Apple on Thursday removed the massively popular video mobile game, Fornite from its App Store over violation of the company’s guidelines for its software distribution platform.
The move by Apple came after Epic Games, the video game developer behind Fortnite, introduced a new direct payment method for the mobile game on iOS and Android devices that offers discounts on digital items purchased directly through Epic instead of buying through Apple’s payment system.
“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,” an Apple spokesman said in a statement.
“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.”
According to Apple’s regulations, all payments need to be processed through Apple, for which the Cupertino firm charges a 30% cut of digital sales on any transaction that passes through its services.
In response to the removal of the game from the App Store, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple over its anti-competitive restrictions on mobile device marketplaces.
It also criticizedApple by posting a video using images directly referencing Apple’s own iconic “1984” ad, Epic Games’ video (titled “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite”).
“Apple’s removal of Fortnite is yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100% monopoly over the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market,” Epic Games said in its legal filing.
“Rather than tolerate this healthy competition and compete on the merits of its offering, Apple responded by removing Fortnite from sale on the App Store, which means that new users cannot download the app, and users who have already downloaded prior versions of the app from the App Store cannot update it to the latest version.”
On Thursday, Epic Games had introduced a new direct payment method for Fortnite that offers a discount by paying the company directly instead of using Apple’s in-app purchase service.
“The Fortnite Mega Drop is here! Get up to 20% savings on V-Bucks and real-money offers for every purchase on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac, and on mobile when using select payment methods,” Epic Games stated in a new announcement.
“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. Here’s how to snag your savings.”
The new discount is applicable universally and automatically on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac. However, it is a little different on mobile:
“Today, we’re also introducing a new way to pay on iOS and Android: Epic direct payment. When you choose to use Epic direct payments, you save up to 20% as Epic passes along payment processing savings to you.”
Taking a direct shot at Apple and Google, it also mentioned in the announcement that “if you pay for your items using Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store, you won’t get the 20% discount, the discounted price is only available when you select Epic direct payment.”
The company also added, “Currently, when using Apple and Google payment options, Apple and Google collect a 30% fee, and the up to 20% price drop does not apply. If Apple or Google lower their fees on payments in the future, Epic will pass along the savings to you.”
After Apple kicked Fortnite out of its App Store, Google too followed suit by removing it from the Play Store on Thursday afternoon. Epic Games has filed suit against Google too after it removed the game from the Play Store.
“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,” a Google spokesman said in a statement.
“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.”
Currently, users who have already downloaded Fortnite on iOS and Android can still access the game. However, only new downloads are disabled due to pulling out of the game from Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Keep watching this space for more updates, as this is a developing story!!!