It’s been a wild 24 hours in the games industry, with Fortnite developer Epic Games kicking off a fight that could potentially affect how mobile games can be downloaded and monetized.
It started when Fortnite’s V-Bucks were made cheaper on all platforms, with players on iOS and Android able to pay Epic independently of Apple or Google. Apple and Google removed Fortnite from the App Store and Google Play as Epic had violated their rules that all in-app payments must go through them, allowing them to take a 30% cut.
After several developments in the story, such as Epic Games filing lawsuits against Apple and Google, Apple has now tried its best to fire back.
Epic parodied an Apple Macintosh ad from 1984 with its Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite. To make sure that no Fortnite fan misses it, Epic also looped the ad for 12 hours on the official Fortnite YouTube, Twitch, and Twitter accounts.
Apple’s response, while nowhere near as stirring as the Epic Games video, has been to run ads for its products on the Fortnite Twitch channel.
The Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite video now has 2.8 million views on YouTube compared to the thousands of people who watched the Twitch stream and so will have seen the Apple ad.
This is a smart move from Apple, which has had to save face after playing right into Epic’s hands with the Fortnite removal. A 2015 report from CNN also revealed that older males are the biggest spenders on Apple products, meaning that Twitch ads could help the company grow in a weaker area.
The issue is that while these ads get Apple products in front of an important demographic, it’s unlikely to repair the brand’s reputation. Apple’s reputation has been pummeled by the Epic Games campaign, which asks Fortnite fans to make their voices heard by posting on social media using the hashtag #FreeFortnite.
Fans have called Apple a “clown” for its decision to remove Fortnite from the App Store, and players have been making in-game motifs in support of the campaign. In one video posted to Twitter, a young Fortnite fan can be seen smashing his iPad with a sledgehammer in protest of the game’s removal.
Apple tried to troll Fortnite by running ads on Twitch, but it likely won’t change the opinions of upset mobile gamers. It could be up to the courts to decide which company is the winner.