Apple Dominates as Gaming Platform

    • Apple made more in video games in fiscal 2019 than Microsoft, Sony, Activision Blizzard, and Nintendo combined.
    • Apple does not make games, but makes money through its App Store fees.

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Apple is making a case that it’s better to be the platform than the creator.

The tech giant made more from gaming than Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Activision Blizzard combined in fiscal 2019 despite not making any games, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Using documents revealed in the lawsuit against Apple brought by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games, the paper determined that Apple made $8.5 billion in operating profit that year from gaming — namely through the 30% developer fee charged for apps and in-app purchases on its App Store. 

Apple said during the trial that these figures were higher than its actual operating profit from games.

  • Apple took in $10.95 billion in gaming revenue and $4.92 billion in all other App Store revenue in 2019, according to analyst Sensor Tower.
  • Those figures grew respectively to $13.54 billion and $6.77 billion in 2020.
  • The company’s “Services” sector, which includes the App Store and its subscription gaming platform Apple Arcade, earned $17.49 billion in net sales for the quarter ending June 26. 

The company’s dominant position faces legal and regulatory challenges. Epic filed an appeal in its lawsuit after the judge declined to determine whether Apple holds a monopoly in the mobile gaming sector.

Of the $13.54 billion Apple earned from App Store mobile games in 2020, 31% came from China, which is currently cracking down on the time minors spend gaming, often only allowing them to play for three hours a week.