The news that Fortnite was delisted from the App Store and Google Play Store last week probably hasn’t escaped you. You probably know the details, but what you may not know is why Epic Games did what they did. First, they updated their game on mobile devices with a way to bypass the native payment systems. This violated terms with the tech giants, so the game was delisted. Epic Games fought back with a lawsuit, clearly planned and prepared beforehand, and a pretty amazing video. Check that out below.
Make no mistake, this video wasn’t pulled together in less than a day. It took a while to make. The fact that an apple is the main villain here is also incredibly poignant. Epic Games wants something, and that something is a fair environment on mobile platforms for all developers. They’ve made the first steps in creating this on PC with the Epic Game Store, and now they want to tackle Apple and Google regarding iOS and Android.
Currently Apple and google take a 30% cut from all sales and purchases on Android or iOS. This is massive when you compare it to the cut taken for software sold on PC and Mac, which is 3%. Why is there such a big difference? Well, Apple produce all iOS devices, so they can ensure that only the App Store is available for buying new apps. This means they have a monopoly over the platform. Google has a similar monopoly over Android, and in fact has blocked Epic Games in the past when they attempted to do something similar on Android.
What this lawsuit is trying to achieve is a fairer environment for developers. Right now a game that costs £10 and sells 1,000 copies will see £1,800 go to Apple or Google via their mobile platforms. That’s just in the cost of the game. This doesn’t even begin to cover the money lost in transaction fees for in-game monetisation, or battle passes. Developers have to put their prices up to cope with the cuts being taken, and sometimes that kills their game. When they drop the price, they make much less money, and may even need to close because they can’t make it work.
There are people out there who pour their hearts and souls into their games, and something as trivial as a platform price cut is making them work even harder to achieve their dreams. As it stands, Epic Games will gain nothing from these lawsuits. They just want the monopoly that Apple has on iOS devices, and Google has on Android devices to end. this would allow different app stores to be installed on these devices, completely changing the face of not just games, but mobile development.
We’ll keep you updated as things develop, but right now this is everything we know, and it looks good for developers.