The “Fortnite” maker has launched a Battle Royale against Apple Inc., accusing the tech giant of seeking to “illegally maintain its monopoly”.
Epic Games said Thursday it filed legal documents against Apple AAPL,
after the iPhone maker collected Fortnite’s hit game from its App Store, and a lawyer representing Epic confirmed that the complaint had been filed in Northern California District. Apple dropped the game after Epic began offering players a discount on in-game purchases if they decided to make a direct payment and not purchase their digital offers through the App Store.
The game maker became prepared for a fight by debuting a video that undermines Apple̵7;s classic 1984 ad, which urged customers to oppose conformity and prevent International Business Machines Inc. IBM,
from the dominance of the computer market. At the time, Apple warned that without change, 1984 could reflect George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984”; Epic Games warns in its ad that 2020 could come to embody “1984” as well.
Apple charges developers 30% of purchases made through the App Store, and 15% after the first year of subscriptions. This has been the focus of antitrust investigations into the company, which is worth nearly $ 2 trillion thanks to the money it collects from the iPhone and the applications and services delivered through it. Epic has long tried to avoid paying such fees, having previously launched its own store to get around Alphabet Inc. GOOGL,
Similar Play Store that is integrated with Google’s rival operating system.
See also: ‘Fortnite’ running Android, then Google found a major security flaw in its app
Fortnite had amassed more than 125 million app installations and more than $ 1 billion in player spending on Apple iOS devices alone by mid-May, according to mobile app research company Sensor Tower.
After Epic publicly announced Thursday morning that it would offer users on Apple’s iOS operating system a discount on purchases made through their store rather than through Apple, tech giant Cupertino, Calif. Cal-based removed the app from the App Store. In response, Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging that it seeks to “put an end to Apple’s unfair and anti-communications actions that Apple undertakes to illegally maintain its monopoly” involving app distribution and in-app purchases.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from MarketWatch, but issued a statement to other news organizations ahead of the Epic lawsuit. The statement argued that Epic Games introduced the feature without the company approval and did so “with the clear intent of violating the App Store instructions regarding in-app payments”.
The statement also said that Apple would “make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these breaches so that they can return ‘Fortnite” to the App Store.
An Epic spokeswoman confirmed the lawsuit in an email to MarketWatch.
As part of its attack on Apple, the company has released a page on its website labeled “#FreeFortnite” that tells customers to use this hashtag in support of Epic by engaging with the official App Store Twitter account. The hashtag was in trend on Twitter within an hour of starting the page.
Epic says on its website that gamers who have already downloaded “Fortnite” to their Apple mobile devices “should have no problems continuing to play Chapter 2 – Season 3 Update 13.40”. Once the new season begins, Epic expects players to be able to play older content, but not use new material.
For more: Apple and Facebook may be more vulnerable among antitrust suspects
Apple’s tariff policies around the App Store have recently been monitored by an increased scrutiny by developers and regulators. Major developers including Spotify Technology SA SPOT,
have sought ways to avoid paying Apple a reduction in subscription fees, and developers of Hey, a new email app, clashed publicly with Apple in June after the email service wrapped up its app without an option to purchase subscriptions from within the app. The developers of Apple and Hey eventually reached a compromise.
Regulators and lawmakers in the US and Europe have also questioned the App Store’s policies and whether they are harassing competition.
Epic argues in its complaint that Apple “damages the relationship of application developers with their customers” through its mandatory involvement in all transactions as customers “often blame Epic” for payment-related problems. “In addition, Apple is able to obtain information about Epic transactions with its customers, even when Epic and its customers would prefer not to share their information with Apple,” the complaint states.
Shares of Apple rose 1.8% on Thursday and have gained more than 50% in the last three months as DJIA industrial average Dow Jones,
, which counts Apple as a component, has added 20%.