Epic Games CEO to speak in South Korea next week against 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 tensions with Apple, according to a press release.

Sweeney will be joined by other members and representatives of the “Coalition for Application Fairness,” a group of developers and companies lobbying against Apple’s “anti-competitive” App Store rules. The conference “Global Conference on Mobile Application Ecosystem Equity” begins on Monday, November 15, in Seoul, South Korea.

South Korea has been the scene of recent laws that could change the App Store in fundamental ways. Earlier in August, South Korea passed a law banning Apple and other owners of mobile application distribution platforms from forcing developers to use their own payment method. For the App Store, this would result in Apple no longer requiring developers to use their in-app purchase system.

Apple said the new change would put users at risk, reduce consumer confidence in in-app purchases, and make it harder to implement certain features, such as parental controls.

The Telecommunications Act will put users who buy digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, jeopardize their privacy protections, make shopping management more difficult, and make functions like “Ask to Buy” and parental controls less effective. We believe that consumer confidence in the purchase of the App Store will decline as a result of this law – which will lead to fewer opportunities for over 482,000 registered developers in Korea who have earned more than KRW 8.55 trillion to date.

Following the passage of the law, Epic Games asked Apple to return Fortnite to the App Store in South Korea. Fortnite was removed from the “App Store” in August 2020 after Epic implemented the direct payment method for in-app purchases, which is a clear violation of Apple’s “App Store” policy. The new law in South Korea has yet to come into force, and even when it comes into force, Apple said it has no obligation to return Epic’s developer account, which was repealed before it became law.

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Naveen Kumar

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