On August 28, Less than a week after a judge stopped Apple from removing access to Epic Games‘ Unreal Engine on iOS and Mac, the latter has finally kicked the former out of the App Store, removing their developer account and access to other titles.
In a press release, Apple has blamed Epic for the termination of its App Store account after refusing to comply with the App Store guidelines which were bypassed by Epic when it implemented an in-game direct-payment system for players to purchase V-Bucks—Fortnite’s paid in-game currency.
“We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store,” read the statement from Apple. “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,” it continues. “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.”
Tim Sweeney, Epic Games’ CEO quickly blasted Apple’s statement stating that Apple had the choice to not proceed with their account termination in the app store. In a tweet, he also expressed his dismay over the lack of clarity in Apple’s statement claiming that “They [Apple] chose to terminate Epic’s account.”
Apart from the press release, Apple has also confirmed that it has seen a massive influx of Fortnite users requesting refunds, which in turn has caused issues to AppleCare “and has affected users worldwide.
As a consequence of the removal of Epic’s developer account in the app store, users can no longer update and download titles their titles. This includes Fortnites, Battle Breakers, Infinity Blade Stickers among others. However, these and other Epic published titles are still playable with the latest “Apple-approved” update.
For Fortnite, this spells an end for cross-platform gameplay for iOS and Mac versions of the game as build v14.0 of Fortnite won’t be coming to both versions. This was later confirmed in an email by Epic Games to its Fortnite players.
According to a report by MarketWatch, the row between Apple and Epic Games has cost Fortnite tens of millions of dollars, only raking in $19.3 million worth of purchases throughout August in comparison of $58.3 million and $52.5 million it earned in June and July, respectively.
The battle between Apple and Epic Games started when Epic Games introduced a direct payment system for in-app purchases breaking both Apple’s Terms of Service and Google Play Store’s in-app payment policy. (READ: Fortnite removed from Apple App Store and Google Play Store)
Subsequently, upon removal of the Fortnite App from the App Store and Play Store, Epic Games launched a massive #FreeFortnite campaign, complete with a 1984 Macintosh inspired ad and a lawsuits targetted at both Apple and Google. (READ: Epic Games is going to war with Apple over Fortnite)
Apart from Fortnite’s removal from Apple’s App Store, Apple announced that it was going to terminate accounts and cut off Epic’s Unreal Engine use from iOS. However, Epic was able to file a restraining order, allowing its engine to continue to be used by developers on the platform.
The first hearing of the historic lawsuit battle between Apple and Epic Games is expected to take place around the end of September.