Earlier this week Epic Games waged war with Apple over their 30% sales tax they take for all purchases of apps or in-app purchases. Epic Games purposely violated Apple’s TOS by adding an ‘Epic Direct Payment’ option to Fortnite, which allowed players to purchase V-Bucks for 20% cheaper, bypassing Apple’s 30% sales tax. Because of this Fortnite was removed from Apple’s App Store, and later Google’s Play Store for the same reason.
Following the removal of Fortnite from the App Store, Epic Games released a parody video of Apple’s ‘1984’ commerical, titled ‘Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite’, which they ended by urging players to use the hashtag #FreeFortnite to draw attention to this.
After this Epic Games, and CEO Tim Sweeney, went under fire for weaponizing Fortnite players and trying to turn them against Apple. Tim Sweeney took to Twitter to address the situation:
IGN says Epic is “Weaponizing Fortnite Fans”. But the armament being offered is simply an idea: That the maker of a smartphone does not have the right to dictate the terms of our lives and our businesses.
The tech monopolies would love nothing more than a battle of might, because they can muster a far larger fighting force. They do not fear our weapons. They do fear our ideas.Credit: @TimSweeneyEpic
While it isn’t likely that Epic Games intend to ‘weaponize Fortnite fans’, the game has a large young player base, which could be easily influenced to harass and target Apple. However, Epic Games has recently seemed to be focused on trying to improve the gaming industry as a whole. Epic Games Store was started with the intention of encouraging Valve to give developers a better deal, according to Tim Sweeney, now it seems they are doing the same with mobile platforms. It could be argued that Epic Games are doing this for their own financial game, but with Fortnite’s V-Bucks being permanently discounted, they aren’t really profiting, if anything they have purposely lost themselves potentially million of players who play exclusively on mobile.