Apple terminated Epic Games account on the App Store on Friday. This is the latest move in a battle between the two companies over revenue from in-app purchases in the popular game Fortnite.
Fortnite itself had already been booted from the App Store, and today’s move means other offerings from Epic Games are also unavailable to iPhone and iPad users.
There are only a few other apps: the RPG Battle Breakers and Infinity Blade Stickers. But it’s a sign that Apple isn’t backing down.
And today move is significant for Fortnite fans. While those who already installed the software can continue to play it, it’s no longer possible to make in-app purchases. Also, anyone playing on an Apple device can only complete in-game with other Apple users. They can’t play against others on Xbox, Android, etc.
But Epic Games’ Unreal Engine isn’t affected. The same holds true for apps developed by other companies that use it.
Apple is ‘disappointed’ with Epic Games
Apple released a statement on Friday after removing Epic Games from its software store explaining its action.
This references a court’s decision earlier this week, in which Epic unsuccessfully asked for a restraining order to prevent Apple from removing Fortnite and other games from the App Store. The court also suggested Epic go back to cooperating with Apple on revenue sharing while the lawsuit between the two companies plays out in court.
Apple’s full statement says:
“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.”
Epic Games calls Apple a ‘monopoly’
It’s not likely Epic Games is going to do as the court suggested. After the judge’s decision had come down, the developer posted a lengthy statement that said, in part, “Their 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.”
Epic Games objects to Apple taking a 30% cut of in-app purchases. And this brouhaha started when the software developer snuck a direct payments system for in-app purchases into a Fortnite update, cutting Apple out. This is a violation of App Store guidelines, and Apple responded by removing the game from its software store.
Unreal Engine is safe
Despite their differences, the two companies will have to work together in regards to Unreal Engine, a platform for creating games for consoles, PCs and mobile. The court decision from earlier this week expressly forbad Apple from removing Epic Games from the Apple Software Developer Program so that work on Unreal Engine would not be interrupted.