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‘Fortnite’ was kicked off of the App Store, now Epic Games is starting a war with Apple

Updated Aug 13th, 2020 7:19PM EDT
Fortnite App Store removed
Image: Epic Games

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  • Apple kicked Fortnite off of the App Store on Thursday after developer Epic Games added a new direct payment method that let users buy V-Bucks for a discounted price.
  • Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has been complaining about Apple’s practices for years, but the fight has come to a head, and Epic has even filed legal papers.
  • Epic is releasing a video short parodying Apple’s famous 1984 commercial using Fortnite characters.

Apple banned Fortnite from the App Store on Thursday after Epic Games introduced its own payment system in the app that allowed the company to skirt around Apple’s 30% commission fee. The latest update for the insanely popular battle royale game gave users the option to pay for in-game currency (V-Bucks) through the Apple App Store for what they had previously been paying or directly from Epic for a discounted price. Epic was undoubtedly aware that Apple would be forced to take action, as it was a direct violation of the App Store guidelines.

Epic Games announced the “Mega Drop” initiative on Thursday morning, and within hours, Fortnite was nowhere to be found on Apple’s App Store. The 20% discount on V-Bucks and real-money offers will continue on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac while Apple and Epic sort through this.

Apple released the following statement about the incident shortly after removing Fortnite (via The Verge):

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 it’s 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.

In case you were wondering if this was a stunt by Epic Games to call out Apple for practices that it disagrees with, the company confirmed as much by announcing that it will release a new video short at 4 p.m. ET today called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite” which looks to be a parody of the famous Apple commercial:

Epic also filed a lengthy complaint against Apple on Thursday, repeatedly referring to Apple as a monopoly and calling the iPhone maker’s practices “anti-competitive.” Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, has been complaining about Apple’s practices for years, but the prolonged tussle has finally turned into an all-out brawl.

UPDATE: The Fortnite Android app has now been pulled from the Google Play Store as well.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.