Fortnite, the App Store, and Supporting Good Apps
It starts with each of us.
I am sure you have read the news by now, but if you haven’t, Epic Games is suing Apple over having their flagship game Fortnite removed from the App Store. The reason for the removal was that Epic decided to bypass in-app purchasing to receive the profits all for themselves. They also claim that they want to fight the “App Store Monopoly” Apple has in place.
Epic Games has made it clear with this stunt that they don’t want to have to split the pie with Apple any longer. They knew this outcome would happen because Epic Games posted a parody video of Apple’s famous 1984 Super Bowl ad shortly after the App Store removal.
I have been watching things unfold over the last couple of days or so, and I really wanted to come back Monday morning and share with you all of my hot takes. Truthfully, the fact is I don’t have any hot takes on this matter. I honestly don’t care whether Epic Games has Fortnite on the App Store or not. That said, I understand the implications of this issue.
To be frank, I think that what we should do as individuals is to put our money where our mouths are and financially support the apps we love while Apple figures out what to do with this PR nightmare they have.
What I Know
Here’s what I know, Epic Games wants to fight Apple and allow for their wildly successful game–and others–to no longer be monopolized by Apple’s requirement to be on the App Store. Apple removed their app after blatantly bypassing in-app purchasing from their app. The argument boils down to whether Fortnite should be required to have in-app purchasing, or even need to be on the App Store at all.
Aside from that, I really can’t tell you which side I am on. I can honestly see this argument from both sides. I understand that Apple wants to require the apps to be vetted and checked before they are allowed to be installed on devices; it’s why the iPhone is so secure. On the other hand, I can see developers who either don’t want to–or can’t–follow arbitrary rules Apple has to be allowed on the App Store. Those developers are in an impossible situation because it is not easy for the user to check a box and install apps from a non-App store location.
Making an app is hard, that is a given to me. What is even more difficult is to create an app that people are willing to pay for. I am not someone that develops apps for a living, but for the people that do, I can only imagine the difficulty it is to continually need to follow the App Store rules and be in compliance with Apple.
If I had a nickel for every time I have read a story about an app being refused updates on the App Store because of some vague or unknown reason, I would have enough for a day at the arcade. The vetting and approval process Apple has in place has its flaws, but it is the only path iOS developers have to get their apps on people’s iPhones and/or iPads.
The fact of the matter is developers deserve to be compensated for their work. We no longer are in the App Store’s early days, where great apps are totally and completely free to use. The crème de la crème in the App Store often requires you to pay for the app, either with a one-time purchase or a subscription.
I see it as a duty to support the apps I regularly use as much as I can. It is time for us to show our support for apps we love with our wallets, not just tweets and blog posts. I understand that subscription fatigue is a thing for many of us; but you don’t have to choose to pay every app you use. You can pay for just the ones you cannot see yourself without.
For me, those apps are Drafts, Bear, Overcast, Ulysses, Ferrite, and 1Password. There are others I support as well. I use some of these apps every single day, but others I only use when I need to, but they are so good I am willing to continue to support them financially.
Until Apple comes to terms with either being the gatekeeper or allows for the iOS ecosystem to be more open the only thing I see that can be done is for the users to provide support where they can.
It starts with each of us.