Last week saw a major standoff between Apple and Epic Games. In response to a civil antitrust lawsuit filed by Epic against Apple, the latter decided to terminate all Epic’s developer accounts and block iOS and Mac development tools for the Fortnite company. The decision will come into force on August 28.
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/3br1EHmyd8
— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) August 17, 2020
Epic filed a motion for temporary restraning order on Apple’s actions. According to the documentation Epic submitted to the court, Apple’s decision does not simply target Fortnite on iOS and Mac devices. It’s also “a direct attack on the ongoing viability of the Unreal Engine” on those platforms.
“Epic would also be unable to make the Unreal Engine compatible with new versions of Apple’s software as it is released, like iOS 14, which is set for release this fall. Going forward, this will make the Unreal Engine unviable for developers that intend to release software on Apple platforms. This will drive developers away from the Unreal Engine and toward its competitors, turning it from a widely used tool to a niche product,” the company says.
While Epic thinks the court will eventually rule in its favor, the company is concerned that “without an injunction, Epic will be irreparably harmed long before final judgment comes.” This is due to how quickly the technology markets develop.
In the meantime, Apple told The Verge that Epic can keep its access to iOS and Mac developer tools if they remove a rule-violating payment processing option in Fortnite.
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