Apple Has Kicked Fortnite Off the App Store
Update: Fortnite has now been removed from the Google Play Store as well.
It seems that the drama between Epic Games and mobile platform holders of Google and Apple are not done yet. Today, Epic made the bold decision to change how payments and V-Bucks work on the mobile platforms of the game, which led to some massive changes for the Fortnite App Store version.
Fortnite Is No Longer in the App Store
Unfortunately for Apple users, the Fortnite App Store has been officially taken down. Originally noticed by some users like Wario64 on Twitter, it seemed like this could have been a mistake or just some random hiccup from the App Store, but it has been since confirmed to be true.
If you go and search on the App Store on your iOS device of choice, you will not find Fortnite anywhere in sight. This author can confirm that, at the time of writing this post, we were unable to find the battle royale game through the search function on the store nor through any categories.
Ironically, though, when searching for the Fortnite App Store listing, we were able to find a story on the store about the game and some cool skins. However, selecting to read that story went to a blank screen where the user is unable to read what it actually says about the game.
Everything about this huge situation seems to spell that Apple has officially removed the Fortnite App Store and that was recently confirmed in a statement from the company. Wario64 followed up his original tweet about the missing battle royale game with a letter from Apple.
Epic Games “Violates” App Store Guidelines
The letter notes that today’s decision from Epic Games to change how the payments system works in the game violates the App Store guidelines that the developer has agreed to in the past. Therefore, the game is no longer being offered through the store for users at this time.
The terms for App Store developers are “applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe,” which has led to this sudden and unfortunate decision. According to Apple, the new payment feature added to the game was not reviewed or approved by the company.
Also, Apple is surprisingly blunt about the entire situation and doesn’t butter anything up. The company also notes that Epic Games made this decision with the “express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments” that everyone has to deal with.
Apple did detail its relationship with Epic and Fortnite, making sure to state that the two have worked together for a decade now and have been a great part of the ecosystem for this long. But even still, Apple makes it clear that the Fortnite developer will not get special treatment.
Why This Insane Decision Was Made
At the same time, not all hope is lost as Apple will work with Epic Games to make sure that they resolve these violations so that Fortnite can return to the App Store. This sudden decision was due to Epic updating the game today to have a different way of doing payments.
Epic announced the Mega Drop event, where the V-Bucks are now permanently reduced in price by up to 20% on all platforms. This was done to both benefit the players, but likely despite how the mobile holders Google and Apple handle things on their platforms.
Both companies charge 30% of the revenue that each developer makes on the Google Play Store and App Store, respectively, which is a significant chunk of money. To mitigate this, Epic Games allows players on mobile to pay through their stores or directly to the developer.
If they pay through the developer, they will receive a significant discount of 20% so that American players can buy 1000 V-Bucks through this method for $8 instead of the usual $10. On the other platforms of consoles and PC, this discount automatically applies without changing payments.
Fortnite Is Still Available on Google
This decision was likely made to circumvent the charges that Google and Apple have in place, and let players benefit from it, too, in the process. But this was done without the express consent of Apple and potentially Google, too, hence this swift removal.
At the time of writing this, Google hasn’t acted yet, and you can still download Fortnite on Android devices. But even if it is removed from the Google Play Store, you can download the game directly from Epic Games on Android at any time.
Unfortunately, there is no such workaround for iOS users. Due to how Apple handles everything, you aren’t able to play if it isn’t available on the App Store. With the Fortnite App Store listing gone, this means that new players are now unable to download it until it returns (if it does).
However, there is one hope for players who have downloaded Fortnite in the past on their Apple account. If you go to your purchased apps in the store, you can search for Fortnite and redownload it. This is something that the author can confirm, so that option is still there.
Players Can Still Redownload Fortnite on iOS
The problem with this is that when a new update comes out for the game, players will likely not be able to download it if it doesn’t return to the App Store. This workaround may only last for existing players for a couple more weeks until the next major update.
After that, it will come down to the business agreements between Apple and Epic Games. Given that Epic is doing everything it can to circumvent the charges, it will want to make sure that iOS isn’t the only platform where players can’t have this discount.
And given that Epic potentially went behind Apple’s back in this situation, it is unlikely that the direct payments system will be approved. So, unless Epic Games backs down from this position and forces iOS players to always pay full price, Fortnite could be gone from the App Store for a very long time.
In response, Epic Games has filed legal papers against Apple in a complaint regarding how the latter uses its store. Stay tuned for more updates on this insane development for one of the biggest games in the world.