Today, Epic Games announced the expansion of its #FreeFortnite initiative, which alleges that App Store policies are anti-competitive, with an antitrust complaint against Apple to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition.
#FreeFortnite started in August 2020 when Epic Games offered Fortnite players a 20% discount for purchasing V-Bucks, the in-game currency used to buy cosmetic items, directly through its website instead of via the App Store or Google Play.
That discount made sense for Epic Games because Apple and Google both take a 30% cut of transactions made via their marketplaces. Both also prohibit efforts to bypass those cuts, however, and Fortnite was promptly removed from their stores.
Epic Games responded with a U.S. lawsuit against both companies that, according to a CNN interview with chief executive Tim Sweeney, was months in the making. Similar complaints have been made in Australia, the UK, and now the EU.
The company said in today's announcement that “through a series of carefully designed anti-competitive restrictions, Apple has not just harmed but completely eliminated competition in app distribution and payment processes.”
Epic Games said it's not seeking damages in any of the cases it's brought against Apple; instead, it's "simply seeking fair access and competition that will benefit consumers and developers." It just wants more of those sweet, sweet V-Bucks sales.
CNBC reported that the European Commission said it "has received the complaint and will assess it based on its standard procedures." Don't expect any of these proceedings — in the U.S., UK, Australia, or EU — to be resolved any time soon.