It's no secret that Epic Games along with its CEO Tim Sweeney have been railing against the typical 30% cut software stores take, what with how Epic excluded Fornite from the Play Store for over a year over this very issue. In April Epic bent the knee to Google, finally listing Fortnite on the Play Store, but apparently, the company hasn't given up the fight, and so Fortnite just announced that there's a new optional way to pay for items in the game on both Android and iOS, which coincidentally cuts out the middleman while also providing discounts that range up to 20% off.
Epic is offering permanent discounts in Fortnite if you purchase in-game items or currency through its new payment portal, and I doubt it's a coincidence that this discount is similar to Google and Apple's respective cuts.
As of today, everyone can save up to 20% when purchasing V-Bucks or digital items through Epic's new payment portal. This discount is automatic on PCs and consoles, and Epic has made it a point to state that this is not a sale, these new discounts are indeed permanent, though receiving the discounted prices on mobile is a little more tricky than on PCs and consoles.
When checking out through Fortnite's in-game store on Android, you'll see a new option where you can select to pay through the Google Play Store or through the new Epic direct payment option, which leads to Epic's site, where you'll pay through Epic's payment portal with a credit card or a PayPal account. It's a fairly self-explanatory setup, though I have wonder how Google and Apple are going to react to this move since it goes against the stated policies of both companies.
Just click on Epic direct payment and you'll pay through the Epic Store
Clearly, Epic is still railing hard against the typical 30% cut found on the majority of software stores, and while this constant bickering is pretty distasteful, I have to admit Epic's latest move has provided me with a solid chuckle. I had figured Epic and Tim had tucked tail after listing Fortnite on the Play Store back in April, but it would seem they still have a few moves up their sleeves in order to put pressure on both Google and Apple. While I'm personally sick of covering this idiocy, there's assuredly a level of amusement to be gained from watching titans in the gaming and software industries go at it like children. Whether or not Google or Apple will actually ban Fortnite for such a brash move remains to be seen, since the game is undoubtedly a money-maker, but there's no denying this story has legs as we all wait to see how this plays out.
Apple took the bait
Fortnite remains available on the Google Play Store (for now), but Apple has quickly taken action. The game has been removed from the iOS App Store, and Apple told The Verge in a statement that it won't create "a special arrangement":
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 its 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.
Meanwhile, Epic Games has gone on the offensive to cast Apple in the worst light possible. Fortnite plans to run a new "Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite" short in-game, clearly mocking Apple's 1984-themed advertisement for the original Macintosh.
Finally, Epic Games has also filed a lawsuit against Apple, calling the company "the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation."
- Epic Games