Apple just terminated the Epic Games developer account [Updated]

Epic Games Removed From the App Store
Epic Games Removed From the App Store (Image credit: iMore)

Update 8/28/2020 3:37 PM PT: Tim Sweeney responds to Apple's statement about terminating Epic Games' developer account.

What you need to know

  • Apple has terminated the Epic Games developer account.
  • There are no Epic Games titles available in the App Store right now.
  • Apple didn't go against Judge Gonzalez Rogers' ruling.

Epic Games' entire catalogue of games has disappeared from the App Store (opens in new tab) after Apple terminated the Epic Games developer account. Last week, Epic Games tweeted that Apple told the company it would pull its developer account if it didn't comply with Apple's guidelines. The deadline for making the required changes was today, August 28.

This comes after U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that; A. Apple was within its rights to ban Fortnite from the App Store for violating its rules, but B. Apple could not revoke Epic Games as a developer.

Well, sort of.

Actually, the judge ruled that Apple could not limit Epic Games' ability to provide Unreal Engine and key graphics technology for other apps. Not that it couldn't terminate the Epic Games developer account.

According to CNBC.com, Apple terminated an Epic developer account that doesn't include the Unreal Engine used by third-party developers, so it actually did not go against the judge's ruling.

Apple's statement:

We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store. We have worked with the team at Epic Games for many years on their launches and releases," Apple said. "The court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they've followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has refused. Instead they repeatedly submit Fortnite updates designed to violate the guidelines of the App Store. This is not fair to all other developers on the App Store and is putting customers in the middle of their fight. We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.

Tim Sweeney responds to Apple's statement about Epic "spamming" the App Store review process

In a statement on Twitter, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney claimed Apple's statement "wasn't forthright."

Apple's statement isn't forthright. They chose to terminate Epic's account; they didn't have to. Apple suggests we spammed the App Store review process. That's not so. Epic submitted three Fortnite builds: two bug-fix updates, and the Season 4 update with this note:Hello,Fortnite build v14.0 with the new Season 4 has been uploaded through App Store Connect. This build continues to offer customers the choice of in-app purchases through either Apple's payment solution or through Epic direct payment. Epic is submitting this version in case Apple wishes to restore Fortnite to the App Store in time for Season 4 launch. Thanks.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

7 Comments
  • This is so out of hand. Apple is in everyone's pockets. This is what happens when you have a $1.5 Trillion company. Most of you bleeding heart, corporate haters suck right up to Apple. If it was any other company you would be protesting in the streets. Apple is one of the most dominating and corrupt operators in business today. This type of monopoly shows that as well.
  • Don't agree. Apple is not in a monopoly situation. Nobody has ever said that end-users cannot buy any other mobile OS devices, or that companies need to develop to the App Store. Android market is well in par with Apple. It is up to end-users to put an end to this. Unless they find this reasonable and stay.
  • Epic needs to grow up. Not holding my breath, though.
  • Oh do shut up, Apple is like any other business, Epic Games breached their contract with Apple that they agreed to so they got what they deserved. They’re no big loss. Now go home to playing with your malware infested droid.
  • Good. Epic can now throw yet another public hissy fit. The facts of this case are: 1. Epic deliberately violated the terms of a contract that they willingly signed.
    2. Apple HAS to respond to such violations, otherwise Apple would also be in violation of the contract AND even worse, by NOT responding, would render all other existing contracts null and void.
    3. No one - NO ONE - has the right to violate the terms of contract just because you no longer like the terms. Or worse, because you want to make a public spectacle of yourself in a vain attempt to make some "point".
    4. If you want to change the terms of a contract that you already signed, then you enter into good-faith negotiations behind closed doors. You don't throw public tantrums.
    5. Epic gambled on point 2 above, and lost. They assumed Apple would cave.
    6. Apple is totally within their legal rights to do everything they are doing. Why? BECAUSE IT IS IN THE CONTRACT THAT EPIC SIGNED. That's how contract laws work. If you don't like it, then too bad. Go play in someone else's sandbox. Epic has 3 options at this point: 1. They can abide by the terms of the contract THAT THEY WILLINGLY SIGNED. Apple may or may not be willing to re-negotiate at this point.
    2. They can continue on their current path, which will result in Epic losing this case. Epic is the guilty party here. Not Apple.
    3. They can take a hike, and live off of sales in the Android market. Choose wisely.
  • Epic fail. Epic Games got what they deserved, they thought they could take on Apple in their own backyard and LOST. Good riddance to arrogant and Greedy Epic Games. Google and the hot mess that’s Android is welcome to Epic Games and Fortnite. Epic Games thought they could violate their terms and conditions that they agreed to and not have any consequences just because they suddenly no longer like the terms and conditions.
  • I don't consider this a fail. Nobody can believe that Epic did not think this through and did not see this as a probable outcome. They were probably already about to leave. And they made a last try. Apple just started ours own gaming service that acts the same way as its own iTunes store against Spotify and whathaveyou. The terms stayed, the fields changed. Being a game developer does not pay as well on iOS anymore.