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Breaking: Epic sues Apple after Fortnite pulled from App Store

“Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines…”

What you need to know

  • Fortnite introduced new permanent discounts in its store.
  • It is offering 20% savings on V-Bucks and more across all platforms.
  • It has also introduced a new direct payment for iOS and Android, and had some choice words for Apple and Google during the announcement.

Update 6, August 13 (4:30 pm ET): Epic says that iOS players will still be able to play the current version of the game if they already have it downloaded.

Update 5, August 13 (4:20 pm ET): Epic premieres “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite” video against Apple.

Update 4, August 13 (3:40 pm ET): Epic announces it is taking legal action against Apple for App Store ban.

Update 3, August 13 (3:20 pm ET): Epic Games to launch new game trailer that pokes fun at Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial.

Update 2, August 13 (3:00 pm ET): Apple has removed Fornite from its App Store for violating its guidelines.

Update 1, August 13 (09:30 am ET): iMore can confirm the new Fortnite payment method for mobile seems to be internal to the app, rather than an external link, setting up a likely fallout between Epic and Apple.

Fortnite has today announced new permanent discounts in its Fortnite store, but couldn’t resist taking shots at Apple and Google as it introduced a new direct payment scheme for mobile.

In a new announcement Epic Games stated:

The Fortnite Mega Drop is here! Get up to 20% savings on V-Bucks and real-money offers for every purchase on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac, and on mobile when using select payment methods.

This isn’t a sale… these are new discount prices available anytime! We’re excited to pass along these savings to you and will continue to look for additional ways to bring value to all Fortnite players. Here’s how to snag your savings.

The new discount will apply universally and automatically on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac. On mobile, things are a little different:

Today, we’re also introducing a new way to pay on iOS and Android: Epic direct payment. When you choose to use Epic direct payments, you save up to 20% as Epic passes along payment processing savings to you.

But Epic Games couldn’t resist the opportunity to take shots at both Apple and Google. As the announcement notes, if you pay for your items using Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store, you won’t get the 20% discount, the discounted price is only available when you select Epic direct payment.

With shots fired at both platforms, Epic Games said:

Currently, when using Apple and Google payment options, Apple and Google collect a 30% fee, and the up to 20% price drop does not apply. If Apple or Google lower their fees on payments in the future, Epic will pass along the savings to you.

The discounts are also available on Android if you don’t use the Google Play Store, and anyone who has purchased V-Bucks or real-money offers in the last 30 days will receive a bonus by August 17.

You can read the full report here.

Update 1, August 13 (09:30 am ET) — New payment system is embedded in the app

The new Fortnite mobile payment system on iOS seems to be embedded within the Fortnite app, which seems likely to be a breach of in-app-purchase guidelines as set by Apple. It could well be the new feature sets up a falling out between Apple and Epic Games.

Whilst the feature itself is new as of today, August 13, the Fortnite app hasn’t been updated in the App Store since August 10, suggesting this is a server-side change, rather than something Apple has approved.

Update 2, August 13 (3:00 pm ET) – Apple removes Fornite from its App Store

Apple has pulled Fornite from the App Store for violating its guidelines regarding online payments. The Verge received the following statement from Apple:

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.

Update 3, August 13 (3:20 pm ET) – Epic Games to launch new game trailer that pokes fun at Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial

Less than 20 minutes after Apple pulled Fortnite from the App Store, Epic Games announced on Twitter that it will premiere a new short video from its in-game Party Royale called Ninteen Eighty-Fortnite, with a visual that is a direct reference to Apple’s iconic Ridley Scott-directed Machintosh commercial.

As pointed out by The Verge, the original commercial portrayed Apple as the underdog to a totalitarian regime. Based on the timing of this launch after what Epic Games quietly did without Apple’s permission, and the subsequent removal of Fortnite from the App Store, this entire thing stinks of premeditated drama being drummed up by Epic Games in order to call attention to Apple’s App Store policies regarding in-app purchases.

Update 4, August 13 (3:40 pm ET) – Epic announces it is taking legal action against Apple for App Store ban

Twenty minutes before it is scheduled to run its “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite” video poking fun at Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial, Fortnite announced that it will be taking legal action against Apple. The company says that Apple’s behavior in its control over the App Store is anticompetitive.

“Fast forward to 2020, and Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation. Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched, and more pernicious than the monopolists of yesteryear. At a market cap of nearly $2 trillion, Apple’s size and reach far exceeds that of any technology monopolist in history.”

Epic says that it is bringing the lawsuit for the purpose of ending Apple’s anticompetitive App Store rules.

“Epic brings this suit to end Apple’s unfair and anti-competitive actions that Apple undertakes to unlawfully maintain its monopoly in two distinct, multibillion dollar markets: (i) the iOS App Distribution Market, and (ii) the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market (each as defined below). Epic is not seeking monetary compensation from this Court for the injuries it has suffered. Nor is Epic seeking favorable treatment for itself, a single company. Instead, Epic is seeking injunctive relief to allow fair competition in these two key markets that directly affect hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of thousands, if not more, of third-party app developers.”

The two main complaints of the suit focus on Apple’s exclusive control over the payment system in the App Store that requires developers to pay the “Apple tax” as well as developers only being able to distribute apps through Apple’s App Store on iOS devices.

Update 5, August 13 (4:20 pm ET) – Epic premieres “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite” video against Apple

Epic has premiered its “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite in its game and also on YouTube. The video is almost a shot-for-shot remake of Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial in which the company took on the monopoly of IBM at the time. In the video, Apple has taken the place of IBM and is shouting at the Fortnite characters until one brave player throws what can only be described as a unicorn axe into the evil Applehead on screen.

The video ends with Epic announcing that it is taking on Apple and the App Store. Watch the video below:

Update 6, August 13 (4:20 pm ET) – Epic says that iOS players will still be able to play the current version of the game if they already have it downloaded

Epic has clarified that iOS users who already have the game installed will be able to play the current version of the game, but will not be able to update the app to any of the new seasons when they launch.