Fortnite developer Epic Games have released a new ad taking direct aim at Apple. The video is not only an attack on the company's app store policies and the decision to ban Fortnite from the app store, but also parodies an ad that is central to the way the world sees Apple, and how it sees itself. It mocks Apple's famous '1984' ad – arguably the most famous and well-regarded commercial of all time – in which the company positioned itself as crusaders against conformity and the means of achieving freedom. Fortnite used the parody to suggest that it had given up on this principle, and that it was now the kind of corporate behemoth that it intended to attack with the ad. The ad was released after Apple – and later Google – banned Fortnite from their app stores over a new update that they said broke their rules.
As part of its response to Apple delisting Fortnite from the App Store, Epic Games shared a new short that repurposes the tech giant's iconic 1984 ad, complete with original 4:3 aspect ratio. The video features a Fortnite avatar tossing a unicorn-shaped hammer at a monitor that displays a big brother-like figure that is obviously a stand-in for Apple. It's not subtle, but then neither was the original ad. While longtime Apple users will be familiar with the source material, the reference will likely be harder to parse for Fortnite players, many of whom were born after the ad aired during Super Bowl XVIII. Ridley Scott directed the original, which was aimed at IBM. "Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices," the video says.
Is there a bigger battle royale brewing between Apple and Fortnite? The popular video game is no longer available to download via Apple's App Store after publisher Epic Games announced Thursday a direct payment option for mobile players. A search on the App Store by USA TODAY confirmed Fortnite is not available to download. In a statement to USA TODAY, Apple confirmed Fortnite's removal from the App Store for violating App Store guidelines. "Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services," said Apple in a statement.
Apple has retaliated against Epic Games after being served a lawsuit for pulling the wildly popular video game Fortnite from the App Store. On August 28, Apple is set to remove Epic Games's developer account from the platform - banning the firm from designing apps for the App Store in the future. The feud began a week ago when Epic Games released its own direct payment on its website that provides users with discounts and avoids paying Apple a 30 percent fee of in-app purchases, which the tech giant cites as a violation. Epic sued in US court seeking no money from Apple, but rather injunctions that would end many of the companies' practices related to their app stores. The video game firm also attacked Apple on social media, launching a campaign with the hashtag #FreeFortnite, urging players to seek refunds from Apple if they lose access to the game, and creating a parody of Apple's famous '1984' television ad.
On Friday, Epic Games filed for a preliminary injunction that would require Apple to restore its developer account and put its beloved video game back in the App Store. Apple removed the app in August after the gaming company violated Apple's rules by introducing a direct payment option into the app without Apple's approval. That payment system would have competed with Apple's in-app purchase system, which the iPhone giant requires all apps to use. Typically, when players on Apple devices make in-app purchases, Apple gets a 30% cut of those sales. Fortnite's direct payment functionality undermined that structure.