Judge in Apple vs Epic Games still not sure what defines a video game

In a 200-page order, the judge in the Apple vs Epic Games case admits they still can't quite define a video game.


The Apple vs Epic Games trial has been filled with fascinating information and details about the inner workings of both parties. From revealing upcoming Fortnite collaborations to learning more about Apple’s relationship with other game developers, the trial has been everything but boring. One of its most referenced moments came when members of the court failed to agree on what defines a video game. Following the ruling, the judge published a 200-page report, where she stated that they’re still not quite sure what constitutes a video game.

It was on September 10 that we learned of the court’s ruling in the Apple vs Epic Games case. As a part of the ruling, Apple was ordered to allow developers to implement third-party payment options into their games for in-app purchases, should they choose to do so. The judge published a 200-page report that covered all aspects of the case and explained her decision. Axios’ Stephen Totilo spotted a line in the report that references the debate over what exactly defines a video game.

"The Court begins with a definition of 'video game.' Unfortunately, no one agrees and neither side introduced evidence of any commonly accepted industry definition." The fact that the parties involved in the trial couldn’t agree on what a video game was made the rounds on social media and became a meme during the earlier days of the trial. With the case now concluding, there still is no agreed-upon answer.

As silly as it may sound, it can be tricky to nail down exactly what constitutes a video game, particularly in a legal setting. The medium has evolved tremendously over the last couple of decades, and changes to the development and presentation process have blurred a lot of the lines.

The Apple vs Epic Games case has come to a close, but we’ll continue to monitor all of the fallout from it right here on Shacknews.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 10, 2021 1:10 PM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Judge in Apple vs Epic Games still not sure what defines a video game

    • reply
      September 10, 2021 1:14 PM

      Is Bandersnatch considered a video game?

    • reply
      September 10, 2021 11:07 PM

      How WOULD you define "video game"?

      Wikipedia says "A video game or computer game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device – such as a joystick, controller, keyboard, or motion sensing device – to generate visual feedback. This feedback is shown on a video display device, such as a TV set, monitor, touchscreen, or virtual reality headset. Video games are often augmented with audio feedback delivered through speakers or headphones, and sometimes with other types of feedback, including haptic technology."

      Britanica doesn't even bother defining a "video game", but instead calls it an "electronic game" which kind of sucks. "Electronic game, also called computer game or video game, any interactive game operated by computer circuitry. The machines, or “platforms,” on which electronic games are played include general-purpose shared and personal computers, arcade consoles, video consoles connected to home television sets, handheld game machines, mobile devices such as cellular phones, and server-based networks. The term video game can be used to represent the totality of these formats, or it can refer more specifically only to games played on devices with video displays: television and arcade consoles."

      I think Webster's nails it -- "an electronic game in which players control images on a video screen"

    • reply
      September 11, 2021 3:06 AM

      A hot dog is a video game

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