Apple removed popular gaming title Fortnite from its App Store today (13 August), after creator Epic Games introduced a discounted direct payment option for iOS and Android in violation of Apple and Google’s marketplace policies.

In a blog, Epic Games noted Apple and Google collect a 30 per cent fee on purchases made through their app marketplaces, but by offering a direct payment option “we’re able to pass along the savings to players”.

It offered a 20 per cent discount on the price of games sold through Google and Apple’s marketplaces.

Apple explained the removal in a statement to The Verge, calling Epic Games’ move “unfortunate” and stating it would work with the company to resolve the situation.

No punch pulled
Epic Games responded with a lawsuit, accusing Apple of maintaining a “stranglehold on the iOS ecosystem” and asking a judge to stop the company from imposing “unreasonable restraints” to preserve a monopoly over iOS in-app payments.

The gaming company later also took legal action against Google after it followed Apple’s lead by blocking Epic Games from the Play Store.

In the filing, Epic Games highlighted Google’s original “don’t be evil” motto, arguing the company today “is using its size to do evil upon competitors” and noting frequent references to making Android the “basis for an open ecosystem”.

Google and Apple generally mandate the use of in-app rather than third-party payment systems. But in its blog, Epic Games argued “thousands of apps on the App Store approved by Apple accept direct payments”, including Amazon and Grubhub, adding “we think all developers should be free to support direct payments in all apps”.

The gaming giant is just one of several companies calling for a review of app store practices, as Apple faces competition probes in Europe and the US.