Epic Games released a statement on Aug. 13, announcing a permanent price reduction of 20 percent off all V-Bucks purchases and real-money offers when using select payment methods.
In addition to a free pickaxe that was gifted to players to celebrate the occasion, Epic’s new way of reducing the price for mobile users caught the attention of fans, Apple, and Google. With the patch, the developer implemented a system named “Epic direct payment,” which allowed players to directly pay Epic, bypassing Google and Apple in the process.
Apple and Google are known for their notorious 30-percent fees for every in-app purchase, leading developers to increase their mobile prices more than what they are on PC and consoles.
While the announcement called for a celebration within the Fortnite community, the events that unfolded later cast a shadow on what looked to be a historic day in the game’s history. Here’s a timeline of the events that transpired.
1) Epic Games announces the Mega Drop event
On Aug. 13 at 9am CT, Epic dropped a blog post, showcasing the price drop and explaining that it was always looking for new opportunities to “bring value to Fortnite.”
This was the first time that Epic initiated a price drop since the game’s release and the developer seemingly took every measure to do right by the community during the process. These measures included gifting additional V-Bucks to everyone who made a V-Buck purchase over the last month and not changing the rate that Support-A-Creator program members make.
2) Apple removes Fortnite from the App Store
Shortly after Epic’s initial statement, Apple retaliated by completely removing Fortnite from its App Store, making it impossible for players to download the game. This measure didn’t prevent the players who already had the game installed from playing, however. But players who searched for Fortnite in the App Store were greeted with third-party applications that featured wallpapers.
Apple later gave a statement to The Verge, explaining that what Epic was doing was against the company’s Terms of Service (ToS). “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,” Apple said.
Apple also mentioned that Epic would need to remove its new payment method from the game to be featured in the App Store once again.
3) Epic fights back against Apple with 1984 commercial and lawsuit
Almost two hours after Fortnite’s removal from the App Store, Epic announced an in-game event, premiering a new short film, Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite, at the Big Screen. This short film was inspired by Apple’s own commercial that aired in 1984.
The original commercial featured people being brainwashed by a propaganda video on a screen before a woman swings a hammer at it to free everyone. The commercial ends with text reading, “On Jan. 24, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.”
Epic’s version of the commercial features Brite Bomber as the protagonist who saves the day and a half-eaten apple with a worm on it on the main screen. “Epic Games has defied the App Store monopoly,” the statement reads. “In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming 1984.” Epic’s version of the commercial ends with #FreeFortnite, which trended on Twitter shortly after the developer posted the video on its social media accounts.
4) Google removes Fortnite from the Play Store
Somewhat late to the party, Google also removed Fortnite from the Play Store two hours after #FreeFortnite started trending on social media.
Google told The Verge the introduction of a way to bypass its payment system also violated its ToS. “The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores,” Google said. “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. However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play.”
Android’s open ecosystem makes things easier for Fortnite fans, though, since the game will still be available to download via other stores, like Samsung’s Galaxy and the Epic Games app.
This article will be updated as more events happen and more information becomes available.