Epic CEO Tim Sweeney claims Apple will either ‘try to crush the metaverse’ or ‘extract all the profit from it’
Apple and Epic Games have more than their fair share of differences, particularly when it comes to the App Store. As both companies push forward with new augmented reality and virtual reality platforms, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney is already sounding the alarm about Apple’s behavior.
In an interview with GamesIndustry, Sweeney discussed his thoughts on the so-called metaverse, including Epic’s vision for a “unified” ecosystem that doesn’t become “another walled garden.” This is a clear jab at Apple, which Sweeney believes operates a walled garden with the App Store on iPhone and iPad.
When asked directly about roadblocks to this “unified” vision for the metaverse, Sweeney immediately pointed to Apple. Sweeney believes that Apple will either “crush the metaverse or extract all the profit from it.”
“They’ll either try to crush the metaverse, or extract all the profit from it. One or the other. Apple doesn’t let you use a competing browser engine. So they can do the same thing with the metaverse, so [they] can say, ‘you must use Apple’s limited metaverse engine, you can’t build your own, you can’t use Unreal.’ They could just amend all the platform’s rules tomorrow to kill everything everybody is doing, and that’s why we need really robust antitrust [laws]. And that’s why we’re fighting this so hard.”
Sweeney went on to say that Epic can overcome any other challenges that might get in the way of its vision for the metaverse. “We see them as utterly dominating this business if they’re allowed to use their market power and hardware to do so,” Sweeney said in reference to Apple. “So we’re fighting that.”
Epic has a broad interest in the metaverse, with Sweeney saying the company wants to “compete in the engine space with Unreal Engine,” with “server hosting in the future,” and much more. “But in the future they’ll be an open economy for that. We want to have the best asset marketplace,” he explained.
“If we just build this thing in an open environment then companies can live on their merits. We very much like that because we have a history of winning on the merits when given the chance and we’re terribly frustrated at markets like iOS where you just can’t make an Epic Games Store for iOS because Apple says, ‘You can’ t compete with us!’”
For its part, Apple is expected to announce its Reality Pro headset at WWDC in June, alongside new software platforms to power that mixed-reality headset. Apple, however, isn’t keen on the “metaverse” term. “I always think it’s important that people understand what something is,” Tim Cook said in an interview last year. “And I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.”
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