Home Gaming Plucky underdog Epic Games is taking Apple and Google to court after Fortnite was removed from their stores

Plucky underdog Epic Games is taking Apple and Google to court after Fortnite was removed from their stores

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Fortnite (1)

The lure of the Lira. The sterile smell of the Euro. The suntanned splendor of a US dollar. Whatever the currency, Apple and Google loves money. And that’s alright! If they want to fill their pockets with wonderfully chunky bits of copper and they can offer a service that earns your dosh, all the power to them. Epic Games also loves seeing bits of value arranged in tantalising bundles of profit, and they want more of it. A tale as old as time then, which has led to one of the biggest brouhahas in history as Epic has picked a fight with two of the biggest giants in business.

Here’s how it all got started. Not content with Apple’s notoriously strict App Store policies, Epic introduced a new payment system in Fortnite that would see zero cash go back to the house that Steve Jobs renovated. Legally, this was in direct violation of App Store policies, so Apple removed Fortnite from the store. Millions of gamers were cut off, and presumably they had to get their fix of winner winner chicken dinner from an alternate rush of digital dopamine such as PUBG Mobile. Poor bastards.

Fortnite (3)

Here’s where things get pre-meditated interesting. Epic then revealed the Fortnite Party Royale short, a video in which uses superliminal messaging to turn Apple into a bad guy straight out of George Orwell’s 1984. Besides being holy crap that’s tone-deaf man, it’s a reference to Apple’s own attack on IBM from ages ago, that will most likely fly so hard over the heads of its target audience that it’ll achieve escape velocity and exit the atmosphere in record time.

But wait, there’s more! Epic then announced that it had filed legal action against Apple, accusing them of “anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices,” while also noting how developers on other Apple hardware aren’t beholden to the same App Store rules as  they benefit from competitive processing fees. Epic wants to tackle monopoly maintenance, denial of essential facility, and unreasonable restraints of trade according to their lawsuit, weaken Apple’s heavy-handed grip in the process.

Epic brings this suit to end Apple’s unfair and anti-competitive actions that Apple undertakes to unlawfully maintain its monopoly in two distinct, multibillion dollar markets:(i) the iOS App Distribution Market, and (ii)the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market. 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 also stated how it picked this fight intentionally, knowing full well that introducing a new payment system would lead to Fortnite being delisted:

Fortnite (2)

Rather than tolerate this healthy competition and compete on the merits of its offering, Apple responded by removing Fortnite from sale on the App Store, which means that new users cannot download the app, and users who have already downloaded prior versions of the app from the App Store cannot update it to the latest version.

Not content with throwing its considerably-sized fists at just Apple, Epic has now also dropped a lawsuit elbow off the top rope on Google over alleged antitrust violations and the removal of Fortnite from their Paly Store. It’s a similar lawsuit, one wherein Epic’s bone to pick is over Google’s payment restrictions on the Play Store and the monopolistic violation that it creates in turn.

This is news that will have big ramifications for gaming overall, depending on which way the presumably lengthy court battle goes. The skeptic in you is naturally thinking that Epic’s only in this to make more money, and I don’t blame you: They probably are. They’re already weaponising their fanbase with a Free Fortnite hashtag and they’ve prepared a marketing campaign to cast Apple and Google as villains.

At the same time, what’s good for Epic is good for many studios across the board. Smaller companies and developers simply don’t have the muscle to pull off a ballsy move like this, and have had to play ball with Google and Apple using unfair rules for many a year. It’s going to be a divisive battle, with both sides having merit to their arguments for how they do business.

But right now, Epic’s winning hearts and minds to its cause, with a cunning PR scheme and an attack strategy that they’ve been planning for a long time.

Last Updated: August 14, 2020

16 Comments

  1. Stop Gatekeeping Apple! Tim Sweeney about to mobilize the Fortnite child soldiers….?

    Reply

  2. Pieter Kruger

    August 14, 2020 at 08:26

    Stop Gatekeeping Apple! Tim Sweeney about to mobilize the Fortnite child soldiers….?

    Reply

  3. Lu

    August 14, 2020 at 07:37

    HAHAHAHAHAHA.
    The company that buys games out so they can be only be played on their turd of a platform, has a problem with monopolies? The same one that uses the fact that they own the unreal engine (which let’s face it is the top engine out there) to lowball all their competitors?

