Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has posted documents suggesting that Apple is keeping hit battle royale title Fortnite blacklisted from the App Store and iOS.
Following a long and drawn-out antitrust legal battle between Apple and Fortnite developers Epic – which ended in Apple being forced to allow third-party purchasing – Sweeney has posted to Twitter, accusing Apple of reversing on its promise to allow the hit game to return to the iOS App Store.
“Apple lied,” he said in a tweet. “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.
“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.”
Apple initially removed Epic's Fortnite developer account – resulting in Fortnite being blocked from appearing on iPhones, iPads and so on – back in August, after Epic began allowing players to make direct payments to the company, bypassing the App Store (and side-stepping its mandatory 30% cut on all transactions).
Apple called the move an "intentional breach of contract," resulting in Epic appealing to the court – albeit uncsuccesfully.
Apple, in an email to Sweeney, said that it will not reinstate the developer's account "at this time" thanks to Epic's "duplicitous conduct in the past".
"Epic committed an intentional breach of contract, and breach of trust, by concealing code from Apple and making related misrepresentations and omissions," Apple noted.
"In its decision, the court recognised that 'Apple had contractual rights to act as it did. It merely enforced those rights as [Epic's] own internal documents show Epic Games expected'".
Apple went on to note that the court – in its 185 page ruling – agreed that the company's decision to remove Epic's developer access was "valid, lawful, and enforceable". Hence why we're seeing the company continue to bar Epic from the App Store.
Given Epic said it will appeal the decision the courts made, you can likely expect Fortnite to remain unavailable on iOS for a while to come yet.