Fortnite Lowers Price Of V-Bucks, Adds Direct Pay To Mobile

Ruben Fields
August 14, 2020

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has always been vocal about what he sees as Apple and Google's stranglehold on mobile purchases. It began charging $7.99 (£6.12) for its in-game currency V-bucks if people paid with a credit card or PayPal, but charged $9.99 through Apple's in-app purchase mechanism. This morning, Epic added a feature to Fortnite that allowed players to purchase V-Bucks in the Fortnite app with a direct payment that skirted the ‌App Store‌ rules prohibiting developers from accepting payments outside of the in-app purchase system. When you choose to use Epic direct payments, you save up to 20% as Epic passes along payment processing savings to you.

Apple takes a 30% cut of all sales from its compulsory in-store payment system.

Unfortunately, the move didn't remain unsanctioned by Apple, as the company made a decision to completely remove Fortnite from the App Store just hours after Epic Games added its purchase system in the game.

In Apple's statement about removing "Fortnite" after the developer introduced the direct-payment option, Apple claimed that its App Store guidelines "are applied equally to every developer and created to keep the store safe for our users".

In addition to tweeting the legal complaint it filed in a California court, Epic also announced the imminent in-game screening of a short film titled Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite - a play on George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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Google's Android system also uses Google's payment system for app store purchases, from which Google takes a cut - but Android allows developers to point users to other payment options. They state that Apple has blocked Fortntie from the app store, which removes the ability for anyone to install and update the game on any iOS device. That seems to be Epic's thinking - it's nearly daring the companies to kick Fortnite out of their respective stores. While the legal efforts might be a challenge, Epic Games wield major influence over the 350 million users of Fortnite and gamers have proven particularly apt at wielding campaigns against companies and coming out on top.

Epic is not seeking any monetary compensation for the injuries it says it has suffered, nor is it seeking favorable treatment, as Apple gives certain large companies like Amazon that complained about its practices in the past.

"Epic has had apps on the App Store for a decade, and have benefited from the App Store ecosystem -including its tools, testing, and distribution that Apple provides to all developers", Apple said. 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.

Well, if you're wondering why more developers don't do that, it's against both Apple's and Google's store policies. Fortnite has been pulled from the App Store. It has already filed a lawsuit against Apple seeking an injunction that will return Fortnite to the App Store.

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