Throughout his career, Tim Sweeney has been fearless to take on tech industry giants.
The founder and CEO of Epic Games have had a talent for picking the right battles. While also holding up his company’s independence. Fortnite, the gaming company’s smasher battle royale game, recently exceeded more than 15.2 million concurrent players and has created a world of fandom.
Epic Games challenged its competitors by launching its digital game shopfront. And the multi-billion dollar company started the Unreal Engine, exclusive software for making its video games.
Now the 50-year-old Sweeney is embarking on the biggest fight in his company’s 31-year history. Epic is suing Google and Apple in a legal challenge that could alter the future of the company.
In an interview with CNN Business In December Sweeney said “Epic’s frustration with Google and Apple especially, had been growing up for at least four years. Ever since Fortnite grew to have a large number of customers, we felt suppressed by many things.”
Released in 2017, Fortnite quickly became a sensation. When it first launched, Epic charged $40 to download the game- a reasonable price. But the company soon evolved into a trickier business model. Gambling Fortnite as a free-to-play game with in-app purchases of virtual items like guns and outfits would generate more overall profit.
The gamble paid off. However, Epic has collected billions off Fortnite’s in-game purchases- about $1.4 billion in 2020 and $1.9 billion in 2019. According to Nielsen’s gaming division data- the firm resisted paying a part of that revenue to app store holders like Google and Apple.