Epic Games levels up again in its battle against Apple and Google with the announcement of the #FreeFortnite Cup tournament on Aug. 23, just ahead of its Chapter 2 Season 4 launch on Aug 27. Epic is locked in a public battle with the two tech giants over their policies on in-app purchases on iOS and Android devices.
Apple and Google last week pulled the mobile versions of the popular battle royale game from their app stores after Epic added a direct payment option in an attempt to bypass the 30% fee Apple and Google charge developers. Fortnite is free to download but charges for “V-Bucks,” in-game tokens players can use to buy different cosmetic looks for characters.
In response to being pulled for the app stores, Epic sued both companies. Epic also said in a court filing that Apple is also going after its Unreal Engine, one of the most popular tools used for creating games.
The FreeFortnite tournament offers prizes from the Tart Tycoon suit for scoring just 10 points to real gear for the top 1,200 scorers: an Alienware laptop, Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, OnePlus 8, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One X or Nintendo Switch. Epic’s trying to rally iPhone and iPad gamers by pointing out that they won’t be able to play the next chapter if Apple has its way.
“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 Aug. 27,” Epic said in a blog post.
Epic may currently be the loudest voice in the courtroom — the tournament follows its video parody of Apple’s famous 1984 commercial — but news and app publishers have long complained about the inability to circumvent Apple and Google’s payments systems. Most recently, news publishers added their voices with a request for Apple to drop its 30% cut to 15%, which is Google’s take. And Spotify was one of the first to file suit against Apple for its policies.
Apple is currently under scrutiny by the US Department of Justice and state attorneys general for possible antitrust law violations. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.