Yesterday was one of the most drama-filled days in smartphone gaming history. It began with Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, uploading an updated version of Fortnite to both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store that included an alternate billing system for in-app purchases directly through Epic. That alternate billing system is a big no-no, according to the terms of service that developers who distribute through Apple’s and Google’s app stores must agree to.
Within hours of Epic’s Fortnite update with the alternate billing system being released on Apple’s App Store, the iPhone maker yanked the game from its store due to Epic’s violation of the rules. Epic then retaliated by suing Apple, alleging violations of antitrust laws in the United States.
But Epic didn’t stop there. The company released a short animated film based off of Apple’s iconic 1984 ad, likening Apple to an authoritarian dictator. Epic also launched a website urging Fortnite players to go after Apple on social media. Given how quickly the film and website were released after Apple yanked Fortnite, it’s clear yesterday’s drama was entirely preplanned and scripted by Epic.
But the drama didn’t stop there. Shortly after Epic sued Apple and launched its PR war against the company, Google also removed Fortnite from its Play Store. As with Apple, Google said the alternate payment system violated its Play Store rules. And you can guess what happened next . . . Epic sued Google.
As of the time of this writing, Epic hasn’t launched a premade animated video condemning Google, but it did include a statement in its lawsuit against the search giant riffing on Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto. As The Verge points out, Epic’s lawsuit against Google says, “Twenty-two years later, Google has relegated its motto to nearly an afterthought and is using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolize.”
And all this in less than 24 hours. What comes next is sure to be one of the greatest tech sideshows of 2020. Grab your popcorn.