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Apple and Google removed Fortnite from their app stores and now Epic Games is suing

This is setting up to be an all-out brawl.

fortnite on iphone
Image: Epic Games

Update 8/14/2020 9:30am EST: Google has now removed Fortnite from the Google Play Store, as well. Epic was waiting, and has now filed a lawsuit against them, as well.

So, today, Epic Games announced that it was dropping the price of V-Bucks (the game’s in-game currency that can be purchased with real money) in Fortnite. In addition to the new price drop, Epic Games also announced that iOS and Android users that enjoy the hit battle royale would have to use a new payment option within the app to secure those better prices, referred to as the Mega Drop.

The catch here is that this new payment option circumvents Apple and Android’s respective app stores, meaning those companies would get no cut of the price customers paid to Epic Games. Epic Games and CEO Tim Sweeney have never hidden their disdain towards mobile platforms leveraging their reach to charge developers a fee for using the respective stores.

In the Mega Drop FAQ, Epic Games goes all-in. One question from the FAQ asks, “Does a new payment method on mobile mean purchases there are less safe?”

Epic’s response follows:

No. Thousands of apps on the App Store approved by Apple accept direct payments, including commonly used apps like Amazon, Grubhub, Nike SNKRS, Best Buy, DoorDash, Fandango, McDonalds, Uber, Lyft, and StubHub. We think all developers should be free to support direct payments in all apps. In operating Fortnite on open platforms and operating the Epic Games Store, Epic has processed over $1,600,000,000 of direct payments successfully, and uses industry trusted encryption and security measures to protect customer transactions.

I can’t say I disagree with that assessment.

Apple strikes back

Hours after the announcement, Apple has already taken action against Epic Games, removing Fortnite from its App Store. The reason, well, as made clear above, it goes against Apple’s policies. Fortnite now joins cloud gaming in the list of things iOS users can’t enjoy because of strict Apple policies.

In a statement to The Verge, Apple notes:

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.

Now, as I was writing this piece, there has been a new development.

Epic Games is suing Apple

Yep, that’s right. Epic Games has pulled the ol’ bait and switch and is now suing Apple over the removal of Fortnite from the App Store.

The link within the tweet will take you to the legal filings. The filing doesn’t hold back. It talks about how Apple has become what it once rallied against. It says the company’s App Store policies are monopolistic and more.

There’s a lot to unpack here and certainly more information will come to light in the days ahead.

Can you still play Fortnite on iOS?

At the time of this writing, if you already have Fortnite on your iPhone or iPad, you can continue to play the title, as well as make V-Buck purchases. This could change in the coming hours and days, however.

 What do you think? Are you on Epic Games or Apple’s side? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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