“Free Fortnite” is the rallying cry Epic Games has been calling out for months now, trying to get people to listen to their demands. Apple (and Google) pulled the massively popular battle royale game Fortnite from their digital storefronts earlier this year (due to actions on Epic Games’ part), and, ever since, Epic Games has been trying to force Apple and Google’s hands to get the game back on those platforms.
Apple and Google both removed Fortnite from the App Store and Play Store, respectively, back in August of this year. Since then, Epic Games, the publisher and developer behind the title, has been pounding all the drums it can to try and get both companies to change their digital storefront policies in one way or another. Epic Games even launched the “Free Fortnite”, including a hashtag, effort back in August, too. It started with a tournament that offered “anti-Apple” prizes for winners.
Epic Games has turned things up a bit and gone on the offensive yet again, opting to send press kits –what we’re calling loot boxes, because Fortnite— to influencers to try and drum up some attention. As you can see from the tweet below, shared by Greg Miller of Kinda Funny Games, there’s quite a bit going on in this box.
It starts with a “Free Fortnite” jacket, which includes the “loot llama” of the game in Apple’s familiar rainbow coloring. But that’s not all. Oh no, Epic Games also included a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 — a tablet that’s meant to be an iPad competitor. Epic Games also included a letter that reminds influencers that Fortnite isn’t available in the App Store or Play Store, but it is available in the Samsung Galaxy Store.
It also suggests that influencers should “spread the word”.
😳 #freefortnite pic.twitter.com/HUtZwkO4D1
— Greg Miller (@GameOverGreggy) December 21, 2020
This is quite the move! And, technically, Miller is “spreading the word” by sharing this on Twitter. So that will probably be enough for Epic Games, even if some of these influencers might not go out of their way to actually praise Epic Games for anything.
In any event, it’s just one more move on Epic Games’ part to try and drum up support on its behalf. We already know that Tim Cook and Craig Federighi have been ordered by a judge to testify in the legal battle between the two companies. And the court battle is set to resume in May of next year.
And here’s the official timeline of how we got up to this point:
August 13, 2020
- Epic Games updates Fortnite on the server-side, bypassing the App Store review process. It adds a direct payment option, breaking another rule in the process.
- Apple removes Fortnite from the App Store due to Epic Games breaking the App Store rules.
- Epic Games launches a media blitz, and it also sues Apple for anti-competitive behavior.
- Epic launches “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite”, a parody video of Apple’s original “1984” ad:
- Google removes Fortnite from the Play Store, as Epic Games also violated the Play Store’s rules.
- Epic sues Google, too.
- Spotify weighs in! Unsurprisingly, it applauds Epic Games for its decision to stand up against Apple.
August 14, 2020
- Facebook says Apple’s App Store fees make it impossible to help small businessesimpacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
August 17, 2020
- Apple threatens to revoke Epic Games’ developer accounts for not only iOS, but also macOS. That cut-off is set to take place on Friday, August 28, 2020.
August 18, 2020
- Apple issues an official statement on the matter in response to Epic Games.
- Epic Games is revealed to have sought a coalition of “Apple critics” to help fight against Apple.
August 20, 2020
- The Wall Street Journal and other news publications sign an open letter asking for Apple to reduce its App Store fees down to a standard 15%.
August 21, 2020
- Epic Games promotes the #FreeFortnite Cup, or tournament, that is meant to bring even more attention against Apple, and is promoting “anti-Apple” prizes.
- Epic sought special treatment for Fortnite before it declared war against Apple and the App Store’s guidelines.
August 24, 2020
- Judge Gonzalez-Rogers rules that Apple does not need to reinstate Fortnite back into the App Store as the legal battle wages on. The judge also rules that Apple cannot revoke the Unreal Engine development tools, but it can still move forward with removing Epic’s developer account for iOS and macOS.
- Apple says it agrees with the ruling made by Judge Gonzalez-Rogers, and is prepared to welcome Fortnite back onto iOS as soon as Epic Games is ready to follow the App Store guidelines.
August 26, 2020
- Epic confirms that the new season of Fortnite, which is Marvel-themed, will not be available on iOS or Mac. Cross-platform functionality with those platforms is also removed.
August 28, 2020
- Epic lets Fortnite players know in an email that it’s Apple’s fault they can’t play the new season of the game.
- Apple revokes Epic Games’ App Store and developer accounts.
September 8, 2020
- Apple countersues Epic Games in what it claims is a “breach of contract” related to its App Store practices.
September 9, 2020
- Epic Games says Apple is going to disable the “Sign in with Apple” feature as soon as Friday, September 11.
- Apple changes its mind regarding “Sign in with Apple”, allows existing customers to keep using it.
September 10, 2020
- Epic Games CEO says Apple has “lost sight” of the tech industry’s “founding principles”
September 18, 2020
- Epic Games shuts down Fortnite: Save the World for Mac as of September 23.
September 24, 2020
- Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, and other companies create the “Coalition for App Fairness” to take on Apple’s and Google’s digital storefront policies.
September 28, 2020
- U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers says the public’s opinion regarding the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games should be considered, suggests a jury should be involved.
October 7, 2020
- Judge rules that the court battle between Apple and Epic Games will resume in May 2021.
November 5, 2020
- Fortnite returns to iOS thanks to GeForce Now game streaming service, and only available via Safari.
December 17, 2020
- Judge orders both Tim Cook and Craig Federighi to testify in the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games.