Fortnite has been removed from the App Store, after Epic Games introduced an alternate method to buy V-Bucks on the platform at a 20% discount.
Epic Games announced that the price of V-Bucks, Fornite‘s in-game currency that can be bought with real money, would permanently be 20% cheaper on all platforms. All active players will also gain the Shooting Starstaff Pickaxe for free. However, on Android and iOS, a new payment method was introduced.
Rather than buying the V-Bucks through Google Play and the App Store respectively, Epic Games launched the “Epic direct payment.” “When you choose to use Epic direct payments,” the announcement explains, “you save up to 20% as Epic passes along payment processing savings to you.”
This is due to Apple and Google collecting a 30% fee through all V-Bucks bought on their respective platforms. As such, the 20% drop has not been applied to purchases made through them. Epic Games state that “If Apple or Google lower their fees on payments in the future, Epic will pass along the savings to you.”
It seems Apple were none to amused by this. At this time of writing, Fortnite has been removed from the App Store. While the game appears in search results, the store page itself does not load. At this time of writing, the game is still available on Google Play.
Apple issued a statement to The Verge, claiming that the alternate payment method violate the App Store guidelines on in-app payments.
“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.”
UPDATE: Epic Games have now announced they are suing Apple.
The lawsuit criticizes the 30% tax on in-app purchases (comparing it to other services allegedly asking for only 3%), and rather than asking for damages are attempting to break Apple’s “monopoly.”
“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 (each as defined below). 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.”
Original Story continues below:
Fortnite is available on Windows PC, Mac (both via the Epic Games Store), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS, and Holiday 2020 on PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X.