Battle Royale as Apple bumps Fortnite off the App Store

Tech-giant Apple has removed Fortnite from the App Store after the developer implemented its own in-app payment system that bypassed Apple’s standard 30% fee, “violating the App Store guidelines.”

Those guidelines ban any payment system apart from Apple’s own, and has been the subject of several high-profile rows between developers and Apple.

Epic files a lawsuit

Epic responded swiftly by filing an antitrust lawsuit. In addition to tweeting the legal complaint, Epic also announced the imminent in-game screening of a short film titled Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite – a play on George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The novel is about a dystopian society that controls its citizens and tolerates no dissent – and was itself referenced by Apple in a famous television ad in the year 1984, when the startup styled itself as taking on the then-dominant IBM.

Epic Games directly referenced that advertisement in its legal complaint: “Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation.”

The developer said iPhone gamers who already have the app installed should be able to continue playing until the game’s next update rolls out. After that, they will lose some features.

Epic’s court documents allege that Apple effectively runs a monopoly in both deciding what apps can appear on iPhones and demanding its own payment system with the relatively high 30% cut in play.

Apple said the rules were applied equally to every developer, and that Epic had updated their game “with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines.”

“Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem,” it said.

“The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users.”

It added that it would try to work with Epic to bring Fortnite back.

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