Just hours after Epic Games introduced a new direct payment option for Fortnite that skirts Apple's in-app purchase rules, Apple has pulled the Fortnite app from the App Store.
Fortnite is no longer available for download on the iPhone or the iPad, and Apple provided a statement to MacRumors on Fortnite's removal:
This morning, Epic Games began letting players purchase 1,000 V-Bucks in the Fortnite app for $7.99, with the purchases going directly to Epic Games rather than using Apple's in-app purchase system.Today, 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. Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.
Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem - including it's tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers. Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we're glad they've built such a successful business on the App Store. The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.
Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against Apple for pulling Fortnite from the App Store. [PDF]
In the filing, Epic Games accuses Apple of being a "the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation" and imposing "anti-competitive restraints" and using "monopolistic practices in markets" against App Store developers.
With the lawsuit, Epic Games says it is not aiming for a cash payout, but instead wants to secure "injunctive relief" in the iOS App distribution market and payment processing market for " hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of thousands, if not more, of third-party app developers."Apple imposes unreasonable and unlawful restraints to completely monopolize both markets and prevent software developers from reaching the over one billion users of its mobile devices (e.g., iPhone and iPad) unless they go through a single store controlled by Apple, the App Store, where Apple exacts an oppressive 30% tax on the sale of every app. Apple also requires software developers who wish to sell digital in-app content to those consumers to use a single payment processing option offered by Apple, In-App Purchase, which likewise carries a 30% tax.
Update 2: The Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite short is now available on the Fortnite YouTube channel, encouraging people to "join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming 1984." The ad is also available in Fortnite.