Apple to face DOJ probe over Roblox App Store treatment

Roblox Header
Roblox Header (Image credit: Roblox)

What you need to know

  • Apple is facing a DOJ probe about its treatment of Roblox.
  • Epic Games complained during the App Store trial that Roblox was getting special treatment.
  • The status of Roblox on the App Store was a highly debated point during proceedings.

A new report says that the Department of Justice is looking into Apple's treatment of Roblox on the App Store, arising from revelations made during the Epic Games trial.

The Information reports:

As the U.S. government tries to put together an antitrust case against Apple for the way it controls iPhones, prosecutors are looking for instances in which the company is unevenly enforcing rules for app developers in ways that could hurt its potential rivals. One example they're focused on is Apple's hands-off approach with gaming firm Roblox, which compares starkly to how it deals with other gaming app developers.

According to the report "Department of Justice lawyers probing the App Store want to get to the bottom of what happened," noting that during proceedings Roblox "abruptly" changed some of the details of its website and app listings to denote that they were "experiences" rather than "games." It came after Apple exec Trystan Kosmynka told the court Apple considered Roblox to be a set of experiences, not a game. Epic Games complained during the trial that this was unfair because Apple would not allow Epic to host the Epic Games store on iOS.

According to the report, the DOJ recently asked Roblox and other app developers what the difference was between a game and an experience, and why Roblox made the aforementioned changes in its use of language. The report says it also asked about the launch of Apple Arcade and the impact this had on competition in the gaming space.

As per previous reports, the findings could make up the basis of some of the grievances in a rumored looming DOJ antitrust lawsuit against Apple.

A judge ruled in the wake of Epic vs Apple that the company should tweak its App Store rules, and was no longer allowed to prohibit developers from linking to other ways to pay for digital goods and services outside the App Store. The court ruled in favor of Apple on nine of the ten counts in the suit and stated Apple was not a monopolist.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9