Today, game publisher Epic lowered the price of all in-app purchases for the hit Fortnite, reducing the fee for V-Bucks in-game currency by 20%. The drop applies to all platforms, PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. This also applies to the iPhone and Android version of the game… but only if you use the new option to pay Epic directly.
Those who buy Fortnite V-Bucks with the default App Store and Play Store payment system still pay the old price. Epic announced the price drop on his blog, unequivocally pointing out that the standard 30% cut in revenue from Apple and Google is to blame for the extra cost of using established systems. (The blog post is also written in such a way that the tech and games press will write exactly this article, I guess.) “If Apple or Google cuts their payment fees in the future, Epic will pass you on. savings, ”the blog post states.
Epic has long had a chip on its shoulder on revenue sharing on mobile apps. Although Fortnite was released for iOS without too much fuss, Epic held up on Android for over a year, hosting its own APK file and asking players to load it like an old-fashioned PC game. Eventually, Epic gave in and released the game to the Play Store as well, realizing that some of the money is better than none of the money.
Which brings us to today’s very sharp price drop on V-Bucks, which allows Fortnite players purchase wearable skins, weapon and vehicle wraps, animated emotes, and other goodies. Epic offering direct payment that bypasses Apple and Google’s payment systems in an app downloaded from their platform is a direct violation of the App Store and Play Store terms of service. For now, Epic is brazenly violating the TOS, and Fortnite can be removed from both stores at any time.
Epic challenges Apple and Google to do so, knowing that Fortnite is the most played game on the planet at the moment. Trying to describe it as “Apple / Google banned my favorite game because it cut the prices” is pretty savvy in terms of marketing, but Epic is playing chicken with two of the world’s biggest tech companies. Epic is hoping they will make an exception and do a better breakdown for Fortnite than for all other apps and games. But it seems just as likely that Apple and Google will make an example of Fortnite to warn other editors not to follow in Epic’s footsteps.
It’s also an insincere gesture. In addition to the fact that Epic certainly still pays a fee for these discounted prices on Xbox, PS4, and Switch, Epic hosts its own PC game store, allowing third parties to sell on its platform just like the App Store and the Play Store. Epic boasts that it has a much lower spread compared to competitors like Steam, but it’s a competitive move for a younger platform, and Epic is still very much in charge.
I imagine if, say, another huge 2K game publisher demanded that they be allowed to violate the terms of service in the Epic Store and only pay half of their current selling fees for each game, Epic wouldn’t trip up. not exactly. force.