They said they were going to do it, and they did it. According to Bloomberg, Apple has officially terminated Epic Games’s App Store developer account after promising to do so, which means the Fortnite maker’s games — and more importantly, updates for existing games like Fortnite — are no more, at least on iOS.
“We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store,” Apple said in a statement to Bloomberg. “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.”
Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney shot back on Twitter:
Apple's statement isn't forthright. They chose to terminate Epic's account; they didn't *have* to.
Apple suggests we spammed the App Store review process. That's not so. Epic submitted three Fortnite builds: two bug-fix updates, and the Season 4 update with this note. pic.twitter.com/VpWEERDp5L
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 28, 2020
This is the latest move in the battle between Epic and Apple, which started when the gaming company decided to take a stand against Apple’s revenue-share program, which requires every app that charges a premium (either up-front or via in-app purchases) to pay Apple a cut. Epic added an option to Fortnite that allowed players to buy V-Bucks, the game’s currency, directly from Epic rather than let Apple take its 30% cut. The move was a trap intended to get Apple to take action, thereby spurring a lawsuit that could very well change the way the App Store functions.
But before that happens, a bizarro sparring match to see which tech giant can hurt each other more is unfolding in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In a hearing earlier this week, Epic argued that Apple is causing the company irreparable harm by banning Fortnite from the App Store, and a judge said something to the effect of: “lol, it’s not irreparable harm if you’re doing it to yourselves.”
So Apple is allowed to terminate Epic’s developer account for the time being, and it has. The move doesn’t affect games that run on Epic’s graphics platform, Unreal Engine, just ones made by Epic itself. And we are nowhere close to the end of this thing, which could see Apple’s business practices up-ended.
But Apple CEO Tim Cook’s inbox is probably filling up with angry emails from tweens who are super pissed they can’t play the latest Fortnite season, so really, who’s actually losing right now?
Personally, I’m just here to be entertained.