Fortnite in the last 30 days was one of the highest revenue-generating games on Apple App Store. It earned over $43.4 million in consumer spending and saw 2.4 million downloads on App Store, as per a report by Sensor Tower. On Google’s Play Store, it saw 2.1 million downloads and generated $3.4 million. Now, these are some serious numbers and big money is at stake.
Both Apple and Google were entitled to receive a 30% cut from the game’s revenue. So Apple got about $13 million whereas Google earned close to $1 million in a month from Epic Games and Fortnite.
Why Fortnite was banned by Apple and Google
What Epic Games did is that it started its own in-app payment scheme in Fortnite — directly violating Apple and Google’s app store guidelines. Developers are supposed to pay 30% to Apple and Google but Epic suddenly stopped it. This led to Fortnite being booted first by Apple from its App Store and then Google from the Play Store.
A report by Gizmodo quotes an Apple spokesperson who said, “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.” The in-app payment feature in Fortnite, as per Apple, wasn’t reviewed or approved by the company.
The problem — more for Apple than Google — is that Fortnite is a wildly popular game. There are about 350 million Fortnite players around the world and the stakes are really high for everyone involved. Epic Games has sued both Apple and Google but its fight seems to be more with Apple. Fortnite has never been as popular on Android as it is on iOS devices. Epic released a video mocking Apple soon after Fortnite was removed from the App Store.
Epic Games is saying that it’s not fighting just for Fortnite but for developers and consumers. Tim Sweeney, CEO, Epic Games, took to Twitter and explained the company’s stance “Another argument against supporting #FreeFortnite is “this is just a billion dollar company fighting a trillion dollar company about money”. But the fight isn’t over Epic wanting a special deal, it’s about the basic freedoms of all consumers and developers,” he tweeted.
Another argument against supporting #FreeFortnite is “this is just a billion dollar company fighting a trillion dol… https://t.co/QlLeWmhxDx
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) 1597441265000
He also clarified that even if it was about money then there was nothing wrong in that as well. “Finally, there’s nothing wrong with fighting about money. You work hard to earn this stuff. When you spent it, the way it’s divided determines whether your money funds the creation of games or is taken by middlemen who use their power to separate gamers from game creators,” he wrote in another tweet.
It is unlikely that Apple will bend and change its rules for Epic Games even if it means losing out on one of the most popular games on the App Store. Neither will Google as it may just set a wrong precedent. Epic Games is unlikely to back down either and this may just be one of those moments when a lot of other companies may join in and take on Apple and Google. It could be the start of something really messy or could change the way the apps ecosystem has been operating for years.