Will the Fortnite Game Banned in Facebook Impact Fortnite Players?
Epic Games was introduced to the iPhone in 2021 and immediately grabbed headlines. The platform provided a unique gaming experience, in which the player controls both the characters and the game on the screen at the same time. The game is available free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The platform has become extremely popular with players who love strategy games that allow them to develop strategies and conquer challenges. However, a few weeks ago, Epic Games notified the App Store that it would no longer be allowed to develop new apps for the iPhone and the iPad.
(S3) “We made a mistake when we released Fortnite. A large number of people downloaded our applications without giving us any permission. That’s why we have decided to end our partnership with Apple. We believe that the App Store regulations are too strict and will put our developers at a great disadvantage,” said Thomas Beaudry, CEO of Epic Games. The decision to ban the iPhone and iPad gaming from Epic comes after the gaming company filed a complaint against Apple with the United Kingdom’s leading consumer protection body, The Association of Independent App Developer.
“I think that it’s quite unfortunate that a small team in Cupertino has decided to attack a larger iPhone and iPad computer application marketplace. It shows the lack of respect that Apple has for independent developers. I think that this is a terrible move by Apple and that they are making a huge mistake,” said Ben Moore, CEO of ZDNet, another digital marketing company. “I am sure that others within the company are considering this as a way to get out of paying their subcontractors, but there is certainly money to be made by developing games for the iPad first, and by licensing the titles out through the App Store.” According to industry experts, Apple could lose hundreds of billions of pounds from the untimely cancellation of the iBooks and iPad applications.
The two gaming applications that have been banned are Defense mode and Fortnite Corespike. Defense mode is an add-on that was sold for $2.99, while the core spike is an application that was downloaded for free. Apple has denied that the apps were banned because they used a “backdoor” to allow users to bypass the App Store app review process. They maintained that the direct payment system used by the apps was the cause of the ban. A spokesperson provided the following explanation:
“In some cases, we have found an app may use an incorrect type of in-app payment system. This led to an issue where a number of customers would pay for items in one manner but then be sent the money via another channel. We’ve removed the apps from the App Store for this reason and are continuing to monitor the situation to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
It appears from the legal perspective that the company did nothing wrong in relation to the iPhone application and that it was not the cause of the ban. However, the three-year ban on the Fortnite video game software was significantly more than Apple originally anticipated. In fact, the company originally requested a three-month ban before it decided to settle with the FTC. Since the case has moved into the arbitration phase, this could move further towards an award of damages.
Whether the Fortnite video game that was the target of the FTC investigation and the ban should have been banned altogether is a different question. Some consumers are hopeful that the ban will push developers to reevaluate their applications and perhaps even open the door to lower pricing for the popular gaming platform. If this ends up happening, it could very well cause a significant increase in the competition between the publishers of online strategy games. With social media outlets like Facebook now requiring that you play Fortnite at least part of the time you use the site, this could lead to publishers changing strategies and possibly moving their games to social media platforms like Facebook.
One industry expert speculates that the current issue with the Fortnite application may be a result of a new feature that Facebook is implementing called the “In-app payment system.” This feature currently allows Facebook users to purchase items within their favorite Facebook applications such as the news feed, profile updates, and others. This feature is currently only available for paid apps, but it is possible that it could soon be made available for free apps as well.