When Epic Games added in-game payment options to the mobile versions of Fortnite that circumvented app fees through Apple’s App Store and Google Play, it was bound to ruffle feathers. Well, Apple has come back with its feathers clearly ruffled, and in response, it has removed Fortnite Mobile from App Store and seemingly made the game unplayable on iOS platforms.
It all started with the launch of a new discount system on V-Bucks reported earlier on August 13, 2020. In addition to discounts on the premium currency across all platforms, Epic Games introduced a new in-game purchase system on Android and iOS versions that allowed for direct purchases of Fortnite Mobile goods from Epic Games as opposed to paying through the Google Play or App Store and the fees associated with them. In introducing this system, Epic Games also discounted V-Bucks on the mobile Fortnite apps for direct payments. For this, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, and Fortnite appears to be unplayable now on iOS, bringing up an error screen on some logins.
In a statement reported on Verge, Apple claimed that Epic Games broke longstanding cooperation between the two companies with clear intent of violating Apple App Store guidelines and pressuring Apple into a “special arrangement.” The full statement is as follows.
As clear as it is that this is retaliation on Apple’s part for Epic Games enacting in-app purchases to circumvent its App Store fees without approval, the claim that Epic is pushing Apple to take part in a special arrangement is more than eyebrow-raising. After all, it was recently revealed that though Apple claims it upholds a “level playing field,” the company also may have engaged in negotiations with Amazon about special arrangements on Apple’s usual percent take if Amazon would agree to exclusivity of Amazon Video on Apple TV.
For its part, Epic has responded to Apple's removal of Fortnite with a filing of legal papers that make it clear: Epic likely intends to fight Apple's decision to deplatform Fortnite on iOS devices in court and the negotiations Apple has made with groups like Amazon may well play into the argument.
Epic Games has filed legal papers in response to Apple, read more here: https://t.co/c4sgvxQUvb— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 13, 2020
The filing came with a scathing statement on Epic's behalf about Apple's ongoing business practices. "Fast forward to 2020, and Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation," the filing reads. "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."
Whatever the case, the gauntlet has been thrown down. Epic clearly did aim to bypass Apple’s now questionable level playing field and Apple responded hard and abruptly, and now the two companies will be duking it out. It will remain to be seen what the outcome will be, but what it means to players for now is that Fortnite Mobile may be unavailable for download and/or play on Apple devices for the foreseeable future.
TJ Denzer posted a new article, Fortnite has been removed from the App Store, Epic and Apple go to war
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