Apple’s treatment of Roblox in its App Store has become a new focus of the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust probe into the technology giant.
The U.S. government was first made aware that Roblox may potentially be operating differently from other games at the discretion of Apple by Epic Games. Epic had been locked in a legal battle with Apple regarding the latter company’s dominance of its own marketplace.
According to The Information, Epic had claimed that Apple has given Roblox a free pass by letting people pick a selection of games to play, which, Epic maintained, made it a de facto games marketplace for users. Epic argued that it, too, should be able to open a third-party games marketplace on the digital storefront. The Apple vs. Epic trial concluded on May 24, 2020.
However, Apple rebutted that characterization of Roblox, saying that “there’s experience within Roblox that from a point of review [Apple] would not look at as a game.” After this argument was made, Roblox‘s website was updated, removing every mention of the word “game.”
But the Department of Justice is now looking further into the matter and has reportedly begun asking Roblox what difference there is between a game and an experience. If the DoJ finds that Apple has been treating Roblox specially, it would likely bolster the antitrust case against Apple. While it’s not clear what would happen if Apple was found to be at fault, the company would likely have to give app developers more freedom on its App Store, from which Apple generates massive amounts of revenue.
Digital Trends has reached out to Apple for comment and will update this story when it responds.