If you recall, they tried that already in the recent past, only for a judge to say that Epic Games failed to illustrate how the removal of Fortnite from the App Store caused “irreparable harm” to their game. This newest motion seeks to rectify that problem, and in doing so, they pulled back the curtain to reveal that Epic Games had a lot more plans for Fortnite than just keeping it a battle royale game. Indeed, it seems their ambition for their multi-billion dollar game might even extend beyond the realm of gaming itself.
The first part of their argument, taken straight from their injunction filling, is straightforward enough:
Fortnite is more than just a game. It is an intensely social community whose value to its users depends in large part on the ability to connect with other users. Epic has built a community that people rely on. 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.
But it’s the second part where things get… spicy.
The removal of Fortnite from iOS also substantially impedes a major Epic initiative—evolving Fortnite into a full-fledged “metaverse”, a multi-purpose, persistent, interactive virtual space. Harm like this to Epic’s flagship app cannot be calculated in damages
EPIC CEO Tim Sweeney elaborated slightly in an attached declaration:
One of the factors that makes Fortnite so special is its groundbreaking ability to provide a forum for a wide variety of virtual social experiences such as concerts, movie nights, and social and political discussions all in a single, freely accessible world. In the future, Epic plans to offer many more events and new features in Fortnite, with the ultimate goal of creating the Fortnite Metaverse, a robust real-time, three-dimensional social medium complete with its own economy, where people will be able to create and engage in any number of shared experiences… The vitality of Fortnite as a social space will increasingly depend on access for mobile users.
It's questionable if this argument will be enough to sway the judge – after all, for all its prettied words and bold claims, Fortnite still blatantly and knowingly violated Apple’s terms of service, and the only thing keeping them from returning to the platform is agreeing to the 30 percent fee – but for our purposes, more interesting than any of that is the idea of Epic Games turning Fortnite into a social media platform of its own.
Which is… scary, actually. I find this idea horrifying.
But that’s not up for me to decide. The judge will do that, soon enough.