Lawyers for Apple have slammed Epic Games and its decision to host itch.io on its Epic Games Store, claiming the platform hosts unspeakable titles that are “both offensive and sexualized”.
During cross-examination on day five of the trial, counsel for Apple asked Steve Allison, VP and general manager of the Epic Games Store, about the store within a store. An excerpt from a transcript put together by The Verge states:
Apple attorney: On April 22nd of this year, Epic Games Store added the Itch.io app to its store.
Steve Allison, Epic Games: Yes.
Attorney: You’re aware of that.
Allison: I am.
Attorney: And you’re aware that Itch.io is a third-party app store.
Allison: I am.
Attorney: And the court has also heard that Itch.io was added without reviewing all the games. You’re aware of that.
Attorney: And are you aware, sir, that Itch.io includes so-called adult games, such as a game called Sisterly Lust?
Allison: I am not.
Attorney: You may not be aware then, but the description of that game includes a list of fetishes which include many words that are not appropriate for us to speak in federal courts. Are you aware of that?
Allison: I am not.
Attorney: And the list goes on. There are many games on Itch.io, I won’t even read the names out loud, but they are both offensive and sexualized. You are not aware of that?
Lawyers went on to seek confirmation Epic was distributing the Itch.io store through Epic Games, and that the apps on the platform are reviewed by Itch.io, not Epic Games itself.
After some legal gymnastics about whether Epic was hosting the store or the content, Judge Rogers chimed in to ask Allison whether the apps could or could not be accessed through the Epic Games Store. Allison replied “You cannot access those apps through the Epic Games Store, no. You can access those apps through their application, which that is what we are downloading: Itch.io, which is an app store. [Users] have their own account with them, and you use their store and are subject to their end user agreement.”
Judge Rogers pressed Allison, asking if an Epic Games Store was on a phone, whether she could download “all of this offensive material”:
Judge Rogers: So if I have a phone and your app store was on that phone, that other store could be downloaded which has all of this offensive material.
Allison: Not on your phone. The app could be downloaded onto your PC and you could access their app on your PC.
Judge Rogers: But that’s what you want to do on a phone too. That’s what I understand.
Allison: I don’t know that we would want to do that with Itch.io [on a phone].
Judge Rogers: But you’re doing it now, so I could access it on my PC, right?
Judge Rogers: And this lawsuit’s about your ability to do it on your phone, right?
Kellen Browning of The New York Times, Friday’s court reporter said the argument from Apple about the danger of app stores within app stores seemed to resonate with the judge.
Itch.io was added to the Epic Games store last month on desktop, itch.io stating they thought it was a “funny idea” but also “a good opportunity to potentially expose a lot more people to itch.io, as the EGS has a pretty large audience.
The platform clapped back at Apple as these questions emerged, taking to Twitter to mock the idea: