There's an extraordinary situation currently going on between Epic Games, the developers of the ever-popular Fortnite Battle Royale game, Apple, and Google, who have both removed the game from their app stores due to violation of their terms and conditions.
It seems like an extraordinary - and intentional - play by Epic. The company silently pushed an update to the game that allowed users to pay Epic Games directly for microtransactions within the game, bypassing the Apple and Google app store altogether. This goes against the terms and conditions of both app stores - both companies take a 30% cut of all transactions made through apps available through their stores.
The move seemed calculated on the part of Epic Games. The app was removed from Apple's app store within 24 hours of the update going live, and Epic responded by immediately by filing a 65-page legal document against Apple, stating their intent to sue them under a smorgasbord of different competition laws. Clearly the document was prepped and waiting to go before Epic shipped the infringing update, which can only lead me to one conclusion - Epic had Fortnite banned from the app store intentionally.
No sooner had they declared war on Apple legally, they released this not-so-subtle video on their official YouTube channel, comparing Apple's practices to George Orwell's 1984, and encouraging their users to Tweet using the hashtag #FreeFortnite.
The description of the video reads "Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices... join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming "1984"
Not long after this had all gone down however, Google followed in Apple's footsteps and also banned Fornite from its play store. There is one subtle difference here in that Android users are still able to side-load Fortnite onto their Android devices - and indeed - this was the only way to get Fortnite on mobile devices for quite a long time.
So far there's been no similar legal threats or marketing videos aimed at Google, but we can only imagine that the intention here was the same. We'll be sure to keep an eye on the situation as it develops.