Apple on Friday refused to reinstate the hugely popular game Fortnite in its South Korean App Store despite a new anti-monopoly law from Seoul that effectively bans its lucrative digital payment platform, exacerbating an ongoing dispute with the game developer. Epic Games video.
The two companies are at the forefront of a global competition between broadcast platforms and content creators on revenue distribution, with billions of dollars at stake.
Apple pulled Fortnite from its store last year after Epic introduced direct payment in the app, bypassing the tech giant’s own system.
Epic has sued Apple for the takedown and the case is in the courts of the United States.
A world first, South Korea passed a law last month that banned Apple and Google from forcing app developers to use the payment systems of tech giants, thus declaring their lucrative monopolies on the App Store illegal and the Play Store.
Scheduled to go into effect in the coming days, it will make South Korea the first country to impose such alternative payment options, allowing users to bypass fees set by store owners.
“Epic intends to re-release Fortnite on iOS in Korea, offering both Epic payment and Apple payment side-by-side under new Korean law,” the games company said on its verified Fortnite Twitter account on Friday.
But in a statement to AFP, Apple said it won’t let Epic Games return to the App Store until they agree to “play by everyone’s rules.”
“Epic has admitted to having broken the contract and at the moment there is no legitimate basis for reestablishing its developer account,” he added.
Apple and Google have faced global criticism for charging up to 30% commission on app sales and requiring the use of their own payment systems, which collect a share of transactions.
They face a number of class-action lawsuits over the rules, and last month reached a settlement in the United States that allowed small developers to let their customers know about alternative payment options beyond the App Store.
August also saw U.S. senators introduce legislation that would make it illegal for store operators such as Apple and Google to require the use of their own payment systems for transactions.
A verdict is expected later this year in its case against Epic, whose action-packed first-person shooter Fortnite is one of the most popular games in the world, with over 350 million users , more than the American population.
It’s free to play too, with billions in revenue generated from players purchasing extras like outfits and dance moves.
Epic’s announcement on Friday came after its CEO Tim Sweeney enthusiastically welcomed the passage of the law, calling it a “major milestone in the 45-year history of personal computing” on his Twitter account .