Epic Games CEO to Speak in South Korea Next Week Against the App Store Amid Ongoing Tensions With Apple
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney will appear next week at a conference in South Korea to discuss the fairness of mobile app platforms and ecosystems amid his company's ongoing tension with Apple, according to a press release.
Sweeney will be joined by other members and representatives of the "Coalition for App Fairness," a group of developers and companies lobbying against Apple's "anti-competitive" App Store rules. The conference, "Global Conference on Mobile App Ecosystem Fairness," kicks off on Monday, November 15, in Seoul, South Korea.
South Korea has been the scene of recent legislation that could change the App Store in fundamental ways. Earlier in August, South Korea passed a bill that prohibits Apple, and other owners of mobile app distribution platforms, from forcing developers to use their own payment method. For the App Store, that would result in Apple no longer requiring developers to use its in-app purchase system.
Apple has said the new change would put users at risk, decrease user trust in purchases made within apps, and make it harder for certain features, such as parental controls, to be implemented.
The Telecommunications Business Act will put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases, and features like "Ask to Buy" and Parental Controls will become less effective. We believe user trust in App Store purchases will decrease as a result of this legislation — leading to fewer opportunities for the over 482,000 registered developers in Korea who have earned more than KRW8.55 trillion to date with Apple.
Following the passage of the bill, Epic Games had asked Apple to reinstate Fortnite onto the App Store in South Korea. Fortnite was removed from the App Store in August of 2020 after Epic implemented a direct-payment method for in-app purchases, a clear violation of Apple's App Store rules. The new law in South Korea is yet to go into effect, and even when it does, Apple had said that it has no obligation to reinstate Epic's developer account that was terminated prior to when it became law.