While Apple removing one of the biggest video games in the world from its store is a shock, this fight isn’t surprising. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has long railed against both Apple and Google’s 30% cut of app store purchases, which Epic called “exorbitant” in a now-updated FAQ about the new payment options today and which its legal complaint calls “oppressive.” V-Bucks were “up to 20%” cheaper via Epic direct payment than through Google and Apple’s stores, and Epic writes in the FAQ that the company believes “all mobile developers and consumers have the right to choose alternate payment providers that charge less.” Apple currently finds itself under heightened scrutiny over ongoing antitrust concerns, which Epic’s legal response addresses, reading in part,

Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation. Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched, and more pernicious than the monopolists of yesteryear. At a market cap of nearly $2 trillion, Apple’s size and reach far exceeds that of any technology monopolist in history.


As pointed out by Eurogamer’s Tom Phillips, while iOS players can currently still play Fortnite, the removal from the store might affect their ability to play the game once the new season begins later this month. Epic also notes this in a blog, writing, “Because Apple has BLOCKED your ability to update, when Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 4 releases you will NOT be able to play the new Season on iOS.” Epic encourages players to rally around a hashtag, #FreeFortnite, and to complain to Apple to “make your voice heard in the fight against the app tax.” It’s a clever move on Epic’s part—while players might not care about Tim Sweeney’s crusade for the free market, they’ll certainly care if they can’t play the game.

Fortnite’s Party Royale showed a short video at 4pm today parodying Apple’s “1984” television commercial, which is also mentioned in Epic’s legal complaint. The video ended with text reading “Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming ‘1984.’”

We’ve updated this story with further developments about Epic’s response, including information about the company’s injunction, its in-game parody of Apple’s advertising, and its FreeFortnite website.