Apple today removed the Fortnite app from the iOS App Store because it violated the App Store guidelines on in-app payments.
Developer Epic Games made headlines earlier this week when it was discovered the company added its own payment option inside the Fortnite app that bypassed Apple’s 30 percent fee.
Once the news of the payment system made the rounds, it was only a matter of time before Apple responded.
This path to removal started last week when the latest update to Fortnite hit the App Store.
Embedded into the app was Epic’s in-app payment choice, which appeared alongside Apple’s iOS payment option. This new payment option snuck under the radar of Apple’s review team, which typically scrutinizes apps while looking for unauthorized payments and other App Store violations.
Apple didn’t waste any time responding to this violation. Less than a week after the payment system was added to Fortnite, the Cupertino company removed the app.
A similar payment option also was rolled out to the Android version of the app, but Google has not yet removed Fortnite from the Google Play store.
In a letter to The Verge, Apple scolded Epic for violating the terms of the App Store. The company also confirmed that it would work with Epic to resolve this issue and return the app to the App Store.
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 its 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.Apple
Though not confirmed, Epic may have added this payment choice on purpose to provoke Apple. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has been outspoken against the 30 percent cut that Apple and Google require developers to pay. When it released the update, the game maker did not try to hide the payment system, opting to advertise it as a way for users to save money on in-app purchases. Gamers wanting to purchase 1,000 V-Bucks, for example, could pay $7.99 to Epic instead of $9.99 through Apple’s iOS payment system.
Those who already have Fornite installed on their iPhone or iPad can still play the game and purchase in-game items using Epic’s payment system.
Because Fortnite has been removed from the App Store, new users will not be able to download and install the game. Likewise, existing owners will not be able to download any updated versions of the game.
Though some users, who have the game installed but have not opened it in a while, report being able to download the latest update, but this is an anomaly and not typical.