Why is Fortnite banned from the App Store and Play Store ?
Fortnite has disappeared from Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store. Let's take a look back at this case, which has been the talk of the town during the month of August.
The famous game Fortnite Battle Royale has been a danger on mobile platforms for some time now. To get paid, Epic Games offers in-app purchases to players who can unlock premium content (a weapon, a costume, a dance). This is a popular and very profitable business model for the company. Fortnite generated nearly $4.2 billion in 2018 and 2019.
By being on the App Store and the Play Store, Epic Games had to comply with the rules of both platforms. But the publisher never appreciated the 30% tax that Apple and Google impose on developers. It therefore implemented a direct payment system in its game allowing players to buy cheaper V-Bucks, the virtual currency. For 1,000 V-Bucks, players had the choice of paying $9.99 with the App Store or $7.99 directly via Epic.
Epic has given players the ability to purchase cheaper V-Bucks without going through the App Store and Play Store.
Epic Games sues Apple
Determined to regain its place on Apple's App Store, Epic Games has just opened a new front against Apple by demanding in a summary judgment that Fortnite return to iOS.
The situation is tense between Apple and Epic. The two digital mastodons entangled in a major lawsuit continue to open new fronts in the media and legal war embodied by the Fortnite case. The studio behind the successful video game has filed a summary judgment to force Apple to make Fortnite available again on its App Store.
Epic Games in conflict with Google
Upon learning this, Apple removed Fortnite from its store. Google did the same a few hours later, although Android players can still download the game directly from the Epic Store. It's also possible to find the app in its application library if you've downloaded the game before (but you simply won't be able to update it or enjoy the new seasons).
Things are moving very fast. Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It accuses the apple brand of anti-competitive practices in the field of application distribution and payments related to applications. He is not seeking compensation or special treatment from Apple, but wants the company to stop its practices that he considers anti-competitive.
"To reach iOS users, Apple forces developers to accept illegal terms contained in its Developer Agreement and to comply with the App Store Review Guidelines, including the requirement for iOS developers to distribute their applications through the App Store. These contractual provisions unlawfully exclude competitors from the market for the distribution of iOS applications and maintain Apple's monopoly," said Epic's complaint.
Today, Apple is giving the first legal response with a claim for damages and an outright dismissal of Epic Games' accusations.
Epic's blatant disregard for its contractual commitments and other faults has caused significant harm to Apple.
Spotify has joined the fight
On Twitter you may have seen an excerpt from a press release about Fortnite written by Spotify. The music streaming service has effectively joined Epic Games' fight by endorsing its approach.
We applaud Epic Games' decision to take a stand against Apple and shed light on Apple's abuse of its dominant position," wrote Spotify, adding that "Apple's unfair practices have put its competitors at a disadvantage and deprived consumers for far too long.
Spotify is also leading its own battle against Apple. In addition to the 30% commission, Spotify blames Apple for privileging its Apple Music application by granting less access to Spotify and its product counterparts.
"EPIC HAS TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF EVERYTHING THE APP STORE HAD TO OFFER"
The document begins with a rather aggressive attack by Apple on the behavior of Epic Games. Indeed, the firm does not hesitate to portray Epic Games as a company that "presents itself as a modern-day Robin Hood", but is in fact "a multi-billion dollar company" that "just doesn't want to pay anything for the huge profit it makes from the App Store".
On several pages, Apple describes how the firm has invested in the App Store year after year to make it the app market we know today, while Epic Games took the opportunity to grow Fornite or Infinity Blade. A beautiful period that ended on a terrible day in June 2020 when "Epic decided that it would like to reap the benefits of the App Store without paying anything for them".
Two weeks ago, in the first hearing of the Epic Games-Apple dispute, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of protecting the Unreal Engine, but did not question Fortnite's ban from the App Store. Epic Games "seems to have put itself in this difficult position" by circumventing Apple's payment system, which is prohibited by the platform, and "has not proven to have suffered irreparable harm," she had explained.
In the new petition filed last Friday with the Californian court, Epic Games demonstrates precisely this "irreparable harm" by putting forward figures. Of Fortnite's 350 million registered players, "more than 116 million accessed the game via iOS - more than on any other platform. Epic Games also reports that "63% of Fortnite users on iOS play it only on iOS," and that the number of people who play the daily battle royale on Apple devices has dropped "by more than 60%" since it disappeared from the App Store and is no longer updated. A considerable loss of income therefore. "The damage created towards these people is significant. Epic may never see these players again,".
"To be clear, Epic Games is not looking to take advantage of Apple's services without paying for them. What Epic Games is asking for is the freedom not to use the Apple App Store or Apple's integrated payment system and instead be able to use and offer competing services."
Apple maintains its position and recalls its previous statement of August 28th :
We are disappointed that we had to close Epic Games' account in the App Store (...) The Court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store rules pending resolution of the court case, rules they followed for years until they created this situation. Epic refused (...) It's not fair to all the other developers on the App Store, and it puts customers at the center of their battle. We hope it will be possible to work together again in the future, but it's not possible today.
Apple's defense, for its part remains strict and the firm explains that it has worked hand in hand with Epic for many years. For the firm, the behavior of its opponent "is unfair to other developers" and places "the consumer in the middle of the battle.
A new hearing will take place on September 28th...
While waiting for this case to be clarified. You can check out our Fortnite case collection to give your phone a new look with exclusive skins from the Battle Royale game. Discover these cases in our store.