Apple on Friday rejected US game maker Epic Games’s request that its hit title Fortnite be re-released in South Korea in a case that highlights a tug-of-war over lucrative payment systems on the app market.
The video game maker had earlier tweeted that it has asked Apple to restore its Fortnite developer account and that it plans to relaunch the game on Apple’s mobile operating system in South Korea in light of a new legislation that effectively allows alternative in-app payment systems on app stores.
Epic’s Fortnite was removed from Apple’s App Store last year after the game maker introduced its own direct payment system to circumvent Apple’s commissions.
Apple, however, said that Epic still needs to follow its rules to be reinstated.
“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. Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there’s no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account,” Apple said in a statement.
According to Apple, Epic has refused to comply with its App Store review guidelines. The iPhone maker also maintains that the new law in South Korea, which is expected to take effect sometime next week, would not obligate Apple to approve any developer account, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Epic, currently embroiled in a legal battle with Apple over App Store operations in the US, made the request after South Korea’s parliament late last month passed the revised Telecommunications Business Act, which bars app market operators from forcing certain payment systems on app developers as well as unfairly delaying review of mobile content.
The legislation, the first of its kind globally, takes aim at App Store giants Apple and Google, who have forced developers to use their proprietary payment systems that take up to 30 per cent in commission for digital goods purchases.
It remains unclear how the law will be enforced or when it goes into effect.
Han Sang-hyuk, South Korea’s top telecommunications regulator, said after the Bill’s passage that he would work with other government agencies to resolve any regulatory blind spots of the new law.