Epic Games has premiered a new short film called Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite that runs less than a minute long and says that it has “defied the App Store monopoly.” The video was showcased in Fortnite’s Party Royale mode shortly after Epic Games sued Apple. The lawsuit came in response to the App Store removing Fortnite after Epic Games introduced a new direct payment method that violated the App Store’s guidelines. Though most of Epic Games’ energy has been spent attacking Apple, Fortnite was also banned from the Google Play store a short time after it was banned from the App Store. Unlike on iOS, however, Android users can download apps from other storefronts.
“In retaliation Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices,” the screen read during the short. “Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming ‘1984.’” Viewers were then encouraged to use a #FreeFortnite hashtag on social media to encourage Apple–which says it will work with Epic to bring the game back to the App Store–to change its policies.
The commercial appears to be a play on Apple’s Macintosh commercial that aired in 1984. That commercial introduced the Apple Macintosh personal to the world and claimed that it would help people realize why “1984 won’t be like ‘1984,’” referencing the famous George Orwell novel. Epic Games is clearly mocking Apple for their policies on the App Store.
Earlier today, Epic Games reduced the cost of V-Bucks on the App Store and introduced direct payments to get around paying Apple for the use of their storefront, prompting the game’s removal from the store by the tech giant. Epic hit back by filing a lawsuit against the company for the “exorbitant” 30% cut that Apple takes from App Store purchases among other things. This short premiered soon after, coinciding with the push for a social media campaign that puts pressure on Apple. Given the quick turnaround on the lawsuit and this video, it’s clear that Epic knew how Apple would react to the introduction of direct payments within Fortnite and was ready to respond when the game was removed.
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