Epic is still using Fortnite as a vehicle to antagonize Apple as the two companies enter an (Epic initiated) legal battle over what does and doesn’t constitute anti-competitive behavior on closed platforms.
This latest jab at the now $2 trillion company takes the form of an in-game tournament: the #FreeFortnite Cup, complete with Apple-inspired rewards like the Tart Tycoon skin or a real-world #FreeFortnite hat.
“These are the final days of the entire Fortnite community’s ability to play together. Apple has blocked Fortnite from the App Store, preventing players from updating to new versions,” reads Epic’s simplified take on the issue. “Players on iOS devices will be left behind on Chapter 2 - Season 3 while everyone else jumps into the Chapter 2 - Season 4 launch on August 27.”
You’ll want to check out our past coverage on the debacle for the full story, but in short Apple’s decision to delist Fortnite followed an update from Epic that added in an unsanctioned payment method to Fortnite, thus breaking Apple’s App Store Guidelines and triggering Fortnite’s removal and the impending removal of Epic’s entire dev account. Epic first did so as a challenge to (and way to dodge) Apple’s standard 30 percent cut of all App Store-generated income, and was swiftly met with a delisting only hours later.
Epic had a lawsuit against Apple ready and waiting for that delisting however, and the two are now wrapped in a legal back and forth that sees Epic accusing Apple of anti-competitive behavior for the tight grip it uses to keep App Store competitors and other payment methods off of the iOS platform.
(There’s a similar lawsuit going with Google right now, but the semi-open nature of Google’s platform means Fortnite can exist outside of the Google Play ecosystem so it’s ultimately received less fanfare than the Apple lawsuit.)
This Apple-themed in-game tournament reads like another attempt to weaponize Fortnite’s massive userbase against Apple over the delisting, following only a week after Epic did something similar by broadcasting a call to action against Apple on Fortnite’s in-game theater screen.
Closing out the blog post, which can be read in full here, Epic suggests iOS-favoring Fortnite users start looking into alternative platforms ahead of the next Fortnite update, and urges iOS users upset about losing access to Fortnite to “make your voice heard by messaging @AppStore on social with #FreeFortnite.”