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Fortnite creator Epic Games has filed lawsuits against Apple and Google, after both tech giants pulled the popular battle royale from their respective digital storefronts. At the time of writing, it's impossible to download and install Fortnite via the App Store or the Google Play Store.
So just what the heck is going on here? The crux of this heated debate all seems to boil down to whether or not Epic should be allowed to include direct-payments in Fortnite. Epic recently installed just such a system in the battle royale, effectively avoiding the payment systems set up by Apple and Google - blocking any money the two companies might otherwise have made through in-game purchases.
"Epic believes that you have a right to save money thanks to using more efficient, new purchase options," the developer explained in a blog post. "Apple's rules add a 30% tax on all of your purchases, and they punish game developers like us who offer direct payment options."
It seems Apple and Google were none too pleased by this, and responded to Epic by blocking the game on their storefronts. That's where the legal action comes in.
In its lawsuit against Apple, Epic alleges that the company is indulging in monopolistic practices by blocking Fortnite on the App Store. The developer has also taken steps to rally its fans against Apple with a social media campaign that makes use of the hashtag #FreeFortnite, painting Epic as something of an underdog... one that's attempting to rise up against the "App Store Monopoly".
Take a look at the video Epic put together below, which serves as a parody of an old Apple ad... which in turn was intended to reference George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984. To summarise, Fortnite is basically using 1984 to get gamers on its side in a fight against Apple. That's where 2020 is at right now.
In its lawsuit against Google, Epic has claimed that the company is abandoning its "don't be evil" motto, breaking promises it made decades ago by supporting the removal of Fortnite.
"In 1998, Google was founded as an exciting young company with a unique motto: 'Don't Be Evil,'" the complaint reads (thanks, CNET). "Twenty-two years later, Google has relegated its motto to nearly an afterthought, and is using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolise."
Both Apple and Google explained in fairly similar statements that Fortnite has been removed from the storefronts because it was in violation of rules that are in place for every developer.
"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," Apple said.
"While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies," a Google spokesperson added. "However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play."
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