Epic Games has announced that "Fortnite's Chapter 2: Season 4" update will not be available for Apple users on the iPhone, iPad or Mac on Thursday as tensions continue to simmer with the tech giant over the game developer's decision to create a direct payment system that would avoid paying the App Store a 30% commission fee.
"Apple is blocking Fortnite updates and new installs on the App Store, and has said they will terminate our ability to develop Fortnite for Apple devices," the company wrote Wednesday. "As a result, Fortnite’s newly released Chapter 2 - Season 4 update (v14.00), will not release on iOS and macOS on August 27."
The announcement comes following a ruling this week by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that Apple "has chosen to act severely" by threatening to remove Epic's iOS and Mac development tools and that they cannot retaliate against the company's Unreal Engine, which is used by multiple game makers to create their products.
"The record shows potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally, including on both third-party developers and gamers," Rogers wrote. "Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders.”
However, Epic was not granted a reinstatement on the App Store, with Rogers arguing the game developer's "current predicament appears of its own making” after the company "strategically chose to breach its agreements with Apple.”
As a result, the only course of action available to Epic to be reinstated on the App Store would be to remove its direct payment system.
Epic argues that exclusively using the App Store is an invitation to "collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments on iOS, suppressing free market competition and inflating prices."
"As a matter of principle, we won’t participate in this scheme," Epic said in the statement. "You, as a mobile device owner, have the right to install apps from sources of your choosing. Software makers have the right to freely express their ideas and to compete in a fair marketplace. Apple’s policies take these freedoms away."
The company recommends that any player who wishes to continue to receive Fortnite's latest updates download the popular video game via the Samsung Galaxy store or on Google's Android devices. That will be of little benefit to gamers who operate strictly on Apple's devices.
"Epic is one of the many game developers who has long worked to advance better and fairer platform practices," the company added. "We are committed to securing lasting freedoms for all. This is why we fight."
In the meantime, Epic's preliminary injunction filed against Apple is scheduled for a hearing on September 28th.