The 30% Fee Epic Is Fighting Apple Over Began With Nintendo

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Epic Games’ battle with Apple and Google has spawned a spoof 1984 commercial, a hashtag, and even a surprising market for overpriced second-hand iPhones, all because of the 30% platform fee charged to developers hosting a game on Google Play or the App Store. A Bloomberg feature has charted the origins of that 30% fee all the way back to the Nintendo Entertainment System in the early 80s.

The NES became the first video game console to host third-party games, after Pac-Man‘s Namco Ltd. and Bomberman developer Hudson Soft Co approached Nintendo about distributing their games on its new platform.

The three companies agreed on a 10% licensing fee for appearing on Nintendo’s proprietary platform, but with Hudson Soft unable to manufacture its own cartridges, it paid Nintendo an additional 20% to manufacture the cartridges for its games as well.

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