Another Casualty of the Apple Vs Epic Fight: Fortnite on the Mac

Another Casualty of the Apple Vs Epic Fight: Fortnite on the Mac
Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP, Getty Images

There’s another entry in the tediously log of tit-for-tat between Apple and Epic. In a press release, Epic says that Apple is no longer letting the company sign games or patches for distribution on Mac computers.

What this effectively means is that Epic can’t sign updates or fix bugs. And as a result, Epic’s decided that starting September 23, the game will no longer be playable on macOS at all.

“We are issuing a refund for all players who purchased any Save the World Founder’s or Starter Packs (including Upgrades) and played Save the World on macOS between September 17, 2019 and September 17, 2020,” the press release reads. The release goes on to note that anyone who purchased V-Bucks on Llamas on macOS will also be refunded, and as of yesterday, you can’t buy Save the World Starter Packs on the platform.

Apple Says ‘Epic’s Conduct Threatens the Very Existence of the iOS Ecosystem’ in Countersuit

The showdown between Apple and Epic Games shows no signs of being over. Apple filed its countersuit today against the Fortnite maker, seeking compensatory and punitive damages in addition to asking the court to hold Epic accountable for its contractual obligations with Apple.

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As a player, you don’t actually have to do anything to get your refund, though you might not receive it in your account until October 2, 2020. Plus, Epic says any V-Bucks or items you’ve purchased will remain in your account and should you choose to migrate over to an Xbox, PlayStation, PC, all your stuff will automatically transfer over. That said, Save the World isn’t the only title impacted on macOS. While you can technically still play Fortnite: Battle Royale on the v13.40 build, you won’t get any further updates either. That means the game is effectively toast for most players.

Yanking away Epic’s access to macOS isn’t terribly surprising if you’ve been following along with this legal drama. Last week, Epic noted that users using Apple IDs to access their Epic accounts would have to switch over their info starting September 11, though later Apple told Gizmodo that it wasn’t going to do anything to stop accounts from working with Epic Games. This was after Apple terminated Epic’s App Store developer account for iOS in late August, making good on a prior promise to do so. A few days before that, Epic announced it would not be pushing the August 27 Fortnite update to iOS or macOS on a matter of principle.

This is all, of course, part of the fallout from Epic’s flashy and brazen attempt to bypass the “Apple Tax”, in which Apple takes a 30% cut of any in-app transaction on iOS. As a result, Apple booted Fortnite from the App Store. While Apple and Epic Games will have to duke it out in court — and believe us, they are — in the meantime, it looks like there’ll be no end to the dramatic press releases and sniping. In the first hearing, a judge ruled that yes, Apple was allowed to remove Fortnite, but its attempt to also boot Epic’s Unreal Engine was denied. Since then, Epic has also asked the court to put Fortnite back into the App Store, as well as restore its developer account. And you know Apple’s never going to let Epic have the last word so it, too, filed a countersuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for sending a “Trojan horse” into the App Store, thereby harming its reputation.

As tedious as it is to recount the individual blow-by-blows, the outcome of the war between Apple and Epic Games has a huge impact. Epic is not the only company gunning for the so-called Apple Tax, and should it win, the ripple effect on Apple’s iron control over the App Store would be huge. Added to that, Apple is currently facing anti-trust scrutiny, which makes its attempt to bully Epic into compliance a questionable strategy.

In the meantime, strap in and grab some popcorn. This petty part of this drama isn’t going anywhere. The next hearing is scheduled for September 28, after which, we can all expect yet another round of Apple and Epic hurling snide remarks and accusations that the other is being a giant doo doo head.