Games | August 14, 2020 4:16 pm

“Fortnite” Is Trolling Apple Over a Payment Dispute

Google has also come under fire from "Fortnite" publisher Epic Games

Fortnite parodies Apple's "1984" TV commercial
A new "Fortnite" ad parodies an iconic Apple TV spot.

If you’d hoped to download the popular video game Fortnite from Apple’s App Store, you might have noticed something in the last few days: Fortnite is no longer there. The same is true at Google Play’s app store. In the middle of dozens of other crises, difficulty accessing a particular video game might not register as all that alarming. But Fortnite is a big enough deal that it’s been used as a high-profile place to promote blockbuster films like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Tenet. So it begs the question: what exactly is going on?

The issue surrounds in-app payments. Fortnite publisher Epic Games would like the game’s users to go through them directly; Google and Apple both require in-app purchases for apps downloaded through their stores to also utilize their store’s systems, and the tech companies take a cut. (It’s worth mentioning that you can also install Fortnite directly from Epic.) Now, Epic is looking to win hearts and minds — as well as a legal battle.

The “hearts and minds” side of things comes via pointed public statements addressed to Apple and Google. In the case of Apple, it’s through a parody of Apple’s own 1984 commercial which, in this case, paints Apple as the staid corporate villain.

Epic used a similar tactic in its response to Google, calling out the technology company for breaking from its bygone slogan of “Don’t Be Evil.” Clever ad campaigns only go so far, though; Epic Games has also filed lawsuits against both Apple and Google.

While Fortnite‘s method of arguing is fairly unique, the question of in-app transactions is a broader one. Even if you couldn’t care less about playing Fortnite, the ramifications of these cases could be huge when it comes to the app world.

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