Apple blocks Epic's request to bring Fortnite back to iPhone and iPad

Apple blocks Epic’s request to bring Fortnite back to iPhone and iPad [Updated]

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Fortnite iOS 14
Nice try, Epic Games.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Epic Games has asked Apple to reinstate its developer account so that it can bring Fortnite back to iPhone and iPad in Korea, where a new bill could allow it to offer its own payment system alongside Apple’s for in-app purchases.

But unfortunately for Fortnite fans, Apple isn’t having any of it. Cupertino said in a statement to Cult of Mac that it will only allow Epic to return to the App Store when it agrees “to play by the same rules as everyone else.”

Update: A U.S. judge made her ruling in the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit on Friday, and is requiring Apple to allow  developers like Epic Games to set up their own direct-payment systems. This could bring Fortnite back to the App Store.

Epic asks Apple to reinstate its dev account

South Korea last month became the first country to pass a bill that forces Apple and Google to open up their app marketplaces to third-party payment systems. It means that devs don’t have to sell digital goods through the App Store or Google Play anymore, or share their revenues with Apple and Google.

Epic saw this as an opportunity to bring back Fortnite for iPhone and iPad with the option to pay for in-game purchases using its own payment system as well as Apple’s — the very thing that got it kicked out of the App Store.

“Epic has asked Apple to restore out Fortnite developer account,” the company confirmed in a tweet on Thursday. “Epic intends to re-release Fornite on iOS in Korea offering both Epic payment and Apple payment side-by-side in compliance with the new Korean law.”

It was certainly worth a try, but sadly for Epic — and the millions of Fortnite fans who want to play the game on iPhone and iPad — Apple won’t back down.

Apple won’t play ball with Epic Games

“As we’ve said all along, we would welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else,” reads a statement to Cult of Mac. “Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there’s no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account.”

It’s unlikely Epic would have been confident of a successful outcome given all that’s happened during the lengthy battle it has been fighting with Apple. What’s more, as Apple points out, the bill passed in South Korea last month hasn’t actually gone into effect yet.

Even when (or if) it does become law, Apple would not be obligated to reinstate a developer account that was terminated prior to the legislation’s introduction. But, as Apple says, it would welcome Epic back to the App Store if it simply complies with the policies that all other developers must adhere to.

Epic obviously won’t do that now. Instead, it will likely wait for a legal ruling on its battle with Apple. Both companies have already gone to court over the matter, and an outcome is expected before the end of the year.