Apple on Friday terminated Epic’s developer account and has removed the firm’s remaining games from the iOS App Store.
“We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store,” an Apple statement explains. “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.”
My reading of the U.S. District Court ruling referenced by Apple was that the consumer electronics giant would not be able to terminate Epic’s developer account. But Epic maintains multiple accounts, with one dedicated to the Unreal Engine, and that account has not been terminated, in keeping with the earlier ruling.
In continuing to defy Apple, Epic is also defying critics who believed that the firm was simply playing a high-stakes game of chicken with Apple and that it would quietly reinstate a version of Fortnite without its own in-app payment system by Apple’s termination deadline. But those with a better understanding of Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney believe he’s in this for the long haul and is committed to correcting what many feel are illegal and abusive business practices on the part of Apple.
And just in case anyone actually believed Apple wasn’t petty, it started promoting PUBG, a Fortnite competitor, in the iOS App Store the day that it terminated Epic’s account.