This week, Epic Games messed up big time. After the latest Fortnite update on mobile, the game was pulled back from both Apple and Google Play Stores. According to the news, this was due to a new update that added a new in-app purchase option in the game. While this fact alone isn’t that bad, the key thing here is that Epic provided players with an option to get in-app purchases cheaper if users buy it directly from Epic. And this, my friends, are against Apple Store and Google Play Store policies.
The new payment system allowed users to buy V-Bucks cheaper – users, who purchased V-Bucks form both stores had to pay 10 dollars for 1000 of this Fortnite’s currency. If users decided to purchase these V-Bucks directly from Epic, they could save a couple of bucks – 1000 V-Bucks cost 7.99 dollars. Essentially, that’s Epic Games’ workaround in order to avoid store fees.
The first to react was Apple. Upon the release of the new update, Apple retracted the app from the App store stating that Epic Games did this 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. No surprise here… However, Epic Games didn’t stand by and filed a lawsuit against Apple and made this whole thing public.
Google also wasn’t happy about this whole Epic Games’ master plan. It also removed Fortnite from its Google Play store and issued a statement. It reads:
“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.”
And do you think Epic Games got the message that this new update is not suitable for current app markets and the current business model of mobile games in general? Well, no. According to Rod Breslau’s Tweet, Epic has filed a suit against Google as well.
We really don’t know what to make of this. Clearly, Epic Games is in the wrong here since both App Store and Google Play policy agreements state that in order to sell goods through their stores, developers have to pay a percentage of the transaction. Epic Games’ workaround is just a cheat that might create a precedent and encourage other developers to do the same, meaning that both companies would lose a lot of money. But that can be a good thing for the future of mobile games and development companies. Not good for Apple or Google though. In any case, while this thing resolves, you won’t be able to download Fortnite for your mobile.
But hey… you can save more on your V-Buck by other means. You can get some cheaper from Eneba.