News
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5 Min Read

Apple and Fortnite’s Maker are Getting Back in the Ring

A new chapter has begun between tech giant Apple and Epic Games, as a new court order has been filed against the iOS App Store.

April 29, 2024
·
News

Apple and Fortnite’s Maker are Getting Back in the Ring

Introduction

An ongoing saga between Apple and Epic Games is entering a new chapter next month, as both head back into the courtroom after the producer of Fortnite accused the tech giant of bad-faith in an attempt to open up App Store payments, according to a court order issued on the 23rd of April. This follows a legal battle which began in August 2020 after Apple removed Fortnite, and other Epic Games titles, from the App Store and suspended the company’s developer account.

What’s the issue

The original lawsuit filed by Epic Games, almost four years ago, was related to Apple’s practices in the iOS App Store. Epic challenged the restrictions Apple had placed on apps from having other in-app purchasing methods outside the one offered by the App Store. The issue highlighted by Epic Games founder, Tim Sweeny, surrounded the 30% revenue cut which Apple takes on every purchase made in the App Store.

As Epic Games launched Fortnite into the App Store, they wanted to either bypass the revenue cut, or reduce it from the imposed 30%. These measures were implemented into the gaming platform and subsequently Apple blocked the game from the App Store. This led to the filing of the first lawsuit between the two companies. In return to this initial lawsuit, Apple filed a countersuit claiming that Epic purposefully breached its terms of contract. 

Ultimately this lawsuit resulted in a ruling in favor of Apple on nine of ten counts, but found Apple against its anti-steering policies. Both Epic Games and Apple filed appeals which in January 2024 were denied by the Supreme Court. 

With a new twist in the story, Epic Games has once again filed a court order against Apple. In a recent post on the social platform X, Tim Sweeny commented on the issues Epic Games has highlighted: 

“A quick summary of glaring problems we've found so far:

1) Apple has introduced an anticompetitive new 27% tax on web purchases. Apple has never done this before, and it kills price competition. Developers can't offer digital items more cheaply on the web after paying a third-party payment processor 3-6% and paying this new 27% Apple Tax.

2) Apple dictates all aspects of these links and doesn't allow them in the app's ordinary payment flow. Rather, links must be separated out into a different section of the app, away from places where users actually buy stuff.

3) Apple requires developers to open a generic web browser session, forcing the user to log in to the developer's website again, to make a purchase. And because of #2, users will have to search all over again for the digital item they wanted to buy.

4) Apple will front-run competing payment processors with their own "scare screen" to disadvantage them.

Epic will contest Apple's bad-faith compliance plan in District Court.”

With the issue still evolving it will be interesting to see how Apple responds.

Should brands still be interested in Fortnite?

For brands looking to become game-ready in 2024, and break into Fortnite, the obvious question is whether this dispute will affect their activation's success and if there are any other concerns which they should consider before deciding to move forward.

As shown by data published by Statista, the ongoing legal proceedings between Apple and Epic Games has not negatively affected the number of registered players with the platform continuing to grow at phenomenal pace.

A graph published by Statista showing the number of registered users of Fortnite globally.

Regardless of the outcome of this latest episode in the rift between the two companies, brands should feel confident that jumping into Fortnite and gaming as a whole has remarkable upside. MVG is confident that developing activations in Fortnite will continue to help brands grow their audience in a novel and exciting way.

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