When Lynne Collins takes her kids out for pizza—she emphasizes the restaurant has “outdoor seating”—the last words she expects to hear from her three young children are “lawsuit” and “Big Brother.”
The peculiar banter stems from a feud between Epic Games, maker of the popular video game Fortnite, and Apple. Fortnite makes money selling virtual goods like Nike Air Jordan's and Adidas hoodies to its 350 million users, but must give Apple a 30 percent cut whenever it sells items through its App Store, which is too much for Epic’s liking. Last Thursday, the company released an update that circumvented those fees, prompting Apple to quickly pull Fortnite off its platform.
Things quickly escalated from there. Epic filed a lawsuit against the iPhone maker that same day, alleging monopolistic behavior. And perhaps to greater effect, the game maker also dropped a video that flips the script on Apple’s widely celebrated “1984” commercial. The ad shows a popular Fortnite heroine running through a dimly lit auditorium and hurling a unicorn-shaped club against a massive screen depicting Apple as “Big Brother.”
“It was the craziest thing,” says Collins, a former communications director at Saatchi & Saatchi who now runs her own public relations firm. “All [the kids] talked about was Fortnite and the lawsuit. They were so fired up to ‘free Fortnite.’”