Fortnite: developer Epic sues Apple

A transaction fee for third-party providers is payable for every purchase in the App Store, which Apple secures 30 percent of the purchase value. Epic Games rebels against it.

D.he creators of the popular online game “Fortnite “are in a unique test of strength with Apple and Google. With hundreds of millions of fans behind them, they want to break the app store rules of the smartphone platforms and are enough legal action against Apple.

Epic vs. Apple: How did the argument come about?

The “Fornite” developer company Epic Games ran the on August 13, 2020 on Apple’s iPhone and iPad as well as on devices with the Google system Android Possibility a cheaper option to purchase content by bypassing in-app purchases. This is against the guidelines for third-party manufacturers. Apple, for example, only allows applications for which in-app purchases are processed via the in-house App Store and not through third-party systems. And: Since the download platform was launched in 2008, the company has been charging a 30 percent fee on income from digital services and articles. Similar requirements exist at Google. Thus, Epic challenged the platforms with the step. The reaction followed immediately: “Fortnite” only disappeared from the App Store for Apple’s mobile devices and a few hours later from Google’s Play Store. Epic promptly launched a lawsuit against Apple.

What is Epic’s lawsuit against Apple about?

The dispute is essentially about the 30 percent that Apple and Google retain from in-app purchases. For some time, there has been criticism of the amount of the fee and, in the case of Apple, the fact that the developers are not allowed to offer alternative payment methods for in-app purchases. The music service Spotify filed a complaint with the competition authorities of the EU Commission.

The best iPhones

With the advance, Epic Games becomes the spokesman for a real rebellion against the system. The company let iPhone and iPad users know that they will be denied new content for the next season of “Fortnite” even if they already have the app on their devices. And Epic Games called on customers to contact Apple using the hashtag #FreeFortnite to complain. This could be a real storm, after all, according to Epic Games, more than 350 million people play “Fortnite”.

How is Apple responding to the Epic lawsuit?

Apple pointed out that Epic Games violated the app store rules. “They apply equally to every developer and serve to keep the store safe for our users.” The “Fortnite” maker introduced the new function with the intention of violating the guidelines.

Google also stressed that developers have to follow the rules to stay on the Play Store. For owners of Android devices, the situation is different in one point: The search engine operator lets users download apps not only from the in-house Play Store, but also from other sources. Apple rejects this approach with reference to the potential risks from prepared apps.

Epic video parodies Apple advertising

Epic prepared well for the showdown: The company quickly filed a 60-page lawsuit and published a video that parodied a legendary commercial for the iPhone company:

In “1984”, based on George Orwell’s book of the same name, Apple depicted the rebellion against a totalitarian world. The clip shown in 1984 was intended to initiate Apple’s entry into the IBM-dominated PC market. Epic recreated the video as a computer animation, the role of the dictator is played by a figure with a head in the form of an Apple logo. (With material from the dpa.)

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