UPDATED: Both Apple and Google, just hours after Epic Games announced a new direct-payment option for “Fortnite” to bypass the Apple App Store and Google Play store 30% “tax” on in-app purchases, have removed the game from its app store.
In a statement, Apple said, “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.”
Apple said that Epic had “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 Games sued Apple over the removal of “Fortnite” from the App Store, alleging anticompetitive conduct.]
A Google rep confirmed that the internet company removed “Fortnite” from Google Play.
“The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users,” the Google statement said. “While ‘Fortnite’ remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring ‘Fortnite’ back to Google Play.”
According to Epic, multiple apps have been cleared by Apple to use direct payments, including those from Amazon, Grubhub, Best Buy, Fandango, Uber, Lyft and StubHub. Earlier Thursday, the company announced a 20% discount to “Fortnite” players who purchase the game’s virtual currency directly from Epic, instead of from Apple or Google.
“If Apple or Google lower their fees on payments in the future, Epic will pass along the savings to you,” the company said Thursday.
In response to Apple’s removal of “Fortnite” from the App Store, Epic’s “Fortnite” account on Twitter said it is premiering a new short film in the game’s Party Royale area called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite” — a snarky reference to Apple’s famous Super Bowl ad from 1984 directed by Ridley Scott.