Epic asks Apple to allow Fortnite back in App Store ahead of landmark South Korean law

The hit game maker says it intends to re-release Fortnite for iPhones and iPads in Korea, offering both Epic and Apple payment systems.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read

Epic's Fortnite game was kicked off the App Store more than a year ago.


Epic Games has asked Apple to reinstate its hit Fortnite online battle game into the iPhone and iPad App Store in response to a South Korean law that clamps down on how mobile app stores operate. The new law, which was passed in August and is expected to go into effect soon, forces app store operators like Apple and Google to loosen restrictions they've instituted over the years. Apple said Epic must follow the app store rules in order to have its account reinstated.

Apple and Google kicked Epic off their respective app stores last August after it quietly changed code inside Fortnite intended to break both companies' rules. Apple and Google require that any app developers selling digital goods, such as a movie subscription or new looks for a character in a video game do so through in-app payment systems built into the Apple and Google app stores. Apple and Google both take up to a 30% cut of each sale through their payments services.

Epic intentionally broke that rule, offering gamers an alternative to pay through its own payments service, effectively cutting out Apple's and Google's commissions in the process. In response, Apple and Google both kicked Fortnite out of their stores.

"Epic has asked Apple to restore our Fortnite developer account," Epic said in a statement on Twitter late Thursday. "Epic intends to re-release Fortnite on iOS in Korea offering both Epic payment and Apple payment side-by-side in compliance with the new Korean law."

Apple said Epic will still need to agree with its developer guidelines to have its account reinstated. "As we've said all along, we would welcome Epic's return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else," the company said in a statement. "Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there's no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account."

The move marks an escalation on Epic's part in its ongoing battles with Apple and Google. Epic sued both companies shortly after Fortnite was kicked from both app stores, arguing that they had violated antitrust laws. Apple and Epic went to trial this spring over the issue in a California court, and are currently awaiting a verdict.