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The year becomes even more interesting: Apple has just kicked Fortnite off its Apple Store, just like Google did to the game on its Play Store. The Verge has already connected with both sides and received some comments on the situation. We’ll try to shorten it so you can understand what is going on and how this’ll influence your gaming time.

On Thursday, Epic Games released the update for its battle royal game – Fortnite – where the company introduced their own in-app payment system that will circumvent Apple and Google’s payment services. 

An outstanding move with a true profit for users and the company. The point is that, when Epic was working with Apple’s payment system, it had to pay a 30 percent fee. Epic refined the art of perfect timing when making this move, because Apple has faced a lot of claims and concerns over its operation of the App Store. 

Epic was ready to accept the fight because, along with Fortnite removal, the company released a series of comments. The first one’s about expressing antitrust lawsuits, seeking to establish Apple’s App Store as a monopoly, and then comes a protest video on YouTube cosplaying Apple’s “1984” ad where Epic asks gaming fans “to enter the #FreeFortnite army”.

The Verge published Apple’s statement about the further negotiations with Epic to “resolve these violations” Here’s the full statement:

“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 isn’t shying away from the situation and is trying to deal with the Fortnite owner too. There’s also an ongoing conversation between Epic and Google. If you open the Policy Center, you’ll see that using  Google Play’s In-app Billing is a strict rule if you want to sell in-app items. But, the developer should also pay a 30 percent cut. According to the policy rules, Epic’s update violates every piece of that. Google has also published this statement:

“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.”

The situation is next: Epic, aka the rebellious child, wants to live its life independent from Apple and Google, aka its parents. We should take into consideration that Fortnite is one of the most popular games nowadays.  And it will be, because of the rich company’s reputation. Moreover, Epic’s protest to use both Apple and Google payment systems leads to cheaper prices.

It’ll be a boost for the company too. For example, you can now buy 1000 V-bucks, or in-game currency,  for $7.99 if you use Epic’s direct payment, rather than purchasing the same amount for $9.99 as it used to be. “That casts the new arrangement as a pro-consumer move instead of a greedy power play,”  writes Nick Statt for The Verge. 

For Apple and Google users who have downloaded the game before it was locked out, you’re still able to access the game. The company clarified in a FAQ posted to its website that the game would continue to function as normal up until the release of Chapter 2 – Season 4. Following that, “players accessing Fortnite will still be able to play the 13.40 version of Fortnite, but will not be able to access any new content or the new Battle Pass,” the FAQ reads.

Epic’s CEO, Tim Sweeney, stands for change in the digital industry because mobile app stores can’t justify the 30 percent cut they take from all developers. It does have a big grain of truth. Earlier, some 5-6 years ago, Apple Store and Google’s Play Store were the only places where you could, as a developer, reach the audience your app needs, or download the security safe content — as a common user. 

But today, you don’t need to worry about those things, because other companies offer you the same features. After Epic walked out of the Apple and Google stores, the company pushed forward the Samsung store, encouraging users to also use the version that comes from Samsung’s store, telling users that they can get the discount that started this whole mess if they do: “You’ll find that V-Bucks and real-money offers are now discounted by up to 20% through the Epic Games app at epicgames.com and the Samsung Galaxy Store.”

Fortnite was initially released on mobile in 2018, and it was a standard iOS app. This was the must-have move for Epic to enter Apple’s closed ecosystem as Sweeney said. Here comes the simple mathematics. Apple has taken 30 percent of all in-app purchases, in easy words: you buy $10 cosmetic skin and Apple gets $3 out of the sum. According to The Verge, Fortnite earned Epic $2.4 billion in 2018 and $1.8 billion in 2019 so you can count the amount Apple earned too.

 

UPD:  Apple will discontinue providing Epic with Apple Develover tools, also it will cut them form their Apple Developer Program. These are Apple’s punishment methods to show what happens when you omit payment policy. According to The Verge, Epic has filed for a preliminary injunction against Apple, asking the court to stop the company from cutting it off.

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