Fans of battle royale games on mobile devices are in for bad news. Apple and Google have pulled popular game Fortnite from their respective app stores. The move was a result of Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, introducing a direct payment plan on its updated version of the game on iOS and Android.
The update allows users to pay Epic directly for in-game purchases for weapons, skins and other items. Both Apple and Google cited this feature as a violation of their payment guidelines, where they take a 30 percent cut on payments made inside apps.
Apple and Google remove Fortnite from their app stores: here’s why
Commenting on the matter, Apple said in a statement, ‘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.’
Google, on the other hand, said that, ‘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.’ Google added that Fortnite will be available on Android, but not through Play Store because it violates their policies. Android users can download the game from other app stores like Epic Games app or Samsung Galaxy Store on Samsung devices. There’s no such option for Apple devices though.
Epic Games files lawsuit against Google and Apple over Fortnite ban
Soon after the incident, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple and Google, accusing them of anti-competitive behaviour. The game developer also dragged OnePlus and LG into this by claiming that Google blocked their deal with the brands which would have allowed the later’s smartphones to ship with pre-loaded Epic Games Store app.
Epic also said that it is not seeking money from Google and Apple but want such practices to be stopped. The lawsuit also highlighted Apple’s monopolistic practices.
Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices.
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 13, 2020
The game maker also attacked the Cupertino-based giant on Twitter using the hashtag #FreeFortnite, by creating a short video called Nineteen Eight-Fortnite, a parody of Apple’s famous 1984 commercial. It will be interesting to see how this matter unfolds and if other app developers will follow suit.