You might have heard of the #FreeFortnite movement. It’s all part of the legal battle that Epic Games is in the midst of, partly to make things fairer for mobile developers, and partly, so it now seems to raise even more awareness of Fortnite itself. The most recent movement on the matter sees Epic Games create an in-game event out of the entire thing. Whilst it’s great that they’re poking this much fun at such a colossal company, it does give the impression that they’re not taking this too seriously.
The event ran across all platforms on Sunday, August 23, and was packed with prizes that are themed around the lawsuit. For example, there are #FreeFortnite hats, which have a parody of Apple’s own logo. It’s worth noting that this is a real hat, which has been awarded to the top 20,000 players around the world. The top prize, for some players at least, was definitely the Tart Tycoon Outfit. The outfit resembles the character seen in the short film that Epic Games released after the filed their lawsuit. It parodies Apple as a company, embodied in a very Fortnite character.
It’s so interesting that Epic Games is going through with this. On one hand it really does look like they’re trying to spin everything into a positive marketing campaign for Fortnite. They even mention on the Free Fortnite Cup page that there are plenty of other places to play the game. They don’t seem to be bothered about losing that mobile audience whatsoever. On the other hand, they’re also in the middle of a legal battle. Apple isn’t going to back down from the looks of things, and that’s quite bad for business.
Although, if you look at this battle through the lens of PewDiePie, the YouTuber, it does start to make sense. PewDiePie is the biggest YouTuber on the planet, with the most subscribers. However, he gained a lot of traction by starting a battle with the YouTube channel that some users are automatically subscribed to, T Series. He created livestreams and videos about the conflict, even though T Series is a music company, and has no interest in fighting him.
Weirdly, Apple has no interest in fighting Epic Games. In fact, they stand to lose out on a lot of money, which would be their cut from microtransactions. Epic Games has everything to gain from this battle, even though they’ll be losing a huge platform. We’ll have to wait and see what their next movie is, but I have no doubts that it will be along the same lines.
As I’ve been writing this piece, one new development has occurred. Microsoft has stepped up in support of Epic Games. This is a huge boon to Epic Games’ campaign to get cheaper cuts on app stores, and may even see things move in their favour.