The suspension of Epic’s developer account means that users can’t download “Fortnite” (or other Epic games) from the Apple App Store or update them. Apple’s action comes after a court issued a temporary restraining order Monday, Aug. 24, that prohibits Apple from blocking Epic’s App Store account for the Unreal Engine, which is used by third-party game makers, but leaving the door open for Apple to freeze out the popular “Fortnite” app.
Epic sued Apple and Google on Aug. 13, alleging they engage in anticompetitive conduct by imposing “unlawful” restrictions to monopolize their app platforms. That came after Epic announced it was giving “Fortnite” users a 20% discount if they purchased in-app game currency directly, bypassing the Apple and Google app stores (which both keep 30% of in-app transactions under their standard terms), leading Apple and Google to ban “Fortnite” from their stores.
In a statement Friday, Apple said: “We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store. We have worked with the team at Epic Games for many years on their launches and releases. The court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has refused.”
Apple alleged that Epic had repeatedly submitted “Fortnite” updates “designed to violate the guidelines of the App Store. This is not fair to all other developers on the App Store and is putting customers in the middle of their fight. We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”
Apple had warned Epic that it would pull its developer account if it didn’t back down from its attempts with “Fortnite” to circumvent the rules requiring the use of Apple’s in-app payment system.
Asked for comment, an Epic Games rep referred to the company’s previous statement, in which it said in part that Apple’s proposal “is an invitation for Epic to collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments on iOS, suppressing free market competition and inflating prices. As a matter of principle, we won’t participate in this scheme.”
Because of the feud, the latest update to “Fortnite” — Chapter 2 Season 4 — is currently not available for iPhone, iPad or Mac platforms. The latest season features a tie-in with Disney’s Marvel (pictured above), in which “not only have the Marvel Heroes and Villains landed on the island, but so have their iconic locations,” Epic Games said in announcing Chapter 2 Season 4.
The latest update to “Fortnite” is available for Android via the Epic Games app for Android or the Samsung Galaxy Store, as well as on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PCs.