    That’s like EA speaking out against Blizzard for using MicroTransactions….

    Maybe they should make their own, lower grade mobile OS and have an EGS mobile. After all, that was their strategy for PC. Or maybe they should make EGS mobile a Huaweii exclusive – they’re on their own OS now aren’t they?

    I seriously hope Apple and Google crush them.

    Reply

    • Mark Treloar

      August 14, 2020 at 10:26

      How is that any different from Steam? Fact is PC has an issue with launcher envy and Steam is at the top of the pile.

      Reply

      • Lu

        August 14, 2020 at 11:21

        Steam hasn’t bought games away that have pre orders on another platform.
        Steam has worked WITH other platforms (Uplay, GOG and Origin) to integrate their game bases.

        Valve’s CEO hasn’t made accusatory statements against other companies, only to pull exactly the same move a few months later.

        Reply

        • Mark Treloar

          August 14, 2020 at 14:08

          Actually Gabe has always had things to say about what he calls company’s like Microsoft creating walled gardens, while running the largest walled garden on PC.

          While Steam does work with other publishers, so to does Epic in terms of integration. You are deluding yourself if you think Valve does this for anyone else that their own self interest, and as for exclusives, Valve has a lot of games that will only run with their launcher and nowhere else.

          Reply

          • Lu

            August 14, 2020 at 14:28

            Every company is out to make money. This is the purpose of a company.
            The way they go about it is important however.

            I have yet to find any evidence that Valve bought any games away from other platforms.
            Valve does not have any exclusivity clauses. As developer I am free to have my game on steam, as well as any other platform of my choosing.
            If a game is on Steam alone, that is entirely up to the developer.
            The only games that could be considered “exclusive” are those developed and published by Valve itself.

            Epic’s “integration” is “We own unreal, we’ll give you discount should you go exclusive”.

            Regardless: As I always state, you are entitled to your opinion and I do not have to agree with it, nor you with mine.

          • Mark Treloar

            August 14, 2020 at 18:20

            Gabe Newell didn’t become a Billionaire by accident. He knew perfectly well what he was doing. He may not call them exclusivity deals but he knows what he did amounts to the same thing. A developer choosing one platform consciously accepts that they have chosen exclusivity.

  4. Morne Nell

    August 14, 2020 at 07:58

    So they want access to other platforms, that they don’t own for free. Is this company part of our government

    Reply

  5. HairyEwok

    August 14, 2020 at 08:26

    If i understand this correctly. Apple removed Fortnite from the store due to Epic not paying the 30% commission fee to have their game on the store. I’d be pissed too if someone used my platform to make huge sums of money and I don’t get a dime.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      August 14, 2020 at 08:53

      To be fair, it does fit with Epic’s M.O. It’s one of the things they tout about their own store compared to Steam – the much more fair revenue distribution.

      30% is a lot.

      Reply

    • Pariah

      August 14, 2020 at 08:53

      To be fair, it does fit with Epic’s M.O. It’s one of the things they tout about their own store compared to Steam – the much more fair revenue distribution.

      30% is a lot.

      Reply

      • HairyEwok

        August 14, 2020 at 09:17

        Then Epic should make their own mobile app store, just like they did for PC. If they can compete against the likes of Steam surely they can compete against Apple store and Google Play.

        Reply

        • HvR

          August 14, 2020 at 16:31

          That is the point of the lawsuits that platform owners are also the sole entities allowed to have stores on those platforms.

          This is clearly a play to get Epic store on iOS and Android

          Reply

  6. Gavin Mannion

    August 14, 2020 at 10:36

    Yeah I’m not on Epic’s side here.

    They want access to the Apple ecosystem and want to dictate the terms of that access? 30% may be too large a slice of the pie but Epic aren’t forced to put their product on the platform and Apple isn’t a monopoly.

    I support Apple and *spit* Google in this fight

    Reply

  7. Alien Emperor Trevor

    August 14, 2020 at 10:40

    So basically Epic want all the advantages of being on those stores, but don’t want to abide by the terms and agreements they willingly entered into with them because it’s inconvenient now.

    At least they’re consistent in spinning their bullshit as pro-consumer and sadly people still swallow it uncritically.

    Reply

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