Apple Terminates Epic Games’ Developer Account Amid App Store Legal Battle

Epic Games was planning to launch its own app marketplace on iPhone.

Tech & Gadgets
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Apple and Epic Games have been in and out of court since August 2020, when Epic first challenged Apple’s practice on barring apps from having in-app purchases outside of those overseen by the App Store.

For each in-game purchase, Apple also took a 30% cut of the payment. As a means of bypassing that system, Epic implemented its own in-app payment system for Fortnite, a move that led to Apple taking it off of the App Store entirely.

With the recent passing of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) – laws that seek to make the technology industry more fair – Apple was forced to allow Fortnite back on iOS devices. Rather than bringing it back to the App Store, Epic shared that it would be launching the Epic Games Store, a marketplace for its own titles.

Apple was essentially required by the DMA to approve Epic’s developer account, as it dictates that Apple must allow third-party app stores. Just a few weeks after Epic’s developer account in Sweden was approved, however, Apple suddenly terminated the account.

“To our surprise, Apple has terminated that account and now we cannot develop the Epic Games Store for iOS,” Epic wrote in a blog post. “This is a serious violation of the DMA and shows Apple has no intention of allowing true competition on iOS devices.”

Epic went on to accuse Apple of “undermining [its ability to be a viable competitor and… showing other developers what happens when you try to compete with Apple or are critical of their unfair practices.”

The game developer received word of the sudden termination in a letter from Apple’s lawyers. According to Epic, the reason for the account being deleted was because of a thread published to X by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney criticizing Apple’s practices. The thread went live ten days after the developer account was originally approved.

Citing Sweeney’s posts on X, Apple’s lawyers wrote in the email that based on their “colorful criticism,” as well as Epic’s past actions, suggests that “Epic Sweden does not intend to follow the rules.”

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