Epic Games, creator of the popular video game and app Fortnite, filed an antitrust complaint against Apple this week with the European Union.
Through its “carefully designed anti-competitive prices,” Apple has eliminated competition among app stores and in-game payment processing, reads the suit.
As it stands, Apple rakes in about 30% of in-app purchases made by Fortnite players.
Epic tried to circumvent this “tax” last summer by introducing its own payment option for in-game purchases. Apple responded by removing Fortnite from its app store and blocking updates to existing accounts.
“We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field,” argues Epic Games CEO and founder Tim Sweeney. “It’s bad for consumers, who are paying inflated prices…and it’s bad for developers, whose very livelihoods often hinge on Apple’s complete discretion as to who to allow on the iOS platform and on which terms.”
Sweeney also takes issue with the fact that Apple maintains a gaming distribution service (Apple Arcade) but won’t allow Epic to launch one of its own.
Epic’s newest complaint, which builds on suits filed in the US, UK, and Australia, asks European regulators to “impose timely and effective remedies to address Apple’s alleged anticompetitive conduct.”
In its response, Apple criticized Epic for launching its own payment option before that option had been reviewed by Apple: “Their reckless behavior made pawns of customers, and we look forward to making this clear to the European Commission.”
Epic and Apple will meet in court in May.
The European Union, which has been quicker than the US to take action against Big Tech in past years, announced in 2020 that it had opened a formal investigation into Apple’s anticompetitive practices.