The US Supreme Court on Wednesday denied Epic Games' stringent App Store payment rules that prevent developers from introducing alternate payment methods for in-app purchases. The court declined to let a federal judge's injunction take effect that could force the iPhone maker to change payment practices in its lucrative App Store. The court's ruling lets Apple keep its strict App Store payment rules in place for now. The decision comes as a setback for Epic Games, publishers of popular Battle Royale video game Fortnite, and Web3 app developers who await changes in Apple's App Store policies.
Apple only processes purchases and in-app transactions for App Store-listed apps via Apple Pay, which not only restricts users to make these purchases in fiat currencies, but also levies a 30 percent commission fee on overall transactions.
Apple's AppStore policies have time and again been called out for supressing Web3 players. Since the digital assets sector carries along an infamous reputation of being volatile, Apple maintains strict rules on the platform to safeguard iOS users from exposing themselves to the financial risks posed by virtual assets like cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The iPhone maker has maintained its stance despite receiving stark criticism from community members.
In its plea, Epic Games had requested the US Supreme Court to lift a decision by the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals that effectively delayed implementing an injunction issued by US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers barring certain App Store rules. Essentially, the video game publisher wished that its users should be able to invest in in-game assets via online payment apps that are not linked to the Apple ecosystem, thus circumnavigating the steep 30 percent cut Apple collects on all purchases.
In April this year, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld a previous ruling that said that Apple's policies did in fact breach California's competition laws by forcing users to only use its payment platform to process purchases inside apps available on the App Store.
At the time, the court had also said that Apple's restrictive payment rules for iOS app developers not only harmed their businesses but also meddled with consumer engagement on these apps.
Meanwhile, Apple's tussle with Web3 apps have been making it headlines, too. Back in May, for instance, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant engaged in a spat with two non-custodial digital wallet providers, Zeus and Damus. In both these cases, Apple has said that these apps violate its App Store policies.
On the contrary, Apple's rival Google has updated its Play Store policy. Google's Play Store now officially allows video game publishers to facilitate the sale of NFTs in its store. It has updated its ‘Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests' policy, that now requires developers to complete filling out a declaration for apps that lets users deal in digital assets.
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