This morning, you could download Fortnite from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. Now, the game is no longer available from either mobile storefront.
It all started this morning, when Epic Games added its own payment processing system in Fortnite for iOS and Android. The new payment system lets you pay for V-Bucks with your debit/credit card or PayPal. It also circumvents Apple and Google’s in-app payment systems and their standard 30-percent cuts on in-app purchases.
As a result, Apple booted Fortnite from the App Store. Apple sent the following statement to The Verge:
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 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.
Epic Games likely saw this coming, because the company almost immediately filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple. The lawsuit wants to establish the App Store as a monopoly and an injunction to “allow fair competition” in mobile app distribution.
Epic Games also released a video on YouTube, mocking Apple’s memorable “1984” ad. The video, which you can watch below, also calls for fans to use the #FreeFortnite hashtag and express their feelings on the matter.
Later in the day, Google made the same decision and booted Fortnite from the Play Store. Here’s what Google had to say on the matter:
The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users. While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play.
Although Epic Games’ lawsuit alleges the App Store is a monopoly, the issue seems to be more about money than anything else. Epic Games doesn’t want to give Apple and Google a 30-percent cut, and the latter two companies don’t plan to relent on their 30-percent cuts.
Unfortunately, this back-and-forth leaves mobile Fortnite players on iOS completely in the lurch. At least on Android, you can grab Fortnite from the Epic Games website or the Samsung Galaxy Store on Samsung devices. Even then, the process isn’t as seamless as it would be to get the game from the Play Store, which is pre-installed on most Android devices.
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