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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

“Fortnite” maker Epic Games prepared for intense public skepticism in its battle against Apple, internal documents from the Epic-Apple trial reveal.

The big picture: Epic assumed players would be upset if its fight with Apple and Google got the game booted from iPhone and Android (and it did).

  • An internal comms document shows it predicted that the eventual blocking of the games would stoke negative feelings, especially among the 55% of iOS players who never paid for items and wouldn’t see a benefit from Epic’s fight.
  • “Our company is too successful to be sympathetic about,” Epic head of marketing Matt Weissinger wrote in notes taken or updated on May 15, 2020. “It’s a rich company versus a rich company.”

Epic also predicted a negative reaction from the tech press.

  • “When it is large company vs. large company, these writers will defer to Google and Apple and defend them,” Weissinger noted.

Epic’s solution included building a coalition of allied developers, which cost at least $300,000 to set up, according to Weissinger’s court testimony yesterday.

  • It would also start the “FreeFortnite” campaign, making a trailer that mocked a seminal 1984 Apple computer to rally support.

The bottom line: It’s unclear how much any of this worked. The “Fortnite” marketing machinery has rolled on without iOS players being able to use the game.

  • As for the press, most coverage of Epic v. Apple of late has been about the trial — and its 19 Epic lawyers versus Apple’s 42 — not any largely forgotten coalition of developers.

Sign up for the new Axios Gaming newsletter here.

Go deeper

Exclusive: EPA administrator visits Apple HQ to talk climate, environmental justice

EPA administrator Michael Regan (L) on a tour of Apple headquarters led by former EPA head and now Apple executive Lisa Jackson on Aug. 17, 2021. (Apple handout)

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan visited the Apple headquarters Tuesday for a conversation with former EPA head Lisa Jackson, who now serves as the tech giant's leader on environment, policy and social initiatives.

The big picture: Apple, considered a leader in procuring renewable energy for its stores, data centers and offices, is in the midst of tackling its toughest environmental challenge yet: greening its vast, global supply chain. The company is aiming to have a carbon neutral supply chain by 2030.

Updated 4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.