Epic Games Apple Lawsuit Escalates As Developer Accounts Are Terminated

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Epic Games Asks Court to Halt Apple's Actions

The Epic Games Apple lawsuit has escalated. Apple has notified Epic Games that it will be terminating all of their developer accounts on August 28, 2020. In turn, Epic Games has asked the court to step in and put a stop to it.

Let's recap for those of you who are a bit lost. Late last week, Epic Games revealed the "Mega Drop" — a permanent 20% discount on Fortnite V-Bucks prices and real-money purchases. As part of this change, they also introduced the "Epic Direct Payment" on Android and iOS, circumventing the commissions earned by both platforms through all purchases.

Unsurprisingly, Fortnite was removed from the iOS App Store just a few hours later and that's when Epic Games activated its trap card. They immediately filed legal papers in California alleging that Apple holds an unlawful monopoly. Later that night, Google removed the game from the Google Play store, so Epic sued them, too. Now, a new development threatens Fortnite even further — Apple has informed Epic that they're cutting them off from iOS and Mac development tools.

Epic Games Apple lawsuit slice

New Moves in the Epic Games Apple Lawsuit

A few days after the initial wave of lawsuits, Apple allegedly escalated the situation by attempting to put a stop to any future development by Epic Games on its ecosystem.

"Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28[,] Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools," Epic Games said in a tweet. "We are asking the court to stop this retaliation."

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That tweet links to a motion for a temporary restraining order [PDF], asking the court to intervene and prevent Apple from cutting Epic Games off from the iOS and Mac development tools.

"Apple’s retaliation was swift and decisive," the motion read. "The morning Epic made these options available, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, ensuring that millions of players would imminently lose the ability to use Fortnite to connect with their family and friends. Soon after, Epic filed its suit against Apple challenging its monopoly on app stores and in-app purchases. Less than twelve hours later, Apple notified Epic it was terminating Epic from the Apple Developer Program, blocking all Epic products from distribution through Apple’s App Store."

As a result of Apple's actions, Epic Games is asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction which would prevent Apple from making Fortnite unavailable on its storefront or removing Epic's access to Mac and iOS developer tools.

It should be noted, this reported move by Apple just seriously escalated the situation. Removing access to development tools would also affect the Unreal Engine, and that in turn could severely impact future game development on Mac and iOS from the smallest indies to the most massive AAA companies that depend on that engine.

Apple's reported deadline is a little over ten days away. Odds are, the court will get a chance to review this motion before then. Should they find in Epic's favor, we may see Fortnite returned to the App Store sooner than we think. Either way, this legal battle is likely far from over.

What do you think of the new developers in the Epic Games Apple lawsuit? Who do you think is going to come out on top? Let us know in the comments below!

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Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs – I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!

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