Apple has denied a request from Epic Games to reinstate the company's developer account and allow it to republish Fortnite on iOS in South Korea, which last month passed a law opening the door for alternative mobile app payment systems.
"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," an Apple spokesperson told The Verge in a statement early Friday morning. "Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there's no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account."
Coincidentally, shortly after Apple shot down Epic's request, the judge in the Fortnite trial issued her long awaited verdict, deeming Apple's anti-steering provisions anticompetitive but permitting Apple to forbid developers from using their own payment systems, as the South Korea legislation allows.
Epic initially announced its intentions to republish the battle royale game through its Forrtnite Twitter account on Thursday evening. "Epic has asked Apple to restore our Fortnite developer account. 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," the tweet reads.
Epic has asked Apple to restore our Fortnite developer account. Epic intends to re-release Fortnite on iOS in Korea… https://t.co/eIVXFQWI8Z— Fortnite (@Fortnite)1631229170.0
South Korea's law bans app store owners from mandating that developers use the store's payment system, targeting Apple and Google's practice of mandating the use of their respective payments systems and collecting 30% on all digital purchases. Epic was in effect testing the waters here, and it appears Apple has shut down the effort in quick order, arguing the company must agree to its developer terms (something Epic says it will not do) to be reinstated before it can even try and publish apps again.
It's not clear how or to what degree Apple and Google will comply with the South Korea law or on what timetable they will be forced to. But for now, Epic won't be able to experiment in South Korea.