Epic’s EU game store and Fortnite iOS plans stall as Apple bans developer account

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Epic’s plans to launch a version of its Epic Games Store on iOS in the EU have stalled after Apple terminated its developer account, calling the company «verifiably untrustworthy» — and the much-trumpeted return of Fortnite to iOS has been impacted too.


Epic announced it would be launching an iOS version of its store in Europe back in February, following Apple’s confirmation it would be complying with the EU’s Digital Markets Act requiring it to allow sideloading and alternate marketplaces on its devices. While Epic boss Tim Sweeney immediately launched a social media tirade in response to the announcement — calling Apple’s planned implementation of the EU’s rules «hot garbage» — Epic soon confirmed it had officially received an Apple Developer Account and would be launching a version of its Epic Games Store, operated by Epic Games Sweden, sometime this year.


Now, however, Epic claims Apple has terminated its Epic Games Sweden AB developer account, preventing it from developing an iOS store — a move it says is «a serious violation of the DMA and shows Apple has no intention of allowing true competition on iOS devices.»

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In correspondence between Apple and Epic shared as part of today’s announcement, Apple’s Phil Schiller can be seen reaching out to Tim Sweeney for written assurances Epic is «acting in good faith» before approving its developer account, with Schiller drawing attention to Sweeney’s «colourful» recent social media comments and noting, «In the past, Epic has entered into agreements with Apple and then broken them.» Epic, of course, infamously chose to circumvent Apple’s contractually mandated App Store fees back in 2020 by adding the abililty to make direct in-game payments in Fortnite — a move that resulted in Fortnite being booted from the App Store and a lengthy legal tussle between the two companies.


In response to Schiller, Sweeney wrote, «Epic and its subsidiaries are acting in good faith and will comply with all current and future agreements with Apple.» However, a follow-up letter from Apple’s legal team calls Sweeney’s response «wholly insufficient and not credible», adding, «History shows…that Epic is verifiably untrustworthy».


It also calls Sweeney’s response «minimal» and «curt», insisting his assurances were «Ssiftly undercut by a litany of public attcks on Apple’s policies, compliance plans, and business model», adding, «A recent submission in the Australian litigation suggestions that Epic Games Sweden AB is part of a global effort to undermine or evade Apple’s rules». As such, Epic Games Sweden’s Developer Program membership is terminated «effective immediately».


Epic’s lengthy public response to the decision claims, «In terminating [its] developer account, Apple is taking out one of the largest potential competitors to the Apple App Store. They are undermining our ability to be a viable competitor and they are showing other developers what happens when you try to compete with Apple or are critical of their unfair practices.»


«If Apple maintains its power to kick a third party marketplace off iOS at its sole discretion,» Epic continues, «no reasonable developer would be willing to utilise a third party app store, because they could be permanently separated from their audience at any time.»


In short, don’t expect to see an iOS version of the Epic Games Store or an iOS return for Fortnite anytime soon (although the latter continues to be available on the platform via Xbox Cloud Gaming), and it’s likely Epic’s legal tussles with Apple are far from over.

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