Apple won't let Fortnite back on iOS until the Epic v. Apple verdict is final

Fortnite will not be returning to the iOS App Store any time soon, according to a series of emails published on Twitter on Wednesday by Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney.

© Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Epic’s iOS developer account had been suspended as a result of company’s intentional violations of the App Store guidelines in August 2020, which set the stage for the companies’ court battle. But in the wake of the ruling earlier this month, the state of Epic’s iOS apps — particularly Fortnite — has been unclear.

But the newly published emails indicate Epic is unlikely to retu On Twitter, Sweeney published a letter from lawyers representing Apple, informing Epic the company will not reinstate Epic’s developer account until the company’s appeal is final — a process that could take years.

“Apple has exercised its discretion not to reinstate Epic’s developer program account at this time,” the email reads. “Furthermore, Apple will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgment becomes final and non-appealable.” The message notes that Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, the judge in Epic v. Apple, concluded Apple was within its rights to terminate any Epic-related accounts it desires from the App Store. Epic has already paid financial damages for breaching its contract.

Writing on Twitter, Sweeney framed the refusal as a betrayal of Apple’s earlier pledge to reinstate Epic Games once the company assented to follow the App Store guidelines.

“Apple lied,” Sweeney wrote. “Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they’d ‘welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else.’ Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly power over a billion users.”

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The decision appears to scuttle Epic’s attempt to return Fortnite to the iOS App Store in South Korea, which recently passed rules requiring alternate payment method support. It also leaves Fortnite’s future elsewhere in question. Epic had recently updated old copies of Fortnite on iOS remotely to remove V-Bucks purchasing options, theoretically putting it back in compliance with Apple’s rules. But without a working developer account, Epic can’t re-release the game in any country.

Late last night, Apple informed Epic that Fortnite will be blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals, which could be as long as a 5-year process. pic.twitter.com/QCD7wogJef

— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 22, 2021

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