In case you missed the news last week, there's an extraordinary situation currently going on between Epic Games, the developers of the ever-popular Fortnite Battle Royale game, Apple, and Google, who have both removed the game from their app stores due to violation of their terms and conditions.
It seems like an extraordinary - and intentional - play by Epic. The company silently pushed an update to the game that allowed users to pay Epic Games directly for microtransactions within the game, bypassing the Apple and Google app store altogether. This goes against the terms and conditions of both app stores - both companies take a 30% cut of all transactions made through apps available through their stores.
Apple, in particular, hasn't taken to Epic's shenanigans well, with shots being fired back and forth between both companies. The tech conglomerate has now officially informed Epic Games that it will formally terminate it's access to it's Apple developer accounts and tools on the 28th of August. This means Epic Games will no longer be able to publish their games on Apple's platforms, including MacOS.
Epic Games didn't take the news lying down, however, and have now filed a motion seeking a restraining order against Apple to prevent them from removing their access. Epic claims in the motion that it expects to win the case against Apple and Google, but requires the restraining order as their business will be "irreparably harmed" before a judgement is made due to Apple's actions.
Worryingly, Apple's move means that any game that uses the Unreal Engine, even those not developed by Epic Games, will be banned from Apple's platforms. Epic is claiming damage to its reputation and trust with its customers will be impacted by the move as a result.
Apple’s retaliation represents an existential threat to Epic’s Unreal Engine, OS providers like Apple routinely make certain software and developer tools available to software developers, for free or a small fee, to enable the development of software that will run on the OS. Apple intends to deny Epic access to that widely available material.
Despite the repercussions, Epic is not backing down, at least for the moment, from their stance with Fortnite, something Apple was likely betting on, as indicated by Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney on Twitter.
I’m fighting Apple policies while tweeting on iPhone. Don’t hate the players, hate the game. Apple made a storefront where developers have to bid against each other for searches for our own brands, while blocking other stores from competing with them, all “to protect customers”. https://t.co/Tux4D6Z6nl— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 17, 2020
So it's an interesting time for sure. Will Epic succeed? We'll be sure to keep our eyes on the case and bring you any further updates as it happens.