Things are getting ugly between video game giant Epic Games and Apple. Epic has vocally protested certain App Store policies in the past, especially when it comes to revenue sharing. That disagreement turned into legal action today after Apple pulled Fortnite from its store. In response, the Epic aired an in-game video that harshly criticizes Apple while parodying the company’s famous 1984 Macintosh commercial.
Epic Games vs. Apple
The 1984-themed video is just the latest development in what has been a busy day for the two companies. First, Epic Games updated Fortnite to allow players to purchase V-Bucks directly from them, bypassing Apple entirely. This option was made 20% cheaper than the standard method of paying, highlighting the fact that Apple takes a large cut. Apple declared this move to be a violation of App Store guidelines, and Fortnite was removed from the store.
Epic Games clearly anticipated this retaliation, as they already had their response ready to go. Soon after Fortnite disappeared from the store, Epic aired “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite.” This short video is a parody of an old Macintosh commercial, which itself drew inspiration from George Orwell’s 1984. Orwell’s famous 1949 novel warned of a near-future where totalitarian governments would eliminate all freedom, including free thought.
Fortnite’s 1984 video
The original commercial boasted that Macintosh would show the world “Why 1984 won’t be like 1984.” Epic’s parody video ends with the following:
Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming “1984”.
Apple’s original commercial was meant as a critique of IBM. Steve Jobs accused IBM of being a monopoly intent on stifling innovation, and he championed Macintosh as the only hope of challenging the status quo. Decades later, Epic is flipping the script and accusing Apple of becoming what it promised to destroy.
Epic sues Apple
Along with the dramatic parody video, Epic Games has taken more concrete steps to combat Apple. Specifically, they’ve filed a 62-page lawsuit that alleges violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, the California Cartwright Act, and the California Unfair Competition Law.
This case is high profile already, but it could have even larger ramifications for the video game industry as a whole, especially as video game subscription services become more common. Apple recently confirmed that Microsoft’s xCloud and Google’s Stadia are banned from its platform, for example.