There have been grumblings within the gaming app community for many years about how companies like Apple and Google control their app stores in ways that constrict game developers, but no studio has openly challenged them for fear of retribution until Epic Games, creators of Fortnite. In a new detail that was added earlier this month, Epic Games permanently discounted VC, the games in-game currency, but apparently, they ignored the regulations that a developer must go through in order to get something like this approved. The move angered both companies so much that the game has been removed from both app stores as of Thursday. To escalate the battle, Epic Games released a 1984-esque rebuttal that parodies a famous Apple commercial.
While all of this news broke in such quick succession that it seems like it came out of nowhere, the contentious behavior from Epic Games shows that its frustrations have been building under the surface for a long time. This is a risky move by Epic Games given the smash hit that Fortnite has been and the astronomical revenue that it will lose if they stay off these app stores.
“We’re fighting for open platforms and policy changes equally benefiting all developers,” says Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. “And it’ll be a hell of a fight!” It’s a fight that Epic has prepared for, and its lawsuit specifically alleges that Apple has a monopoly in the form of the iPhone, its iOS ecosystem, and the App Store that binds them all together.”
It will be interesting to see who backs down first, and if Apple will be open to changing some of their policies, but if they just drag out this fight or opt to ignore it, I could see Epic Games folding soon because while Fortnite is their key product, there will always be the next-biggest game that wants Apple to distribute their product.