In its ongoing war against Google and Apple, Fortnite maker Epic Games has thrown its biggest punch yet: a new direct-purchase option on mobile devices that circumvents payments through Apple’s and Google’s app stores.
Epic announced Thursday a price drop for all V-Bucks, Fortnite’s real-money currency. The company calls this change the Fortnite Mega Drop, and the new prices — which are a permanent price cut, not a limited-time sale — are currently available on Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One. The discount is also available on Android and iOS, with a catch.
On mobile devices, players will need to choose a new method of payment at checkout called “Epic direct payment” in order to get the 20% lower prices.
Fortnite players can currently buy 1,000 V-Bucks for $9.99. On the App Store or Play Store, a 30% cut of that purchase price goes to Apple or Google, respectively. The new direct payment option lets players buy V-Bucks from Epic itself, cutting out the middleman (and the fee that Epic has to pay to Apple or Google). Epic then passes on the savings to the customer.
This is a major move in the war that Epic has waged against mobile platform holders for years, and it’s a direct attack on Apple’s guidelines, which explicitly forbid app developers from circumventing the in-app purchase system:
If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase. Apps may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, etc. Apps and their metadata may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to…