Well, hopefully you didn’t delete Fortnite this summer in a vain attempt to stop it from consuming your household’s every waking moment. Because, as of Friday, you can no longer download it, or any other Epic Games product, from Apple’s App Store. According to Variety, the tech giant has terminated the company’s developer account entirely, in the midst of an ongoing legal battle.
What legal battle, you might ask? Well, while it’s been building for a while, on August 13, Epic sued Apple and Google, alleging they are effectively operating an “unlawful monopoly” by taking a 30% “tax” from all digital purchases. The developer had been kicked off Apple’s App Store and Google Play after offering users a 20% discount if they made in-game purchases from Epic directly, a feature they incorporated into a software update earlier this month. On Monday, August 24, a judge denied Epic’s attempt to gain a temporary restraining order to keep Fortnite available, while granting one to protect Epic Games’ game development platform Unreal Engine, which brings us to today.
“We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store,” Apple said in a statement Friday. “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.”
“Seeing a billion-user company go Keyser Söze is disturbing,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted Thursday about the legal battle. “Apple could’ve just disputed Epic direct payment in court. Instead, they blocked Fortnite updates on iOS, and threatened Unreal Engine – imperiling millions of game developers, and 100,000,000’s of their customers.”
While new potential players, or those who had previously deleted their games, currently cannot download Fortnite, Infinity War, or any other Epic game, users who already have the games downloaded to their Apple device can play them as they normally would, but will no longer be able to receive updates.