Epic Games has filed yet another lawsuit against Apple. The Fortnite developer is now suing the Cupertino-based company for allegedly retaliating against it for its other lawsuit last week. Apple has not only removed the game from the App Store but has told Epic that it will “terminate” all its developer accounts and “cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools” on August 28th.
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. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation. Details here: https://t.co/3br1EHmyd8
— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) August 17, 2020
According to the filing, Epic claims that Fortnite’s removal from the App Store in conjunction with the termination of the developer accounts will likely result in “irreparable harm” to Epic. The company adds that cutting off access to development tools also affects software like Unreal Engine Epic, which it offers to third-party developers and which Apple itself has never claimed to have violated any policy. Without access to the tools, the company states that it can’t develop future versions of Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS.
“Not content simply to remove Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is attacking Epic’s entire business in unrelated areas,” the lawsuit states. “Left unchecked, Apple’s actions will irreparably damage Epic’s reputation among Fortnite users and be catastrophic for the future of the separate Unreal Engine business.”
The lawsuit mentions that Apple sent Epic a letter that threatened to stop “engineering efforts to improve hardware and software performance of Unreal Engine on Mac and iOS hardware […] and adoption and support of ARKit features and future VR features into Unreal Engine by their XR team.” The latter could be alluding to future Apple AR and VR projects.
Epic says that the preliminary injunctive relief is necessary to prevent its business from being crushed before the case even goes to judgement. The proposed preliminary injunction would restrain Apple from removing and de-listing Fortnite (which the company has already done) and would prevent it from taking actions against Epic’s other titles as well as Unreal Engine.
The conflict erupted last week when Epic began offering Fortnite discounts to users who bypassed Android and iOS app stores, thus working around the 30 percent cut. Apple then removed the game from its store for violating its policies, which then prompted Epic to file a lawsuit against it. The same thing occurred with Google — Android pulled the game from its app store and Epic filed suit against Google. Epic has also posted a parody of Apple’s 1984 ad which ends with a #FreeFortnite hashtag.