For those of you who don’t know for some blessed reason, last week, Epic Games decided to “strike back” against Apple and Google for the exorbitant 30 percent fee they take from every transaction that happens on their mobile marketplace. They did this by adding a direct payment option to their mobile version of Fortnite, which almost immediately got the game removed from both Apple and Google’s storefront for violating their terms of service. In response, Epic Games filed a lawsuit, and as of last week, that was more or less the whole of it.
But things have complicated somewhat, as Epic Games has now claimed that Apple isn’t content merely removing Fortnite from their storefront: now they’re going to remove all of Epic Game’s products from the App store… including the Unreal Engine, which many, many other developers use and need to make their own games.
“When Epic sued Apple to break its monopoly on app stores and in-app payments, Apple retaliated ferociously. 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 an Apple policy. Not content simply to remove Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is attacking Epic’s entire business in unrelated areas.”
Right now we only have Epic’s word on this particular maneuver, so it’s possible they’re embellishing the truth somewhat with the goal of getting Fortnite specifically back on the App Store while this lawsuit plays out – something like this could take years, after all, and Epic Games doesn’t want to lose years’ worth of mobile revenue in the process. That said, it really doesn’t seem out of character for Apple to pull something like this.
Either way, how the judge rules on this temporary restraining order will be key in how this story develops.