Fortnite is without a doubt one of the hottest games on the planet now with over 350 million registered players. But earlier today, its creator Epic Games implemented its own in-app payment system that bypassed Apple and Google’s standard 30% fee.
This resulted in both Apple and Google pulling the popular battle royale game from their respective app stores. The decision marks an escalation in the feud between Epic and the world’s two dominant app marketplaces.
In July, Epic’s co-founder and chief executive officer Tim Sweeney said in an interview with Protocol:
“To say that the fact that they have some costs justifies taking 30% of a company’s revenue and preventing other companies from competing with them is absolutely abhorrent.”
More recently, Sweeney criticised Apple over Twitter over the banning of cloud gaming services like Microsoft’s Cloud, Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now.
Both Apple and Google issued their own statements on the matter with Apple saying:
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
Google meanwhile said:
“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,”
The Fortnite creator said in a blog post that it was offering players up to 20% discount for purchases of V-Bucks across all versions of the game on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac and mobile. For those unfamiliar with the game, V-Bucks is an in-game currency that is used by players to purchase outfits, weapons, Battle Passes and more.
Below is a table that shows the difference in price that players pay using Epic’s direct payment com[ared with the Play Store and App Store.
In the post, the company said:
This isn’t a sale… these are new discount prices available anytime! We’re excited to pass along these savings to you and will continue to look for additional ways to bring value to all Fortnite players.
To sweeten the deal even further Epic offered players the Shooting Starstaff Pickaxe for free. It is a move that actively encouraged players to use Epic’s direct payment method.
Epic seemed to have anticipated Apple would ban its app. It followed up with a video that mocked Apple’s iconic “1984” advertisement which aired on YouTube and within Fortnite itself. It also called on gaming fans to support the developer in its fight against Apple.
Epic has also taken legal action against Apple and Google for pulling the game from the app store. Interestingly, in Epic’s suit against Google, it claimed that Google forced OnePlus to break off a deal that would have seen a special Fornite launcher preinstalled on OnePlus phones. This was following Google’s concern about Epic’s ability to bypass the Play Store.