If the Apple App Store and Google Play were a giant ship, Epic Games is staging a mutiny. Will they sink or swim?
You may have heard about Epic Games’ Fortnite feud with the two big tech giants, which is just now coming to the boil. Here’s what we know so far.
Does giant tech companies going at it and getting their followers to join the cause via social media reek of self-interest, or do you think Epic Games is really being pro-consumer here?
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Apple removed mega-hit Fortnite from the App Store on Thursday after the game’s developer Epic Games implemented an in-app payment system to seemingly bypass Apple’s 30 percent fee for in-app purchases.
The move seems to be especially calculated as Apple is currently in the midst of navigating antitrust concerns over its operation of the App Store via the rules it imposes on certain developers.
Following the removal of Fortnite from Apple’s App Store, Epic Games uploaded a protest video onto YouTube, and within Fortnite, in which it mocked this ‘1984’ Apple ad referencing George Orwell’s classic novel, suggesting Apple is turning our reality into a ‘1984’-like dystopia.
Orwell, the great British writer, is probably turning in his grave – it’s safe to say thpanies feuding over percentages isn’t what he had in mind at the time of writing. Tellingly, however, when Steve Jobs originally unveiled the Apple ‘1984’ ad, he positioned Apple as a company fighting IBM’s stranglehold on the industry.
In any case, in their mock ad, Epic Games also encouraged fans to join their fight via the hashtag #FreeFortnite on social media.
Epic Games is also now suing Apple, as VentureBeat reports, for having a ‘monopoly’ over the computing technology market.
In their lawsuit filing, Epic Games stated that “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.”
The timing for this lawsuit looks to be particularly calculated as the EU has recently opened formal antitrust investigations aimed at assessing “whether Apple’s rules for app developers on the distribution of apps via the App Store violate EU competition rules.”
The Verge reached out to Apple and the company responded with a comprehensive statement saying the following:
“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.”
Epic Games has also implemented its own payment system in the Android version of Fortnite, which, unsurprisingly, led Google to also remove the game from the Play Store. Android users can, however, still download the game using Epic Games’ own app launcher, which can be downloaded via any mobile web browser.
A Google spokesperson told The Verge that it has “consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users.” Though Epic Games broke these policies, the spokesperson said Google welcomes “the opportunity to continue our discussions w…