Yesterday was a pretty bad day for Fortnite. The battle royale game which has been downloaded over 2 billion times from Apple and Google’s Stores respectively was removed from both platforms.
What did Epic Games do?
The Fortnite developer pushed an update that allowed users on iOS and Android devices to bypass Apple and Android’s payment systems. This was done in order to allow the developer to avoid paying 30% to both platforms and after pushing this update, Epic reduced prices in their in-game store by 20%.
This didn’t sit well with Apple who then removed the game from the Apple Store citing a policy violation. Epic Games responded to this by filing a suit against Apple stating that the company is being anti-competitive and monopolistic by forcing every app to use its own payment system and then taking 30% for every transaction processed through said payment system.
Despite the fact that Epic Games violated policy a lot of people see the move by Epic Games as a great one since Apple’s use of this payment system and the store platform is now being seen by many creators as bordering on abusive.
If the video above looks familiar, it’s because Epic are mocking Apple who made a similar video decades ago;
Spotify also launched a complaint against Apple’s abuse of the Store last year. Spotify’s case was that Apple was taking 20-30% for every transaction made by Spotify subscribers when they have a directly competing service in Apple Music which 1) Doesn’t have to pay the same fees and 2) Can therefore use that advantage to undercut Apple.
After yesterday’s events, Spotify came out in support of Epic Games releasing the following statement;
We applaud Epic Games’ decision to take a stand against Apple and shed further light on Apple’s abuse of its dominant position. Apple’s unfair practices have disadvantaged competitors and deprived consumers for far too long. The stakes for consumers and app developers large and small couldn’t be higher and ensuring that the iOS platform operates competitively and fairly is an urgent task with far-reaching implications.
Google following suit
Way after Apple removed Fortnite from the Store Google did the same and also published a statement citing policy violation;
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.
On Android the problem is less of an issue, since players can still directly download the game from Epic and for a long time Fortnite was not even available on the Google Play Store to bypass those fees. On Apple however it’s much more difficult to side-load content and it seems Fortnite players will not be able to get the next update for the game if the bad blood between Epic and Apple remains for an extended time.