Epic Games’ mega-popular battle royale game Fortnite has been kicked out of Apple’s App Store today, just hours after Epic implemented an in-app payment system that circumvents Apple’s rules on accepting payment from users within apps. This comes at a difficult time for Apple, which is currently under intense scrutiny for possible antitrust violations based around their management of the App Store.
Apple issued a statement to the press, accusing Epic Games of acting with “the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines”. They did, however, note that they hope to “work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.”
Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the store. Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.
Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem – including it’s tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers. Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we’re glad they’ve built such a successful business on the App Store. The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.
Apple’s swift movement on this violation is noteworthy — as iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith noted on Twitter, developers are typically given two weeks to rectify any violations before removal.
A little context: usually, when an app is found to violate some guideline and is threatened with removal, Apple gives you 14 days to rectify the issue before they do it. Fortnite just got nuked outright, instead
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) August 13, 2020
This move by Epic Games may well have been a statement more than anything else to get all eyes on Apple’s App Store rules, as the pressure is on for Apple to allow developers more freedom when it comes to accepting in-app purchases from their users. Epic Games, thanks to the massive success of Fortnite, is one of the few game developers on the platform that may be able to influence Apple’s rules.
Apple takes a 30% cut of every purchase made in any app, and forbids developers from implementing their own payment systems to circumvent it.