Epic Games is suing Google, Apple for removing Fortnite

'Fortnite Battle Royale' developed by Epic Games on a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
'Fortnite Battle Royale' developed by Epic Games on a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images) /

Epic Games has decided to sue both Google and Apple for the removal of Fortnite from both Google Play and the App Store.

Epic Games is arguably one of the most successful video game companies of the last half-decade thanks to their blockbuster hit Fortnite. Now, Epic Games has made some waves by announcing publicly that they will be suing two of the biggest companies in the world, Google and Apple.

This news comes after both Apple and Google have removed Fortnite from each of their respective digital mobile storefronts. Both Google and Apple have stated the reason they have removed Fortnite is that it has violated their store terms and guidelines.

This, of course, was due to Epic Games introducing a direct payment option through their game on iOS and Android devices. On Friday, Epic Games introduced this alternative payment as part of a permanent mega discount that dropped the cost of V-Bucks — the in-game currency — by 20 percent. Epic was able to pass this discount onto the consumers by bypassing the 30 percent fee from Apple and Google. This is where Apple and Google are having a hard time with this whole situation.

Apple and Google take 30 percent of all digital transactions that take place through their marketplace. Anyone who buys $10 worth of V-Bucks on the mobile versions of Fortnite, results in $3 for Apple and/or Google, leaving Epic with $7.

With this new direct payment method that Epic Games is integrating into Fortnite, it allows for the customer to pay Epic Games directly so that they do not have to pay a 30 percent fee. With the 20 percent permanent discount on the $10 package, it means consumers can now purchase 1,000 V-Bucks for the new price of $7.99. In turn, any purchase that is made using the direct payment method on that $8 package goes directly Epic Games themselves.

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Now on mobile, you can either buy V-Bucks through the App Store or Google Play Store while also having the option of buying the V-Bucks directly through Epic’s “direct payment” option. When you go to buy V-Bucks Epic will still list the regular Apple and Google marketplace price along with the new direct payment price. Even if Epic Games lists both prices on mobile, a majority of people are almost certainly going to choose the direct payment because it saves them money.

Epic Games described the 30 percent fee waged by Apple and Google as being unreasonably high, while Apple and Google describe the fee and fair and reasonable. They reason that the fee helps them manage their storefronts. Like most companies that allow you to sell services from them, there is always going to be a fee. If you sell on eBay, Etsy, Amazon, or any other digital storefront, there is always some sort of fee. However, Epic Games has not really felt that the 30 percent fee was all that fair in that it has been way too high for a selling fee.

The main problem here is the selling fee. It is clear that on Epic’s side of things that they do not feel like paying such a high fee. On the Apple and Google sides of things, they do not want to lose out on the millions of dollars worth of purchases that are going on with Epic’s V-Bucks. Now because of the dispute between both parties Epic Games has decided to sue both Google and Apple because they have removed the game entirely from their App Store so now anyone looking to download Fortnite on mobile can’t because it is not available. The company also argues that Apple and Google hold a monopoly on the marketplace because of the restrictions and limitations that prevent other digital storefronts on their mobile platforms.

Hot. Video game sales sky rocket to over $3.6 billion in July alone. light

At the moment things seem to be heating up between all three companies and it will be interesting to see what comes of this dispute. Epic Games has always pushed for fair treatment for developers and I guess this is a way for them to start pushing for more fair fees. Until there is more information on this lawsuit, it will be interesting to see how Epic Games adapts to the mobile removal situation. Things are getting juicy.