Apple has removed the popular battle royale from its store after Epic released its own direct payment method for Fortnite on Apple and Android mobile devices. And Epic responded with a complaint of a legal injunction against Apple.
All games on the App Store for in-game purchases, including purchasing Fortnite’s in-game V-Bucks currency, which can be spent on skins, items, and game battle pass *until yesterday morning were required to use Apple’s payment system. Epic has been complaining that Apple’s requirement is unfair because of the result that Apple gets 30% of all payments. Epic started to sell V-Bucks at a discount in the Fornite’s mobile versions through a new option for buying directly from Epic which broke the rules of Apple and it resulted in Fortnite being got out of the store. It can be seen that Fortnite was ready for that since Fortnite had already prepared a lawsuit, a commercial, and a planned social media hashtag to complain about Apple.
Apple explained to The Verge its removal of Fortnite as:
“Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result, their Fortnite app has been removed from the store. Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.
Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem – including its tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers. Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we’re glad they’ve built such a successful business on the App Store. The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.”
Google made the same thing since it has similar rules to Apple as reported by The Verge. Google wrote “While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play.” as Fortnite was still available on Android through Epic’s app or the Samsung store for those devices when the events happened.
Epic responded with a complaint of the legal injunction against Apple and mentioned the dominance of Apple over the games on iOS mobile devices and pointed out that Mac users are not affected by those restrictions. “Epic is not seeking monetary compensation from this Court for the injuries it has suffered. Nor is Epic seeking favorable treatment for itself, a single company. Instead, Epic is seeking injunctive relief to allow fair competition in these two key markets [the App Store and in-app payment processing] that directly affect hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of thousands, if not more, of third-party app developers.” was written in the complaint.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney cut 30% on app store purchases from both Apple and Google. Epic called it “exorbitant” in a now-updated FAQ about new payment options, and its legal complaint was called “oppressive.” V-Bucks were up to 20% cheaper than Google and Apple stores via Epic direct payment, and Epic writes that the company thinks “all mobile developers and consumers have the right to choose alternate payment providers that charge less.” Apple is now finding itself under high scrutiny due to ongoing antitrust concerns, reading part of Epic’s legal response:
“Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation. Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched, and more pernicious than the monopolists of yesteryear. At a market cap of nearly $2 trillion, Apple’s size and reach far exceeds that of any technology monopolist in history.”
Fortnite’s removal from the store can affect the ability of iOS users who play Fortnite later this month and Epic writes “Because Apple has BLOCKED your ability to update when Fortnite Chapter 2 – Season 4 releases you will NOT be able to play the new Season on iOS.” Epic calls players to rally round a hashtag “#FreeFortnite” and to complain to Apple saying, “make your voice heard in the fight against the app tax.”
Fortnite’s Party Royale showed a short video parodying Apple’s ‘1984’ television commercial and it was mentioned in Epic’s complaint. The video ended with the text “Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming ‘1984’.”