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.
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.
Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation. Details here: https://t.co/3br1EHmyd8Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation. Details here: https://t.co/3br1EHmyd8— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) August 17, 2020August 17, 2020
"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:
Your headline is misleading. Epic will lose access on August 28, it hasn't already lost access.
I think Apple’s going to far now as this effects other developers that rely on the Unreal Engine on the iOS AppStore, Apple needs to focus on just Epic Games and not inadvertently bringing other developers into their dispute with Epic Games but with that said, I’m with Apple on this because Epic Games knew what they were signing up and agreed to Apple’s terms and conditions so they can’t suddenly start crying about it now. But I agree Apple’s 30% cut is excessive and needs to be reduced.
I’m sorry, but am I missing something here? Epic is basically saying, “eff your App Store policies, but you must let us continue to use the dev tools that you built and provide to devs who adhere to your rules.” I’m all for epic trying to go it outside of the App Store but they can’t have their cake and eat it too. Either part from the App Store entirely or abide by the rules and benefit from the tools (hey that rhymes!)
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