Apple and Google have removed Fortnite from the App Store and Play Store respectively. The decision comes after the developer implemented its own in-app payment system that bypassed stores’ standard fee. This is an apparent violation of both App Stores’ guidelines.
The decision marks a significant escalation in the feud between Epic and one of the world’s most dominant mobile software marketplaces. It also comes at an especially fraught time for Apple as the iPhone maker navigates antitrust concerns over its operation of the App Store and the rules it imposes on certain developers.
Apple said in a statement, “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. 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.”
Epic implemented its own payment system in the Android version of Fortnite as well, leading Google to take similar action and remove the game from the Play Store. Android users, however, can still download Fortnite using Epic’s own app launcher, which it distributes independently through any mobile web browser.”
A Google spokesperson told The Verge, “The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores. 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.”
Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple following the removal of the iOS version of Fortnite. The legal complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks to establish Apple’s App Store as a monopoly, and the civil suit is seeking injunctive relief to “allow fair competition” in mobile app distribution. Epic effectively provoked Apple’s removal of Fortnite earlier today when it implemented its own payment processing system into Fortnite, an apparent violation of Apple’s App Store guidelines.
The complaint reads, “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). 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.”
Epic Games also filed suit against Google over alleged antitrust violations, just hours after seeing Fortnite dropped from the both the Google Play Store. Epic’s complaint alleges that Google’s payment restrictions on the Play Store constitute a monopoly, and thus a violation of both the Sherman Act and California’s Cartwright Act.