Epic Games sues Apple, Google after Fortnite app was dropped from iOS, Android app stores

Last week, Apple and Google removed Fortnite from their app stores for violating payment guidelines.

Fortnite creator Epic Games is suing Apple and Google after the tech giants dropped its popular video game app from their app stores for introducing a direct payment plan that bypasses their platforms.

Apple and Google both take a 30 percent cut from in-app revenue purchases in games, which has long been a sore spot with developers.

Fortnite is free, but users can pay for in-game accouterments like weapons and skins. Its developer, Epic Games, said in a blog post that it was introducing Epic Direct payments, a direct payment plan for Apple’s iOS and Google Play. Epic said the system is the same payment system it already uses to process payments on PC and Mac computers and Android phones.

Fortnite. Image: Twitter/Fortnite

Fortnite. Image: Twitter/Fortnite

Apple and Google said the service violates their guidelines.

“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 said in statement.

Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store. Android users can download the app from other app stores, although that’s generally not an option for iPhone users.

This weekend, Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney also spoke about the company's decision to sue Apple and Google in a Twitter thread.

Epic Games has also said that "Google’s actions force app developers and consumers into Google’s own monopolized 'app store'—the Google Play Store. Google has thus installed itself as an unavoidable middleman for app developers who wish to reach Android users and vice versa. Google uses this monopoly power to impose a tax that siphons monopoly profits for itself every time an app."

Meanwhile, Epic’s Fortnite Twitter released a social media campaign against Apple called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” a seeming parody of Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer. The hashtag "freefortnite" has also been trending on Twitter.

Epic Games has filed a complaint against Apple in the US District Court in Northern California for dropping Fortnite.

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