Fortnite fans who play on iOS will be sad to learn that Epic Games won’t release the game’s upcoming season on iOS because of the ongoing legal feud between the game-maker and Apple.
Epic confirmed what many suspected, noting that Fortnite Chapter 2: Season 4 won’t come to iOS or macOS. The studio previously warned that this could happen. The season will launch on Android, consoles and PC on August 27th.
Epic updated a FAQ page on its website, saying Apple blocked Fortnite updates and new installs on the App Store. Further, Epic says Apple has “said they will terminate our ability to develop Fortnite for Apple devices.” Because of this, Chapter 2: Season 4 won’t launch on macOS or iOS on August 27th.
This comes after the judge presiding over the lawsuit granted Epic a restraining order for its Unreal Engine business, which Apple targeted by threatening to terminate the associated developer account. However, the ruling didn’t require Apple to restore Fortnite to the App Store, which Epic hoped would happen.
The main issue stems from Epic’s decision to implement a direct payment system in Fortnite that bypasses Apple’s in-app payment system. Direct payments got Fortnite kicked off both the App Store and the Play Store, as well as instigated Epic’s legal battles with Apple and Google. However, it’s worth noting that neither lawsuit is about Fortnite getting kicked off of app stores — instead, the focus is on whether Apple and Google use their control over app stores and the rules that govern them to enforce monopolies. In other words, it’s not a question of whether Epic broke the rules governing the app stores, but whether the rules are fair in the first place.
Direct payment system keeping Fortnite off the App Store
Apple has said it will allow Fortnite to return to the App Store if Epic removes the direct payment method from the game. Epic, however, refused, explaining that Apple’s “proposal is an invitation for Epic to collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments on iOS.” Epic goes on to say it won’t “participate in this scheme” on principle.
Apple’s response to the Judge’s temporary order pic.twitter.com/BXwvWcgiCB
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) August 25, 2020
Since Epic can remedy the issue of Fortnite not being on the App Store by removing the direct payments system, the judge did not grant a restraining order to force Apple to let the game back on the store. In a response to the decision shared by Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, Apple thanked the court for “recognizing that Epic’s problem is entirely self-inflicted” and reiterated its priority to offer a “safe and trusted environment” with the App Store.
That argument has been one of Apple’s main defences of the App Store and its restrictive rules. The company believes that it can protect iOS users by managing and reviewing apps that enter its store so that everything available to them is vetted and safe. However, that argument doesn’t address how Epic pushed out a Fortnite update with the rule-breaking direct payment method to iOS users without Apple catching and blocking it.
All this effectively leaves iOS and macOS Fortnite fans without a way to play the game for the foreseeable future. Assuming Epic sticks to its refusal to remove direct payments, I expect Fortnite won’t return to Apple devices until the courts make a final ruling.
Still, if gamers have access to another device, they can still play the game. Fortnite remains available on Windows PCs and game consoles, as well as on Android through Fortnite‘s website or through the Galaxy App Store on Samsung devices. It is not available on the Google Play Store, however.