Epic Games says Fortnite usage on iOS is down 60% since ban in latest court filing

fortnite on iPhone XR
fortnite on iPhone XR (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • There's a new filing from Epic Games in its legal suit against Apple.
  • It says that the number of daily active users on Fortnite has declined by 60% since it was removed from the App Store.
  • Epic again states that it is highly likely to succeed based on the merits of the case.

Epic Games has told a court that the number of daily active users playing Fortnite on iOS has fallen by 60% since it was banned from the App Store.

Lodged late Friday, Epic has filed its notice of motion in support of a preliminary injunction against Apple. To recap, following Epic Games' filing against Apple, a judge granted a temporary restraining order to stop Apple from retaliating against Epic Games' Unreal Engine. However, the judge did not grant Epic's request to have Fortnite reinstated to the App Store, noting that "Epic Games strategically chose to breach its agreements with Apple which changed the status quo."

A hearing will now take place on September 28 for a preliminary injunction on these matters. The temporary restraining order is, of course, temporary, and both parties will now seek to have the judge's previous decision ratified for the duration of the case, whilst possibly overturning part of her previous decision. Epic will argue that Fortnite should yet be reinstated, whilst Apple will likely argue it is still within its rights to terminate Epic Games' other developer accounts, affecting the Unreal Engine.

In its opening statement, Epic Games states:

By removing Fortnite from the App Store, Apple has cleaved millions of users from their friends and family in the Fortnite community, which entirely depends on connectivity. The user outcry has been deafening, showing real harm to the public interest. Daily active users on iOS have declined by over 60% since Fortnite's removal from the App Store. And removal already has resulted in a loss of goodwill and irreparable damage to Epic's reputation. The continued loss of Fortnite as a gathering place for users on all platforms will lead Epic's customers to defect. Epic may never see these users again.

Epic also states that 63% of Fortnite users on iOS only access the service through that platform and that it has over 116 million registered Fortnite users on iOS, more than any other platform.

Epic's arguments in favor of the preliminary injunction (to reinstate Fortnite and to protect the Unreal Engine) remain broadly similar to what it said at the beginning of the case:

  1. Apple has a monopoly on the iOS App distribution market
  2. Apple unlawfully maintains this monopoly
  3. Apple contractually ties the App Store to in-app-purchases, which Epic claims is unlawful
  4. App distribution and in-app-payments are actually separate products
  5. Developers are coerced into using in-app-purchases because of Apple's market power
  6. Apple's conduct has substantial anticompetitive effects on iOS in-app payment processing, injuring Epic (and other developers)

Epic also claims that Apple's retaliation against Fortnite in removing the game from the App Store will "wreak havoc on the existing Fortnite community" (again citing the 60% drop in players). Epic also says that those who continue to play Fortnite on iOS are "doing so for significantly fewer hours per week."

You can read the full filing here, which details in its entirety why Epic Games thinks Apple should be forced to let Fortnite back onto the App Store, and why it should be further prevented from taking any action against Epic's Unreal Engine.

As noted, the hearing on this matter will take place on September 28, Apple has until September 15 to lodge a response.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9