Fortnite’s Battle Royale With Apple and Google
Google (GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL) have removed the video game Fortnite from their app stores amidst an ongoing conflict between the two tech giants and Epic Games, which owns Fortnite.
Epic Games recently launched a way for players to make in-game purchases, which got around the 30% cut that Apple and Google usually take from in-app purchases through their platforms. Apple and Google say Epic Games’ move violated their policies, which is why they removed the game from their stores.
Fortnite’s Moves and Google and Apple’s Responses
Fortnite is free to download, but players can buy clothing, dance moves, and other items and skills for their characters. The game has over 350 million registered players around the world. It has generated $1.2 billion in global spending on Apple’s App Store and about $10 million on Google’s Google Play store. It has only been available on Google Play since April.
After Apple and Google yanked Fortnite, Epic Games sued the companies, saying the way they distribute apps and processes payments is monopolistic. If the lawsuit is successful, other app developers could follow Epic’s lead and challenge the tech giants.
This disagreement centered around Fortnite comes at a time when tech companies are facing antitrust scrutiny from a number of angles. The issue of in-app purchase practices came up at the congressional hearing with tech company CEOs last month. The European Union has also recently launched probes related to in-app purchases.
Google and Apple have said they are willing to negotiate a compromise with Epic Games, but have defended their policies, saying that the fees they charge developers cover services like user privacy and security. Investors in Epic Games, Google, and Apple will be closely watching to see how the battle unfolds.
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