Fortnite is one of the games of the moment, a game that has catapulted Epiceno Games to levels never seen before. Being in this situation of power, and at a time more tense than ever, the popular developer launches a war without quarter against the iOS App Store and in a matter of hours, against Google Play.
What has it done and how can it affect the future of app stores? We analyze the movements and intentions of Epic Games.
What has Epic done to get kicked out of stores?
Just yesterday we announced that Fortnite, the popular game from Epic Games, could have skipped the rules of Google Play and the App Store with an update made to its game.
This update was as simple as adding a new purchase method to get PaVos, the internal currency of the game. To point out how provocative the matter was, they added the method of Pay Epic directly. To point out the injustice of application stores, Epic adds its payment method in the same window as Google Play or the Apple Store, offering a 20% discount compared to app stores.
This “discounted price” brings more income to Epic even if the user pays less, since the app stores keep 30% of your generated income. In the case of the 1000 V-Bucks, that extra dollar would go directly to maintaining Epic’s own payment system and its own store, having to create it themselves instead of using Google or Apple.
The direct impact, the one expected by the company
The move goes against the rules of both stores, which require that if you add transactions within your application you must use the payment systems of Google and Apple respectively for each store. As we have already mentioned, these systems are completely managed by these companies and take a lot of work from developers in exchange for keeping 30% of the generated revenue.
Apple App Store.
30% is a lot of money, whether you are a small developer (that 30% can be much higher than your profit margin) or more striking in the case of Epic, where they add up to millions of dollars (although in this, at least the company does not has trouble surviving).
As a direct consequence, Apple has expelled Fortnite from the App Store, and hours later Google has done the same within Google Play.
Epic Games’ first move
Epic Games has not made this move innocently, and they knew very well what they were doing when they broke the rules of both stores at the same time. The company has reacted with a lawsuit against Apple and a video on social networks in which they encourage users to join #FreeFortnite.
Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices.
Visit https://t.co/K3S07w5uEk and join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming “1984” https://t.co/tpsiCW4gqK
– Fortnite (@FortniteGame) August 13, 2020
Is the video familiar? Indeed, they have honored the first commercial for the original Macintosh, in 1984, a great commercial that made reference to Orwell’s novel.
Epic Games’ reaction by posting a 62-page legal document and video with 291 relevant facts is a premeditated move. I’m not a lawyer or a video editor, but I don’t think the paper or the video takes less than an hour to make. Epic knew what it was doing and already had the next step in its movement prepared before provoking both monopolies.
Regarding Google Play, the situation is less serious, since users can continue to download Fortnite from the Epic store, and it is that for two years that it has not been on Google Play it has been the only way to play the popular Battle Royale on Android.
Still, Epic has confirmed that regarding Google Play, “They will give more details soon”, although they have also sued Google.
What Epic Games is after with this move
Both Google and Apple are currently in a tense moment due to the monopoly accusations, which we have seen with greater intensity in Apple when we saw how it left iOS streaming platforms.
Epic’s move puts both companies in a compromising position, trying to show the injustices of two empires that dominate each platform. In the case of Apple it is evident and Google can argue that on Android you can install any application, but if Google Play and the rest of Google applications were not a monopoly, Trump’s veto of Huawei would not have had much impact.
Although the Epic movement can contribute and accelerate more open ecosystems and with competition between stores (a good thing for users) Let’s not forget that Epic are not charity sisters, but a great company, and its main purpose is to look after their interests. The company wants to bring its game store to mobile platforms, and overthrowing these monopolies is the only way it can achieve its goals.
Epic Games is going for Google Play with its own Android game store
Despite finally bringing Fortnite to its game store, Epic Games is still working on bringing its store to Android and iOS.