Fortnite in an Epic Fight with Apple and Google
The old saying is that the best things in life are free. While this statement appears to be true on the surface, the reality depends on perspective. What is free to one party often costs significant time and energy to another. The mobile video gaming community is all too familiar with the “freemium” model of subsidization. Free-to-play games, such as Fortnite and Pokemon Go, rely on a in-app purchases to generate revenue. Although this model has proven effective, developers still pay large pass-through fees to online storefronts. On Friday, Epic Games announced that it was fighting back on this unfair business practice after Apple and Google removed Fortnite from their respective mobile game stores. Let’s dive in.
Prepare to Fight
Grab a squad and get ready to drop because the clash between Fortnite and the mobile community is going full battle royale. No longer satisfied with paying a 30% pass through fee, Epic Games released an update for the mobile version of Fortnite that seemingly bypassed Apple and Google’s mobile payment systems. As a result, Epic Games can earn a significantly larger portion of in-game purchases. But Apple and Google retaliated.
Alleging security concerns, Apple announced on Thursday that it was removing Fortnite from the iPhone and iPad mobile stores. Google quickly followed suit on Friday; however, Android users can still download Fortnite updates. Needless to say, the vindictive actions did not go unnoticed.
Have Your Day in Court
Citing Apple’s monopoly in the mobile industry, Epic Games filed a complaint for injunctive relief. While the litigation is not unusual, Epic referenced multiple occasions in which the Fortnite developer unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate with Apple. Having no other alternative, Epic Games bypassed Apple’s predatory business practices.
The question that remains is whether the Apple storefront constitutes monopolistic behavior. While consumers have multiple options for mobile devices, the iPhone alone comprises over 45% of the market in the United States with over 100 million users. Within five months of launch on the iPhone, players downloaded Fortnite over 100 million times. Needless to say, the game is not only popular but also revolutionary on the industry’s most iconic mobile platform.
Time will tell if the courts rule that the Apple storefront is monopolistic. In the meantime, players who have installed Fortnite on Apple and Google devices can still enjoy the game. However, once Epic launches Season 4, players will no longer have access to the Battle Pass or new content. While Epic has yet to announce the Season 4 launch date, this scenario shifts the risk to Epic games. It will be interesting to see whether Apple and Epic settle out of court or the judicial system orders Apple to pay heavy damages for lost revenue.
But we want to know what you think. Do you play Fortnite on mobile devices? Are you siding with Epic Games that the practices of the Apple and Google mobile storefronts are monopolistic? Can you still access Fortnite from your Apple or Google devices? Let us know in the comments below or the social media links on the right. Also, be sure to check out our other news items on Activision, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Animal Crossing, Modern Warfare, and more.
Want to dive deeper into your favorite games? Be sure to check out our editorial columns, such as On This Day in Gaming and Music that Moves articles. Also, subscribe to our social media links below or click on one of the links in our soundcloud. Trust us: You will not want to miss a thing!
Finally, we are starting to stream every night and are looking to add to our community. Be one of the first 100 followers on Twitch for a chance to win a free GamingROI tee-shirt. All you have to do is click the links above and select “follow”. We will also announce the winners at the end of each month. Until next time, enjoy!