Google’s Epic defeat could upend Android’s games ecosystem

By
Mobilegamer.biz
Dec 14, 2023

This article was originally published on Mobilegamer.biz. Read the full piece here.

Epic’s court victory over Google could signal a seismic change in the economics of Android games.

The dream scenario for many now is that the court enforces a free choice of default payment provider, meaning third parties could compete with – and undercut – Google’s 30% tax on all IAPs. Measures to make alternative app stores a more visible and viable option would also be welcomed.

So more money flowing back to game-makers is the dream, but what’s the reality?

Stash Head of product Archie Stonehill calls the Epic verdict “a major victory for developers and the ecosystem.”

Stash Head of product Archie Stonehill calls the Epic verdict “a major victory for developers and the ecosystem.”

“The wind is blowing in one direction – going into 2024, game developers will be entering a period of unprecedented freedom to own and operate payments, app distribution, data, and identity without intermediaries,” Stonehill continues.

“Epic v Google is part of a global trend, including the DMA in Europe and the DMCC in the UK, that is accelerating de-platformization, a process in which game developers are taking control away from the platforms and essentially becoming their own platforms.”

“IDFA deprecation and its effects on UA crystallized just how exposed game developers are to the platforms’ unilateral actions,” Stonehill adds. “The major platforms seem to be less central to developers’ success than they used to be, even though they’re still taking a lot: the storefronts don’t play a big role in app discovery anymore, privacy policies have made it much harder to acquire users, and platforms have increasingly favored their own advertising businesses. In the midst of all this, developers have started to question why they’re paying that 30%,”

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