The legal feud between these two behemoths has taken a dark turn. Apple banned Epic Games from its iOS ecosystem this Friday. Outside court hearings, the Cupertino tech giant terminated the Epic Games account on the App store.
Before we go on into more context, let’s see what Apple said in a statement to Bloomberg.
“We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store. We have worked with the team at Epic Games for many years on their launches and releases. The court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has refused. Instead they repeatedly submit Fortnite updates designed to violate the guidelines of the App Store. This is not fair to all other developers on the App Store and is putting customers in the middle of their fight. We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.” Via Bloomberg.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is managing the case. During court, he explained Apple is in its right to revoke Fortnite from its App Store.
“(Epic Games) is strategically chose to breach its agreements with Apple” – U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers (via The Verge).
Epic Games claims Apple’s actions are causing irreparable harm to the game developers. However, and much like Apple has stated before, the judge explains how Epic could simply solve the dispute by rolling back the alternative payment system. “The current predicament appears of its own making,” he said.
Why did Apple banned Epic?
Apple had asked Epic Games to comply with its store rules. In other words, they wanted Epic to remove its direct payment system for Fortnite in-game purchases. Said “Epic Payment” circumvents Apple Pay.
The iPhone creator said they would take back the punishment when Epic takes back its payment system. And while the court did the same, the game developers decided to continue rogue. That’s because Epic says the store rules “cripple the Unreal Engine.”
The tech company took the desition on Friday, right after a judge ruled out Epic’s motion for a temporary restraining order. Epic wanted to protect the removal of their IPs from the App Store.
However, the court did grant Epic temporary protection regarding its Unreal Engine. That means software and game developers using Epic’s 3D engine will still get Apple support and access to the App Store.
Adding salt to the injury, Apple is placing Fortnite’s competition PUBG as a featured app on its store.
You missed your chance. Epic is off the App Store now.
— John Voorhees (@johnvoorhees) August 28, 2020
How ironic is that PUBG runs on Unreal Engine?
Apple bans Epic: what does it mean?
Terminating Epic’s account on Apple prevents the game developer from updating or publishing games. The games remain on your mobile devices if you’ve already installed them, though.
The ban comes a few days after Epic snuck a tricky update to add the Tart Tycoon skin into iOS Fortnite. Only those who had already downloaded Fortnite for iPhone and iPad could enjoy the update through the App Store Connect.
It all started with Epic Games releasing a new payment method for mobile Fortnite. The “Epic Payment” allows players to circumvent both Apple Pay and Google Pay.
The Fortnite dispute started an ongoing legal battle over in-game purchases. Being part of the App Store requires the developer to surrender a 30% fee on app purchases to the distributor. Moreover, iOS doesn’t allow app downloads outside of its official marketplace.
Now, there’re no Epic Games available for iPhone or iPad. Before Friday, Apple took down Fortnite from its store. It meant iOS Fortnite players couldn’t update the game to its current season. Additionally, iPhone and iPad users can’t download Fortnite from other sources.
The worst part is how even iOS exclusive masterpieces like the Infinity Blade trilogy are no longer available. Talk about collateral damage!
Fornite is updating to a Marvel-centered season, Nexus War.
Unreal Engine protection
It’s important to note that on August 25, Epic gained a restraining order against Apple to protect its proprietary visual engine.
Hence, developers using Unreal Engine will get continued access to Apple’s SDKs for Mac and iOS.
The graphical motor had already gotten support from Microsoft’s gaming department and Xbox.
“Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders” – U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers (via The Verge)
Can I still play Fortnite or Infinity blade on iOS?
If you need to know, there’s still a way to find Fortnite and other Epic Games for iPad and iPhone.
The Family Sharing feature might be your salvation. If you don’t have these games installed, but someone else on the family account had them before, you can still find them.
You can search the games in the “Purchased” tab on the family iCloud account. That’s how you could re-install any Epic Games app on your iOS device.
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What about Epic Games on Google’s Android?
While Apple banned Epic from iOS, Goole was far less restrictive. The Epic Payment system also failed to comply with Google Play rules, so they took down Fornite as well.
Still, you can get any other Epic Games app on Google’s app store. Moreover, you can download Fortnite for Android through other official means.
Most notably, you can download Fortnite from the Galaxy App Store on Samsung smartphones.
That’s not enough for Epic, though. They are asking both Google and Apple to allows an Epic Games Store app on their mobile devices.
Currently, you can download Steam for Android and iOS. For the latter, though, the mobile Steam app only allows chatting and similar functions. The Android version includes the store plus in-app purchases.