Apple Threatens to Go Thermonuclear on Epic Games; To Terminate Developer Accounts on August 28


Epic Game’s standoff with Apple has escalated further as the developer alleges Apple will terminate its developer account on August 28. Last week, Epic Games added a direct payment method on Fortnite. It is against Apple’s policy to add a direct payment method, and thus Fortnite was removed from the App Store. Soon enough, Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple, and now their developer account will allegedly be terminated.

Epic claims Apple is removing the developer’s account due to retaliation for filing a lawsuit against Apple. The company took to Twitter and said that Apple is planning to completely cut off the developer by terminating their accounts from iOS and macOS. Epic is now asking the Northern District California court to stop Apple from terminating the developer account.

Epic is not seeking monetary compensation from this Court for the injuries it has suffered. Nor is Epic seeking favorable treatment for itself, a single company. Instead, Epic is seeking injunctive relief to allow fair competition in these two key markets that directly affect hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of thousands, if not more, of third-party app developers.

After pulling down Fortnite from the App Store, Apple said that it “will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.” Fortnite, on the other hand, responded rather aggressively by posting a parody video based on an Apple commercial from 1984.

If Apple terminates Epic’s developer accounts, it will also affect games that are using Epic’s Unreal Engine. In the legal document Epic notes:

If the Unreal Engine can no longer support Apple platforms, the software developers that use it will be forced to use alternatives. The damage to Epic’s ongoing business and to its reputation and trust with its customers will be unquantifiable and irreparable. Preliminary injunctive relief is necessary to prevent Apple from crushing Epic before this case could ever get to judgment.

Our Take

It seems like Epic Games had it all planned out. Allowing users to bypass App Store fees appears like a deliberate attempt to challenge App Store’s much-ridiculed 30% fee. People soon started selling iPhone and iPads with Fortnite installed at ridiculous prices on eBay. While the battle for reduced App Store fees could be justified on some fronts, the user will ultimately pay the price by losing access to one of the most popular games on an equally popular iOS platform. We hope Apple and Epic can settle the dispute so developers and users don’t get caught up in this dispute.

How do you feel about losing access to Fortnite on iPhone and iPad? Share your thoughts in the comments below.