Apple and Google Remove Fortnite

Apple Content Removed Apps

Epic Games, the company behind the game Fortnite, announced the “Fortnite Mega Drop” which introduced 20% savings on “V-bucks” (Fortnite’s in-game currency). The 20% price drop was the result of Epic Games establishing a system of direct user payments from within the Fortnite app, allowing them to completely bypass paying the 30% fee that Apple and Google collect from all in-app purchases. Shortly after this announcement, both Apple and Google removed the Fortnite app from their app stores since direct user payments are a clear ToS violation for both the App Store and Google Play:

Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices.

Visit and join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming “1984”

– Fortnite (@FortniteGame) 13 Aug 2020

Fortnite is currently unavailable on Google Play. More information will be forthcoming soon.

– Fortnite (@FortniteGame) 13 Aug 2020

Later that day, Epic took legal action by filing a complaint for injuctive relief which accused Apple of anti-competitive business practices. The next day, Apple told Epic that their developer account would be deleted on August 28 if the company was not in compliance with the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. This caused Epic to file for a temporary restraining order on the 17th to prevent Apple from taking further adverse action against the company.

Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation. Details here:…

– Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) 17 Aug 2020

Opinion: Epic is clearly in violation of their agreement with Apple and will very likely lose (if this even reaches the inside of a court room). However, situations like this should highlight for the rest of us the dangers of using and supporting highly-centralized services, especially app stores.

In the meantime, since Apple didn’t remove Fortnite from phones that already had it installed, iPhones with Fortnite were being listed for up to $15,000 on eBay.

Sources / Relevant Material

  1. Fortnite "The Fortnite Mega Drop - Permanent Discounts Up to 20%" by The Fortnite Team (13 Aug 2020)
  2. Fortnite "#FreeFortnite" by The Fortnite Team (13 Aug 2020)
  7. GamesBeat "App Store war: Apple, Google delete Fortnite after Epic Games adds direct payment (Updated)" by Dean Takahashi (13 Aug 2020)
  8. AppleInsider "Apple threatens to close Epic Games developer account on Aug. 28" by Amber Neely (18 Aug 2020)