Fortnite players are selling iPhones with the game still installed for exorbitant fees in an ill-advised attempt to cash in on Epic’s feud.
Following the removal of Fortnite from the App Store, iPhones that still have the app downloaded are being offered on eBay for thousands of dollars. Fortnite is a renowned battle royale, a cultural phenomenon, and as of this month, the first victim in a bitter war between developer Epic Games and tech companies Apple and Google.
Epic has been blazing a warpath through the internet following Fortnite‘s removal from the App Store and the Google Play Store. The removal came when Epic introduced a system for mobile Fortnite players that would let them buy V-Bucks at reduced rates and bypass the additional fees demanded by Apple and Google. Fortnite was swiftly stricken from both platforms, leading Epic to file legal action against both companies, accusing them of forming monopolies around their digital marketplaces.
New players can’t download Fortnite on their iPhones, but if the game’s already there, it won’t be removed. This is a fact that some would-be entrepreneurs are hoping to use to their advantage. As Business Insider reports, there are now hundreds of listings on eBay for used iPhones that already have Fortnite installed on them. Many sellers seem to have deeply overestimated how desperate fans would be to have Fortnite on a mobile device, as some of the listings sell these used cellphones for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Business Insider picked out a two-year-old 2017 iPhone X with Fortnite installed that was being offered on eBay for $10,000.
It should be noted that Fortnite is and always has been a free-to-play game. Even though it’s no longer available for mobile devices, it’s still available to download on numerous other platforms, including all major video game consoles, plus Windows and Apple computers. The scarcity of a free game on one specific platform is not translating to monetary value, and these opportunists look to be learning this the hard way, as most of the listed phones have absolutely no bids.
In a recent statement, Apple insisted that it would be happy to welcome Fortnite back to iOS devices if it only reverted the price bypass. Epic’s legal action makes it clear that it’s not prepared to make amends and play nice. This is a very dramatic issue, with far-reaching implications for the gaming industry at large. A lot of Fortnite mobile players have been significantly inconvenienced by this struggle. But unfortunately for these eBay merchants, it looks like no one is ready to fork over $10,000 to address this inconvenience and get Fortnite back in their lives once again.