Epic Games has been very vocal about its distaste for 30% fees charged by Google and Apple, despite giving in and distributing its hit game Fortnite through the Play Store and App Store. Now, to get around those fees, Fortnite is adding “direct payments.”
Update: Apple has removed Fortnite from the App Store. It currently remains on Google Play. More on .
As a part of its “mega-drop” announcement today, Epic Games has announced that the in-game currency for Fortnite, “V-Bucks” will be permanently discounted along with other purchases within the game. The prices take effect immediately on PC and console versions of the game, but on mobile devices things are a bit different where there will be two purchase options.
The first is using traditional app store billing — a for all purchases on both Google Play and the Apple App Store. The second option pays Epic Games directly using a credit card or PayPal.
Currently, when using Apple and Google payment options, Apple and Google collect a 30% fee, and the up to 20% price drop does not apply. If Apple or Google lower their fees on payments in the future, Epic will pass along the savings to you.
When a mobile Fortnite player uses these new direct payments, they’ll see a 20% discount on prices. So, as illustrated below, a $9.99 purchase drops to $7.99. That sounds great for players on paper, but this raises some huge questions.
Namely, how is Epic getting away with this? Both Apple’s and Google’s policies on this matter are pretty cut and dry. Want in-app purchases and app store distribution? Use official billing methods and pay the 30% fee. By pushing players to its own billing method, Epic is pretty blatantly breaking these rules, yet direct payments are already live on Fortnite for mobile. So, at this point, it really just seems like a matter of time before Apple and/or Google take action.
Notably, the new 20% lower prices take effect by default if you’re using a version of Fortnite distributed outside of the Play Store on Android (Samsung Galaxy Store, APK sideload).
Author: Ben Schoon.