Fortnite ban may impact Cayman gamers

Gamers face off in an all-day Fortnite competition.

An ongoing legal battle between tech giant Apple and Epic Games, the developers of the popular multiplayer game Fortnite, could have implications for gamers in Cayman.

The fallout occurred last week, after Apple banned Fortnite from its App Store, for allegedly violating its payment policies.

The dispute was triggered over a disagreement about the appropriate amount of money Apple should be given as its share from in-game purchases made through the App Store which are hosted on its computer servers.

Apple currently takes a 30% revenue cut from the sales made by each app. Epic developers disagree with the amount, claiming it is too high. As a result, Epic created a separate in-game payment option that circumvented Apple’s App Store. And, in response, Apple banned Fortnite from its App Store and blocked it from its servers.

As a result, more than one billion mobile devices have since been restricted from accessing the game. Some of those devices belong to gamers who reside in Cayman.

However, local gaming experts say they don’t anticipate a large-scale fallout for Cayman’s gamers.

“Fortnite is definitely a very popular game, in Cayman and the world over,” said Daniel Scott, a co-founder of Gamers Bay, an annual gamers tournament held in Cayman. “While there are some who play Fortnite on their mobile devices, the vast majority of players use either their consoles or their PCs, so there shouldn’t be too much of an issue for them to access the game.”

Fortnite developers claim Apple has given them two weeks to rescind their in-game purchasing options, or face ‘catastrophic consequences’.

Taking to Twitter, Epic issued a link to a complaint for injunctive relief lawsuit, which names Apple as the respondent. The civil suit claims that Apple’s restriction on what apps can be used on IOS software (Apple products such as iPhones, tables and computers), amounts to an unfair monopoly in the payment-processing market.

“Epic brings this suit to end Apple’s unfair and anti-competitive actions that Apple undertakes to unlawfully maintain its monopoly in two distinct, multibillion-dollar markets,” read the lawsuit in part.

Apple defended its decision to kick Fortnite off its servers, in a statement released to The Verge website. A spokesperson for Apple is quoted as saying Epic freely entered into the terms of the App Store.

“Epic agreed to the App Store terms and guidelines freely and we’re glad they’ve built such a successful business on the App Store,” the statement said. “The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.”

Google has since followed Apple and removed Fortnite from its Google Play Store and its accompanying servers. A separate similar litigation has been launched by Epic against Google.

Fortnite was one of four games that prospective players could have competed in at the fifth annual Gamers Bay competition in October, which has been postponed.

“We are no longer having the convention this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Scott. “It has been pushed back until next year, and when we do have it, players will be able to attend and compete in Fortnite.”

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