What you need to know
- It's one year since Fortnite was booted from the App Store.
- On August 13, 2020, Epic Games added a new direct payment system in breach of Apple's guidelines.
- It saw Fortnite removed from the App Store and kicked off Epic's legal battle with the company.
Today marks exactly one year since Epic Games introduced a hotfix to Fornite that added direct payments for players, breaching Apple's guidelines and starting off a chain of events that led to a blockbuster lawsuit between the companies.
On August 13, 2020, Epic Games announced the 'Fortnite Mega Drop', a 20% blanket reduction on all of its purchases across all platforms, including a new Epic direct payment feature for iOS:
The Fortnite Mega Drop is here! Get up to 20% savings on V-Bucks and real-money offers for every purchase on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac, and on mobile when using select payment methods. This isn't a sale… these are new discount prices available anytime! We're excited to pass along these savings to you and will continue to look for additional ways to bring value to all Fortnite players. Here's how to snag your savings. Today, we're also introducing a new way to pay on iOS and Android: Epic direct payment. When you choose to use Epic direct payments, you save up to 20% as Epic passes along payment processing savings to you.
It quickly became apparent that Epic Games was breaching both Apple and Google's terms of service on their respective marketplaces, and then it became apparent they were doing it on purpose.
Apple immediately removed Fortnite from the App Store stating "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."
In response, Epic Games debuted its 'Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite' spoof video:
Shortly before the video aired, the company announced it was taking legal action against both Apple and Google, and the rest is history. Fortnite remained playable for users who still had it downloaded, a fact that saw iPhones with Fortnite pre-installed hit eBay at prices of up to $8,000.
A court case between Epic and Apple concluded earlier this year, and a verdict could come down any day now. Judge Gonzalez Rogers even joked that she might drop it today, to mark the anniversary of the #FreeFortnite movement, although that seems unlike. Regardless of how Epic fairs in court, the move has drawn mass attention to the notion that Apple has unfair control over its iOS App Store, prompting governments to dig deeper into the problem and even table legislation to loosen its grip, like this week's bipartisan bill in the U.S.