Apple’s legal team have a whole lot extra work to do today with the makers of one of the world’s most popular games Fortnite taking legal action over App Store comissions.
Epic Games created the runaway hit that is Fortnite. A free game, free to play, yet making millions of dollars. Why? Because players can purchase “V-Bucks” in the game, which is a virtual currency used to buy new outfits, weapons, gliders and even dance moves.
Importantly, none of those purchases help you win, none of them make you a better player – they are all for vanity alone. Yet, it’s making millions – go figure.
If a player spends $9.99 on their Xbox, PC, Playstation or Samsung phone when playing fortnite, Epic Games gets $9.99, minus perhaps a credit card processing fee. Let’s call it $9.69 in the hand.
However, Apple mobile device users, also able to play the game on iOS devices like iPhone and iPad are different.
They too can aim for Victory Royale, they too can buy that suit, or that weapon – but when they spend $9.99 – Epic Games gets $6.99. Apple gets just under $3.
Apple takes 30% of all purchases made in the Apple App Store – when you buy a game, or spend some money within the app – Apple takes a cut. It’s all part of the terms and conditions of operating in the App Store.
Epic games released an update to Fortnite just days ago which offers a new way to pay – direct to Epic Games.
Not long after – Apple removed the App from the store, meaning no new downloads, and no App updates.
That’s when Epic Games went legal.
Their legal action in the Northern District of California District Court claims Apple “Monoplises the iOS App Distribution Market”
The 65 page document, which was clearly prepared well before this recent App Store issue for Fortnite, goes into the History of Apple, in it’s fight against IBM and plays on that philosophy of fairness to call for a change to the way the App Store operates.
Critically, Epic Games is seeking no financial compensation for the “injury caused”. Instead, they want the App Store to change for all developers, stating “Epic is not seeking monetary compensation from this Court for the injuries it has suffered. Nor is Epic seeking favorable treatment for itself, a single company. Instead, Epic is seeking injunctive relief to allow fair competition in these two key markets that directly affect hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of thousands, if not more, of third-party app developers.”
The action was filed just hours ago, there has not yet been any comment from Apple, however we can expect this one to drag on for some time.