Apple says it has terminated the developer account that Epic Games used to publish and update App Store games.
The move means epic games like mobile RPG Battle Breakers are no longer available for download on the iOS App Store and share the same fate Fortnite been confronted for weeks. Users who have downloaded previously defunct Epic Games titles such as Infinity Blade they can still play, but they can no longer download games or use previously available in-app purchases.
Epic’s iOS app updates have also been cut off, meaning iOS Fortnite players will be stuck without access to the Marvel themed content recently added to the game. Fortnite players on iOS also cannot currently enjoy crossplay with players using the latest version on other platforms.
In a statement to the press, Apple again cited Epic’s attempt to circumvent the default iOS payment platform for: Fortnite if the cause of the problem:
We are disappointed that we had to terminate the Epic Games account in the App Store. We have been working with the Epic Games team on their launches and releases for many years. The court advised Epic to adhere to the App Store guidelines as their case moves forward, guidelines they followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has declined.
Instead, they submit repeatedly Fortnite updates designed to violate App Store guidelines. This is not fair to all the other developers in the App Store and puts customers in the middle of their struggle. We hope we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney took to Twitter to dispute Apple’s characterization of its actions around Fortnite† “They chose to terminate Epic’s account,” sweeney wrote:† “They didn’t have to.”
Sweeney also addressed Apple’s suggestion that the company “repeatedly” submitted updates that violate App Store rules. The most recent Fortnite update, Sweeney said, was submitted to Apple with option to leave Epic Direct Payments intact “in case Apple wants to reinstate it Fortnite to the App Store in time for the Season 4 launch.”
Apple also tells CNBC that Epic has been pushing frustrated users to contact AppleCare for support, leading to “refund quality issues and support issues for Apple users around the world,” as CNBC puts it.
Apple’s decision to block Epic’s App Store account should not affect the development of Unreal Engine for iOS. Epic International uses a separate account with a separate contract for that development, and that account was recently protected from Apple’s planned retaliation by a federal judge’s restraining order.
Elsewhere online, the official Apple App Store Twitter account took the opportunity today to promote PUBG mobilea major competitor of Fortnite in the battle royale genre. In a wry response to that move, Sweeney retweeted Apple’s promotional tweet while noticing that PUBG is “another great Battle Royale game powered by Unreal Engine!”