Apple has removed all Epic Games products from its App Store amid a legal battle with the video game developer over in-app purchases.
Epic is one of the world’s leading video game companies, having created popular franchises such as Fortnite, Gears of War and Infinity Blade.
But, from Friday, users will no longer be able to download those games onto their iPhones and iPads.
It’s a giant blow for Epic who made tens of millions of dollars though Apple. Fortnite was ‘consistently listed among the five top-grossing apps in the Apple App Store’, according to Wired.
Epic Games apps, including Fortnite, are free to download on the App Store. However, users are usually required to make in-app purchases when they begin playing. iPhone and iPad users reportedly spent around $90 million on the in-app purchases in the past three months alone.
However, Epic Games only received approximately $60 million of that revenue, as they are required to give a 30 percent cut to Apple for hosting the games on their App Store.
But last month, Epic rolled out a direct payment feature inside the games, which meant that they could avoid paying any profits to Apple. An ugly legal battle has ensued.
Apple removed Fortnite from its App Store over the policy violation, before Epic retaliated by filing a lawsuit.
The company claimed that Apple was abusing antitrust laws by removing the game for purchase and play. They also alleged that the company had an unlawful monopoly over the market.
‘Apple’s removal of Fortnite is yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100 percent monopoly over the in-app payment processing market,’ Epic said at the time.
However, Apple stood strong, releasing its own statement saying that ‘Epic made a deliberate choice to cheat Apple’.
‘Having decided that it would rather enjoy the benefits of the App Store without paying for them, Epic has breached its contracts with Apple, using its own customers and Apple’s users as leverage,’ the tech giant declared.
Apple has now gone one further, confirming it has completely wiped all Epic Games for download onto iPhones and iPads.
‘We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store,’ a spokesperson told The Verge.
‘We have worked with the team at Epic Games for many years on their launches and releases. The court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation.’
‘Epic has refused. Instead they repeatedly submit Fortnite updates designed to violate the guidelines of the App Store. This is not fair to all other developers on the App Store and is putting customers in the middle of their fight. We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.’
The Verge are reporting that users who have already downloaded Fortnite, Infinity Blade and other Epic products onto their iPhones and iPads are still able to play the games.
However, they will receive no new software updates.
Users who have previously downloaded the games but have stored them in Apple’s iCloud will be unable to put them back onto their devices.
Apple’s decision to remove Epic Games apps comes as Mark Zuckerberg blasted them for having too much control over products available to iPhone users.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has claimed that Apple has ‘stranglehold’ on apps which allows it to ‘charge monopoly rents’, according to a new report.
‘[Apple has] this unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper on what gets on phones,’ Zuckerberg said in a live video address on Thursday to more than 50,000 Facebook employees, according to Buzzfeed.
He added that Apple’s control over the App Store ‘blocks innovation, blocks competition’ and ‘allows Apple to charge monopoly rents.’
On Thursday, Facebook told Reuters that Apple had rejected its attempt to tell users the iPhone maker would take a 30 percent cut of sales in a new online events feature, forcing Facebook to remove the message to get the tool to users.
Facebook said that Apple cited an App Store rule that bars developers from showing ‘irrelevant’ information to users.
‘Now more than ever, we should have the option to help people understand where money they intend for small businesses actually goes,’ Facebook said in a statement.
‘Unfortunately Apple rejected our transparency notice around their 30 percent tax but we are still working to make that information available inside the app experience,’ the company added.