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Epic Games Takes On Apple and Google

Image via Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

It was just less than two weeks ago that Epic Games, the company behind the wildly popular game Fortnite, raised $1.78 billion at a $17.3 billion valuation. The funding round made Epic the fifth-most valuable technology startup in the U.S., according to CB Insights.

As Epic's dominance in the gaming industry has skyrocketed over the last few years, the company and its CEO Tim Sweeney has repeatedly been at odds with Apple and Google over the 30% revenue cut that the two companies take for each transaction in their app stores. Epic decided it has had enough and last week implemented a direct payment method to bypass giving a cut to the tech giants and things have gone south very quickly ever since.

Epic gave users the option to purchase V-Bucks, which is the in-game currency for Fortnite, for $7.99 through Epic compared to the $9.99 it costs in the App Store. Apple, and then Google a few hours later, pulled Fortnite from their app stores, arguing the move by Epic violated their policies.

Epic responded to the moves by Apple and Google by almost immediately filing a lawsuit against each company.

"Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched and more pernicious than monopolies of yesteryear," Epic's suit read. "Apple's size and reach far exceeds that of any technology monopolist in history."

In regards to Google, Epic's suit against them didn't hold back either.

"In 1998, Google was founded as an exciting young company with a unique motto: 'Don't Be Evil,'" the suit read. "Twenty-two years later, Google has relegated its motto to nearly an afterthought, and is using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolize."

Epic even followed its lawsuit by trolling Apple with its own twist on Apple's infamous "1984" commercial. The commercial shows a Fortnite fighter throwing a Unicorn at a character resembling Apple and its CEO Tim Cook as it talks about its control of the system.

Tech companies such as Match Group, Spotify and Facebook which have had their own issues with the app stores rallied behind Epic. The hashtag #FreeFortnite trended on Twitter as Epic's own users also joined the company in support.

"Tim Sweeney and everybody at Epic, we stand with you and thank you for standing up for something bigger than Fortnite here that helps us out," YouTuber "thatdenverguy" posted.

Epic has billions of reasons to eliminate the fees it pays to Apple and Google. 70% of Fortnite's users have made in-app purchases as they've each spent an average of $85. Fortnite surpassed 250 million users in March 2009 while revenue for the game was reportedly $2.4 billion in 2018.

At a time when the tech giants are increasingly facing pressure from governments and regulators, it will be fun to watch Epic, which has become one of the hottest companies in the world, take on Apple and Google as it gains support from other companies and its own users.

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