Fortnite developer Epic Games has responded to Apple’s latest retaliation of fee disagreements by taking away the developer’s access for making iOS and Mac titles in the future.
According to Epic Games in a tweet, their team of developers will be losing their accounts with Apple’s software kits while blacklisting the studio even further away from its App Store. In response, Epic has also filed a new court document and requested a restraining order against Apple for causing “irreparable harm” towards developers.
“We are asking the court to stop this retaliation,” Epic wrote, suggesting the company is taking enough damages from Apple after refusing to pay its 30 per cent revenue fees. After Fortnite gave its players a significant discount to its in-game V-bucks, the leading battle royale title was removed from both Apple and Google’s stores for violating its policies last week. In return, Epic launched its own #FreeFortnite campaign for players while standing their ground with a court suit for injunction relief.
The case also stems from Apple’s alleged “anti-competitive” practices which limit how studios including Epic Games can distribute their games to other systems. In the case of iOS users, they are only allowed to download and install games over Apple’s own distribution while developers are required to give 30% of all generated revenue in order to keep their product on its pages.
In Epic’s latest motion to the U.S. District Court in California, Apple is accused of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which makes limiting competitive business an illegal action. As a result of Apple taking away Epic’s SDK for iOS and Mac, the Fortnite developers added this would affect existing games connected to tools like the Unreal Engine.
“It told Epic that by August 28, Apple will cut off Epic’s access to all development tools necessary to create software for Apple’s platforms—including for the Unreal Engine Epic offers to third-party developers, which Apple has never claimed violated any Apple policy.” Epic said in their preliminary statement. “Not content simply to remove Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is attacking Epic’s entire business in unrelated areas.”
Of course, the Unreal Engine is a graphics tool adopted by numerous third-party studios. Its source code was also made available for any developer looking to craft games, including ones for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android systems. As “the world’s most popular graphics engine,” it would also limit mobile developers developing upcoming games with the Unreal Engine.
If Epic Games retracts their resources from Apple, it could also bring many of the store’s Unreal-powered games along as property. But the latest case, seeking a prelimary injunction, doesn’t come with a settlement fee. While Fortnite is still playable for iOS and Android users, player on iPhone could soon lose their spots on the leaderboards.
“Because Apple has now removed Fortnite from the App Store, iOS users cannot receive updates and will soon be stranded in an outdated version of the game, unable to connect with family and friends who will play future versions on other platforms,” Epic stated.
“iOS users will also lose access to new content that Epic regularly releases, such as the eagerly anticipated new season of the game scheduled to launch at the end of this month.”