Epic doesn’t want to sell V-Bucks via browser because it wouldn’t be attractive

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has admitted in US court that Epic could create a payment system that can be accessed via browsers. However, such a payment system would not be attractive to customers, says Sweeney.

Sweeney responded to a question from Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who wondered why iPhone users couldn’t purchase V-Bucks through the Safari browser, The Verge writes. V-Bucks is the currency used in Fortnite to purchase in-game items. Apple lawyers argued that Epic should not implement its own payment system in Fortnite at all to circumvent the thirty percent commission that Apple asks. Instead, Epic could have let customers buy V-Bucks through the Safari browser, the lawyers say. That way, Epic could have bypassed that commission, they say.

The Epic CEO acknowledges that this could have been done, but states that this would be “not really an attractive option” for Fortnite players. According to Sweeney, when a player wants to purchase V-Bucks, there is a good chance that he or she is already looking at the desired item to be purchased in Fortnite.

If players first have to close Fortnite before a purchase to browse to a website, log in and purchase V-Bucks there, that would be “very inconvenient”, Sweeney says. That would create too much friction for the user. People are much more likely to buy something if it’s as simple as possible, says Sweeney.

Rogers wondered whether a little friction is not good for the younger target group of Fortnite, in order to counter impulse purchases. Sweeney responded that parental controls are possible within Fortnite.

Incidentally, it is questionable how successful selling the V-Bucks via the Safari browser would be. While Epic would not have to pay a commission to Apple in doing so, Epic would not be allowed to promote that “profitable” feature within the iOS Fortnite app. Most players would probably still buy V-Bucks via Apple’s in-app payment system. Restricting communication within the App Store was partly a reason for the European Commission to officially accuse Apple of distorting competition.

In Tuesday’s session, the percentage of thirty percent was also discussed. Epic also claims to be taking the lawsuit on behalf of other developers and says it wants to ensure that that commission decreases for all developers. When the judge asked whether Sweeney had agreed to a reduced commission that would not apply to other developers, according to 9to5Mac, Sweeney acknowledged that he would accept such a deal.