Updated Sep 10, 2021 - Economy & Business

Epic asks Apple to allow "Fortnite" to return in South Korea

Fortnite.
Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Epic Games says it "intends" to re-release its popular "Fortnite" battle royale game on iPhones and iPads in South Korea, citing the country's new law involving in-app purchases.

Why it matters: Epic's plan, announced tonight via a Tweet, would allow it to achieve one of its key goals in its ongoing fight with Apple, at least in one country.

  • "Epic has asked Apple to restore our Fortnite developer account," the company stated in a Tweet to the official "Fortnite" account.
  • "Epic intends to re-release Fortnite on iOS in Korea offering both Epic payment and Apple payment side-by-side in compliance with the new Korean law."

Between the lines: Epic's move has been likely since last week, when South Korea passed a law that bars app store owners from prohibiting third-party payment systems.

  • In August 2020, Epic defied Apple's developer policies by allowing "Fortnite" players to purchase in-game items directly from Epic.
  • In-app purchases were supposed to only go through Apple's store, which results in Apple taking a 30% cut.
  • Apple booted "Fortnite" from iOS at the time, and Epic filed suit, leading to a spring 2021 trial, for which a verdict is still pending.

Be smart: Epic still needs Apple to put the app back in the store, a fact that underscores the very control that Epic and others are complaining about.

Update: Apple appears unlikely to do what Epic wants, at least not until it is forced to do so by a court.

  • "As we’ve said all along, we would welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else," Apple said in a statement. "Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there’s no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account.”
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