Apple removed Fortnite from its App Store on Thursday after Epic implemented a new way to purchase V-Bucks — Fortnite’s real-money currency — bypassing Apple’s own payment system. This changes allowed developer Epic Games take the full cut of the profit, when previously, Apple took 30 percent.
Though Fortnite is no longer downloadable through the App Store, it’s still playable. Users that have the game downloaded on their devices can still launch and play the game. Players who previously downloaded Fortnite using their Apple IDs can also pull the game from the App Store by going to purchases and navigating to the “Not on this iPhone” menu. Even lapsed players, who haven’t updated the game recently, can launch it to install new updates.
But it seems players may not be able to update the game in the near future, according to some legal paperwork from Epic:
Rather than tolerate this healthy competition and compete on the merits of its offering, Apple responded by removing Fortnite from sale on the App Store, which means that new users cannot download the app, and users who have already downloaded prior versions of the app from the App Store cannot update it to the latest version. This also means that Fortnite players who downloaded their app from the App Store will not receive updates to Fortnite through the App Store, either automatically or by searching the App Store for the update.
Ok I just bought 2,000 v bucks using the epic discount and the regular Apple price. Both still worked. Apple can still collect fortnite money. pic.twitter.com/CgK6AYBbnm— Gene Park (@GenePark) August 13, 2020
Epic Games clarified this in a followup post on Thursday, saying players will have no issue playing already downloaded content. However, once Chapter 2, Season 4 begins (approximately two weeks from now), iOS players will be unable to access “any new content or the new Battle Pass.”
“Because Apple has BLOCKED your ability to update, when Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 4 releases you will NOT be able to play the new Season on iOS. Make your voice heard with #FreeFortnite,” Epic said in the announcement.
At the moment, players still have the option to either buy V-Bucks through the iOS App Store, or use Epic’s new, cheaper direct-purchase option. Given the legal battle, it’s possible that may not be the case for long.
Update (Aug. 14): On Aug. 13, Google also removed Fortnite from the Google Play store. But thanks to Android’s open system, users can still play Fortnite and download updates via Epic Games.
Epic has since launched a lawsuit against Google, alongside its suit against Apple.