Apple has terminated Epic Games’ App Store account due to legal dispute [Update: Apple comments]

On August 17, Apple threatened to revoke Epic Games’ developer accounts and App Store account. And, sure enough, it has happened.

Update (08/28/2020)Apple has released a comment regarding its removal of the Epic Games App Store account, which was shared on Twitter by Mark GurmanIt’s quoted below.

We are disappointed that we have had 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 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.

The original article continues below.

John Voorhees of MacStories was first to catch the change today, with Apple following up on its threat. We already know Apple removed the mega-popular battle royale game Fortnite from the App Store earlier this month. Now, with the Epic Games App Store account removed in totality, all the other apps from the developer are now gone as well.

When you search for the other titles, including Fortnite, the digital storefront now shows “this app is currently not available in your country or region” instead of the app or game.

Epic has another account that handles Unreal Engine, and that remains safe at the time of publication. A judge has already ruled that while Epic Games can’t get help to reinstate Fortnite in the App Store after knowingly breaking the storefront’s rules and guidelines, Apple can’t block Unreal Engine, either. So, as it stands, Unreal Engine will remain available to Epic itself and other development studios, which means other games won’t lose support.

Speaking of Infinity Blade, Epic Games did remove those titles (there were three of them!) from the App Store back in 2018.

I’m going to put the timeline down below for a quick refresher on how we got here.

August 13, 2020

  • Epic Games updates Fortnite on the server-side, bypassing the App Store review process. It adds a direct payment option, breaking another rule in the process.
  • Apple removes Fortnite from the App Store due to Epic Games breaking the App Store rules.
  • Epic Games launches a media blitz, and it also sues Apple for anti-competitive behavior.
  • Epic launches “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite”, a parody video of Apple’s original “1984” ad:

  • Google removes Fortnite from the Play Store, as Epic Games also violated the Play Store’s rules.
  • Epic sues Google, too.
  • Spotify weighs in! Unsurprisingly, it applauds Epic Games for its decision to stand up against Apple.

August 14, 2020

  • Facebook says Apple’s App Store fees make it impossible to help small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

August 17, 2020

  • Apple threatens to revoke Epic Games’ developer accounts for not only iOS, but also macOS. That cut-off is set to take place on Friday, August 28, 2020.

August 18, 2020

August 20, 2020

  • The Wall Street Journal and other news publications sign an open letter asking for Apple to reduce its App Store fees down to a standard 15%.

August 21, 2020

  • Epic Games promotes the #FreeFortnite Cup, or tournament, that is meant to bring even more attention against Apple, and is promoting “anti-Apple” prizes.
  • Epic sought special treatment for Fortnite before it declared war against Apple and the App Store’s guidelines.

August 24, 2020

  • Judge Gonzalez-Rogers rules that Apple does not need to reinstate Fortnite back into the App Store as the legal battle wages on. The judge also rules that Apple cannot revoke the Unreal Engine development tools, but it can still move forward with removing Epic’s developer account for iOS and macOS.
  • Apple says it agrees with the ruling made by Judge Gonzalez-Rogers, and is prepared to welcome Fortnite back onto iOS as soon as Epic Games is ready to follow the App Store guidelines.

August 26, 2020

  • Epic confirms that the new season of Fortnite, which is Marvel-themed, will not be available on iOS or Mac. Cross-platform functionality with those platforms is also removed.

August 28, 2020