Epic Games takes another shot at Apple. App Store Battle Royale in California. The Chinese-owned gaming platform behind Fortnite claims in court that Apple holds the Unreal Gaming Engine hostage. Fortnite’s owners claim that Apple’s move hampers their access to developer tools. Countless video game developers rely on Unreal Engine to produce animations and games.
Apple’s iOS support for the Unreal Engine is one of the key pieces of California-based company defense in their bitter fight with Tencent-owned Epic Games. Apple plans to use its control of the App Store to revoke access to Unreal Engine, the popular platform which many developers and entertainers use for creating animations and games. Epic Games filed in the United States District Court of the North California a restraining order against Apple.
Apple Uses Unreal Engine as Hostage While Epic Games Uses Developers as Human Shields
While Apple’s prerogative in revoking access to developer tools seems legitimate and is the object of Epic Games’ scorn, the Chinese-owned gaming platform’s legal representatives in the courts of the Golden State claims that removing the support from the iOS ecosystem for developers is punitive and affects developers who use Epic’s Unreal engine yet they have no direct involvement in the judicial dispute.
Epic requested to remain with access to software, software development kits, application programming interfaces, and other developer tools from Apple. Epic Games’ motion was filed with a declaration from software developer Microsoft, who emphasized how disastrous it’d be for Epic Games if Apple shunned them from their software distribution and payment processing platform. If you want more information regarding Epic Games’ legal counsel team be sure to check out our coverage of Epic Games’ legal counsel.
Apple’s Deadline & Epic’s Backdoor Deal
Apple aims to terminate all of Epic’s developer accounts by August 28, causing Epic to force a restraining order seeking to thwart that removal. Apple fired back with another lawsuit arguing that Fortnite shouldn’t be in the App Store while the United States justice system decides this dispute with geopolitical and metapolitical implications.
In June 2020, Epic approached Apple to negotiate a deal that would reshape the way Epic offers apps in Apple’s platform. What Epic wanted was to essentially bypass Apple’s payment system. Apple denied the request, and Epic found a way around the App Store’s payment platform anyway. In court, Apple’s lawyers liken the payment circumvention strategy crafted by Epic to “shoplifting”, as they argue that leaving a retail store without paying for an item is the exact kind of conduct that Epic entices Fortnite players to do as they seek for cosmetic changes for the characters they play in the massively played battle-royale first-person shooter.