Apple removes Fortnite from the App store, Epic responds with a lawsuit

So this happened:

It seems Epic planned this carefully, as they had a lawsuit, a statement, and a Fortnite video ready the very moment Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store:

That video is a very clear parody of an old Apple ad:

Shots fired.

The Apple response:

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 it’s 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.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Epic.

Much like we owe one to Steam for tearing up the ratings system nonsense.

If Epic wins this is going to be a huge win for gamers and gaming.

Ummm, so what did Epic specifically do with Fortnite that violated the App store guidelines?

They flipped their in app purchases to bypass Apple’s 30% cut and go directly to Epic.

Yessum, that’s a declaration of war right there.

Google also removed it.

You always get over dramatic when it comes to Apple. We get it you hate them. I’m on Epics side for apps developers in general, couldn’t care less about mobile gamers. A F2P game being on phones is hardly a big win for gamers.

You have no idea what you are talking about and I cant be bothered to educate you.

Ok someone else explain to me how this is good for gamers as a whole. This is good for developers as a whole. Most of the time “gamers” look down on mobile games, now it’s suddenly really important for them all?

Mobile gamers are gamers too. Put simply.

Epic aren’t really the good guys per se - they’ve been encouraging gamers to get around other store front ends while pushing their own. They’re more like Siena giving side eyes to Florence and Venice and wanting a piece of the pie. If they’re successful it’s likely that ordinary users don’t notice much of a difference, other than just being able to toss money directly to the developer rather than use Apple’s instore system. I guess that’s why it’s a bit weird to me to have a strong opinion about it from the consumer end.

OTOH, Apple is clearly in the hotseat here, and this could be something like an EPIC /cough fight that they’re going to be willing to burn it all down to win. They need that service revenue and they’re not going to bend the knee unless forced. But Epic might well get Amazon and Microsoft on board, and that might be enough of a force a decision against them. They’re never going to willingly change, it will require a judicial ruling.

If Apple does lose i’d expect them to let their App store turn into chaotic mess, and then create a curated higher tier sub-store that developers have to agree to accept similar to the old terms to get into. Apple has a history of taking their ball and going home, and they’re not going to just sit back and take it. The moment they lose they’re going to start inventing some new walled garden.

It will require a judicial ruling or government regulation, yes.

Not real ones. :-P

Epic just needed to negotiate a better rate like Amazon did.

I am sure Amazon would be very happy to be able to sell books freely through the Kindle app like you can on Android and Windows.

Epic is specifically not asking for a special arrangement, they want Apple to change the policy across the board. So that bit is bullshit. It’s also arguably not a level playing field - Epic claims that many apps are allowed to do this already, just not games. I don’t do IAP pretty much ever so I don’t know if that’s true. Safety is a potential concern, if apps can use just whoever to do payment processing there’s a pretty obvious vector for scams there.

But yeah, Epic is picking this fight deliberately. And I don’t believe that it’s about the general good for a second.

It will be interesting to watch this play out. I hope Epic prevails, but I’m not sure they have the standing for a successful antitrust lawsuit, given the prevalence of Android as a perfectly viable alternative. It’s very unlike the MS/IE case in that regard.

I may be the only one to hope they don’t win. To me, Epic’s agenda is trying to bypass the parents’ attempting to limit purchases by allowing anybody to input payment info in their app. And we know who Fortnite is popular with.

They try to gather good will with a good fight, but to me their real intent stinks. If they weren’t so much kid oriented, my take would have been different.

Google have removed Fortnite, too. Ironically, from that perspective, it sort of looks like Apple and Google are operating like a cartel, which may give Epic more of a legal foundation for a case.