Apple said on Friday that it terminated the account of its “Fortnite” creator Epic Games on the App Store due to a legal dispute over the iPhone manufacturer’s in-app payment guidelines and accusations that they constitute a monopoly.
Apple said the move will not affect Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, a software tool that hundreds of other application makers rely on. But this means that iPhone users will not be able to download “Fortnite” or other Epic products through the Apple App Store. Players who have already downloaded Epic games can still play, but can no longer use Apple’s payment system for in-app purchases.
On Monday, a federal court ruled that Apple can block the Epic title in its stores, but cannot take actions that could harm Unreal Engine, and Epic’s antitrust lawsuit against the iPhone manufacturer is ongoing.
Popular game creators implemented a feature that allows iPhone users to directly make in-app purchases instead of using Apple’s in-app purchase system to charge 30% commission, so Apple withdrew Epic.
Apple has said that if Epic cancels the direct payment feature, it will allow “Fortnite” to re-enter the store. But Epic refused on Thursday, saying that complying with Apple’s requirements would be “colluding with Apple to maintain its monopoly on iOS in-app payments.”
Epic’s decision almost guarantees that its account will be terminated, which is a measure taken by Apple on Friday.
“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,” Apple said in a statement.
“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.”