Apple has rejected a request by Epic to return Fortnite to the App Store in South Korea. Tim Sweeney's studio asked Apple to restore its developer account yesterday, but Apple says it will only do so if Epic plays by "the same rules as everyone else".
Why has Apple rejected Epic's request to reinstate Fortnite?
Epic revealed the request via the official Fortnite Twitter account. In the tweet, Epic says it wants to re-release Fortnite on Apple's iOS platform in Korea, offering "both Epic payment and Apple payment" alongside one another. This, Epic says, would be in line with a new law introduced in Korea last month, a law intended to crack down on the mobile duopoly held by Apple and Google. Said law states that developers must legally be allowed to direct customers to alternative payment methods, meaning Apple and Google can't force devs to use their proprietary payment systems when listing apps.
Despite this new law's introduction, however, Apple has denied Epic's request, according to Reuters (and Eurogamer, who originally broke this story). Apple says that in order for Fortnite to be reinstated, Epic would have to "play by the same rules as everyone else", which means agreeing to comply with Apple's review guidelines. According to Apple, if the South Korean bill becomes law, it still doesn't mean the tech giant has to approve Epic's request to restore its developer account. Looks like this issue isn't going to get easier for either Apple or Epic anytime soon.
What's the backdrop to this dispute between Epic and Apple?
This issue began back when Epic slashed the prices on many of its in-app purchases on the iOS and Android versions of Fortnite. In order to take advantage of this discount, you had to use Epic's proprietary payment system rather than going through Google or Apple. Following this, Fortnite was removed from both the Google Play Store and the App Store, with Epic filing lawsuits against both Google and Apple in the US as a response. This lawsuit has gone global; Epic recently won an appeal against Apple in Australia, and the introduction of the aforementioned South Korean law can be chalked up as a win for the Fortnite developer as well, although it doesn't seem to be leading to a change of heart on Apple's behalf.
It remains to be seen whether or not Apple will restore Epic's developer account in Korea, and what the outcome of the developer's lawsuits will be. In the meantime, you can still download Fortnite on Android, although you can't get it through the Play Store. The game remains unavailable on iOS due to Apple not allowing third-party app repositories or stores. Naturally, you can also get Fortnite on every other major platform. We'll bring you more on this as it develops.
How do you feel about this ongoing dispute between Epic and Apple? Let us know in the comments below!