Apple has confirmed that it has removed Fortnite from the iOS App Store following Epic Games’ alteration of the price of Fortnite V-Bucks and a new direct payment system in response to Apple and Google’s “exorbitant” app store fees. Epic has responded by filing a complaint for injunctive relief against Apple.
In a statement to The Verge, Apple confirmed that “As a result [of Epic’s update to the game,] their Fortnite app has been removed from the store.”
“Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users,” Apple’s larger statement reads. “As a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the store. Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.”
Apple goes on to cite Epic’s agreement to the App Store rules in the first place, which allowed Fortnite to exist previously on the app store, noting that “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.”
The company explains that it “will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store,” but it remains unclear how long this ban from the store may last at this time.
Epic has responded to this move by filing a legal complaint in California,
IGN has reached out to Epic for additional comment and will update this story should they respond. Epic has tweeted out that Fortnite will feature a new short film titled “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” later today, featuring an image somewhat reminiscent of Apple’s famous 1984 commercial.
Fortnite Party Royale will premiere a new short: Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite. Join us at 4PM ET. pic.twitter.com/BWvndK3gDt
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 13, 2020
Before Apple’s announcement, Epic confirmed a change to the cost of V-Bucks, changing the price of 1,000 V-Bucks from $9.99 to $7.99 on consoles, Mac, and PC. Mobile works somewhat differently, as players can still buy using Apple or Google accounts at the higher price, but will now offer ‘Epic direct payment’ when purchasing V-Bucks on mobile devices to save the 20%. Epic noted that this was done to “pass along the savings to players,” citing the “exorbitant 30% fee” Apple and Google collect on every V-Buck payment. In the future, Epic is open to altering the deal “if Apple and Google lower their fees on payments.”
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Epic is not the only gaming company to recently come into a public disagreement with Apple and its App Store policies. Apple’s recent decision to block the Xbox Game Pass app from iOS drew ire from Microsoft, which said “Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass. And it consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content.”
And Apple also recently decided to restrict the Facebook Gaming app’s functionality on iOS, with Facebook explaining how “months of submissions and repeated rejections by Apple” led them to “remove instant games entirely from the standalone app.”[poilib element=”accentDivider”]