• Home
  • Apps
  • iOS
  • News
  • Tit for Tat: Apple Removes Fortnite From App Store – Epic Retaliates With Lawsuit Against Apple

Tit for Tat: Apple Removes Fortnite From App Store – Epic Retaliates With Lawsuit Against Apple

Tit for Tat: Apple Removes Fortnite From App Store – Epic Retaliates With Lawsuit Against Apple

(UPDATE – 7:12 PM ET – Google has also removed Fortnite from the Play Store, citing a violation of its policies. (Via The Verge))

Apple has removed Fortnite from the App Store, just hours after Epic Games debuted a new direct payment option to get around Apple’s in-app purchases rules that give the Cupertino firm a 30% cut of the action. Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against Apple for pulling Fortnite from the ‌App Store‌.

Apple provided a statement to MacRumors on Fortnite’s removal:

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.

Epic has had apps on the ‌App Store‌ for a decade, and have benefited from the ‌App Store‌ ecosystem – including it’s tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers. Epic agreed to the ‌App Store‌ terms and guidelines freely and we’re glad they’ve built such a successful business on the ‌App Store‌. The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the ‌App Store‌.

Earlier today, Epic Games began allowing players to purchase 1,000 V-Bucks (Fortnite currency) in the Fortnite app for $7.99. The purchases were processed directly by Epic Games, doing an end-run around Apple’s in-app purchase system.

At the time, no one knew whether Apple had given Epic Games a special dispensation to introduce such a feature, but the removal of the Fortnite app from the App Store makes it clear Epic Games was violating Apple’s requirements by offering the direct purchase option.

Rule 3.1.1 of Apple’s App Store guidelines state that apps offering in-game currency must use the in-app purchase mechanism.

3.1.1 In-App Purchase:
– If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase. Apps may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, etc. Apps and their metadata may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.

Epic Games made the direct payment option available in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and other countries. The company says that since real-world companies, such as Uber are not required to use Apple’s in-app purchases system, they should be allowed to do the same. Epic has also called both Apple and Google’s 30% in-app purchases cut of the action “exorbitant.”

Epic Games is taking the stand as Apple is facing antitrust investigations both home and abroad over its App Store rules and policies. Perhaps Epic Games and other developers may feel this is an opportune time to rattle Apple’s cage.

In its filing, Epic Games says:

Apple imposes unreasonable and unlawful restraints to completely monopolize both markets and prevent software developers from reaching the over one billion users of its mobile devices (e.g., ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌) unless they go through a single store controlled by Apple, the ‌App Store‌, where Apple exacts an oppressive 30% tax on the sale of every app. Apple also requires software developers who wish to sell digital in-app content to those consumers to use a single payment processing option offered by Apple, In-App Purchase, which likewise carries a 30% tax.

Epic Games says it is not asking for a cash payout, but instead wants to secure “injunctive relief” in the iOS App distribution market and payment processing market for ” hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of thousands, if not more, of third-party app developers.”

Epic Games has made a short available on their YouTube channel entitled “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” which spoofs Apple’s famous “1984” Macintosh debut ad. The short encourages viewers to “join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming 1984.” The video is also available for viewing in Fortnite. (Although much of Fortnite’s target audience may not get what the video is referencing.)

The gaming company has also created an FAQ explaining the lawsuit it has filed against Apple and why ‌iOS‌ users cannot download the Fortnite app. Fortnite remains available on Google Play, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, GeForce Now, and the Epic Games app on Android.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *