The past 24 hours have been rather turbulent for battle royale phenomenon Fortnite. Epic Games changed Fortnite’s billing system overnight. Suddenly, in-game purchases circumvent both Google’s and Apple’s app stores, allegedly violating the terms of service. In response, the companies behind the Google Play Store and Apple App Store kicked the mobile version of Fortnite out of their respective virtual stores. Epic Games subsequently went berserk in two very distinct ways.
A thirty percent cut
Fortnite developer Epic Games has always had a difficult relationship with the mobile platforms provided by Google and Apple. The respective stores both require apps to give up 30% of all in-app purchases to said companies. And after tolerating that condition for a while, Epic Games finally decided to try and circumvent the thirty percent rule. That rule – in this case Google’s – is quite clear though:
Developers offering products within a game downloaded on Google Play or providing access to game content must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment.
But the US-based company wasn’t having it and introduced a second billing option to purchase V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency. Instead of buying V-Bucks through Google’s or Apple’s payment systems, you were able to purchase them directly from Epic Games.
Moreover, that options grants you a tempting 20% discount. It’s clear that Epic sneakily tried to get around the thirty percent cut for in-app purchases. Sadly for the Fortnite devs, Google and Apple quickly responded to the apparent violation of their terms of service by kicking the game out of the respective stores.
Fortnite takes a shot at Apple
Epic Games proceeded to release a reactionary Fortnite video as a clear jab at Apple. The video, seen below, parodies an old Apple commercial which in turn references the book ‘1984’ and the eponymous movie. In the dystopian source novel, the world is completely controlled by a totalitarian regime. Apple proceeds to defy that imaginary regime in their trailer.
But Epic Games compares Apple to the exact establishment the iPhone maker was resisting in the first place. The video copies Apple’s commercial beat by beat, ending with the message ‘#FreeFortnite’. According to Epic Games, they defied Apple’s ‘App Store monopoly’, and was subsequently banned from the store. As of writing this article, Google hasn’t received a similar jab.
Epic Games Goes To Court
No equal treatment of the two hugely influential tech companies in that case. Apple and Google do receive similar allegations from Epic Games. As reported by The Verge, the company filed a lawsuit claiming the cut they have to give to – in this case Google – is indicative of an abusive monopoly. A similar suit is running against Apple.
Epic Games has filed legal papers in response to Apple, read more here: https://t.co/c4sgvxQUvb
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 13, 2020
All in all, Epic Games is clearly trying to secure a higher profit margin for their Fortnite revenue, which is allegedly declining rapidly. There’s no word yet on when (and if) an actual court date will be planned.
Image credit: Epic Games