Apple Won't Allow Epic And Fortnite Back On iOS Until Court Judgment Is Final

Tim Sweeney thinks that could take up to five years.

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor September 23, 2021
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It's been over a year since Fortnite was booted from the App Store -- and it might be several years before it comes back.

Yesterday, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney shared a letter his company received from Apple, stating that Fortnite would be "blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals, which could be as long as a 5-year process." (Sweeney's words) The letter accuses Epic of "intentional breach of contract, and breach of trust" and that the termination of Epic's developer account on the App Store was, in the words of the court, "valid, lawful, and enforceable." In light of that, and "Epic's duplicitous conduct in the past," Apple will not renew Epic's account "until the district court's judgment becomes final and nonappealable" -- which, as Sweeney noted, could take a very long time.

One week earlier, Sweeney had written to Epic to say that his company would agree by the rules as set out by the court order, which would "allow apps to include buttons and external links that direct customers to other purchasing mechanisms without onerous terms or other impediments to a good user experience."

As has been the case with many parts of this case, it's largely about public relations. Despite its attempt to seem neutral, there are likely many people at Apple who now have a personal dislike for Sweeney and Epic for their actions and will do everything in their power to prevent Fortnite from returning to the store. Nevertheless, the company said for a year that it would welcome Epic back -- a PR move -- despite now denying that motion, which has led Sweeney to make the simple accusation that "Apple lied."

Meanwhile, Sweeney himself has been using the entire affair as a way to make himself seem like a champion of app developers everywhere, and this recent sharing of documents is just another attempt to make Apple seem like the bad guy, and, by extension, him as the good guy.

Then again, given how Epic breached Apple's terms of service before, and is still appealing the recent court decision, and how Sweeney's letter included more than a few "if you do this" caveats, it's not hard to see why Apple wouldn't want Epic back until everything was finalized. In any case, if you're looking forward to seeing Fortnite back on iOS, you've likely got a long wait ahead of you.

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About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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