Over the last couple of days, news about Epic Games started poking the hornets nest again by offering V-Bucks, the real world currency for the very popular Fortnite at a discounted price across all platforms. If you play on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One or PS4, this is a straightforward deal, but for players on mobile platforms, things got a little more complicated.
Earlier this week, Epic enabled a feature that allowed users on Apple and Android devices to buy the currency in-game, essentially circumventing the preferred payment methods on both platforms. This is also the only way that mobile players can take advantage of the 20% discount of V-Bucks that Epic is offering for Fortnite across the board. This obviously didn’t sit well with Apple, who has since removed Fortnite from the App Store, which was shortly followed by Google removing the game from the Play Store as well.
Both Apple and Google take a 30% cut of all purchases on their storefronts, something that Epic Games is not willing to accept anymore it seems. Both companies have released statements condemning Epic’s move to bypass the payment systems.
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.
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.
While both companies are technically right, Epic it seems isn’t happy with the arrangement and is leveraging the power of one of the most popular games on the market to try and change the system and essentially get a bigger cut of the profit for their own game. Exactly how this will pan out for them still remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that the impact of this move by Epic will have a profound impact in the industry as well. And the only reason they can do it is because of the popularity of Fortnite.
Apple is notoriously stubborn, but Epic has been known for stirring the pot and coming out on top, being partly responsible for the cross-platform play we’re getting on many games these days. It might be that both Apple and Google will have to relook their model if it means losing out on that massive gaming market that not only Fortnite has, but brings with it in terms of other games and apps that users might be spending on.
Meanwhile, Apple also confirmed that any cloud gaming services won’t be allowed on their environment because it violates it’s App Store guidelines, since they cannot review all games made available individually. This basically means the xCloud offered my Microsoft and Stadia offered by Google is a no go for Apple users. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games gave his opinion on this on Twitter:
Apple has outlawed the metaverse.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 6, 2020
The principle they state, taken literally, would rule out all cross-platform ecosystems and games with user created modes: not just XCloud, Stadia, and GeForce NOW, but also Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox. https://t.co/OAGC7cXfSl
Source: The Verge
Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices.— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 13, 2020
Visit https://t.co/K3S07w5uEk and join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming "1984" https://t.co/tpsiCW4gqK