Apple and Google removed the popular Fortnite video game from their app stores on Thursday for violating in-app payment guidelines, prompting developer Epic Games to file federal antitrust lawsuits challenging their rules.
Apple and Google cited a direct payment feature implemented in the Fortnite app earlier that day as the breach.
Epic filed a lawsuit in a US court seeking not to get money from Apple or Google, but for injunctions that would end many of the companies’ practices in their app stores.
“Apple has become what it once criticized: the giant that seeks to control markets, block competition and stifle innovation. Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched and more pernicious than the monopolists of yesteryear, ”Epic said in its lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California.
Epic also attacked Apple on social media, launching a campaign with the hashtag #FreeFortnite, urging gamers to seek refunds from Apple if they lose access to the game, and creating a parody of Apple’s famous “1984” television ad.
In the skit, which quickly garnered hundreds of thousands of views, a Fortnite fighter throws a unicorn-shaped club to smash a screen in which an Apple-headed character talks about the “anniversary of the platform unification directives.”
Apple takes a 15-30% cut for most app subscriptions and payments made within apps, although there are some exceptions for businesses that already have a credit card on file for iPhone customers. if they also offer an in-app payment that would. benefit Apple.
Analysts believe that games are the largest contributor to spending within the App Store, which in turn is the largest component of Apple’s $ 46.3 billion annually services segment.
In a statement, Apple said that Fortnite was removed because Epic had launched the payment feature with the “express intention of violating App Store guidelines” after having had apps in the store for a decade.