Update (Thursday, August 13 - 5:50 PM): Epic Games has since filed another lawsuit, this time against Google following Fortnite's removal from the Google Play app store as well.
At roughly 4PM PT, Google opted to remove Fortnite from the Google Play App store. Just hours later, Epic filed a secondary lawsuit following the original case against Apple earlier in the day. The original story is as follows.
Epic Games has announced that it is suing Apple over its decision to remove Fortnite from the App Store. This comes after the devs added a direct payment option for V-Bucks, which violated the tech giant's policies.
Early on August 13, Epic surprised players by providing them with a direct payment option in Fortnite on iOS and Android devices. Experts in the games industry speculated that the move could be in violation of Apple's polices.
Shortly after, the tech company responded by removing the popular battle royale from its App Store. The company then issued a lengthy statement, condemning the game's publisher for breaking the rules set on their store.
Apple removes Fortnite from App Store
On August 13, Epic unveiled its "direct payment" option on iOS and Android devices. The move was praised by some, as it made V-Bucks cheaper for players by circumventing Apple's 30% fees.
However not long after, reports began to claim that Fortnite was no longer showing up on the App Store, before Apple confirmed that they had taken steps to remove the battle royale.
In a statement to publication The Verge, the tech giant explained their decision stating that it had in fact violated their guidelines.
"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."
Epic Games sue Apple
Following this, Epic announced that is has taken the decision to sue Apple over the removal of the game from the App Store.
"Epic Games has filed legal papers in response to Apple," the official Fortnite account tweeted, alongside a link to the legal document.
Anti-Apple event in Fortnite
It appears as though the company was expecting Apple to take action, as they launched an in-game event called #FreeFortnite in response to the removal.
Alongside the hashtag, they also played a video with the statement: "Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming '1984.''
1984 is a reference to the book by George Orwell, which details the fictional story of a dystopian world where people have no freedom under the watchful eyes of Big Brother.
(2/2) Here is what they played on screen in the game today. pic.twitter.com/5gHPrev8yh
— Squatingdog (@thesquatingdog) August 13, 2020
Epic Games sue Google
Shortly after all of this news broke out involving Apple, Google also removed Fortnite for Android from its own Play Store. Just hours later and Epic followed up with it's second major lawsuit of the day, targeting Google for its removal of the mobile app.
It appears that, just like with the iOS version of the app, Epic had secretly implemented a way for users to pay for in-app microtransactions directly instead of through the mobile platforms, which generally mark up certain costs to generate revenue.
What happens now?
According to various users, those that have the battle royale already installed on their iPhones and Android devices can still play and purchase items – the game has just been removed from the App Store and Google Play.
This is reminiscent of the PT demo on PS4 in 2014, after Konami pulled it from the store following the cancellation of Silent Hills. Players that still have the playable teaser installed can still access it to this day, despite it not being available anymore.