Epic has just permanently dropped the price of items in Fortnite, but only if you bypass Apple’s and Google’s in-app purchase systems.
On iOS and Android, Fortnite now offers an “Epic direct payment” option that avoids billing through the App Store and the Google Play Store. Choosing Epic’s payment system instead of the usual in-app purchase mechanism results in a 20% savings. Epic has also dropped the price of Fortnite gear on PC, Mac, and game consoles by 20% with no separate billing system required.
Typically, Apple and Google require games on iOS and Android to use their respective in-app purchase systems, thereby entitling them to a 30% cut of all revenues. Epic calls out those fees as “exorbitant” in a post on its website and says it will pass along the savings to players if Apple and Google reduce their cut.
Still, Epic stopped short of saying whether it worked out a special arrangement with either company, or if it’s just daring them to take action against one of the world’s most popular video games. Either scenario will be interesting to watch, especially given the antitrust scrutiny both platforms are facing and Apple’s repeated claims that it treats all App Store developers equally.
We reached out to Apple and Google for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
UPDATE: Apple has now removed Fortnite from the App Store. In a statement to The Verge, Apple said that Epic had violated App Store guidelines, which are “applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users.”
Epic, for its part, had its own response prepared. The company has now filed a complaint for injunctive relief against Apple, alleging violations of antitrust laws in the United States and California. Epic’s Twitter account also says that at 4 p.m. Eastern it will launch an in-game presentation called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” with a teaser image that seems to reference Apple’s Orwellian “1984” ad for Macintosh.