Anyone who wanted to download the popular Fortnite game from Apple’s App Store on Thursday evening was disappointed. The game is no longer available amid open warfare between Apple, the world’s most valuable company flirting with the 2 trillion market capitalization, and the multi-celebrated games maker Epic Games, the builder of Fortnite.
It must be said: Epic Games had somewhat sought it on Thursday. The company introduced a new direct payment method, via credit card or PayPal. It bypassed payments through the App Store or Play Store. Apple and Google usually take a 30 percent commission on payments for or in an app. Epic Games has clearly had it with that; CEO Tim Sweeney has been crusading against practice for some time.
If you want to buy 1,000 “V-bucks” (the currency in the game), you paid $ 7.99 via the direct route and $ 9.99 via the Apple and Google route. Epic claimed that this ‘discount’ mainly benefits the consumer. But the procedure did not go unpunished for long. Apple responded that Epic Games was running around the rules surrounding payments within an app, and kicked the game out of its App Store.
That is very remarkable, because the game is a huge success. In May, Epic Games revealed that the game has a total of more than 350 million registered users. In the month of April, users spent 3.2 billion hours in the game. But Apple doesn’t care much about that star status. A company spokesperson told technology site The Verge that the balloon for a ‘special treatment’ is not going up.
Immediately after it became clear that the app was from the App Store, Epic Games announced via Twitter that it had filed a complaint against Apple. In any case, the case puts the spotlight on whether Apple does not have too much power as the operator of one of the only mobile app stores in the world. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently had to defend himself in Congress, among other things about App Store omnipotence.