Epic Games kicked off a brief, enthralling campaign against Apple and Google yesterday. First, it emerged that it had found a way to offer discounted in-app purchases in Fortnite, the lifeblood of the game. All without Apple or Google taking a cut, the lifeblood of those app stores.
This is what was being displayed on each store in the US:
So, Epic managed to offer a workaround direct purchase option buy in-game Fortnite currency, without requiring approval from Apple or Google’s reviewers, and ducking the Apple Tax/Google Tax.
And for a few hours, it was all working wonderfully. Until Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, and Google followed a few hours later.
Epic Games, though, came ready. It quickly unveiled a #freefortnite campaign, featuring a clever parody of one of Apple’s most famous TV commercials, back in 1983.
Epic seemed to be solely focused on Apple here. I think that’s partly because Google has clear terms on how games can handle in-app purchases through its payment systems. And, on Android, Epic Games has its own store anyway, and has long encouraged gamers to sideload Fornite direct onto smartphones. That was the only way to get Fortnite for some years, before Epic grumpily yielded and joined the Google Play Store back in April, 2020.
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