Epic have confirmed that Fortnite will not be updated to Chapter 2 – Season 4 on iPhone, iPad and Mac tomorrow, alongside other platforms. This is due to Apple blocking the game from the iOS App Store while it contains direct payment methods that breach their terms of service, something which has led to Epic and Apple ending up in court.
In an update to their FAQ on the situation, Epic state:
Apple is blocking Fortnite updates and new installs on the App Store, and has said they will terminate our ability to develop Fortnite for Apple devices. As a result, Fortnite’s newly released Chapter 2 – Season 4 update (v14.00), will not release on iOS and macOS on August 27.
The update will also not be coming to Android players who have downloaded the game from the Google Play Store, however Epic note that you can download the game directly from them or the Samsung Galaxy Store instead.
This comes in the wake of a court ruling on Epic’s requests for injunctive relief while their law suit against Apple is in the courts. After breaching the App Store developer agreement, Apple pulled Fortnite from the store, and was immediately met with a planned lawsuit and buzzy marketing campaign. The next day, Apple determined that Epic’s breach of contract was serious enough that it warranted the company being booted from their developer programme entirely, not just affecting Fortnite, but also blocking Epic from updating the Unreal Engine that it and many iOS games are based on.
Epic requested an injunction to stay Apple’s hand and prevent them from blocking Unreal Engine and Fortnite updates. The Unreal Engine block even saw Microsoft weigh in to support Epic, but not on the matter of Fortnite. The Court also agreed with this, stating that blocking Unreal Engine would have far reaching effects across the industry, which would be far too complicated to untangle with damages down the line. However, on the matter of Fortnite, they said:
Epic Games remains free to maintain its agreements with Apple in breach status as this litigation continues, but as the Seventh Circuit recognized in Second City Music, “[t]he sensible way to proceed is for [Epic to comply with the agreements and guidelines] and continue to operate while it builds a record.” “Any injury that [Epic Games] incurs by following a different course is of its own choosing.” Epic Games admits that the technology exists to “fix” the problem easily by deactivating the “hotfix.” That Epic Games would prefer not to litigate in that context does not mean that “irreparable harm” exists.
And so, while Epic are keen to continue to paint Apple as the bad guys here, and plainly state that it’s entirely their fault… it’s not. The Court has determined that this one’s on Epic, who willingly and knowingly breached an agreement they disagree with and have acknowledged that it would be easy to revert the changes. Apple have also stated that they would be happy to restore Fortnite to the store so long as it removes the direct payment option.
Of course, it’s all for effect, to continue to play this out in the court of public opinion as well as in the actual court. We’ll have to wait and see how Epic decide to play this in the weeks and months to come. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising for them to backtrack once they’ve decided they’ve made their point and got enough attention.