It seems that 2020 cannot get any stranger. In the span of just twenty-four hours, Fortnite has been removed by both Apple and Google from their app stores. Needless to say, such a decision sent shockwaves throughout the gaming realm.
But what kickstarted such a kerfuffle? In short, Epic’s shady decision to implement their own in-app payment system that would allow them to bypass Apple’s fees (30%, to be more exact). By doing so, Epic violated the long-standing App Store guidelines — the same terms that are placed upon any developer regardless of size or scope.
In response, Epic released a truly phenomenal short mocking the Cupertino-based company, and they did so on both YouTube as well as in-game. Talk about attraction attention…
It wasn’t long before Google followed suit and removed Fortnite from their Play Store as well, citing Epic’s attempt at circumventing the rules as justification. Epic’s attempt at provoking Apple and Google is both illogical and baffling. All three companies are raking in a metric ton of revenue, and while a 30% share is by no means negligible, it’s still universal in nature and applies to everyone.
Epic is now suing both companies in an attempt to change the status quo and usher in a different kind of era, one that is freed from high app store taxes. Will they succeed? Well, the odds are certainly stacked against them, but seeing how Fortnite made a whopping $2.4 billion in 2018 and a somewhat less impressive $1.8 in 2019, they obviously have the cash to spare.
Fortunately, if you want to play Fortnite on your Android devices you can still do so by clicking here. Still, downloading a proprietary launcher and sideloading the app is by no means as clean and streamlined of a solution as the one that includes the Play Store.
Even though Fortnite is as big of a game as they come, getting booted off of both app stores isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Then again, one could argue that everyone who wanted to download the game probably did so by now, but the point still stands. New players will surely find this whole process quite a hassle, and until these companies come to an agreement, that’s the only option that’ll be available.
It’ll be interesting to see how Epic proceeds further. Getting removed from the biggest marketplaces in the world is definitely not something you want to deal with, regardless if it’s fair or not. At best, Epic will receive an exemption from the 30% rule, although it’s still too early to predict anything with confidence, especially with their aggressive stance on the matter.
In any case, watching two tech giants fight against an obscenely rich gaming company that’s playing the victim card isn’t something you see everyday. Regardless of how it eventually resolves, it might set a precedent for the industry going forward.