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Epic Games has asked Apple to restore its Fortnite developer account after South Korea ordered Apple to allow developers to use their own payment systems for in-app purchases.

“Epic intends to re-release Fortnite on iOS in Korea offering both Epic payment and Apple payment side-by-side in compliance with the new Korean law,” the company said in a tweet.

What happened?

  • Apple and Epic Games have been embroiled in a court case after the Fortnite maker Epic took the tech giant to court to answer its accusations of breaching American antitrust law, following a fallout last August when its hit Fortnite game (and all other Epic content) was unceremoniously booted out of the App Store.

  • Epic parodied Apple’s 1984 ad in response, urging fans to help #FreeFortnite.

  • Epic is unhappy with the 30% commission charged by Apple for digital app sales, a ‘significant economic drag’ that undermined its ability to invest in new and existing apps.

  • Apple is angered by Epic’s decision embed its dedicated payment processing system into Fortnite, a clear contravention of Apple’s contractual obligation that developers utilize its payment system for in-app digital purchases.

Why is this important?

  • Lawmakers passed a bill in early September to amend South Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act to prevent large app-market operators such as Google and Apple from requiring the use of their in-app purchasing systems.

  • Once the bill is signed into law by President Moon Jae-in, South Korea will become the first country to ban app-market operators from unreasonably delaying the approval of apps or deleting them from the marketplace.

  • Failure to comply could see companies fined up to 3% of their South Korean revenue by the Korea Communications Commission, the country’s media regulator.

  • When the law is introduced, Apple will need to enable third-party payment options on its iOS App Store, which currently demands that all transactions be handled through Apple’s systems, for which the company takes a 30% cut.

  • For Google, it will need to do the same for its Google Play store as Android systems enable third-party app stores and direct payments through other channels. Google Play remains the dominant marketplace in the ecosystem and takes a similar 30% cut.