Epic Games sues Apple after removal of ‘Fortnite’ game from App Store

Apple on Thursday removed the video game “Fortnite” from the App Store for blatantly violating the company’s in-app payment guidelines by enabling a direct payment feature within the “Fortnite” app. Epic Games has now initiated legal action against Apple.

Epic Games' Fortnite violated Apple's App Store guidelines
Epic Games’ Fortnite violated Apple’s App Store guidelines

Reuters:

“Apple’s removal of Fortnite is yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100% monopoly over the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market,” Epic said in a statement.

Apple takes a cut of between 15% and 30% for most payments made inside apps, though there are some exceptions for companies that already have a credit card on file with iPhone customers if they also offer an in-app payment that would benefit Apple.

MacDailyNews Take: Hold on while we file a lawsuit claiming false imprisonment against the bank we tried and failed to rob this morning.

Apple earlier said in a 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.

As we wrote this morning:

You know, it costs money to run the App Store and the value Apple provides to developers of having a safe, secure, organized, curated App Store is actually quite significant.

Epic seems to want to enjoy all of the benefits of Apple’s App Store, including access to 1+ billion of the most affluent users for free. That is illogical, unfair, and, basically, theft, regardless of who gets the “savings.”

If there’s no deal between Apple and Epic for this “Epic direct payment” thing, Apple (and Google) should pull the game until it adheres to App Store rules.

42 Comments

  1. Look, it’s very simple — the store is a privately owned business. They make the rules about how products are sold, updated and paid for.

    When the app manufacturers ask to sell in the store, they’re given a standard contract which they can agree or reject. Very straightforward. It’s the same contract every other app manufacturer gets, without variation, ensuring a level playing field for everyone. If they don’t like the terms, they don’t have to use the store. Fine.

    This is the fundamental truth which Epic Games are trying to circumvent. They’ve been happily providing their products to the store for a decade but now they’ve gotten greedy they resent the commission the store takes, breach their contract and got kicked out of the store.

    That’s not too terrible, after all there’s another store (Google Play Store), but they’ve been kicked out of that store for exactly the same behaviour.

    In a fit of tantrum, they’ve decided to sue both stores for exactly the same thing: upholding their end of the contract.

    No judge is likely to be sympathetic to Epic Games for agreeing to — and then breaching — a contract they have lawfully signed and agreed to. Being excluded from the store is entirely of their own making. Why should the court give them relief?

    Should they later wish to pursue antitrust cases against the stores, that’s a very different matter indeed. No doubt someone will remind them of the enormous costs of such an action depleting their apparently precious annual profits but may also hint at the words “Sideloading” and “Jailbreaking” (no matter how difficult to technically accomplish), to kill of that idea.

    It was almost inevitable that one day a company would accrue enough money from sales made in the Apple and Google Play stores to test the waters and see if there’s some wiggle-room. There isn’t, of course, and today, at least, Epic Games is the only fish out of those waters and gasping for revenue.

    It’s their Fortnite customers and players who are losing out in the meantime. They are unlikely to show much patience with the app manufacturers’ issues with the stores: they just want to keep playing and it’s hard to do that without in-app purchases for upgrades and virtual cash. The danger for Epic is that they’ll start haemorrhaging players fast — it’s my suspicion that’s what will force their hand to ignominiously return to the stores and abide by their standard contracts.

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