOS.

It's also worth noting Schiller's comments appear to refer specifically to games, rather than all other apps. Stepping aside from Apple's odd definition of what is and isn't a game, this likely means any ruling about the iPhone maker's commission fee would have far broader implications across all app categories.

Earlier in the trial, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney admitted he personally did not understand the full consequences this case could have on the overall app market. Judge Gonzales Rogers has also warned it could have "serious ramifications" for Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, which operate similar "walled garden" ecosystems on their respective consoles.

Elsewhere in Schiller's testimony, the former Apple exec discussed the Small Business Program launched last year, which halved the commission to 15% for developers who generate less than $1 million in revenue per calendar year.

According to Schiller, 90% of developers with apps on iOS qualify for the program, but only tens of thousands have joined.

Schiller was Apple's first witness as the trial shifted away from Epic's argument to the iPhone maker's defense. The trial is expected to conclude early next week.

You can follow all of our Epic vs Apple coverage here, or read the highlights in our ongoing roundup.

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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