The developer of the hyper-popular video game Fortnite, Epic Games, has filed a lawsuit against Apple for allegedly monopolizing the in-app payments market, effectively barring “innovations” like bitcoin payments.
The lawsuit alleges Apple is acting anti-competitively by imposing an “oppressive” 30% sales tax on app sales, and is banning third-party payment processors from its platform, hurting innovation. According to Epic Games, would-be competing in-app payment processors could accept cryptocurrencies, among other features. The lawsuit reads:
These innovations could include, for example, alternative means to pay for in-app purchases of in-app content—which Apple does not offer—such as billing to the customer’s cellular carrier, using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, offering rewards points to customers, or providing more than one in-app payment processor.
Epic Games isn’t seeking money from Apple, and is instead demanding the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California prohibits the firm from acting in an anti-competitive manner and to end what it called the tech giant’s stranglehold on in-app payments.
The lawsuit comes as Epic Games launches a social media campaign against Apple banning its Fortnite game from the App Store. The firm is promoting the “#FreeFortnite” hashtag on social media and released a video called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” which is a parody of Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial that introduced the original Macintosh computer.
Apple said in a statement Epic Games updated its Fortnite app with a feature that “was not reviewed by Apple,2 and did so “with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-ap payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.”
Forbes reports Fortnite added am “Epic Direct Payment” option that gave users a 20% discount over paying with Apple Pay. As its own payment process bypassed Apple’s 30% sales tax, the firm was sharing its savings with users.