Apple Terminates Epic Games’ App Store Account Following Fortnite Dispute

By Novak Bozovic / August 29, 2020

We've heard plenty of accusatory statements between Epic Games and Apple during the last couple of weeks, whose dispute will be resolved via legal means in the future. This heated battle pushed Apple into "promising" to terminate Epic Games' developer account – which has now happened, leaving iOS users without a whole range of popular games.

Last night, and as promised (or threatened) by Apple, Epic’s developer account has lost its App Store privileges. If you try to access this account online (via Apple's website), you will see no apps or games. That means that you won't find those titles on the iOS App Store either – while you'll still get to use any locally installed games on your iPhone and iPad.

This latest development doesn't come as a surprise. Earlier this week, the two parties met in court, followed by Epic submitting a temporary restraining order whose goal was to prevent Apple from removing Epic’s Unreal Engine (a game engine that powers an endless range of games). To support its claims, the gaming company managed to persuade other tech giants to express their support. One of the most vocal allies of this company was Microsoft, saying that Apple could strike a significant blow to the worldwide gaming industry.

Epic Games In-App Purchases

Image Courtesy of Epic Games.

During the first hearing, which happened last Monday, a judge said that she'd issue a written order preventing Apple from removing the Unreal Engine from its platforms. Therefore, the Cupertino-based company followed that order. Another Epic Games' account (Epic Games International) is still available, which is where the Unreal Engine is hosted.

To explain this latest development, Apple has issued the following statement to the press:

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. Instead, they repeatedly submit 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.

So, what does this mean for Fortnite players? Well, locally installed copies of Fortnite still run without any problem. However, in-app purchases no longer work, and no new updates for the game can be published. Considering that Fortnite has just received a significant update on other platforms (introducing a Marvel-themed Chapter 2 – Season 4), iOS users are already left behind.

Finally, we’d like to remind you that Epic Games CEO stated that the company’s battle is about “basic freedoms of all consumers and developers.” However, Epic’s decision to bypass Apple’s payment channels has started this commotion, an action that had the purpose of provoking Apple (for better or worse).

In the end, this is going to be a very complicated legal battle, whose consequences will most likely change future relationships between game developers and tech giants.

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