Epic Games continues to dispute Apple to allow their game, Fortnite, to be downloaded on Apple devices
- Epic Games dispute Apple and Google over revenue policies
- Epic Games response to Fortnite’s removal
- Court ruling keeps Fortnite off app store creating two separate games
- Apple statement and Epic Games counterstatement
- Good for competition
Epic Games dispute Apple and Google over revenue policies
When Epic Games introduced a new method for gamers to purchase in-game currency directly without paying through Apple or Google for their 30% cut of the revenue, both Apple and Android removed the game from their app stores and devices in August. This is what started the legal battle between Epic Games and the two tech giants.
Epic Games response to Fortnite’s removal
Epic Games responded to this removal by suing the two tech companies accusing them of exercising monopolistic practices. In their injunction, they included that over 116 million gamers played their game, Fortnite, on iOS which makes iOS the video game’s biggest player base compared to players that use the Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Playstation, PC, and android.
The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. It explained that “all Epic seeks is for the Court to stop Apple from retaliating against Epic for daring to Apple’s misconduct.” According to the legal director of consumer rights group Public Knowledge, John Bergmayer, Epic Games will have to “convince the judge that those are markets to begin with.”
Additionally, Epic Games also published a parody video of Apple’s “1984” commercial, posted a blog requesting players to popularize the hashtag #FreeFortnite, and announced an in-game tournament exclusive to non-Apple players that rewarded winners with real world prizes.
Court ruling keeps Fortnite off app store creating two separate games
The next court hearing for the Apple lawsuit is scheduled for September 28. Meanwhile, in August, a judge ruled that Apple must not block Epic Games’ development platform, Unreal Engine, which many users rely on to create iOS games. However, it also ruled that Fortnite would not be reinstated.
In practice, this meant iOS gamers who had the app installed would not be able to play the game with the most recent updates including the new season that was released late August according to Epic Games. It also means Fortnite will essentially split into two games as Apple players can only play with other users who are accessing the game on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Meanwhile, on the other non-Apple platforms, players will be playing in the new Marvel-themed season.
Apple statement and Epic Games counterstatement
In a statement responding to the lawsuit, Apple said, “the court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has refused.” They added that “We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”
In a counterstatement, Epic Games said, “Apple is asking that Epic revert Fortnite to exclusively use Apple payments. Their proposal is an invitation for Epic to collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments on iOS, suppressing free market competition and inflating prices. As a matter of principle, we won’t participate in this scheme. You, as a mobile device owner, have the right to install apps from sources of your choosing. Software makers have the right to freely express their ideas and to compete in a fair marketplace. Apple’s policies take these freedoms away.”
Good for competition
Despite Apple’s statement, many critics believe that the high 30% revenue fee that Apple requires discourages competition. Mitch Stoltz, a senior attorney at the non-profit digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, claimed, “I think (Epic winning the lawsuits) would be pretty good for the markets overall.” He added that “You’d see more experimentation, you’d see more business models. You’d see more innovation.”