There has been much commotion surrounding Fortnite for the past few days. In case you have not been keeping up with the news, Fortnite was banned on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store. As a response, Epic Games is trying to sue both technological giants. Yep, gaming corporations war a-brewing. Crazy stuff to start this August, right?
Assuming you need to know more about how things end up unfolding, we have made a simple timeline regarding this Fortnite debacle. Before we get into the juicy part though, we have to go back in time a bit further than just last month…
[updated: August 25th, 2020: Court Decided to Let Epic Keep iOS Development Tool but Won’t Let Fortnite Back to App Store with Direct Payment]
April 2nd, 2018: Fortnite Officially Released on iOS
Fortnite first venture into the mobile market after about one month of closed beta testing on iOS. The Android version follows later.
October 11th, 2018: Fortnite Officially Released on Android, Skips Google Play Store
On this day Fortnite was released on Android; available as a stand-alone APK file downloaded directly from Epic Games. Samsung Galaxy devices owners were the first in line to be invited to the Android beta in August 2018. Purchasers of Samsung Note 9 or Galaxy Tab S4 also get a bonus Galaxy outfit.
In an interview with Digital Foundry, Epic decided to bypass Play Store because its 30% tax “doesn’t reflect its input into the creation and maintenance of the game.” Unfortunately, they can’t apply the same strategy with the App Store because the ecosystem is “fully locked down.”
December 6th, 2018: Epic Games Launches Epic Games Store
This section is just a reminder that Epic’s “crusade” against “unfair” storefront policy happens in the PC market as well. Before this month, Steam applies a flat 30% rate cut on every game sold on the launcher. But on December 3rd, Valve suddenly announced they’ve made changes to how revenue cut works in Steam. It goes:
- 30% for sales under $10 million.
- 25% for sales between $10 million and $50 million,
- and a 20% cut for sales above $50 million.
Seeing smaller and/or indie developer outcry against this new policy, a few days later Epic decided to turn its Epic Games Launcher into a full-fledged storefront called Epic Games Store. Epic promised that all developers would only have to pay 12% from all their revenues and giving out free games to its members on its “highly curated” store.
Our goal is to bring you great games, and to give game developers a better deal: they receive 88% of the money you spend, versus only 70% elsewhere.”
April 22nd, 2020: Fortnite (Finally) Released on Google Play Store
After having Fortnite ran outside of Play Store for 18 months, Epic eventually gives up. Citing “scary” security pop-ups and malware restrictions to be a problem for third-party apps.
Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterising third party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store. Because of this, we’ve launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play Store.”
July 28th, 2020: Epic CEO Bashes Apple’s New Policy
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney commented on Twitter regarding Apple’s intention to take a 30% cut from online classes. Later in early August, Sweeney comments on Apple’s attempt to block game streaming services on the platform and how they “muscled” Kindle for e-book revenue in 2011.
If Apple had the way, they’d block the web and make arbitrary decisions about what pages you’re allowed to visit … and then demand 30% of the revenue from every company that does business on the web.”
5:07 PM – August 13th, 2020: Epic Games Launches Epic Direct Payment for Fortnite
Epic announced ‘Fortnite Mega Drop‘. Any V-Bucks or real-money purchase on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac are now permanently discounted by up to 20%. And as a part of it, Epic Direct Payment was also added to mobile versions of Fortnite. When choosing Epic Direct Payments instead of paying through the App Store or Play Store, you only need to pay $7.99 for 1,000 V-Bucks instead of $9.99. V-Bucks and real-money discounts for Android applies through the Epic Games app and the Samsung Galaxy Store as well.
Currently, when using Apple and Google payment options, Apple and Google collect a 30% fee, and the up to 20% price drop does not apply. If Apple or Google lower their fees on payments in the future, Epic will pass along the savings to you.”
To celebrate this new payment option all active players are eligible for Shooting Starstaff Pickaxe. Additionally, players who’ve purchased V-Bucks in the last 30 days can get bonus V-Bucks.
2:01 AM – August 14th, 2020: Fortnite Taken Down From Apple App Store
Claiming Epic Direct Payment violated App Store guidelines, Apple took down Fortnite from its storefront. Although people can still play the game, new players won’t be able to download it and the iOS version won’t get any future updates.
2:33 AM – August 14th, 2020: Epic Games Sues Apple
Just minutes after Fortnite was gone from App Store, Epic quickly filed legal complaints with a 62-pages document. Citing concerns against Apple’s “anti-competitive” and “monopolistic practices” in software distributions and digital payments within iOS.
3:22 AM – August 14th, 2020: Epic Games Launches ‘Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite’ Trailer
As another response to App Store pulling down Fortnite, Epic releases ‘Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite’ trailer. While utilizing the ‘#FreeFortnite’ hashtag, Epic openly asking for its userbase to “help them” in a legal fight between the two corporations. The trailer parodied Apple’s ‘1984’ ads – which was based on a novel about totalitarian government, Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the ad, Apple is introducing Macintosh PC as a rebellious spark that would free people from the control of other, more powerful PC companies. Presumably IBM, back in the day.
Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Visit http://fn.gg/freefortnite and join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming “1984”
5:41 AM – August 14th, 2020: Fortnite Taken Down From Google Play Store
Following Apple, Google also ends up blocking Fortnite from its storefront. The game is still accessible for existing players and can be updated directly from Epic Games’ site. Four hours later Fortnite publicly announced the game unavailability through social media.
7:53 AM – August 14th, 2020: Epic Games Sues Google
And just like before, Epic decided to bring this issue to the court. In its legal document, Epic complained not just about Play Store’s “monopolistic” policy but that Google disturbed its partnership with phone manufacturers OnePlus and LG. OnePlus had to limit the preinstallation of Epic Games’ mobile app to be exclusive for India. While LG said that they already had a contract to block “side downloading” for their Android-based phones.
1:39 AM – August 18th, 2020: Epic Pleads to Court for Apple to Not Cut Epic from iOS Developments
Epic announced that on Friday, August 28th, Apple will terminate all of the Unreal Engine developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. They have prepared a legal documents to plead to US court to not letting Apple do it.
3:00 PM – August 21st, 2020: Apple Claimed Epic Previously Has Asked for “Special Treatment”
Responding to Epic’s lawsuit, Apple said that previously Epic Games has asked for special treatments for their game in the App Store. It gives out three emails from Tim Sweeney to bolster its claim. Former Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller wrote,
“On June 30, 2020, Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney wrote my colleagues and me an email asking for a ‘side letter’ from Apple that would create a special deal for only Epic that would fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform.”
4:29 PM – August 25th, 2020: Court Decided to Let Epic Keep iOS Development Tool but Won’t Let Fortnite Back to App Store with Direct Payment
Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, US District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, has restrained Apple from blocking Epic Games from the Apple Developer Program. On the basis, it will create “potential significant damage” to both Unreal Engine development and the whole game industry. But Fortnite is still blocked from the App Store.
We will try to keep this page updated when any new information comes around. We hope this article can give you a broader picture of this year’s Fortnite vs Apple-Google uproar. Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below.