Fortnite Creator Sues Apple and Google After Ban From App Stores


In practical terms, kicking Fortnite out of the App Store means that new users will not be able to download the app, but it will continue to work on iPhones that already have the app installed. Yet Epic now cannot update the Fortnite app, meaning it will eventually become obsolete as Apple updates the iPhone software.

For Android users, there will be much less of an impact; they can still download Fortnite from Epic’s website. As a result, hordes of Fortnite fans could now favor Google’s devices over Apple’s.

Suing Apple, in particular, serves two goals for Epic: winning in legal court and winning in the court of public opinion, said Rebecca Haw Allensworth, a professor of antitrust at Vanderbilt Law School. Epic is more likely to succeed in the latter, she said. “There is growing business pressure against Apple,” she said, noting an antitrust case would be more complicated and difficult to win.

Fortnite has become an enormous enterprise, and announced in May that it had more than 350 million registered players. The game generated $1.8 billion in revenue last year, according to analysis firm SuperData.

Since March 2018, Fortnite’s app has been downloaded more than 133 million times on iPhones and iPads and brought in roughly $1.2 billion, according to Sensor Tower, an app analytics firm. Apple has taken $360 million of that revenue as part of its commission, Sensor Tower said.

On Android devices, people have been much more likely to download Fortnite from outside Google’s Play Store. Since April, Fortnite’s app has been downloaded 11 million times on the Play Store and generated about $10 million in sales, according to Sensor Tower. Google took about $3 million of that.

“Epic could likely have worked out a privileged deal with Apple — as other big tech companies have,” said Matthew Ball, the managing partner at Epyllion Industries, which operates a venture capital fund. “Instead, it is fighting for the marketplace.”





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