Fortnite for iOS and macOS Will No Longer Be Cross-Platform When New Season Launches
Epic Games tomorrow plans to launch a new season of Fortnite, which is where new content, skins, map updates, and objectives are introduced for players to keep the gameplay fresh and dynamic. This week's season is Marvel themed.
This morning, Epic Games confirmed that it has no plans to give in and remove the direct payment option from the Fortnite app on iOS devices, which means the app continues to be in violation of the App Store rules and cannot be updated. Fortnite for iPhone, iPad, and Mac will not get the new season.
In addition, when the new season is released, Fortnite for iOS and macOS players will no longer be able to play the game alongside Fortnite players on PCs, Android devices, and consoles, as there will be two separate versions of the game. The updated version with the Chapter 2 Season 4 content available to Fortnite players on other platforms, and the non-updated version of Fortnite on Apple's platforms.
Epic Games confirmed to The Verge that cross-platform play will not be possible, and iPhone, iPad, and Mac Fortnite players will only be able to play with one another. That means Fortnite users who have friends on other platforms will not be able to play with those friends.
Epic was hoping to get a temporary restraining order from a judge that would have forced Apple to allow Fortnite to remain in the App Store and be updated while the court case plays out, but the judge ruled against Epic Games because the current situation is of its own making.
The judge who made the decision told Epic that all it needs to do is "take it back to the status quo and no one suffers any harm," but Epic is apparently refusing to do so. During the hearing for the restraining order, Epic's lawyers said that the company wouldn't "go back into an anticompetitive contract." Epic has updated its FAQ with a similar statement:
Apple is asking that Epic revert Fortnite to exclusively use Apple payments. Their proposal is an invitation for Epic 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.
Apple on August 28 plans to terminate the Epic Games developer accounts, and it's not entirely clear what will happen when that occurs. Fortnite could stop working entirely, or it could continue to run in its current incarnation on devices that have already downloaded it.
It's not clear why Fortnite couldn't be updated on macOS because it's not distributed through the Mac App Store, but it seems that Epic Games is going to withhold updates on all Apple platforms.
Though Fortnite is in danger and will not be updated on Apple devices, Apple has been blocked from terminating the developer accounts for Epic International, which handles the Unreal Engine. Apple had originally planned to terminate the Epic Games developer account and all linked accounts, but Epic was able to get a temporary restraining order to prevent that from happening.
A hearing for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for September 28, and that's the next opportunity for either Epic or Apple to get a new decision that will shift the current orders. Unless Epic Games decides to comply with the App Store rules, Fortnite will be unable to be updated for at least the next month, if it continues to work at all after the Epic Games developer account is terminated.