Aside from its Xbox drama, Apple has also been busy sparring with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Epic has expressed their frustration with the tech giant due to their 30% fee of all sales made through the App Store, which includes all games and in-app DLC purchases. Epic recently announced that a permanent 20% off discount to all Fortnite v-buck purchases on consoles, PC, and even mobile. Although fans found their wallets liberated, Apple saw this as a stab in the back.
In a way, Epic Games confirmed Apple’s suspicions. On the mobile platforms, the price-cut was made possible through a newly established payment system that allowed v-buck buyers to forgo transactions through the App Store, and instead allowed them to buy directly from Epic for the discounted price. So, if players decided to stick with making payments from the store, they would not have the luxury of having that 20% off.
“If Apple and Google lower their fees on payments, Epic will pass along the savings to [all] players,” an ultimatum from the developer stated, following the announcement. Hours later, Apple made it clear they weren’t willing to negotiate, removing the battle royale for “violating the App Store guidelines.”
It’s a never-before-seen hostage scenario, of sorts. Because Apple could not benefit from the exclusive discount, they are, by all means, holding the App Store at ransom from Epic. “We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store,” the mega-corporation told TheVerge. In other words, Apple isn’t afraid to paint Epic Games in a negative light, until they receive a profit from Epic’s biggest title.
It’s unlikely the tension will stop anytime soon. This is mainly due to Epic taking a hefty loss if both the 20% discount and 30% App Store fee were implemented. Some games have seen fit to avoid these fees by creating their own store on iOS, but this usually leads to a number of issues – with some players having to jailbreak their devices to access them.
Fortnite has since responded with legal action against the iPhone maker, with their filing claiming “the behemoth [seeks] to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation.” The documents conclude that the courts should find the App Store’s policies to be “unlawful and unenforceable.” Since, neither parties have made a move that offers any clarity as to when and if Fortnite will return to the App Store.
Epic has also released a new short film, making fun of one of Apple’s most famous adverts. In the original 1984 commercial, Apple positioned the company as the alternative to too much monopoly and control in the computer market. Now, Epic is accusing them of doing the exact thing that they once fought against, and are deploying memes against them in the court of public opinion.