Epic Games: Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite – Apple 1984
TV Commercial Review
Heart or Humor
Epic Games unveiled an unusual commercial for Fortnite. The new campaign is a message against Apple because Apple has blocked Fortnite from the App Store due to the “Epic direct payment feature.”
The “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite” commercial is a parody of the “1984 Macintosh”, the well-known Apple advert (an allusion to the book 1984 by George Orwell).
The Epic message is “Apple is keeping prices high so they can collect 30% of your payments, and is blocking Fortnite in order to prevent Epic from passing on the savings from direct payments to you! Join the fight against @AppStore on social media with #FreeFortnite”
Epic Games answer to a common questions about this topic below:
Why are players blocked by Apple from updating Fortnite?
After we added direct Epic payments to save players up to 20%, Apple retaliated by blocking Fortnite players from installing and updating the game through the App Store. Apple demands that game developers use their payment processing service, which charges an exorbitant rate of 30%. Apple blocks developers from using more efficient payment methods such as Mastercard (including Apple Card), Visa, and Paypal, which charge rates of 2.5% to 3.5%, and therefore prevent developers from passing the savings on to customers.
Why shouldn’t Apple collect 30% on App Store sales? Aren’t they providing the store where developers sell software?
Apple intentionally sabotages consumer iOS devices to prevent users from installing software directly from developers, as consumers are free to do on PC and Mac. We know this is an intentional strategy because iOS does fully support installing software from the web — but only allows it for corporations.
Apple uses this direct-installation blockade in order to force consumers to use their App Store, and then demands that game developers use their payment processing service. By blocking consumer choice in software installation, Apple has created a problem so they can profit from the solution.
What outcome does Epic hope for to resolve this blockade by Apple?
Epic’s position is that all mobile developers and consumers have the right to choose alternate payment providers that charge less, as is the norm on all other general-purpose computing platforms, including Web, Windows, and Mac. We expect to see a general change in smartphone practices industry-wide for all developers that brings greater value and freedom of choice to consumers. We expect Apple to unblock Fortnite.
Does Apple block all apps from processing direct payments?
No. Thousands of apps on the App Store are allowed by Apple to accept direct payments, including commonly used apps like Amazon, Grubhub, Nike SNKRS, Best Buy, DoorDash, Fandango, McDonalds, and StubHub. Apple is just blocking direct payments for certain products (like games) and companies (like Epic). Epic believes that all mobile users have a right to save money using more efficient purchasing options. Adding our own payment system allows us to offer players choice while passing along savings, just like other apps are allowed to do. This choice provides a more level playing field on mobile stores while saving players money, which Apple should agree is a positive thing for everyone!
Does a new payment method on mobile mean purchases there are less safe?
No. In operating Fortnite on open platforms and operating the Epic Games Store, Epic has processed over $1,600,000,000 of direct payments successfully, and uses industry trusted encryption and security measures to protect customer transactions.
Clearly Apple acknowledges that third party payment services are safe and acceptable for goods and services. Epic direct payment simply offers players the same kinds of payment options as these other apps.
Why don’t you offer purchases outside of the app, as Netflix did with their subscriptions?
This is a user-unfriendly solution. Apple prohibits apps like Netflix from even telling customers how to pay for their subscription service outside of the app. Epic wants to give all customers simple, in-app purchasing options free of Apple obstruction.
Why doesn’t Epic capitulate to Apple’s demand to remove Epic direct payment?
We have chosen to fight Apple’s policies on behalf of all consumers and their right to have access to more efficient payment methods and to receive the best prices available
Apple has rules. Why is Epic expecting an exception to those rules?
We don’t seek a special exception for Epic. We firmly believe Apple’s policies must be changed for all developers. For over a decade, Apple has single-mindedly crafted and proliferated a tangled web of rules and policies to impose a 30% tax on apps while preventing competitors from offering a better deal. That’s around 10x more than what a typical transaction may cost on competing payment processing services such as Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal, which charge rates of 2.5% to 3.5%. When competition is stifled, the customer always loses.
Their rules are designed to cement their monopoly, to limit consumer choice, and to stifle competition in digital goods specifically. Apple doesn’t force customers to use their payment system to add 30% to the price of their dinner when they purchase a meal through Grubhub or DoorDash. Apple even allows Amazon Prime Video to process payments directly as a special deal while holding other apps to a different standard. So why do customers have to use Apple’s payment services and increase their prices to pay a 30% app tax for games such as Fortnite? There’s no good reason.
Why is Epic advocating for open mobile platforms?
Mobile devices are essential computing devices upon which we conduct our social and professional lives and engage in commerce and entertainment. Apple cannot rightly control the terms of physical and digital commerce and use their monopoly power over devices to prevent competition in payment processing, stores, and app curation. Apple has artificially restricted iOS so that there is no competition, so that creators earn less, and so that consumers are forced to pay higher prices. There’s no reason why smartphone app stores and payment processing should function any differently than a personal computer.
What if a player wants a refund?
Unfortunately, Apple does not allow Epic Games to directly refund players and instead requires players to ask Apple for a refund. Please follow these instructions to ask Apple for a refund: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204084.”
Well-done Epic Games!