Popular battle royale game Fortnite has been removed from the App Store after the company violated Apple’s decade-old guidelines.
On Thursday, Epic announced that they would allow iOS and Android customers to purchase in-game Fortnite items and V-bucks directly, rather than paying through Apple as an in-app purchase.
They further incentivized customers to pay them directly by offering discounts up to 20 percent for those who did not buy through Apple. The move allowed Epic to sidestep Apple’s 30 percent commission fee.
Less than eight hours after the announcement, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, citing that Epic had violated the decade-old App Store terms and conditions. Apple has issued a statement regarding the situation.
“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.”
The statement continues:
“Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem – including it’s (sic) 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.”
Epic has long been critical of Apple’s 30 percent digital commission fee, calling it an “absolute monopoly.”
Companies like Epic and Apple Music rival Spotify are not the only ones concerned about Apple’s App Store practices. The U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general begun launching an antitrust investigation into Apple’s App Store after developers continue to raise concerns over anticompetitive behavior.
In June, the European Union antitrust authorities officially launched two investigations into Apple, specifically surrounding the App Store and with Apple Pay.
Update: In response to Fortnite being removed from the App Store, Epic games says it is now filing a lawsuit against Apple accusing the company of unfair business practices.