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Fortnite battles Apple over App Store; Here is what Epic Games wants

Fortnite online game was barred from App Store by Apple after Epic Games refused to pay commission and looked at bypassing the App Store.
Fortnite online game was barred from App Store by Apple after Epic Games refused to pay commission and looked at bypassing the App Store. (Fortnite)

Fortnite online game was booted out from the App Store by Apple after a huge controversy. Now, Epic Games is looking to hit back hard.

Epic Games Inc. is looking to take advantage of a new law in South Korea that will force Apple Inc. to open its App Store to outside payment systems. The video-game maker aims to rerelease its multiplayer hit Fortnite on Apple’s iOS in Korea with the inclusion of Epic’s payment option alongside Apple’s, according to a company tweet Thursday.

Fortnite was removed from the App Store and Google’s Android Play Store more than a year ago after Epic clashed with the two dominant mobile platforms over the handling of payments and the 30% fee charged by both. To bring Fortnite back to iPhones and iPads, Epic has asked Apple to restore its developer account.

“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,” Apple said in an emailed statement. “As of now, there’s no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account.”

South Korea’s National Assembly passed a bill late last month that will ban application-store operators from forcing developers to use a single payment system and instead mandates giving users a choice of methods to pay. Dubbed the anti-Google law, it applies to both iOS and Android, with Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple facing increasingly widespread criticism for their exclusionary practices.

The two companies have argued that their controls on payment methods benefit users by ensuring privacy and security and also help keep the app stores free to use. The law needs to be signed by President Moon Jae-in before taking effect, which could happen as soon as this month.

Apple and Epic have been locked in a legal battle over the iPhone maker’s App Store practices and payment fees, with a ruling expected soon. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ decision could mandate changes to the App Store, and she has suggested a compromise along the lines of the Korean law, though she has also indicated that her ruling won’t please either side.

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