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[Update: Google Too] Apple Boots ‘Fortnite’ Out of the App Store in an Escalating Battle Royale

A video game room themed after Fornite
Josh Hendrickson / Review Geek

Today, Epic updated its Fortnite apps to lower the prices of V-bucks by 20%. That happened across the board, even on iOS and Android. But only if you bypassed the iOS and Android payment systems. Predictably, Apple didn’t like the move and kicked Fortnite to the curb, which is likely what Epic wanted in the first place.

Update, 8/13: A few hours after this article published, Google kicked Fortnite off the Play Store for Android, too.

When you spend money on an in-app-purchase (IAP) in the Android or iOS store, Google and Apple take a cut of the revenue. Both stores require developers to use approved payment systems to facilitate that cut.

The Fortnite app with two methods of payment at different prices.

More and more developers are protesting the fee, often pointing out that customers could choose to pay with another method, but the rules bar pointing them to an outside website or process. Spotify, Rakuten, and others have complained that the fee is an unfair advantage for Apple and Google, as they often have competitive services and could offer them for less, thanks to owning the stores.

Epic decided to take its fight public today and offer a method to buy V-Bucks in Fortnite without using Google or Apple’s payment systems. It was clear from the beginning that Epic wants to push the companies to make changes, even if Apple and Google ban its games. And that’s what happened; Apple banned Fortnite from the store.

Apple released this statement to The Verge regarding the situation:

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 its 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.

Apple is technically correct, and as we pointed out, Epic also participates in similar ventures. It owns a game store and pulls revenue from it. The company’s fight isn’t truly about saving money for customers either, as it lowered the price of V-Bucks on Xbox, PS4, and Switch despite the fees it pays on those platforms.

In response, Epic already released a “mock ad” in the style of Apple’s famous 1984 ad. The company also created a #FreeFortnite website explaining its position.

via The Verge

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »