- Epic Games is seeking to prevent Apple from removing the hit video game "Fortnite" from the App Store, asking a court to prevent the iPhone maker from retaliating against its other games, Reuters reported. Epic claimed that Apple's move could negatively affect its Unreal Engine that's used by millions of software developers for 3D graphics.
- Epic claimed that Apple will close all of Epic's developer accounts on Aug. 28, a move that will prevent the company from updating software that other developers use to make video games. Epic said it wouldn't be able to offer the Unreal Engine for Mac and iPhone software, possibly affecting hundreds of games, Reuters reported.
- Epic CEO Timothy Sweeney said in a letter that "Fortnite" had 350 million users as of June, and that Apple's plan to block the game will prevent players from downloading necessary updates.
Epic's filing of a preliminary injunction against Apple is the latest legal salvo in a dispute that erupted last week after Apple and Google removed the hit video game "Fortnite" from their app stores. Epic had introduced a payment plan that violated their rules as part of an effort to avoid paying a 30% commission on in-game transactions to the tech giants. Epic immediately sued Apple and Google, accusing the companies of violating U.S. antitrust law and abusing their power over the distribution of apps. The game developer also launched a publicity campaign to mock Apple and Google.
Epic's latest claim indicates that the dispute with Apple may have far-reaching implications for millions of other software developers that use its Unreal Engine to develop 3D content. Developers not only use Unreal Engine to make games, but also to make software for medical imaging and industrial design, Epic claims.
“The effects will reverberate well beyond video games; it will affect developers who use the Unreal Engine on Apple products in many fields,” Epic said in the filing cited by Reuters. “The ensuing impact on the Unreal Engine’s viability, and the trust and confidence developers have in that engine, cannot be repaired with a monetary award.”
Apple responded to Epic's claims with a statement saying that the game developer can remedy the conflict by submitting a version of "Fortnite" that complies with its rules on the App Store. The company said it won't make an exception for Epic that puts its business interests "ahead of guidelines that protect our customers," Reuters reported.
Epic's dispute with Apple comes as the company faces antitrust scrutiny for its control of the App Store, which provides the only way that its customers can download apps for iPhones and iPads. Epic's effort to take on Apple and Google has gained support from other companies that either complain about the hefty fees collected by the tech giants or see its rules as too restrictive. Facebook for six months tried to get Apple's approval for its Facebook Gaming app, and eventually changed the app so that it wouldn't allow people to play in-app games. Audio streaming company Spotify also has criticized Apple's fee structure for allegedly favoring rival service Apple Music.