Although a new antitrust law in Seoul effectively banned its lucrative digital payment platform, Apple on Friday refused to restore the popular Fortnite game to its South Korean app store, thus exacerbating a relationship with video game developer Epic Games. Ongoing disputes.
The two companies are at the forefront of global competition between delivery platforms and content creators on how to distribute revenue, involving billions of dollars.
Last year, after Epic introduced direct payments in the app, Apple removed Fortnite from its store, bypassing the tech giant’s own system.
Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple over the removal issue, and the case is pending in a US court.
South Korea passed a law last month prohibiting Apple and Google from forcing app developers to use the payment systems of the two technology giants. This is effectively announcing the illegal monopoly of its lucrative App Store and Play Store.
Expected to take effect in the next few days, it will make South Korea the first country to mandate such alternative payment methods, allowing users to bypass the fees set by shopkeepers.
The game company stated on its verified Fortnite Twitter account on Friday: “Epic intends to re-release the iOS version of Fortnite in South Korea and provide both Epic payment and Apple payment to comply with the new South Korean law.”
But in a statement to Agence France-Presse, Apple said it would not allow Epic Games to re-enter the App Store unless they agreed to “play the game in accordance with the same rules as everyone else.”
“Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there is no legal basis for restoring its developer account,” it added.
Apple and Google have faced global criticism for charging up to 30% commissions on app sales and requiring the use of their own payment systems to collect part of the transaction.
They face multiple class-action lawsuits due to the rules and reached a settlement agreement in the United States last month, allowing small developers to notify their customers of other payment options besides the App Store.
In August, the U.S. Senator also introduced legislation to make it illegal for store operators such as Apple and Google to require the use of their own payment systems for transactions.
The Epic case is expected to be judged later this year, and its action-packed first-person shooter Fortnite is one of the most popular games in the world, with more than 350 million users-more than the population of the United States.
It is also free, and players purchase additional content such as costumes and dance moves that generate billions of dollars in revenue.
Before Epic’s announcement on Friday, its CEO Tim Sweeney welcomed the passage of the law on his Twitter account, calling it “an important part of the 45-year history of personal computing. milestone”.
“I am Korean,” he added.