Apple has succeeded in convincing a US judge to order game publisher Valve to turn over important information relating to 436 of its games, as Apple prepares its legal battle with Epic Games over Fortnite’s removal from the App Store, which is expected to begin in July.
Back in November, Apple had subpoenaed the company behind the successful Steam platform seeking massive amounts of game sales information for over 30,000 games, including total yearly sales of apps and in-app products, annual advertising revenues from Steam, sales of external products attributable to Steam, annual revenues (and earnings) from Steam.
Valve had opposed turning over this information, along with additional information requested by Apple, such as the name of each app on Steam, the date range for when it was available and the prices of the app and in-app purchases on Steam. The company had argued that its sales data was irrelevant as the case involved mobile app stores. However, Ars Technica reports that US magistrate judge Thomas Hixson has ordered the company to turn over 436 of the games instead of the massive number that Apple sought.
However, Apple will now get information starting from 2017 instead of from 2015, as it had originally requested – presumably because its request for Steam’s data before that period would again be irrelevant as the Epic Games Store was created in 2018. Similarly, the judge refused to accept the argument that complying with Apple’s request would impose an “extraordinary burden” and an “overwhelming amount of work” – which the judge noted “did not sound that burdensome”.
In his order, the judge noted that if the request for information from Valve would be more relevant to the questions of the case if it were “focused” on games that were both available on Epic’s game store and on Steam. “Recall that in these related cases, (Epic Games) allege that Apple’s 30% commission on sales through its App Store is anti-competitive and that allowing iOS apps to be sold through other stores would force Apple to reduce its commission to a more competitive level,” the judge noted in his order.