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Apple trolls Fortnite with PUBG plug as it kicks Epic off App Store

Apple’s threat to terminate Fortnite developer Epic Games’ App Store account was not an idle one. The firm behind the hit MOBA is a goner for the time being.

The iPhone maker has followed through on its vow to revoke the developer’s access to its portals on August 28 amid an escalating row over App Store revenue sharing.

Fortnite had already been removed from the store after contravening strict rules over billing. Epic had added a direct payment method designed to by-pass Apple’s 30% slice of the pie for in-app purchases. Now Epic’s other App Store entries and its entire account privileges have been revoked.

The deletion was first noted by MacStories’ John Voorhees (via 9to5Mac), who discovered it is no longer possible to find Epic’s entries or profile page via direct links or by searching the App Store.  It’s important to point out this does not affect the Unreal Engine, Epic’s game development platform, which remains available to third-party game developers.

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An injunction won by Epic prevents Apple from removing this, much to the relief of hundreds of game developers who built their titles on the platform. However, that same court ruling also gave Apple the green light to ditch Epic’s account, which it has now done.

Incidentally, the app receiving top billing on the App Store’s ‘Today’ highlight page is Fortnite’s great rival PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG) Mobile, which now has a new map available. Touché. Considering Epic has been quite the roll in the last couple of weeks, Apple is probably pretty pleased with itself here.

All is not lost for Epic. Apple has said it would welcome Fortnite back to the App Store, provided it gets rid of the contentious payment method that caused all the trouble in the first place. However, given this was a very calculated move from Epic in the first place, knowing the consequences, we doubt this will happen.

The dispute is likely to be resolved through the courts, with Epic rallying the development community to stand against Apple’s so-called ‘app tax’ and bring about wider change that would free companies to offer their own storefronts for in-app purchases.

In the meantime, Epic is unable to update Fortnite, meaning Apple gamers are unable to play the new season. Furthermore, if any bugs or security issues arise, Epic won’t be able to fix them.

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