No Fortnite Season 4 for iPhone and Android players after app store bans?
While Fortnite players on iOS have taken the biggest hit, Android users still have some options.
Fortnite developer Epic Games is suing both Google and Apple after the tech giants pulled the battle royale blockbuster from their digital stores, preventing a big chunk of its 350-million strong player base from downloading and installing the game on iOS and Android devices.
It seems that, with its move to let players purchase in-game currency at a lower rate by buying directly from Epic (bypassing Apple and Google in the process), the company has anticipated the bans in advance, as the company filed lawsuits mere minutes after Fortnite’s removals from both app stores and launched its #FreeFortnite campaign on social media.
While the legal proceedings are expected to carry on for quite some time, what does this mean for ordinary players who don’t care about transaction cut percentages and just want to keep enjoying the game on their phones?
The bad news
Because Fortnite was removed from both the App Store and Google Play, it would appear that Epic Games will not be able to deliver any updates for those versions of the game. Will this lock iOS and Android players out of Fortnite Season 4? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be "yes."
Even though players who already have Fortnite installed will be able to continue playing the current version of the game, the prevention of future updates effectively means no Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 4 for players who have already downloaded the game through the App Store or the Google Play store, at least until a favorable verdict is reached in the Epic Games lawsuit.
Since Fortnite is no longer available on Google's and Apple's digital marketplaces, those who have downloaded the game through the app stores won't be able to restore their In-App-Purchases. To make matters worse, Epic states that they will not be able to refund players who have already spent their money on the mobile versions of Fortnite. According to Epic games, players can try to get their money back via Apple and Google customer support.
The (sort of) good news
For the players themselves, the only silver lining in this whole affair is the fact that Fortnite is a multi-platform game. This means that the players will still be able to use their current accounts to play the game on PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and GeForce Now. "Your account, progression, and purchases also remain available on these platforms," says Epic Games.
All in all, it seems that iOS users have taken the biggest hit, as Android players can still download the game via other means, such as the Epic Games launcher. Even though the App Store is not the most important platform for the game, the iOS version of Fortnite “generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue every month on Apple platforms,” Epic said.
UPDATE (17/08): In a response made to The Verge on Monday, Apple threatened to remove Epic Games from the Apple Developer Program, which would revoke the company's access to iOS and Mac developer tools.
"The problem Epic has created for itself is one that can easily be remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers. We won’t make an exception for Epic because we don’t think it’s right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers."Apple
UPDATE (25/08): On August 25, federal judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers blocked Apple from shutting down Unreal Engine, a tool created by Epic Games and used by hundreds of third-party developers to create iOS apps and games. However, the judge refused to order Fortnite's reinstatement on Apple's App Store, stating that Epic's “current predicament (with “Fortnite”) appears of its own making.” While this is good news for many developers whose apps are powered by Unreal Engine, it seems that Fortnite players will have to wait for another milestone in Epic's dispute with Apple.