Epic Games says it lost access to Apple development tools following lawsuit [Updated]

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iPad mini 5 (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Epic Games is hoping for a temporary restraining order to stop Apple from terminating its developer accounts and blocking access to development tools.
  • In court documents, Epic says Apple is "attacking Epic's entire business."
  • Besides Fortnite, Epic also owns the Unreal Engine, which a lot of developers use to create games for iOS.

Update: Apple responds to Epic Games' claim that it is being "attacked"

Epic Games announced on Monday it's asking courts to stop Apple from blocking it from using iOS and Mac development tools and terminating its developer accounts. It's seeking a temporary restraining order in response.

This comes after Epic issued a very public lawsuit against Apple last week. In case you missed it, Apple removed Fortnite, Epic's super popular battle royale shooter, from the App Store after Epic introduced a payment system that was in violation of the App Store guidelines.

In the motion for the temporary restraining order, which was posted to Twitter on Monday, Epic said that less than 12 hours after Fortnite was removed from the App Store, Apple said that it would be terminating Epic's access to development tools for iOS and Mac and would be blocking all of Epic's products from the App Store.

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"Not content simply to remove Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is attacking Epic's entire business in unrelated areas," the motion states.

Epic Games can get the rights to its accounts back if it agrees to fix the payment system issues within 14 days, according to Apple. It can also appeal the decision to the App Review Board within that two-week span.

The big thing that Epic mentions in the court documents is that this would cut off access for Unreal Engine, a popular game engine used by both big and small developers, that Epic owns. Epic reiterates that Apple never claimed that the engine violated App Store policies. Lawyers advocating for the publisher claim that it's an "existential threat' that will harm developers.

"The effects will reverberate well beyond video games; it will affect developers who use the Unreal Engine on Apple products in many fields," the documents state. "This is quintessential irreparable harm."

Epic adds that it's "likely to prevail on the merits of its antitrust claims."

The original lawsuit came after Epic instituted a new payment system within Fortnite that would allow players to make in-app purchases directly through Epic instead of the App Store. It also offered discounts for people that would buy directly. This was in violation of the App Store guidelines, but it was a symbolic move by the Fortnite publisher, which has been outspoken about Apple and Google's 30% fee policy for all apps (it also issued a similar lawsuit for Google).

Epic pushed the lawsuit to "end Apple's unfair and anti-competitive actions that Apple undertakes to unlawfully maintain its monopoly" in markets relating to the App Store.

Apple Responds to Epic Games' claim that it is being "attacked"

Apple addresses Epic Games' claim that Apple is attacking its business with the following statement sent to iMore:

The App Store is designed to be a safe and trusted place for users and a great business opportunity for all developers. Epic has been one of the most successful developers on the App Store, growing into a multibillion dollar business that reaches millions of iOS customers around the world. We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Program and their apps on the Store. 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.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).