I’m a software developer. I don’t code as much as I used to, but I still know how to code. I’ve never developed on Apple’s platform(s) since I don’t own Apple devices but if I did, then I would absolutely learn Objective C/Obj-C++/Swift and make something, even if it’s a pointless app.
As a developer, I am familiar with app stores and their policies. Many, if not all stores have a policy where in exchange for offering you a platform to sell your product/game/app/service/whatever, they get a 20–30% cut from in-app purchases, app sales, etc.
The current drama surrounding Epic Games and #FreeFortnite is pointless. For those who don’t know, let me sum it up for you.
What is this feud about?
One sunny day, Epic decided to secretly push an update to Fortnite on iOS devices that introduced something interesting:
They added an option to buy V-Bucks and other in-game items directly from Epic, and at a discounted rate, bypassing the App Store/iOS purchase flow and incentivizing players to use the direct payment option via the discounted rate.
This made Apple angry because they violated App Store Terms and policies, and Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store.
Epic, taking the immature route, decided to launch an entire campaign to spread awareness of Apple’s monopolistic practices and to get Fortnite back on the App Store.
There, now that you have some background knowledge, let’s move on.
I’m going to talk about how this could have been prevented, before moving on to my thoughts and opinions on this controversy.
Could this have been prevented?
Answering this question is pretty simple. Yes.
Epic could have simply removed the direct-to-Epic payments option and the app would have been 100% A-OK perfect to go back up on the App Store.
This is further backed up by the fact that ever since Fortnite on iOS first launched (or close to around the time it first launched), the app used the App Store payment flow.
So yes, this could have been prevented. Epic simply chose not to take the easy route and instead take the long-and-makes-us-look-terrible route.
My thoughts on this whole thing
As much as I may hate Apple, they are completely in the right here. Let me explain.
When you sign up as a developer for Apple or Android or Steam or whatever other platform, you agree to that platform’s Terms of Service.
In the App Store Developer Terms of Service, they state that you are required to use Apple’s payment flow when conducting an IAP (in-app purchase)
Epic decided to violate this rule, and got punished for doing so. Nothing seems out of the ordinary yet, right?
However, Epic then decided to play the victim and call Apple out on its monopolistic behaviors (which, admittedly, Apple is somewhat monopolistic but this is besides the point)
Epic then launched a video, that debuted in the game upon an update, that mocked Apple using an old Apple Macintosh commercial titled “1984”.
Epic’s mock video was an attempt to recruit gullible Fortnite players into spreading the #FreeFortnite “movement” across social media. They aren’t in the interest of the iOS developer community, they’re in their own interest.
Ultimately, this entire #FreeFortnite drama is a genius marketing ploy by Epic to get more people to play Fortnite, and to dominate the trending sections of several popular social media, including but not limited to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Epic knew they were clearly in the wrong, so instead of taking the logical route to avoid all of this drama (see above), they took the immature route and are making themselves look terrible in the process.
They claim that they are against the 30% cut that Apple takes, however this is standard practice everywhere you go. Google charges a similar, if not exact, cut on their Play Store. Valve takes 30% from developers for the first few million dollars in game revenue, and then gradually lowers their cut as you make more revenue on Steam.
So Epic’s statement that they’re “rising up against uncompetitive business practices” and “fighting for the iOS developer community” are just propaganda to get you to join them, and then when they do somehow win a lawsuit against Apple, then Epic will become the dominating store and will become just as monopolistic as Apple is.
So, that’s all. I just had to get this off of my chest. I know I haven’t posted on this blog in a while and I might start posting more often but please, share your opinion in the comments or send them to me on my social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Discord)
Thanks for reading, and this is Sanel, signing off…