On August 14th, Google and Apple both removed the popular battle royale game Fortnite from their app stores because Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, bypassed their payment systems, to avoid giving them a cut of sales.
In their latest update, Fortnite offered all players a 20% discount on its in-game currency V-bucks. The catch here was that players can make payments to Epic Games directly rather than using Apple or Google’s payment interface. This broke the rules laid by both app stores.
In response Apple removed the Fortnite app from its App store and hours later the app also vanished from Google Play store.
Fortnite has started a campaign on twitter #FreeFortnite and have also published a video mocking Apple’s famous 1984-themed television advert about fighting a police state.
Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against both Apple and Google in a California court. Much of the complaint is about the compulsory 30% cut both companies takes from sales in the app store.
The document highlights that Google’s motto was once “don’t be evil”.
“Google has relegated its motto to nearly an afterthought, and is using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolise,” it says.
In court documents Epic says that it is not seeking a compensation payout or more favourable deal for itself and wants it to change the mobile app stores to be fairer for all developers.
What does Google say?
In a statement, Google pointed to the fact that users can technically install apps from other locations, and said using the Google Play store was a “choice”.
It added: “The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores,”
“For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users.”
“While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies.”
What does Apple say?
In a statement, Apple said: “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.”
How to play the game?
While this hearing is under court and Fortnite is out of app stores, players on Android can still download the game directly to their smartphones by following below methods:
- Players can visit Epic Games store directly on their desktop browser. Search for Fortnite and click on ‘Get’.
- On Android visit fortnite.com/android, download the app’s apk file and install it.
For Samsung Galaxy phone users:
- Open Galaxy Store app on your Samsung smartphone.
- Search for Fortnite and install the game.
Currently Apple’s iOS users will not get access to Fortnite anytime soon.