After Epic Games announced that any V-Bucks or real-money purchases made in Fortnitewill now permanently be 20% lower on all platforms, both Apple and Google have removed the game from their respective storefronts.
While this may just be another pro-consumer move by Epic Games, the new payment method would avoid Apple and Google's 30% fee from any in-app purchases. After the companies removed Fortnite from their stores, Epic has launched legal action.
This comes after Apple recently clashed with Microsoft over its refusal to permit xCloud to run on their devices. Here's our breakdown of this ever-growing dispute between the three technology giants.
Why has Epic Games lowered the V-Bucks cost?
You won't notice any changes to the way you buy V-Bucks on consoles or PC when using this 20% reduction, but mobile players will instead use a different method of payment if they want to buy V-Bucks at a lower price.
The 'Epic direct payment' method will net you a 20% discount of purchases as "Epic passes along payment processing savings to you."
These 'payment processing savings' reference the service fees taken by Apple and Google, which currently stand at 30% off the in-app purchase. As Epic no longer has to pay these fees, not only will they sell more V-Bucks to avid players excited by the lower prices, but also earn 10% more from each sale now that Apple/Google will not take as much of a cut.
Epic also stated "if Apple or Google lower their fees on payments in the future" that they will pass any savings directly to the players.
UPDATE: Fortnite banned from App Store and Play Store by Apple and Google
After Epic slashed the prices of V-Bucks, publicly taking on both Apple and Google, Fortnite has now been removed by Apple and Google from their respective storefronts. Those who own the mobile version of Fortnite will still be able to play the game, but support will end when the game is next updated.
Apple explained the reasoning behind the ban in a 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.
Google has since followed Apple in banning Fortnite from its Google Play Store for Android devices. It gave the following statement to The Verge:
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.
However, Google also emphasised its open ecosystem, which allows its users to download applications from outside the Play Store, including the Samsung Galaxy Store.
Epic fights back with legal action against Apple and Google
In response to Apple, Epic Games filed a legal injunction against the company, which can be read here.
Within the legal papers, Epic stated that "Apple imposes unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintains a total monopoly in the iOS App Distribution Market."
They also defended the motive of this legal action by clarifying:
Epic is not seeking monetary compensation from this Court for the injuries it has suffered. Nor is Epic seeking favorable treatment for itself, a single company. Instead, Epic is seeking injunctive relief to allow fair competition in these two key markets that directly affect hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of thousands, if not more, of third-party app developers.
Epic has also filed a similar suit against Google after its removal from the Play Store, opening the case with the following:
In 1998, Google was founded as an exciting young company with aunique motto: “Don’t Be Evil”
Epic Games launch #FreeFortnite campaign
Aside from filing legal complaints, Epic has attempted to garner the support of its community via the #FreeFortnite campaign.
In a blog post, which can be found here, Epic implores Fortnite players to "Join the fight against @AppStore on social media with #FreeFortnite."
Epic also released a parody of Apple's 1984 Macintosh commercial, replacing the actors with Fortnite characters. The video ends with the following message:
Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming "1984". #FreeFortnite
You can watch the full video below!