Google and Apple have suspended Fortnite from their mobile stores hours within Epic Games’ announcing a 20% discount on any Fortnite V-bucks purchased directly from the company instead of using the tech firms’ proprietary payment systems.
Epic, Apple and Google’s Thorny Relationship
Epic Games’ attempt to go it alone may have flopped, with the company now battling in court with both Apple and Google after the tech giants decided to toss out the popular battle royale game Fortnite out of their respective digital stores on Thursday, August 13.
Google and Apple have both pulled the plug on Fortnite, removing the product from their stores, citing violation of the stores’ guidelines as the reason why. The specific trigger was Epic Games’ decision to allow the purchase of in-game currency without using Apple or Google’s native payment systems for the purpose.
Epic Games legal response to the action was the result of careful consideration, too, with the company anticipating the move. Based on submitted court documents, Epic had prepared a 60-page complaint against both companies and it had hired top legal talent, too, including Christine Varney, the Justice Department’s antitrust division head during the Obama administration, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, Epic opened a salvo of informational campaign against both Apple and Google, borrowing Apple’s “1984” ad and converting it into a parody, and then describing Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” slogan as a remnant of what it originally was meant to be.
A Discount Gone Wrong
It all started yesterday, Thursday, when Epic games revealed that it would offer a permanent 20% discount for any V-bucks purchased directly from Epic Games and not with one of the tech giants’ proprietary payment methods.
The blog post released by the company stated that players who buy directly from the company would get a 20% discount, explaining that Apple and Google were charging 30% fees as of now.
The company further added that should Apple and Google reconsider their fees collection policies, any discounts would be passed onto the players. That hadn’t been the first time Epic and the company’s CEO, Tim Sweeney, criticized the heavy fees introduced by Google and Apple.
Responding to the decision to strip Fortnite off the two giants’ stores, Epic said that it was just another example of Apple flexing their economic and technological power to cower other companies in subjugating and establishing a monopoly over the market.
Epic responded with a complaint filed with the US District Court for the Northern District of California requesting injunction on Apple’s anticompetitive conduct. On Thursday, Apple released a statement for CNN business bringing clarity in the situation:
“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.”
Google commented in a similar vein, explaining that Epic no longer complied with established Google store policies and as a result, Fortnite could no longer be part of the Google Play product list.
However, Google assured that the company remained open for dialogue with Epic Games and the possible return of Fortnite on the digital window-shop.
Not the First Time Epic Games Has Been an Individualist
All things considered, this has not been the first time when Epic Games has decided to go it alone. When Fortnite was only getting started in the mobile segment, Epic Games decided to forego a launch on Google Play at first.
Even back then, Sweeny didn’t agree with the 30/70 split, money that he thought could be better spent on marketing the game. Speaking to Venture Beat back in August 2018, Sweeny had this to say:
“We’re trying to make our software available to users in as economically efficient a way as possible. That means distributing the software directly to them, taking payment through MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, and other options, and not having a store take 30 per cent.”
Epic Games only launched on the Google Play store in April, 2020, waiting for nearly two years before joining. By this token, Epic Games is perfectly aware of how to operate without using the popularity of the Google Play store.