Last we spoke on the subject, both Apple and Google removed Fortnite from their mobile game stores, but Apple took it a step further by then trying to remove the Unreal Engine from their storefront, which would have crippled countless other developers, including Microsoft. A judge ruled that they couldn’t do that, so Apple has decided to do the next best thing: over the weekend, they completely terminated Epic’s developer account. Which means that it’s now impossible to download anything from Epic, even stuff you’ve already purchased, and they’ve made it impossible for Epic to update its products, including the aforementioned Unreal Engine.
“We are disappointed that we have 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 the other developers on the App Store and is putting customers in the middle of their fight. We hope we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney took issue with this statement, replying:
Apple's statement isn't forthright. They chose to terminate Epic's account; they didn't *have* to. Apple suggests we spammed the App Store review process. That's not so. Epic submitted three Fortnite builds: two bug-fix updates, and the Season 4 update with this note.
It’s worth noting he didn’t protest the whole “putting customers in the middle of their fight” or “they created this situation” phrasing, because he knows it’s true. Epic Games is still being somewhat childish about all this.
All that said, it’s easy to see why Apple is fighting this a lot harder than Google. While Google makes money from a lot of sources, Apple really only has hardware sales (of which their phones are their best sellers) and software sales. Losing here wouldn’t just mean losing their 30% share of Fortnite – it would be losing their 30% cut of all their app store purchases, which would mean this multi-billion dollar company might earn less multi-billions every year. The goddamn shame.
If Epic folds to this pressure has yet to be seen. But at least at time of writing, they’re still in the ring. Battered and bloodied as they may be.