Apple has removed Fortnite from its app store, making one of the most popular games in the world essentially unplayable on its devices.
It came after an update that allowed players to buy in-game currency at a lower rate if they bought directly from manufacturer Epic Games, bypassing Apple.
Epic seemed to know the ban would come, announcing that it had filed a legal complaint minutes after the removal.
Apple takes a 30% reduction on all sales from its mandatory in-store payment system.
Apple said Epic took the “unfortunate step of violating App Store guidelines”.
These guidelines prohibit any payment system other than Apple’s and has been the subject of several high-profile discussions between developers and Apple.
In addition to tweeting the lawsuit filed in a California court, Epic also announced the upcoming in-game screening of a short film called Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite – a play on George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The novel is about a dystopian society that controls its citizens and does not tolerate any dissent – and was itself mentioned by Apple in a famous television ad in the year 1984, when the young company called itself to take on the then dominant IBM.
Epic Games directly referred to that advertisement in its legal complaint, writing, “Apple has become what it once lashed out against: the behemoth that seeks to control markets, block competition and stifle innovation.”
Court documents say Apple actually operates a monopoly both in deciding which apps can appear on iPhones and in requiring their payment system to be used – at the relatively high 30% cut.
But the company said it wasn’t seeking financial compensation.
“Epic is seeking injunctive relief to allow fair competition in these two key markets that directly affect hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of thousands, if not more, of third-party app developers,” he said.
But the documents also suggest a possible broader goal.
“But due to Apple’s illegal restrictions, Epic would provide a competing app store on iOS devices, which would allow iOS users to download apps in an innovative and curated store and would give users the choice of using Epic’s or Epic’s in-app payment. another third party processing tool, “he says.
Epic Games has already attempted to disrupt the PC gaming market with the launch of its Epic Games Store, taking on the dominant player, Steam, in an effort to lure gamers with free games, which have often been popular and top-tier titles.
Apple’s app store move comes less than two months after a high-profile developer lashed out at Apple’s rejection of an email app from the payment system store.
The long stalemate between Hey’s email and Apple has reignited the difficult relationship between many developers and one of the two dominant app store owners.
Google’s Android system also uses Google’s payment system for app store purchases, which Google takes a cut from, but Android allows developers to direct users to other payment options.