Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, a popular online video game, has sued Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) for blocking the game on iOS and Google Play app stores, respectively. The game has hundreds of millions of registered players.
In response, both Apple and Google have said the game was delisted after Epic Games implemented its own in-app payment system that bypassed Apple and Google’s proprietary payment systems. This violates the two companies’ guidelines for listing apps.
“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,” reads part of Apple’s statement.
Apple is already facing antitrust investigations
In the case of Apple, Epic Games tried to bypass the 30% fee charged on Apple Pay. The delisting of Fortnite from App Store marked an escalation in the conflict between Epic and Apple, the most dominant mobile software marketplaces in the world. The lawsuit comes at a time when the iPhone maker is navigating antitrust investigation. Apple is facing an antitrust inquiry over the rules it imposes on some developers as well as its operation of the App Stores.
Both Apple and Google have appeared before Congress to testify over the allegation of having monopoly power to beat competition from developers.
It takes good financial mobilization and strategy to litigate against two opponents with a $3 trillion market size. According to Epic, they have much to gain by retaining the game and taking the 30% paid to Apple and Google as service charges. The game publisher is making more than 5 million dollars a day from the game.
Fortnite has 350 million players making it the largest game community in the world. It is considered a force to reckon with in the gaming industry.
Epic’s alternative payment gateway
In what looked at like trying to provoke Apple and Google into a response, Epic issued a new iOS update encouraging Fortnite players to use its in-app payment system to access cheaper deals.