Listings for pre-owned iPhones with Fortnite installed range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars
Listings for pre-owned iPhones with Fortnite installed range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars

iPhones with Fortnite installed selling for thousands on eBay

Similar listings for Samsung and other Android smartphones have also appeared in online auctions

Anthony Cuthbertson@ADCuthbertson
Thursday 20 August 2020 11:19
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Dozens of listings for pre-owned iPhones with Fortnite installed have appeared on eBay after Apple removed the game from its App Store.

Prices range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, with one listing attracting bids of more than $4,000. There is no way to verify whether or not such high bids are fake, though several high-end iPhones have received several bids above $1,000.

Similar listings for Samsung and other Android smartphones can be found following a similar ban of the Fortnite app from the Google Play Store.

The removals from online app stores came after a dispute between the two tech giants and Fortnite developer Epic Games.

Both Apple and Google take a cut of any in-game purchases made within apps downloaded through their platforms. A recent Fortnite update circumvented this in-app purchase feature and allowed players to buy the virtual VBucks currency directly from Epic Games.

Since Fortnite's removal from the app stores, Epic Games has filed antitrust lawsuits against both Apple and Google, accusing them of attempting to "control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation."

Apple said in a statement that Epic Games should stick to the App Store rules that it signed up to when Fortnite was first listed there.

"The problem Epic has created for itself is one that can easily be remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers," the statement said.

Until the legal dispute is settled, it seems unlikely that Fortnite will reappear within Apple or Google's online stores.

There are dozens of eBay listings for pre-owned iPhones with Fortnite installed

A similar phenomenon occurred with the mobile game Flappy Bird, which was pulled from online app stores in 2014 by its developer after its popularity skyrocketed.

Its sudden removal prompted enterprising eBay sellers to sell phones pre-installed with the viral game. Listings were similarly priced to phones currently listed with Fortnite, though one auction attracted bids above £150,000.

EBay removed many of the Flappy Bird phone listings, telling users that phones could not be sold with third-party apps installed.

"Smartphones and tablets must be restored to factory settings before they are allowed to be sold on eBay," an email to users stated. "Please remove all content from your device, including the game Flappy Bird, before you attempt to list your item again."

A spokesperson for eBay was not immediately available for a request for comment from The Independent about the latest listings.

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