UPDATE: Google has now also removed Fornite from the Play Store. A Google spokesperson provided the following statement to Trusted Reviews, “The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users. While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play.”
Apple has removed the online gaming megahit Fortnite from the App Store after developer Epic Games added a new “direct payment” option to bypass Apple and Google’s fees.
Epic had today lowered the prices of the in-game V-Bucks currency for those paying them directly, taking aim at so-called “exorbitant” cuts taken by the App Store and Play Store.
Despite Apple’s payment method still being available, the direct payment method is a violation of the App Store guidelines and Apple has wasted no time in booting the wildly popular battle royale game from its storefront.
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In a statement sent to Trusted Reviews, Apple said it is committed to resolving the issues, but reiterated that its guidelines applied to all developers. Apple also called out Epic for pushing for a special treatment, when it had built its business with the App Store.
The full statement reads: “Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the store. Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.
“Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem – including it’s tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers. Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we’re glad they’ve built such a successful business on the App Store. 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. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.”
You sense Epic saw this coming because it has immediately filed a complained a legal complaint in California. It reads: “Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation.”
The issue comes with Apple already under fire for restricting services like Microsoft xCloud, Google Stadia and Facebook Gaming because they do not comply with App Store guidelines. Sitting within in the context of a wider Apple vs Gaming battle, this one could get ugly.
Even uglier than this new Fortnite commercial mocking Apple’s iconic 1984 ad:
Can you play Fortnite on Apple?
If you already have Fortnite installed, you can continue to play on iPhones. However, its removal from means it won’t receive updates and it may stop working on iOS in the near future.