‘Fortnite’ developer Epic Games extends Apple fight to Australia

Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, sued Apple for the way it distributes apps and mandates in-app fees. — Dreamstime/TNS

The creator of Fortnite, one of the world’s most popular online games, has extended its legal action against Apple, filing a claim in Australia over its “misuse of market power”.

Epic Games is accusing the tech giant of breaching Australian consumer law by preventing competition in its iPhone ecosystem by “imposing an absolute monopoly on distribution and through the restrictions placed on in-app purchases”.

“This is much bigger than Epic versus Apple – it goes to the heart of whether consumers and creators can do business together directly on mobile platforms or are forced to use monopoly channels against wishes and interests,” Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement Wednesday.

Apple retains 30% of in-app purchases and bans iOS app developers from using alternate payment methods.

The filing comes after Epic Games launched a lawsuit against Apple in the United States on Aug 13 after it removed Fortnite from its app store.

The game was pulled after it introduced an option for users on iPhone and iPad to purchase in-app currency at a lower price, bypassing Apple’s system of in-app purchases.

The claim filed in the Australian Federal Court Tuesday states that Apple’s conduct has “led to harms including increased prices for in-app content by iOS device users in Australia and lost profits for Epic”.

The company said is not seeking damages from Apple in Australia or the US, it “is simply seeking fair access and competition that will benefit all consumers”.

Fortnite was released in 2017 and currently has over 350 million players. – dpa

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