Fortnite, the gaming title that can be easily counted perhaps humankind’s most popular ones ever, has been booted out from Apple’s App Store as well as Google’s Play Store. This comes after Fortnite maker Epic Games added a new feature on both platforms, allowing players to directly pay to Epic Games instead of routing their payments through these app store owners.
The feature resulted in players getting much cheaper prices for in-app purchases as compared with those that come when the purchase is routed through the Apple/Google app stores. “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,” Epic wrote in a blog post introducing the new option. “If Apple or Google lower their fees on payments in the future, Epic will pass along the savings to you.”
Within hours after this feature was made live, Fortnite found itself being removed from Apple’s App Store. Apple’s ongoing fight with gaming companies, that most recently included Microsoft, has been quite public. Most companies, specially the likes of Microsoft, who have cloud gaming options, have openly criticised Apple for its anti-competitive behaviour.
In a statement issued to the Press, Apple confirmed the game’s exit from App Store, for violating App Store policies.
Here’s what Apple said,
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.
Controversies surrounding Apple’s really massive App Store fees, which can go upto 30% of the fees, have been gaining momentum for some time now. Publishers have often cringed about the massive cut which Apple takes. And while Google too takes a 20% cut, it is at least lesser as compared to what Apple charges.
Meanwhile, Google too removed Fortnite from its Play Store, for violating app store policies. Here’s what Google said,
Parallely, perhaps anticipating that removal from both app stores was on the cards, Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against both Apple and Google.