Apple expels Fortnite from the App Store; Epic Games sues


The Epic Games office in Berlin.— Fortnite App Store
Epic Games has sued Apple for allegedly monopolizing iOS app distribution.
Photo: Sergey Galyonkin/Flickr CC

The hugely popular game Fortnite was removed from the iPhone App Store on Thursday. This move came in response to Epic Games instituting a direct payments system for in-app purchases in violation of App Store guidelines.

And Epic Games responded with a civil lawsuit that accuses the App Store of being a monopoly. And a video that harks back to the famous “1984” ad.

Fortnite tries an end-run around the App Store

Early on Thursday, Epic Games launched the Fortnite Mega Drop. This offers up to 20% discounts on in-app purchases made on iPhone, iPad or Android, as long as these are direct payments. Making the same purchases though the App Store costs the regular price.

According to Apple, the game developer started taking direct payments for in-app purchases without Apple’s permission. “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 wrote in a statement given to The Verge.

Apple called that an “unfortunate step,” and said “as a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the store.”

This means that it’s not possible for new users to download Fortnite. And updates won‘t be available either. But anyone who already has the application on their iPhone or iPad can continue to play it.

Epic Games strikes back

One of the ways Epic Games responded to its premier title being ejected from the App Store is with a video. “Nineteen-Eighty-Fortnite” uses the style of Apple’s famous “1984” ad to argue that the iPhone maker has become the corporate giant it once defied.

In addition, the game developer filed a civil lawsuit (pdf) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. This objects to the requirement that in-app purchases on iPhone applications go through Apple.  The lawsuit alleges, “Apple’s conduct has foreclosed, and continues to foreclose, competition in the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market and, in the alternative, in the iOS Games Payment Processing Market, affecting a substantial volume of commerce in these markets.”

And it further claims that because Apple has a monopoly in iOS application distribution, “Apple forces developers to agree to Apple’s unlawful terms contained in its Developer Agreement.”


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.