Epic Games Picks A Fight With Apple And Google…. And Apple Is Going To Be On The Wrong End Of This Fight

Epic Games, makers of the insanely popular game Fortnite have decided to pick a fight with Apple and Google over being able to offer in app purchases without giving Apple and Google a cut. And to nobody’s surprise, Apple and Google have retaliated by banning Fortnite from their respective app stores. Epic Games didn’t take that well, and sued both Apple and Google.

Here’s how we got here:

  • Epic Games announced that it has introduced a new direct payment option in the Fortnite app for iPhone and iPad, allowing players to purchase 1000 V-Bucks for $7.99 rather than $9.99 through an in-app purchase mechanism which would give Apple and Google a cut. In a FAQ, Epic Games described Apple’s and Google’s 30 percent commission on in-app purchases as “exorbitant,” leading it to introduce this alternate payment system so that it can offer the same permanent discount of up to 20 percent on V-Bucks that it is now offering to players on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Mac, and PC.
  • To nobody’s surprise, Apple and Google said that this violated their app store rules and both companies pulled the game from their respective app stores.
  • Epic responded to this by dropping this video which has similar overtones to Apple’s “1984” video that launched the original Macintosh:

Here’s Apple’s “1984” video for comparison:

The next thing that Fortnite did is sue Apple [Warning: PDF] and Google. Epic’s is also encouraging Fortnite players affected by the ban to tweet at Apple with the #FreeFortnite hashtag. But I should note that it’s not doing the same thing with Google.

Clearly Epic Games was expecting things to play out the way that they have as they clearly had things ready to go. And this will end badly for Apple as this isn’t about Google despite the fact that Google is being sued as well. Here’s why. You can also still play Fortnite on Android by sideloading the app, avoiding the Google Play Store entirely. However you can’t do this on the Apple App Store. Which means that iOS users who want to play Fortnite can’t do so unless they have already have it on their iDevice. And they can’t update the game either. Which means that Apple holds all the cards. This caught the attention of Congress not too long ago and has Apple under a microscope at the moment. An example of this is Apple’s rather stupid reason for banning game streaming services. Thus Epic Games is likely assuming that if they force this issue now, Apple will be put under all sort of pressure and be the subject of negative press which will make them change course. Or encourage Congress to use anti-trust law to force Apple to change course. And seeing as Epic Games has one of the most popular games in the world at the moment, they have a lot of power. As for Google, I am pretty sure that Epic Games thinks that if Apple gets taken down, Google will likely settle very quickly.

Apple is not in a good place when it comes to this and Apple is going to lose if they don’t come up with a way out of this. Epic Games has played this perfectly and I am sure that a lot of people at Apple Park are very worried about this. Apple has pretty much have been pwned in Epic fashion.

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