‘Fortnite’ set for 5 years on the sideline as Epic and Apple continue feud

It looks like Fortnite’s exile from Apple’s App Store has only just begun, with Epic’s Tim Sweeney venting online that it may take 5 years for them to end their ongoing legal battle.

It’s been over a year since Apple made the decision to oust Epic’s popular battle royale game Fortnite from their App Store. The fallout from that action has resulted in a protracted legal battle that, if Epic’s Tim Sweeney is to believed, shows no sign of coming to an end anytime soon.

The feud started when Epic decided to skirt Apple’s terms and conditions by encouraging players to circumvent Apple’s inhouse payment method. The motivation for this according to Epic was to pass on savings to their loyal player base, whereas Apple interpreted it as an attempt to cheat them out of their slice of the pie.

Image: Fortnite / Epic Games

At the centre of the debate was Apple taking a service fee of 30%, an amount that Epic apparently felt was not representative of their contribution. Since then Apple have decreased their percentage to 15% for products that make less than $1 million USD a year, yet have shown no signs of walking back their stance on the Fortnite fiasco.

The latest development to set the internet alight in the ongoing battle is Sweeney’s assertion that Fortnite will not be returning to the App Store within the next 5 years. His rationale? Apple have apparently made it clear to him that they are prepared to exhaust all of the legal avenues available to them before they end Fortnite‘s exile.

In a tweet on September 23, Sweeney wrote:

“Apple 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 power over a billion users.”

Essentially, he is claiming that Apple are being vindictive and want to punish Epic for stirring the pot. And while it’s difficult to argue with that claim, I find it surprising that the team at Epic didn’t suspect this would happen. They went after a beast’s food.

Nonetheless, there is a certain amount of irony to the whole thing. Epic’s attempt to ‘look after’ their Fortnite players resulted in many of them not being able to play the game on their preferred platform. And considering that a more cautious plan could have completely avoided that outcome, I suspect their real motives were far more similar to Apple’s from the start – more money.