Epic Talks With Microsoft To Remove Multiplayer Fees On Xbox Ahead Of Battle With Apple
Epic Games has advocated eliminating the need for a subscription to access multiplayer features in shareware games on Xbox. Evidence presented in court showed that the company was urging Microsoft to drop the Xbox Live Gold requirement for shareware online projects around the time it launched its crusade against Apple and Google.
Among the published footage in the Epic Games v Apple case, which began earlier this week, was an August 5, 2020 email from Tim Sweeney to Xbox CEO Phil Spencer asking him to remove the paid subscription requirement.
The letter referred to a previous conversation in which Sweeney and Spencer “optimistically talked about the possibility of multiplayer games without a subscription on the Xbox.» Sweeney also wrote to Spencer that the abandonment of paid multiplayer could be timed to coincide with the launch of Fortnite Season 14 (an online Marvel event kicked off on August 27).
“Epic has plans for August that will provide an exceptional opportunity to highlight the value of the console and PC offering versus mobile platforms and to attract new console users,” Sweeney wrote. ” While I am unable to share the details with any third party at this time, I assure you that our efforts will be positive and will support Microsoft, Xbox, and Windows. “
Epic Games’ “plans” kicked off on August 13, when the company introduced direct payments to Fortnite on both iOS and Android, avoiding a 30 percent commission on all transactions and violating developer guidelines for both platforms. The game was removed from the App Store and Play Store, and subsequent events led to a grand trial this week.
Spencer only responded the next day due to, among other things, “the relationship with Apple” – no doubt a hint of Xbox’s struggle to endorse the xCloud streaming service on iOS.
The Xbox executive said Microsoft is “at the highest level” committed to pushing forward the policies he discussed with Sweeney, including shareware multiplayer for non-Gold members. He added: “We will achieve this, and I want to cooperate with you. “
Indeed, Microsoft has abandoned paid multiplayer in shareware projects. But this happened only last month.