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Fortnite ‘blacklisted’ by Apple, Epic Games CEO says

Apple could keep Fortnite off Mac and iOS for five years

Fortnite - guy lying in field with coins and treasure chest Image: Epic Games
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Following a ruling in Fortnite creator Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney says Apple will blacklist Fortnite from its ecosystem until its appeals process makes the judgment final.

“Apple lied,” Sweeney said on Twitter. “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.”

Sweeney said that Apple’s decision could keep Fortnite off iOS and Mac platforms for as long as five years as the appeals process plays out.

Though Epic Games has appealed the court’s ruling in the Apple case, Sweeney promised that Epic Games would “adhere to Apple’s guidelines” should the company get its developer account back. (The account, which gives developers access to Apple tools, was suspended last year, which sparked the lawsuit.) Sweeney tweeted Wednesday that Apple has declined the request to reinstate the developer program account.

“In light of this and other statements since the court’s decision, coupled with Epic’s duplicitous conduct in the past, Apple has exercised its discretion not to reinstate Epic’s developer program at this time,” Apple lawyer Mark A. Perry wrote in an email to Epic published by Sweeney. “Furthermore, Apple will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgement becomes final and nonappealable.”

An Epic Games representative told Polygon it has no further comment. We’ve reached out to Apple for more information, too.

On Sept. 10, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a permanent injunction that required Apple to allow App Store developers to push their users to third-party payment systems. Though a small part of the lawsuit, it was a victory for developers interested in circumventing App Store terms that give Apple a 30% cut of sales made through the store. Apple, however, also claimed victory in the lawsuit: The judge said Apple does not have an illegal monopoly on “mobile gaming transactions.”

Sweeney tweeted earlier in September that Epic Games paid Apple the court-ordered $6 million, a portion of which is Fortnite revenue the company gained following the move that kickstarted the lawsuit.

Update: This story has been updated to include the full payment Epic Games made to Apple, per a court order.

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