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Apple won't allow Epic Games back into App Store in S Korea, despite new law

Fortnite creator Epic Games has asked Apple to restore the company’s developer account to the App Store so the company could offer both its own payment systems and those by Apple’s side-by-side in compliance with Korea’s new law. (AFP) (AFP)Premium
Fortnite creator Epic Games has asked Apple to restore the company’s developer account to the App Store so the company could offer both its own payment systems and those by Apple’s side-by-side in compliance with Korea’s new law. (AFP) (AFP)

  • Tech giant Apple has refused to allow a game called Fortnite back in the App Store in South Korea, despite a new law seemingly ruling against such a ban

NEW DELHI: Tech giant Apple has refused to allow a game called Fortnite back in the App Store in South Korea, despite a new law seemingly ruling against such a ban. The game’s creator, Epic Games, asked Apple to restore the company’s developer account to the App Store so the company could offer both its own payment systems and those by Apple’s side-by-side in compliance with Korea’s new law. 

“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 company said in a tweet.

In response, an Apple spokesperson told The Verge that the company would “welcome" Epic’s return to the App Store if the company agrees to “play by the same rules as everyone else," adding that: “Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there’s no legitimate basis for reinstatement of their developer account."

Apple’s refusal to let Epic back into the App Store though could be in contravention of South Korean laws. The country, on 30 August, passed a law which bars app store owners like Apple and Google from forcing developers to use only their built-in payment systems in apps. The law also prevents the companies from unfairly removing apps from their stores through review mechanisms.

To be clear, the South Korean law hasn’t gone into effect yet, but Apple is claiming that it won’t change the fact that app makers have to accept Apple’s review guidelines in order to be part of the App Store.

Epic Games’s popular battle royale game had been kicked off Apple App and Google Play Store in August last year, when the company started using its own payment systems in the game. The company subsequently sued both the tech giants and a verdict on the case is due at the moment.

The gaming giant isn’t the only company that has opposed these rules though. Apple and Google are facing multiple anti-trust cases about app store policies in various countries, including India. The iPhone maker also relaxed its rules after an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) recently.

As part of agreements with the JFTC and a class action lawsuit by developers in the US, Apple decided to allow developers to include links to third party payment services in their apps and will also allow them to reach out to customers outside of the App Store to inform them about such payment modes. Both Apple and Google had also started programmes earlier this year to lower their commissions to 15% for developers who earn less than $1 million per year from their stores. They charge 30% otherwise.

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