Fortnite removed from mobile app stores after payment kerfuffle
Image credit: Dreamstime
Fortnite has been booted off both Google and Apple’s app stores after it implemented alternative payment options in the app that violated their policies.
Both Apple and Google take a 30 per cent cut of the revenue that developers make from in-app purchases, which has long been a sore spot with developers.
But Fortnite developer Epic Games implemented a new payment portal that bypassed the app stores and offered gamers an additional discount of 20 per cent if purchased through it.
When the app was removed from their stores by both firms, Epic immediately hit back with a lawsuit and a short parodying the film 1984 with direct criticism of Apple.
“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,” Epic said in its lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California.
The firm’s swift action, and the immediate release of its parody short following Fortnite’s removal, implies that Epic expected the outcome and it could be trying to challenge the dominance that Apple and Google have over their respective app stores.
Such a lawsuit comes at a particularly sensitive time for the tech giants as they are being heavily scrutinised in both the US and Europe for possible antitrust violations.
Apple said the new payment service violated its guidelines.
“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,” it said in a statement.
Apple added that Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade and benefited from its tools, testing and distribution. It said it was working with Epic to resolve the violations and return Fortnite to the app store.
Analysts believe games are the biggest contributor to spending inside the App Store, which is in turn the largest component of Apple's $46.3bn-per-year services segment.
“We welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play,” Google spokesman Dan Jackson said.
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