Epic requests for Fortnite to re-enter App Store with its payment systems in Korea

The request follows various legislative and regulatory movements over the past few weeks over Apple's app store policies.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

Epic Games has written a letter to Apple requesting that its Fortnite developer account be restored, the game developer tweeted on Friday morning.

Fortnite was booted off the App Store and Google Play Store last year, after it introduced a new payment system aimed at sidestepping the tech giants' payment systems and in-app purchase commissions.

"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," Epic also said in the tweet.

Epic's request for Fortnite to rejoin the App Store, while maintaining its own payment system, comes shortly after South Korea approved legislation to ban app marketplaces like the App Store from removing apps for using payment systems that reside outside of Apple's ecosystem.

According to Apple, Epic's reliance on the South Korean laws to re-enter the App Store was unsupported, and the new laws do not compel Apple to approve a developer program account application.

Outside of the South Korean laws, Epic's letter also comes in the midst of Apple changing its app policy to allow developers of content apps to link to external websites for setting up and managing accounts from sometime next year, after it received regulatory pressure from the Japan Fair Trade Commission to do so.

Apple also agreed to a settlement last month to allow app developers to implement payment systems outside of the App Store and communicate directly with customers about them.

With both legislators and regulators breathing down Apple's back, Epic has followed suit by piling onto the iPhone maker. Along with Epic's request for Fortnite to re-enter the App Store, the company still has various lawsuits filed against Apple, with all of them accusing the iPhone maker of conducting anti-competitive and monopolistic practices through their respective app stores. 

Apple has so far rejected all of Epic's claims that it has acted anti-competitively against Epic Games.

It has also disagreed with the legislative changes made in South Korea, saying the new laws would put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases.

"We believe user trust in App Store purchases will decrease as a result of this proposal -- leading to fewer opportunities for the over 482,000 registered developers in Korea who have earned more than 8.55 trillion won to date with Apple," an Apple spokesperson said in an emailed statement. 

Updated at 1:42pm AEST, 10 September 2021: added information from Apple


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