The dispute began when Fortnite introduced a new payment method for in-game currency.

By Nick Romano
August 13, 2020 at 05:44 PM EDT
Travis Scott/YouTube


  • Video Games

A major dispute in the gaming industry has erupted this week between tech giant Apple and the popular video game Fortnite.

Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, is suing Apple after the game was dropped from the App Store. And that's just the logline description of what happened. It all started with V-Bucks.

On Wednesday, Epic introduced a new payment option for Fortnite players to purchase V-Bucks, which is virtual currency bought by Fortnite users to then purchase in-game items (weapons, costumes, vehicles, etc.). This method was meant to circumvent fees Apple charges through the App store.

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

The problem was that this new payment option, which was offering a 20-percent discount for users, apparently violated Apple policies. Hours later, Fornite was removed from the App Store.

"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," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. "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," the statement continued. "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."

In response, Epic filed legal papers against Apple and promptly launched a #FreeFortnite campaign, complete with an Orwellian 1984-esque video that paints Apple in a totalitarian light.

"Apple is keeping prices high so they can collect 30 percent of your payments, and is blocking Fortnite in order to prevent Epic from passing on the savings from direct payments to you!" Epic wrote in a blog post Thursday .

The video itself seems to specifically poke fun at Apple's famous "1984" commercial, which depicted IBM as a Big Brother-like force.

"Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly," the video, which runs in the game itself and on a loop through the company's social channels, states. "In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming 1984."

Fortnite is still available to play on Google Play, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, GeForce Now, and the Epic Games app on Android.

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  • 07/25/2017