Fortnite is a massively popular game. But that popularity hasn’t stopped both Google and Apple removing Fortnite from their app stores in a dispute over money. And in retaliation, Epic is suing both companies claiming antitrust violations.
Why Apple and Google Removed Fortnite
This all started when Epic decided to get around the App Store and Google Play’s in-app purchasing by using its own payment system. This is in violation of the rules put forth by the two companies.
Essentially, Apple and Google take a 30 percent cut from app creators when a user makes a purchase. By launching its own payment system (which the company rolled out on Thursday), Epic could get around that fee.
Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices.
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 13, 2020
A Google spokesperson made a statement to The Verge on the matter:
“The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users. 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.”
Apple wasn’t silent on the matter either, delivering a lengthy statement to The Verge. The company made it clear that it doesn’t intend to make an exception for Epic, regardless of how big Fortnite is:
“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.”
To put it simply, Epic broke the rules in an attempt to secure itself a larger cut (and offer a discount to its users). Not thrilled with this, both Apple and Google removed the game from their stores in response.
Epic’s Lawsuit Against Apple and Google
Epic certainly wasn’t just going to sit there and do nothing. First, The Verge reported that Apple was under legal attack from Epic. Just a few hours later, The Verge discovered that the company was coming after Google as well.
There’s a lot to unpack with these lawsuits. Epic claims that Google and Apple are breaking antitrust rules with the way the firms control their application marketplaces.
Epic alleges that Apple has a monopoly in the form of the iPhone, the iOS ecosystem, and the App Store. It also says that Apple places unreasonable restrictions on the distribution of iOS apps.
The Apple case features some pretty interesting claims, and Epic got a little creative with the statements. Here’s one particular example:
“Fast forward to 2020, and Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation.”
As this is the early stages of a legal case, it’s hard to know exactly how this will end. However, the implications could be huge. If the court find that Epic is in the right here, it could completely change how we all access Android and iOS apps. Especially those that offer in-app purchases.
Epic claims it isn’t seeking special treatment. Instead, the company is against the policies both companies use, and is seeking a change for all developers, not just itself.
The company’s Free Fortnite FAQ breaks down the company’s stance:
“We don’t seek a special exception for Epic. We firmly believe Apple’s policies must be changed for all developers. For over a decade, Apple has single-mindedly crafted and proliferated a tangled web of rules and policies to impose a 30% tax on apps while preventing competitors from offering a better deal. That’s around 10x more than what a typical transaction may cost on competing payment processing services such as Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal, which charge rates of 2.5% to 3.5%. When competition is stifled, the customer always loses.”
What Does This All Mean for You?
This is a legal battle between several massive companies.
In the long run, it could have massive implications as far as how the Google Play Store and Apple App Store run. In the short-term, it may affect your ability to play Fortnite on Android and iOS. Epic has published a FAQ breaking down the availability of the game on both platforms.
If you’re on Android, you can still download Fortnite directly. If you already have the game downloaded on iOS, you’ll still be able to play it. However, you won’t be able to update it as new content comes out. As long as you have Season 3’s 13.40 update, you’ll be good to go for a while.
If you can’t play Fortnite right now, have a look at these mobile games that let you explore the world. Especially if you’re still stuck indoors.
Read the full article: Epic Sues Apple and Google Over Fortnite App Store Ban