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Fortnite’s controversial war against Apple: Everything you need to know about

Apple believes that the flames of controversy can be doused by just one update that will remove the direct payment plan that bypasses the App Store's rule

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 19, 2020 5:05:28 pm
apple vs fortnite, google, epic games, apple fortnite law suit, fortnite direct payment plan, fortnite v bucks, apple fortnite court hearing, epic games vs appleOn Sunday, Epic hosted a #FreeFortnite gaming contest offering anti-Apple hats and digital avatars as prizes.(File Photo)

The previous week was a roller coaster ride for the Epic Games’ Fortnite which was removed from Apple App Store and Google Play Store for bypassing the rule with a direct payment plan which gives both the stores a 30 per cent cut for the in-app purchases. Since the removal of Fortnite on August 13, the tussle between the widely popular Epic Games-owned Fortnite and Apple store has become a big deal as it affects millions of games around the world.

In case you want to catch up on what all has happened before and after the removal of Fortnite from Apple App Store, here is a quick timeline for you to understand the controversy.

# In order to offer more savings to the players, Epic Games offered an ‘Epic direct payment’ option which will let the users buy V-bucks (in-game currency) at a discount. “Currently, there are no savings if players use Apple and Google payment options, where Apple and Google collect an exorbitant 30 percent fee on all payments. If Apple and Google lower their fees on payments, Epic will pass along the savings to players,” Epic Games said.

# Following the removal, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against the Cupertino-giant in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

“Epic brings this suit to end Apple’s unfair and anti-competitive actions that Apple undertakes to unlawfully maintain its monopoly in two distinct, multibillion-dollar markets: (i) the iOS App Distribution Market, and (ii) the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market(each as defined below),” the complaint read.

“Epic is not seeking monetary compensation from this Court for the injuries it has suffered. Nor is Epic seeking favorable treatment for itself, a single company. Instead, Epic is seeking injunctive relief to allow fair competition in these two key markets that directly affect hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of thousands, if not more, of third-party app developers.”

# In retaliation to Fortnite’s ‘direct payment’ move, Apple removed the battle royale game from its App Store on August 13 and it seemed like Epic Games had a whole battle plan ready for it. Fortnite launched a video on Youtube and its own app mocking Apple’s famous Macintosh advertisement that was broadcast on the eve of the national Super Bowl in 1984.

The video was titled as “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” and they mocked it by replacing the man on-screen with a man with an apple for a face talking to a black and white audience. The video ends with a Fortnite character throwing a pickaxe on the screen. After the video a message is displayed on the screen “Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming “1984.” At the end, the #FreeFortnite hashtag appeared.

# Epic Games announced that the Fornite Chapter 2 Season 4 which is scheduled to launch on August 27 will not be available on iOS. “Because Apple has BLOCKED your ability to update, when Fortnite Chapter 2 – Season 4 releases you will NOT be able to play the new Season on iOS,” Epic said in a blog post titled “#FreeFortnite.” With this post, Epic Games turned iOS users against Apple as #FreeFortnite started trending on Twitter.

ALSO READ | Fortnite app removal threatens social lifeline for young gamers

# Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney on August 15 tried to explain what this fight is about with his comments on Twitter account. Sweeney explained that this was not just about money and the game developer and publisher is fighting for “the basic freedoms of all consumers and developers.”

# On August 17, Epic said that Apple has allegedly threatened to cut off their access to all iOS and Mac developer tools. This means that Apple will not include Epic and terminate it from Apple’s Developer Program. The membership of the program is necessary for distributing the apps on iOS or use the developer tools.

ALSO READ | Five of the best games like Fortnite (for iOS and Android)

# In response to Epic’s threat claims, Apple offered a solution that will get things back to normal. It requires Fortnite to launch an update that will remove the bypass the direct payment plan. Epic also asked the court to stop Apple from terminating its developer account as the company will suffer irreparable harm if Fortnite is not available on smartphones.

“The App Store is designed to be a safe and trusted place for users and a great business opportunity for all developers. Epic has been one of the most successful developers on the App Store, growing into a multibillion dollar business that reaches millions of iOS customers around the world. We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Program and its apps on the Store. The problem Epic has created for itself is one that can easily be remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers. We won’t make an exception for Epic because we don’t think it’s right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers,” Apple said in a statement.

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