Apple removed Epic Games’ battle royale Fortnite from the App Store after the developer on Thursday implemented its own in-app billing system, which surpasses Apple’s standard 30% fee.
This decision marks a significant escalation in the feud between Epic and one of the world’s most dominant mobile software markets. It also comes at a particularly tough time for Apple as the iPhone maker corrects antitrust concerns over App Store operations and the rules it applies to some developers. certain. Epic has implemented its own payment system in the Android version of Fortnite but Google hasn̵7;t taken any action yet, and the company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Apple said in a statement The Verge that they plan to work with Epic to “address these breaches” but they have no intention of creating a “special agreement” for the company. Here is the company’s full statement:
Today, Epic Games has taken an unfortunate step in violating the App Store guidelines that are equally applicable to all developers and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result, their Fortnite app was removed from the store. Epic has enabled a feature in its app that has not been reviewed or approved by Apple, and they do so with the apparent purpose of violating the App Store’s guidelines for in-app payments that apply to all players. selling digital goods or services.
Epic has been on the App Store for a decade, and has benefited from the App Store ecosystem – including the tools, testing, and distribution that Apple makes available to all developers. Epic has freely agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines, and we’re glad they built such a successful business on the App Store. The fact that their business interests now make them push for a special deal doesn’t change the fact that these principles create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe. for all users. We will do our best to work with Epic to address these breaches so that they can bring Fortnite back to the App Store.
Epic’s approach seems designed to provoke Apple to react, as Fortnite The studio made it clear in its new iOS update how using Epic’s in-app payment system would result in cheaper prices. Example: 1,000 V-bucks, which is roughly equivalent to $ 10 in a game Fortnite currency, currently only priced at $ 7.99 if you use Epic direct payments instead of Apple’s standard payment processor. Usually, that amount costs $ 9.99. In this case, the customer keeps the extra savings, not the company, Epic says. That makes the new deal more of a pro-consumer move than a greedy power game.
Right now, those downloaded Fortnite on iOS the game can still be accessed; only downloads are disabled due to Apple pulling the game from the App Store. You can still even use Epic’s in-app payment system, according to Teh Washington PostGene Park, who used both Apple and Epic payment systems to buy v-bucks. Not sure how to update Fortnite will work – some users who have downloaded the game but haven’t opened it for a while are reporting that the update files are still there; Download normal – but it looks plausible, Epic will have to restore the game in the App Store to push future significant changes to the iOS version.
Okay, I just bought 2,000 v $ using the grand discount and the usual Apple price. Both are still active. Apple may still collect fortnite coins. pic.twitter.com/CgK6AYBbnm
– Gene Park (@GenePark) August 13, 2020
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has long complained that mobile app stores no longer justify the 30% cut they take from all developers, and he has called for changes. Significant changes to how companies like Apple and Google do business with third-party developers. “It’s time for a change,” said Sweeney The Verge in 2018. “Manufacturers Apple, Google and Android make huge profits from selling their devices and don’t justify a 30% cut in any way.” Epic launched a PC game store, in which it only accounts for 12% of revenue as a way to try to encourage a similar shift in competitor Valve’s Steam market.
The bigger debate is just a 30% cut. These days, Apple is facing harsh criticism for how it not only manages the App Store and required fees, but also how it applies its principles in ways that some homes use. developers and critics feel unfair and may in fact be designed to benefit Apple over its competitors.
For example, Apple recently gave Amazon a 30% fee waiver for selling TV shows and rental movies through its Prime Video app, which the company says is only allowed on certain online video platforms. certain. Additionally, court documents released during Big Tech’s antitrust hearing last month show that Apple cut a special deal with Amazon in 2016 to reduce Prime Video subscription fees from 30%. 15% to bring Amazon apps to the App Store
Meanwhile, four years later, Apple gives a reason why it will never approve cloud game apps and game subscription services like Microsoft’s xCloud and Xbox Game Pass. Google Stadia. Apple’s justification for doing so – that it cannot separately review all games offered by cloud gaming platforms like standard iOS apps – has made Sweeney harshly condemned. other. “Apple has outlawed the metaverse,” he wrote on Twitter. “The principle they have outlined will literally rule out all ecosystems and cross-platform games with user-generated modes: not only XCloud, Stadia and GeForce NOW, but also Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox. ”
Apple has outlawed the metaverse.
The principle they outlined would literally exclude all ecosystems and cross-platform games with user-generated modes: not only XCloud, Stadia and GeForce NOW, but also Fortnite, Minecraft. and Roblox. https://t.co/OAGC7cXfSl
– Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 6, 2020
From Fortnite First available on mobile devices in 2018, the game has already existed as a standard iOS app; Sweeney has openly said that his company is only doing so because there is no other way to penetrate Apple’s closed ecosystem. That means Apple accounted for 30% of all in-app purchases Fortnite The currency used to purchase battle pass subscriptions and cosmetic skins, emojis, and other digital goods makes battle royale one of the most lucrative entertainment assets on the planet. Fortnite earned Epic $ 2.4 billion in 2018 and $ 1.8 billion in 2019, largely thanks to its popularity across platforms, as players can use the same account on iOS, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Epic has previously overtaken the Google Play Store on Android by releasing Fortnite as a direct download through its own software launcher. However, the studio eventually gave up earlier this year after failing to claim that Google waived a similar 30% cut on all in-app purchases. “After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve got the basics out,” says Epic. “Google puts downloadable software outside of Google Play at a disadvantage.”
Epic’s statement at the time was transparent about their dissatisfaction over how Google and Apple extended and treated third-party software that did not comply with its rules. Epic then joined the Match Group, the parent company of Tinder and other dating apps, making a statement supporting two ongoing antitrust investigations against Apple conducted by the European Union, only came after Spotify and other app makers objected to the App Store policies they deemed unfairly punishing Apple’s competitors.