<img src = "https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/GettyImages-957063528-800×533.jpg" alt = "Fourteen days seen in the App Store on an iPhone on May 10, 2018. "/>
Enlarge /. Fortnite seen on the App Store on an iPhone on May 10, 2018.
Update 4:05 p.m. ET: In a video message that premiered in Fortnite's proprietary Party Royale mode, Epic wrote that it "defied the App Store monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to prevent." that 2020 will be & # 39; 1984 & # 39; "
The video directly parodies Apple's famous 1984 Macintosh ad, all the way to an Apple executive saying that users "gave us their songs, their work, their dreams. In return, we have our toll, our profits, our control This power belongs to us and us alone. We will prevail. "
The film ends with the hashtag #FreeFortnite.
Update 3:45 p.m. ET: Less than an hour after Fortnite was removed from the iOS App Store, Epic announced it had filed an injunction complaint in federal court in the Northern District of California.
The 61-page document refers to Apple's famous 1984 Macintosh ad, arguing that "Apple has become what it once raced against: the giant that tries to control markets, block competition, and innovate." Apple is bigger, more powerful, more ingrained, and more damaging than yesterday's monopoly. With a market cap of nearly $ 2 trillion, Apple's size and reach is far greater than that of any technology monopoly in history. "
Epic is seeking an injunction against Apple's "anti-competitive behavior" and a ruling that Apple's developer terms are "unenforceable" with respect to App Store approval and in-app purchases.
Update 3:04 p.m. ET: Apple removed Fortnite from the iOS App Store by 2:50 p.m. The game will still be available in the Google Play Store from 3 p.m.
Apple described Epic's move as an "unfortunate move" in a statement. The statement went on:
Epic has enabled a feature in its app that has not been reviewed or approved by Apple, with the express intention of violating the App Store's in-app payment guidelines, which apply to any developer selling digital goods or services sold …
Epic freely agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines and we are glad they built such a successful business on the App Store. The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special agreement doesn't change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and keep business safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so that Fortnite can be returned to the App Store.
In a move apparently intended for both gamers and a middle finger aimed directly at Apple and Google, game developer Epic is today offering a discount for Fortnite players who use Epic's own direct payment system for in-game purchases use.
The "Fortnite Mega Drop" is a permanent 20 percent discount on purchases on all platforms, Epic announced today. Players on conventional consoles (Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch) as well as on PC or Mac computers receive the discount automatically. Players on iOS and Android can choose between Apple App Store / Google Play Store at the regular price or directly below via Epic Direct Payment with a discount. Players who have purchased V-Bucks or real money items since July 14th will also receive a retroactive bonus, Epic said.
Epic is not afraid to explain its reasoning. "Right now there are no savings when players use the Apple and Google payment options, where Apple and Google charge an exorbitant 30% fee on all payments," the company said. "If Apple and Google cut their fees for payments, Epic will pass the savings on to players."
<img alt = "An example of how Fourteen days Mobile transactions are now displayed, according to Epic. "src =" https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/epicstore-640×617.jpg "width =" 640 "height =" 617 "srcset =" https: //cdn.arstechnica .net / wp-content / uploads / 2020/08 / epicstore.jpg 2x "/> enlarge /. An example of what Fortnite mobile transactions will look like now, according to Epic.
Fortnite was originally launched on Android outside the Google Play Store and explicitly cited Google's 30 percent cut in sales as the reason for this. (Apps cannot start on iOS outside of the Apple App Store.) In April, Epic stopped loading pages and moved to the Play Store.
"Google penalizes software that can be downloaded outside of Google Play," Epic said at the time, adding that Google "has technical and business measures like scary, repetitive security popups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and operator agreements and stores, Google publicity that characterizes third-party software sources as malware, and new efforts like Google Play Protect to completely block software obtained outside of the Google Play Store. "
Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney has been unhappy with Apple's cut in in-app purchases for months. “Apple went crazy,” he wrote in a series of tweets last month. "Apple really has no right to take a percentage of a company's revenue just because they got the phone people to access the material." He went on:
If it were up to Apple, they would block the web and make arbitrary decisions about which pages to visit … and then charge 30% of the revenue from every company that does business on the web. Tying the operating system to a monopoly software distribution channel, a monopoly payment processor, and a monopoly tax does not require "policy changes" but must be stopped. All of these components need to be unbundled to support fair competition between stores, apps and suppliers.
join the club
Epic is the latest in a long line of app developers around the world to hit a breaking point in mobile adoption with Apple and Google.
European Union regulators opened a formal investigation into Apple's pricing strategy this summer following a complaint from Spotify in 2019. "Apple requires Spotify and other digital services to pay a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple's payment system, including an upgrade from our free to our premium service," wrote Spotify's founder and CEO Daniel Ek Time. "If we pay this tax, we would be forced to artificially raise the price of our premium membership well above the price of Apple Music. And to keep our price competitive with our customers, we can't do that."
Messaging app Telegram also filed a complaint with EU regulators about Apple's app store earlier this year. And ProtonMail founder and CEO Andy Yen wrote a blistering post earlier this month accusing Apple of "holding us all hostage" and adding that its policies are "practically indistinguishable from a protection racket" .
US regulators are also questioning whether Apple's stance is within the limits of competition law. Representatives Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) And Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) Confronted Apple CEO Tim Cook during a marathon cartel negotiation last month after a year-long investigation into the company found some major developers how Amazon were able to negotiate preferential treatment.
Google and Apple are also facing an antitrust investigation by the Justice Department regarding their business practices. The details of these probes are not public, but it is widely believed that both the App Store and Play Store are among the topics examined.
Kyle Orland contributed to this report.