Fortnite could be banned from App Store for five years in blow to iPhone gamers

The world's most popular videogame, Fortnite, will remain indefinitely banned from the App Store until Apple can resolve a legal dispute with developer Epic Games—which could take five years.

The makers of the iPhone and the iPad sent a letter to Fortnite bosses Epic Games on Tuesday, saying it would not reinstate the app until a final court judgement in a lengthy legal battle.

Fortnite was first removed from the App Store in August 2020 for allegedly trying to get round Apple's rules on paying commissions for in-app purchases.

Instead of charging for purchases in the app—and paying a commission—Epic Games were allegedly linking players to website purchases as a workaround..

Epic Games sued Apple for the removal, and with the legal case ongoing, it seems Apple is not willing to budge.

CEO Tim Sweeney took to Twitter in a strongly worded statement to say that "Apple lied".

"Applie lied. Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they'd 'welcome Epic's return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else'.

Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly over a billion users."

While Apple confirmed the letter Sweeney shared on Twitter is real, it turned down a request for comment.

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The letter itself however states that "Epic committed an intentional breach of contract, and breach of trust, by concealing code from Apple and making related misrepresentations and omissions".

Fortnite is estimated to have between 6 and 12 million players every day, with more than 60 percent of them being between the ages of 18-24.

Out of its 250 million strong player base, an estimated 73 million were said to have exclusively played the game on Apple iOS systems—meaning the ban is a huge blow for Epic's player base.

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