Apple has informed Epic Games that its battle royale Fortnite will be banned from the App Store for at least a year. The game was famously pulled from the platform last month when Epic attempted to undercut Apple's profits and let fans buy in-game V-bucks directly from the developer. The removal of the game prompted Epic to file legal papers against Apple, accusing the tech company of maintaining a monopoly over the iOS system and stifling innovation with anticompetitive policies.
Fortnite fans who were hoping for a speedy resolution to the debacle have been disappointed. Both companies have been fighting tirelessly since Epic filed those legal papers. To win over the public, Epic started a PR campaign including a shot-for-shot remake of Apple's iconic 1984 ad and an in-game Fortnite event including anti-Apple cosmetic items. Apple responded by banning Epic's developer accounts, preventing the developer from updating and maintaining Fortnite. It even threatened to cut support for Epic's popular Unreal Engine, but a judge intervened to prevent this. Now Apple's suing Epic back, claiming that the developer's breach of contract and PR campaign are proving detrimental to the App Store.
The most recent development in the Fortnite feud indicates that Apple is more than happy to wait Epic out. As reported by GamesRadar, Epic recently shared a correspondence from Apple warning the developer that it is prepared to deny reapplication to its developer program for at least a year. Without access to this program, it would be impossible for Epic to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store, or update it for users who downloaded it before the ban. This is in direct contradiction to earlier statements made by Apple, who swore up and down that it would be happy to let Fortnite back on the App Store as soon as Epic dropped its charges and agreed to abide by the terms and conditions Apple laid out.
The legal system is a notoriously complicated piece of work, and the papers being filed back and forth between Apple and Epic are mere preludes to a much more significant court battle set to go down sometime next year. This is definitely bad news for fans who enjoy playing Fortnite on mobile; even if they downloaded their copies before the game was removed, they won't see any of the new content that's been released to accompany the game's newest season of Marvel superheroes. Entrepreneurs on eBay were recently discovered selling iPhones with Fortnite already installed for outlandish fees. If the ban persists, some might just be desperate enough to pick one up.
The Fortnite feud is a long, bitter struggle, and it's a very difficult time for fans of the landmark title. The significance of the issue these two companies are fighting over, and the dramatic repercussions it could have on the video game industry, are likely not much consolation for players who miss their favorite game. Unfortunately for mobile players, the Fortnite ban seems destined to drag out for a very long time.