Epic Games has just launched an ordeal to Google and Apple: it has enabled a direct payment system in ‘Fortnite’ for iOS and Android. The goal of this system is to avoid the 30% commission that both Google and Apple charge developers for using their respective payment gateways. Epic games Fortnite introduces direct payment option in Google and Apple to avoid commission. The reason is that Epic has launched a permanent discount of 20% on V-Bucks (the virtual currency of the game), a discount that, in the case of iOS and Android, only applies when using the new system. Quoting Epic Games verbatim:
“Currently, there are no discounts if players use Apple and Google payment options, where Apple and Google charge an exorbitant 30% fee on all payments. If Apple and Google lower their rates on payments, Epic will pass the discounts to the players”.
For example, 1,000 V-Bucks, which are normally worth 9.99 euros, now cost 7.99 euros. On iOS and Android, however, it will depend on the payment platform that the user chooses. If you select the App Store or Google Play Store, the price will be 9.99 euros (for that commission that Apple and Google charge), while if you choose the direct payment system the price will be 7.99 euros. Spain is one of the countries in which this system is already active.
The controversy over the 30% commission continues
Epic games Fortnite introduces direct payment option in Google and Apple since the commission that Google and Apple charge for microtransactions in the apps and games in their stores has long been the subject of controversy. ‘Fortnite’, in fact, is one of the best examples. When ‘Fortnite’ launched for Android, Epic Games did not publish the game on the Google Play Store precisely to skip that 30% commission . Finally, the company ended up going through the hoop and publishing the game in the Android store , although with the new payment system it once again raffles the payment of the commission.
From Epic Games they have strongly criticized Google for its Play Store policies. In a statement published on its website in April this year, Epic Games said that:
“Google puts downloadable software outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary and repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive agreements and deals with manufacturers , Google public relations marking third-party software sources as malicious software and new efforts, such as Google Play Protect, to completely block software obtained outside of the Google Play store.”
Something similar happened with Hey , the subscription mail service from the creators of Basecamp that made so many headlines a few weeks ago. Hey offered the subscription through its own website and Apple threatened to eliminate it if they did not offer said subscription through its payment platform . The CEO of Hey strongly attacked Apple, accusing them of being gangsters and gangsters. Similar were the cases of Netflix and Spotify , which stopped offering the option to subscribe through the mobile app to avoid the commission.
- App Store : “If you want to unlock features or functionalities of your application (for example: subscriptions, game currencies, game levels, access to premium content or unlock a full version), you must use the in-app purchase. Applications cannot use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality bookmarks, QR codes, etc. Applications and their metadata cannot include buttons, external links or other calls to action that direct users to customers to purchase mechanisms other than in-app purchase “.
- Google Play Store : “Developers applying charges for Google Play applications and downloads must use the Google Play payment system. For applications and in-app products offered through Google Play, the service fee is equivalent to 30% of the price. You receive 70% of the payment. The remaining 30% goes to the distribution partner and the operating fees.”
As is obvious, the new direct payment system of ‘Fortnite’ directly violates these two rules, since it leads customers to make purchases outside the App Store and Google Play Store. Epic games Fortnite introduces direct payment option in Google and Apple. For this there are two explanations: that Google and Apple have given permission to Epic Games to implement it , something that does not seem to be due to the tone of Epic’s words, or that Epic Games is challenging the two American giants to one pulse . If this is the second case, the ball remains in the court of Google and Apple.
This 30% commission has led Apple to be investigated by the European Commission . Vestager explained a few days ago that the Commission had decided to ensure that “Apple’s rules do not distort competition in markets in which Apple competes with other application developers” and specifically referred to its own in-app purchase system. from Apple:
“(i) Mandatory use of Apple’s own in-app purchase system ” IAP ” for distribution of paid digital content. Apple charges app developers a 30% commission on all subscription fees through IAP .
(ii) Restrictions on the ability of developers to inform users about alternative purchase possibilities outside of applications. While Apple allows users to consume content such as music, e-books, and audiobooks purchased elsewhere (for example, from the app developer’s website) in-app as well, its rules prevent developers from informing users about such buying possibilities, which are generally cheaper “
In the hypothetical case that Epic Games has received permission to implement this system, we would be facing one of the most important changes in Google Play and the App Store , since other developers could begin to demand the same rights. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said during his appearance before the United States Congress that they treat all developers in the App Store equally, so the controversy is served and surely there are thousands of developers pending the Epic movement and its consequences.