Guess what the first thing you see is if you open the App Store today, August 28, the day the ultimatum to Epic Games for the Fortnite matter expires? Yes, a special content on PUBG, or PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds, Fortnite's rival par excellence in the world of free-to-play battle royale. The icing on the cake of all this is that PUBG is based on, yes, Unreal Engine: which is also from Epic Games, and is an important part of the dispute between the two companies.
A new era of @PUBGMOBILE is coming, featuring an overhaul of the Erangel map and a bold new look.
Check out the exclusive sneak peek here. https://t.co/ZmcDm6zKQR
– App Store (@AppStore) August 28, 2020
Quick quick summary for those who have missed a few pieces, that things are evolving quickly: for some time Epic Games (like many others, for that matter) has complained about the deductions that Apple applies to all purchases made through the App Store, and that it imposes pretty strict rules to prevent developers from promoting purchases outside of it. At some point Epic decided to go from words to deeds and implemented an alternative payment system in its flagship game, Fortnite; Apple predictably responded with a removal of the game from the App Store. Within 24 hours, Epic had sued Apple.
Apple has given Epic time until August 28 (today, in fact) to restore Fortnite, or to have all its developer accounts terminated. This is where the Unreal Engine comes into play: the graphics engine is one of the most popular in the entire video game industry. Even Microsoft has officially sided in favor of Epic declaring that the termination of Unreal Engine would have had a very serious impact on a huge number of developers. Epic filed a motion to protect the graphics engine from Apple's retaliation, and the judge agreed. Also because Epic has multiple developer accounts, including one dedicated to Fortnite.
Apple has said that Fortnite will be welcome to the App Store as soon as Epic makes it compatible with the App Store rules again, but Epic does not intend to give up. Fortnite remains available on the App Store, but can no longer be updated. As a result, iPhone users no longer have access to new content (just yesterday season 4 started) and are no longer able to play with users from other platforms.