What They Are Saying: Consumers Have A Wide Range Of Channels To Access Apps And Games
There continues to be a misconception that when you want to download an app or play a new game, it has to come from the Apple App Store or Google Play. In reality, however, consumers have a wide range of channels to access apps and games — including computers, gaming consoles, and other app stores.
Here’s what the experts are saying:
1: The app store model has been successfully copied by video game consoles and personal computers, wrote Neil Chilson of the Charles Koch Institute.
— “The app store model has been copied by gaming consoles that offer downloadable games. Game consoles have always exercised strict control over the third-party software that can operate on the devices, so unsurprisingly app stores such as the Microsoft Store on Xbox or Sony’s PlayStation Store are the exclusive online stores for third party content for those devices.”
— “And perhaps surprisingly, the app store model has even made its way to the general use personal computer. You can still download third party content from the internet to install on a Windows 10 PC, but an increasing number of people use the Microsoft Store to download apps for use on their personal computer. Indeed, Microsoft calls its store ‘the best way to get apps and games’ on a Windows 10 device. Apple’s Mac personal computers also have an App Store that serves a similar function.”
2: The popular game Fortnite is downloadable across more than six distribution channels, including PlayStation and Xbox One, noted Jay Peters, a writer for The Verge. “Court documents reveal that PlayStation 4 generated 46.8 percent of Fortnite’s total revenues from March 2018 through July 2020, while Xbox One, the second-highest platform, generated 27.5 percent. iOS ranked fifth, with just 7 percent of total revenue. The remaining 18.7 percent would have been split between Android, Nintendo Switch, and PCs.”
— Across the gaming industry, multiple entry points are common, said Robert A. Kotick, CEO and Director of Activision Blizzard, Inc. “With free-to-play entry points across mobile, PC and console, Call of Duty experienced an increase of over 100 million players in a little over a year.”
3: “There are multiple ways for consumers to make purchases without going through the App Stores of Google or Apple,” reminded NetChoice in a comment submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “There are multiple ways for consumers to make purchases without going through the App Stores of Google or Apple. For example, right on the iPhone’s web browser, Spotify users can purchase subscriptions directly from Spotify – without going through the app stores. Users can even listen to music via the Spotify webpage without ever installing the app. Users can sign up at Spotify.com on their mobile device and the store is never connected to the transaction. Epic Games can do transactions with users on mobile devices without using the store’s app payment systems.”
4: Consumers have “a wide range of choices” when it comes to app stores and “are not locked into a single device,” wrote Jennifer Huddleston and Juan Londoño of the American Action Forum. “Numerous app stores exist including those directly on mobile devices and those accessible in other ways. Consumers have a wide range of choices…”
— “The narrow definition of the market proposed by some policymakers, including in this House Judiciary report, ignores these many options and instead limits competition to only that which exists on the selected mobile device. But consumers are not locked into a single device and may switch between products for many reasons including the availability of apps or app stores. In many cases, consumers even choose a collection of different operating systems and devices, which creates an even greater choice of app stores and apps.”
5: There is growing availability of apps across the internet. “[Y]ou have to think about how developers reach consumers, and it’s not as simple as just two big app stores,” said Alec Stapp of the Progressive Policy Institute. “We’re increasingly seeing that a lot of the functionality that was previously restricted to app stores on smartphones is becoming available on progressive web apps on the internet. So instead of needing to download an app from the app store, you can just pin an icon on your home screen, with a direct link to a browser homepage, and that browser homepage has a lot of the same functionality that you would’ve only been able to get from a native app previously. And that’s a way of getting a lot of that functionality outside the app store, and that’s the way the market’s moving and evolving.”