Apple Anticompetitive Acts in iOS Subscription Gaming Class Action

Video games are projected to generate $159.3 billion in revenue in 2020. Some mobile games are purchased by subscription, allowing customers to use them on multiple devices, and even to save progress in a given game across devices. The complaint for this class action alleges that Apple, Inc., “the largest company by market capitalization in the world[,]” has engaged in anticompetitive actions to block competition in the iOS-based mobile game market and has obtained a virtual monopoly there.

The class for this action is all persons living in the US who paid a subscription charge directly to Apple for Apple Arcade, between September 19, 2019 and whenever the anticompetitive effects of Apple’s conduct stop.

Mobile gaming is one of the largest sectors in the video game market. It has only grown during the pandemic, with so many people under stay-at-home orders to stem the spread of the coronavirus. According to the complaint, “in the first quarter of 2020, more than 3 billion games were installed on devices running Apple ‘iOS,’ the operating system that powers Apple’s smartphone and tablets, including the iPhone and iPad.”

Apple started its Apple Arcade mobile gaming service in September 2019, with Microsoft, Facebook, and others following after. However, and the complaint claims that Apple “acted quickly to monopolize the market for iOS subscription-based mobile gaming services through a series of anti-competitive acts…”

For one thing, the complaint claims Apple made it impossible for Microsoft and Facebook to make their services available in Apple’s app store, where players get their iOS-based subscription games. The complaint alleges this has “foreclosed competition in the iOS subscription-based mobile gaming services market” and become a monopolist in it.

The complaint asserts that Apple blocks access to other companies’ games by imposing technical restrictions on iOS devices. The technical restrictions involve “prevent[ing] users from downloading app stores or apps directly from websites.” It also “pre-installs the App Store on the home screen of every iOS device it sells and disables users’ ability to uninstall” it.

The complaint also claims that Apple places contractual restrictions on developers that allow Apple various kinds of exclusivity.

Among the services blocked, the complaint claims, are Microsoft’s xCloud, Xbox’s Game Pass, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now.

The complaint claims that “by unlawfully foreclosing competition, Apple has eliminated consumer choice, stymied innovation, and reduced quality of service.”

The complaint alleges that Apple’s behavior, among other things, violates antitrust laws, in Monopoly Maintenance, Denial of Essential Facility, and Unreasonable Restraint of Trade.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Antitrust

Most Recent Case Event

Apple Anticompetitive Acts in Mobile Subscription Gaming Complaint

October 8, 2020

Video games are projected to generate $159.3 billion in revenue in 2020. Some mobile games are purchased by subscription, allowing customers to use them on multiple devices, and even to save progress in a given game across devices. The complaint for this class action alleges that Apple, Inc., “the largest company by market capitalization in the world[,]” has engaged in anticompetitive actions to block competition in the iOS-based mobile game market and has obtained a virtual monopoly there.

Apple Anticompetitive Acts in Mobile Subscription Gaming Complaint

Case Event History

Apple Anticompetitive Acts in Mobile Subscription Gaming Complaint

October 8, 2020

Video games are projected to generate $159.3 billion in revenue in 2020. Some mobile games are purchased by subscription, allowing customers to use them on multiple devices, and even to save progress in a given game across devices. The complaint for this class action alleges that Apple, Inc., “the largest company by market capitalization in the world[,]” has engaged in anticompetitive actions to block competition in the iOS-based mobile game market and has obtained a virtual monopoly there.

Apple Anticompetitive Acts in Mobile Subscription Gaming Complaint
Tags: Antitrust, Monopoly