Epic Games has launched a new ‘Fortnite Battle Royale’ against tech giant Apple Inc, and Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. claiming that both are illegally exploiting a monopoly on app stores and purchases.
Lawsuit Against Apple Sparks Off ‘Fortnite Battle Royale’ In The Tech-World
‘Fortnite’ maker Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against both these multinational conglomerates after they kicked out their popular game ‘Fortnite’ from their app store this Thursday. This came after Fortnite-maker Epic Games made a public announcement offering players a discount if they made in-game purchases and paid Epic Games directly. This action was taken as a measure to avoid Apple’s hefty developer fees. Epic Games added an enticing 20% discount for players who would pay the company directly rather than handing the money to intermediaries like Apple or Google.
In a statement made by Apple, the tech-giant confirms that they removed ‘Fortnite’ for taking the “unfortunate step” of violating App Store rules.
Epic Games has now resorted to legal methodology to end the unfair, anti-competitive actions taken by Apple to maintain its monopoly unlawfully. Recently Apple also faced the brunt of Antitrust hearings from the government because of its similar tendency to undermine competition unlawfully.
‘Fortnite Battle Royale’ Heightens
‘Fortnite’ creator Epic Games has legally challenged Apple’s AAPL (-0.08%), and Alphabet Inc. GOOGL and GOOG (-0.79% and -0.70% respectively).
According to Apple’s app store rules, the company takes up to 30% of all app and in-app purchases made in its App Store. Epic has started raising its voice against such hefty fees. Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeny, has also attacked Apple in recent tweets calling Apple deliberately anti-competitive and authoritative in its actions. It seems Epic Games has no intention of backing down in this epic tech ‘battle royale’.
Apple claimed in its statement that Epic Games enabled a feature (referring to the direct payment option) that was not reviewed or approved by Apple. It further mentions that the action was a violation of App Store guidelines for in-app payments that are applicable to every developer who sells its digital product or services in Apple’s store. However, the game maker seems to be prepared for a fight.
Fortnite Fights Back Using Apple’s 1984 Advertisement
It has repeatedly tweeted about Apple’s enormous cut it takes from developers. As a part of this Fortnite battle royale, Epic Games also premiered a new short Nineteen Eighty Fortnite as a spoof of Apple’s previous 1984 advertisement. In Apple’s classic ad made in 1984, it encouraged customers to oppose monopoly and conformity. It urged people to stand up against the monopoly of IBM Inc. (International Business Machines). Through the ad, Apple tried to portray that change was necessary. It was vocal in preaching that if the domination of IBM in the computer world didn’t stop, the dystopia of George Orwell’s 1984 could become real.
Now Epic Games is using the same sentiment to promote its cause. The Nineteen Eight Fortnite advertisement is a cautionary ad which mentions that 2020 could be the new 1984 if Apple’s domination in the app world is altered.
The net worth of Apple is over $2 trillion. This money comes from the iPhone, apps and several services that Apple delivers through it. Epic’s video game ‘Fortnite’ became a hit soon after its launch. Epic Games has gathered around $1 billion after Apple put the game in the App Store. Even though this is good news for Epic Games, it also gave away a huge amount of money as developer fees to Apple.
ISI Analyst Amit Daryanani revealed on Thursday that Apple collects the estimated amount of $30 million per month from Epic Games. The service sector of Apple generates a huge portion of their revenue. He also expects this Fortnite battle to be a multiyear legal battle with appeals at every level of the Judiciary in the US.
Epic Games Files Second Lawsuit; ‘Fortnite Battle Royale’ With Google
Epic Games has a history of avoiding developer fees. Previously, it had also sold an Android App in the Epic Game Store to steer clear of the Android Play Store. However, in the case of the ‘Fortnite’, Epic put the game on Google’s Play Store but it was removed from Google as well for the same reason. Epic Games filed a suit against Google the same evening.
Stating its cause for filing a lawsuit against Google, Epic Games mentioned that Google has been responsible for eliminating competition in the distribution channel of Android Apps using its contractual bonds and technical terms and conditions. The argument made by Epic Games against Google seems to be the same as the one made against the monopolistic tendencies of Apple in the iOS ecosystem.
The emailed statement of Google mentioned that Android users will still be able to play it after downloading the game from the Epic Games App store but players will not be able to download the game from the Play Store app as it violates Google policies.
As a part of this tech feud, Epic Games has included a #FreeFortnite page on its official website. It is encouraging customers to use the hashtag to support Fortnite’s Battle Royale against giants like Apple and Google. Within hours of the new hashtag launch, it was trending on social platforms like Twitter.
Apple’s policies regarding revenue and fee collection are increasingly coming under the spotlight of scrutiny. Several developers are looking for ways to bypass the hefty subscription fees and so on. For example, lately, Spotify has been trying to look for a way to get a cut in Apple’s fees. In June, the email app, Hey fought a public battle with Apple regarding fee policies which ended in a compromise. Lawmakers have also scrutinized Apple on its policies recently.
There are a lot of questions in the tech-world against Apple’s monopolistic practices. The Fortnite Battle Royale is a leap against such practices.