In 2018, the gaming company launched Fortnite for Android by asking users to download the game directly from its site instead of Google’s Play Store. It would have done the same thing for Apple if it could have, but Apple has tighter control on its App Store.
Fortnite came back to Google’s Play Store in April 2020 after Google warned Android users about the possible security threats by downloading Fortnite directly.
The timing seems right for Epic Games to make noise about the issue, as Apple’s tight control over the App Store has been a concern of regulators both in the US and abroad.
In May 2019, Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with the European Union, arguing that Apple is harming consumers and hurting innovation through taking its 30% cut.
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Many developers have complained about the 30% commission, but don’t make a big public event out of it, largely because they are beholden to both platforms for distribution.
Epic posts new season warning
Epic’s strategy is to drum up support through its users. Not only did it reduce the cost of in-app purchases, but it also has warned users that they could lose out on Fortnite’s next season if Apple doesn’t change its rules.
The new season begins 27 August. Android users can still download the latest updates through Epic’s own app store.
“Because Apple has BLOCKED your ability to update, when Fortnite Chapter 2 – Season 4 releases you will NOT be able to play the new Season on iOS,” Epic said in a blog post titled “#FreeFortnite.”
The next couple of weeks will be a public relations war. For its part, Apple has said it is trying to come to an agreement with Epic. It’s estimated Apple makes about $30 million a month from Fortnite.
Epic says it’s not interested in a special deal with Apple. It wants freedom for all developers.
Two behemoths are now going head to head, and the result may be a protracted legal war that doesn’t have an immediate end.