Apple won't let Fortnite back in the App Store, says Epic Games CEO

Earlier this month, a judge mostly sided with Apple in its court battle with Epic Games.

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It appears Fortnite won't be headed back to iPhones and iPads anytime soon. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney on Wednesday said Apple told the game maker that Fortnite won't be allowed on Apple devices until the court appeals process is final, which could take years. 

"Late last night, Apple informed Epic that Fortnite will be blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals, which could be as long as a 5-year process," wrote Sweeney in a tweet, along with an image of what appears to be a letter from Apple's lawyers.

A year-long battle between Apple and Epic over how the App Store operates came to a head earlier this month when a federal judge issued a ruling that largely sided with the iPhone maker. The judge dismissed most of the claims against Apple, but she forced the company to allow developers to inform users of alternative ways to pay within apps. Epic filed a notice of appeal on Sept. 12.

The fight began back in August 2020 when Fortnite was kicked off both the App Store and the Google Play Store after attempting to bypass the 30% fee Apple and Google charge developers. At the time, the popular battle royale game had been downloaded over 250 million times on iOS alone.

Read more: Apple scores legal win over Epic in Fortnite lawsuit: What you need to know

On Wednesday, Sweeney also shared what appears to be an email sent to Phil Schiller, the head of Apple's App Store, on Sept. 16, asking to have Epic's Fortnite development account reactivated. "Epic will resubmit Fortnite to the App Store if you adhere to the plain language of the court order and allow apps to include buttons and external links that direct customers to other purchasing mechanisms without onerous terms or impediments to a good user experience," Sweeney wrote in the email. 

In response, Sweeney said he was informed by Apple on Tuesday that Fortnite wouldn't be allowed in the Apple ecosystem until the court process was final. 

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.